From buying better to brand values, Lucia van der Post reveals her thoughts on the future of luxury and shares her top travel tips along the way
What should brands be doing to capitalise on the current growth of luxury?
Ethical questions these days are hugely important and particularly important to the younger generations, who want much more transparency about provenance, sustainability, ethics and working practices. But I also feel the mood is for better quality, towards buying less and buying better. There is a desire for more individuality, for niche brands and for the ability to customise and individualise.
What are the key luxury developments that have caught your eye?
I can’t think of one sector that is more important than another but clearly people’s homes became increasingly important during the pandemic and I think even young people are more interested in interior design than they once were. And obviously there is an ever-growing interest in technology, a sector that scarcely existed 20 years ago. People will always want lovely things – scarves, jewellery, clothes, watches, motorcars. But I think – and hope – that the kind of daft expenditure that we sometimes saw in the past may be less important with people now looking for real value.
What are the biggest opportunities for luxury brands in 2023?
The key problem is for luxury brands to establish a clear handwriting so that would-be customers know what they stand for and can clearly relate to them. I think the kind of middling ‘appeal-to-everybody’ ranges will be in trouble.
What are your luxury predictions for 2023?
A flight to quality, to personality and to individuality.
What makes a hotel truly stand out to you?
I love hotels that don’t come from a cookie-cutter brand – ones that are tended by people who love them and have a personality so that you know there is nothing else quite like it anywhere. It goes without saying that comfort, warmth, charming but not over-obsequious service are key, as well as great but not overly grand food, but on top of that there needs to be something special and personal to make a hotel truly stand out.
What has been your most memorable travel experience?
All my most memorable trips have had little conventional luxury about them – the luxury has been in the places I’ve been in. Camping in Chad in one-man tents in the Sahara amidst the most extraordinary landscapes I’ve ever seen, walking with the Samburu up in the Ndutu mountains in Kenya, canoeing down the Zambezi river, sleeping on camp beds by the side of the river at night, sleeping out in the Kalahari under a vast canopy of stars…
What are your top travel tips?
Don’t pack too much but do think it through – if I pack in a hurry I pack too much and leave out things I really could have done with. Be open to the places and the people you come across. Things going wrong are part of the adventure.
Where are you off to next?
Hopefully to Niger – to the desert again….
Are there any places still on your bucket list?
Not really. I’ve been inordinately fortunate and am rather enjoying being at home and seeing more of my friends.
What advice do you have for people who want to give back or do better when travelling?
Be sensitive to the country and its people and if you can help, do so.
Who would your ideal travel companion be?
I wish I had travelled with my father, Laurens van der Post, in the Kalahari but I was too young when he did his big trips. Other than that, it would be my husband or one of my adventurous girlfriends.
Lucia van der Post needs little introduction as one of the original tastemakers and influencers and is the UK’s most esteemed writer on all things luxury, travel, interiors and fashion. She is the founding editor of Financial Times How To Spend It
Continue reading Fox Quarterly…