EDITOR’S NOTE

Asia’s back, designer boutiques are sprouting and prices on those must-have bags know no limits. Even with the occasional Nasdaq nail-biter, the luxury sector seems nearly invincible these days. But there’s evolution in the air. Of course, the conventional notions of luxury — an extravagant jewel, fur or high tech toy — still persist, but the definition is relaxing to include more abstract concepts, like time to one’s self, stress relief or a simple thing like physical comfort.
That redefinition is being forced in part by the fast-paced pressures of the newly wealthy. And the more astute ceo’s are taking notes. In an exclusive interview, Richemont’s Johann Rupert puts the expanding luxury movement into perspective by pointing out that a brand’s level of service will be what most distinguishes it from the competition. Luxury’s elite properties — quality, style, durability — are givens. But the highest standard of service, ultimately designed to save the customer time, will provide a very tangible advantage.
In this first issue, WWD Luxe takes a look at who’s got the upscale edge, how they got it and how they’re keeping it. A second edition will be published later this year.