Let us continue our summer meanderings throughout the words used (and abused) by gentlemen as semantic building blocks to translate the impressions and emotions they experience with the objects of our sartorial passion.
In that regards, we shall use this article as an opportunity to pay tribute to the magnificent work of French linguist Alain Rey who published Au Coeur du luxe, les mots last year under the aegis of the Colbert Committee (Publisher: Dar an-Nahar).
In this book, the French linguist delivers a number of extremely sophisticated tidbits, including the carefully selected (and translated) examples below.
Elegance: The history of elegance and of elegants, from the Macaronis to the Muscadins , the dandies and of course of elegant ladies, bears witness of a need for refinement, distinction, and exception brought on nowadays as it did yesteryear by luxury wear. In its wider meaning, elegance is a dimension of the pleasure in refinement, which reminds us that luxury is always a choice.
Emotion: Among all keywords of luxury which we are attempting at presenting here, emotion is at the heart of the unique, of an individual unlike any other, with its specific feelings, which luxury directs towards a pleasure of being alive, both in egotism and in conviviality: another paradox. A luxurious intent which would not trigger any emotional reaction or translate any sincere emotion would not be genuine luxury.
Excellence: As do all words of its kind, excellence tends to wear. An excellent man may merely become a « good guy », and an excellent meal, a correct restaurant. French speakers go as far as saying excellentissime as they say sublimissime, proving that both excellence and the sublime have become commonplace. As it turns against the corrosion of words, luxury tends to reinstate excellence in all its glory: always higher, in line with its etymology.
Exception and exclusivity: Albeit very different, both the concepts of exception and exclusivity are inherently intertwined, and luxury is the privileged realm of their encounter.
Paradox: To have in oneself the amour du luxe is to realize contrasts of the spirit and of the soul, resolved in the never belied values of quality, beauty and pleasure. In its unity, the idea of luxury comprises great diversity.
Refinement: Refinement applies to the many implications of luxury: quality, elegance, pleasure and even skill. It is absolutely opposed to rudeness, which is never sought. Fine brings on refinement, and rude proposes no such modulation. Hence is rudeness given, while finesse must ceaselessly be sought and found. It is the mission of luxury.
Rarity: Nowadays, bridges between rarity and luxury impose a requirement while revealing a paradox. Indeed, genuine luxury may and must be for all, yet it must remain rare for all.
Merci Monsieur Rey,