Between the Olympics and the Jubilee, 2012 has been a celebratory year for the UK: for a few weeks, people even spoke to one another on the tube! We decide to celebrate both occasions in style
The world of luxury is necessarily set apart from the every day, and this year we learned that this matters economically too. We spent much of 2012 in admiration of the resilience of Britain’s luxury market, even while in the UK economy fears of a double dip recession slowly slipped into resignation towards a triple dip recession.
I’ll spare you any mezze-based jokes. Last month, however, John Arlidge sounded a first warning — suggesting that Burberry’s weakening figures could point to a broader slowdown in the luxury industry. Let’s see what happens in 2013.
In April, Stonehage’s Affluent Luxury Living Index drew the slightly counter-intuitive conclusion that the ‘cost of being rich’ tumbled 1.6 per cent in the previous year. So while the ordinary shopper faced a 3 per cent rise in prices for everyday goods, the price of a hypothetical ‘basket’ of luxury goods, from foie gras and caviar, to dinner at Hakkasan, grouse shooting and Botox, fell. In other words, it’s never been cheaper to have expensive taste — and we’ll raise our champagne flutes to that at least.
Between the Olympics and the Jubilee, 2012 has been a celebratory year for the UK: for a few weeks, people even spoke to one another on the tube! We decide to celebrate both occasions in style, throwing the most luxurious Jubilee party ever and giving readers a reason to venture eastwards with our guide to London’s East End — which isn’t all skinny jeans and squat parties, we promise.
The Olympics and the Jubilee also ushered in opportunities for wealthy collectors to get their hands on expensive memorabilia: from Tom Daley’s framed swimming trunks for a modest £395, to over £5000 for a thank you letter from Queen Elizabeth II.
Excuse me, is this entry-level caviar?
In general you’re unlikely to find pictures of diamond encrusted iphone covers, face caviar or solid gold doorstops in Spear’s — unless we’re sending them up. Next year we are almost as excited about exposing the ridiculous side of the luxury market, as we about finding new luxury stories. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with our favourite new luxury term of the year: entry-level caviar. Definitely on a par with military intelligence as an oxymoron.