Luxury: A Rich History

Hardcover | June 24, 2016

byPeter McNeil, Giorgio Riello

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We live in a world obsessed by luxury. Long-distance airlines compete to offer first-class sleeping experiences and hotels recommend exclusive suites where you are never disturbed. Luxury is a rapidly changing global industry that makes the headlines daily in our newspapers and on theinternet. More than ever, luxury is a pervasive presence in the cultural and economic life of the West - and increasingly too in the emerging super-economies of Asia and Latin America. Yet luxury is hardly a new phenomenon. Today's obsession with luxury brands and services is just one of the many manifestations that luxury has assumed. In the middle ages and the Renaissance, for example, luxury was linked to notions of magnificence and courtly splendour. In the eighteenth centuryluxury was at the centre of philosophical debates over its role in shaping people's desires and oiling the wheels of commerce. And it continues to morph today, with the growth of the global super-rich and increasing wealth polarization. From palaces to penthouses, from couture fashion to lavish jewellery, from handbags to red wine, from fast cars to easy money, Peter McNeil and Giorgio Riello present the first ever global history of luxury, from the Romans to the twenty-first century: a sparkling and ever-changing story ofextravagance, excess, novelty, and indulgence.

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From the Publisher

We live in a world obsessed by luxury. Long-distance airlines compete to offer first-class sleeping experiences and hotels recommend exclusive suites where you are never disturbed. Luxury is a rapidly changing global industry that makes the headlines daily in our newspapers and on theinternet. More than ever, luxury is a pervasive pres...

Peter McNeil is Professor of Design History at the University of Technology Sydney and Professor of Fashion Studies at Stockholm University. Trained as an art and design historian, he works mainly on eighteenth-century western Europe and on twentieth century Anglo-American topics ranging from fashion to the politics of the domestic int...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pagesPublished:June 24, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199663246

ISBN - 13:9780199663248

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Table of Contents

1. Luxury, Antiquity, and the Antique2. The Courts, the Church, and Medieval and Renaissance Luxury3. Luxury and the Orient4. Housing Luxury: From the Hotel Particulier to the Penthouse5. Luxury and the Fashionable Body6. Jet Set Life: From Trans-Atlantic to Global Elites7. The Chic of Poverty: The Minimalism of Luxury8. Everything that Money Can Buy? Manipulating Luxury9. Has Luxury Lost its Lustre?Further ReadingNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Peering into the past through this informed, engaging kaleidoscope has been a great time travel. Exploring the definitions of luxury both conceptual and material as they manifest the zeitgeist of their time. The inherent contradictions of opulence versus understatement, its elusiveness, itspleasure seeking nature, objects of desire to be coveted; and how power, privacy and comfort always find their place in the dialogue on luxury." --Charlotte Moss, author and interior designer