Donnez moi votre definition du luxe s’il vous plaît.
Is it an accumulation of the most expensive things money can buy? Perhaps. Sometimes. Not always. Never? Or, does it have a completely new meaning these days.
Since the morale of most everyone, on both sides of the Atlantic, seems to be at an all time low I thought it would be interesting, maybe even edifying to pose that simple question: “Please give me your definition of luxury.”
I asked 20 French women between the ages of 40 and 80 what the word — the concept — of luxury means to them. My sole caveats were: try to think of something you could actually have or experience (as opposed to a 28 carat pink diamond ring from Cartier for example) and do not get too ostentatiously philosophical. Et merci par avance.
You will see there was one obstinate exception to the rules of my game.
Here, in what will be a two-part series, is what they told me:
Jacqueline: “Something unexpected; something I hadn’t even thought of desiring like a friend giving me a book she is certain I will love; a bouquet of flowers from my husband for no reason — just because.
Edith: “For me luxury corresponds to a certain concept of chic I have in my head. I’ve worn Shalimar perfume for as long as I can remember and recently I discovered Guerlain makes Shalimar in a bath gel. Now I use it every day. When I step out of the shower I’m enveloped, caressed by a cloud of my favorite fragrance. It makes me happy for the rest of the day.”
Caroline: “A simple, delicious dinner with a good wine chez nous with close friends.”
Sophie: “Dinner in a little restaurant tete-a-tete with my husband. It’s romantic and I don’t have to cook.”
Christine: “An aroma therapy massage; or one hour just for me when I can do anything I wish.”
Christel: “I know this is probably a fantasy, but it’s my luxury: I would like to live without anything; just the bare necessities of life, to be satisfied with very little and not constantly wish for more ‘things’. Someday I hope to arrive at that place.”
Christine-Marie: “Jogging for an hour, alone, by the sea.”
Claudine: “I am happiest sitting in my salon with the sun streaming in the windows thinking about how lucky I am to be living my life. You call that cocooning don’t you? Yes, that’s what I love.”
Patricia: “I just bought a huge bath towel made with bamboo fibers. It’s incredibly soft and more absorbent than any towel I have ever owned. It is pure luxury.”
Danielle: “Dinner with George Clooney.” (Not to disillusion her or anything, but on the outside chance he’s booked on the night she’s free I suggested she give me a second choice. She demurred.)
And my luxury? Always knowing there is a bottle of chilled Champagne at the ready for unexpected moments of chagrin, consolation or celebration.
Please tell me (down there in the “comments” section): What is your definition of luxury? No rules apply.