Luxury is boring. In a world where mass-produced ice-cream and even bin bags can be labelled ‘luxury’, the word has become associated with something predictable, prosaic and banal. So how can we make luxury exciting and meaningful again? Is it found in an object, or an idea? And who are the visionaries redefining the value of things? This year at Selfridges, we invite you to explore these questions with us through a series of engaging installations, truly extraordinary creations and insightful debates and ideas. This is Radical Luxury — what does it mean to you?
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It is fleeting; something you cannot hold onto or capture. Sudden. Sublime. Euphoric. A moment we must recognise, but often forget to, from the smallest gesture to the most wondrous experience.

I never luxuriated anywhere as deeply as when I was somewhere that I knew I was on the verge of being ejected from
Writer and Artist Harland Miller

In a world where we are drowning in an overload of information, and an unsustainable, surplus of ‘stuff’, we find that rarity, discernment and a singular, unwavering view is the new model for luxury.

Luxury isn’t necessarily about money. For me, it is more about rarity, something that is unique, special, hard to find and precious. Places that don’t have to be a 5-star hotel, but that are at the end of the world; somewhere beautiful that nobody knows about. Somewhere where you can enjoy a spectacular view without 100 selfie sticks blocking it.
Fashion & Accessories Designer Olympia Le-Tan

It can affect how people look, sound, think or feel – either momentarily, or it may change the course of someone’s life altogether.

True luxury is a special experience – closer to a verb than a noun.
Hannah Barry – Hannah Barry Gallery, Bold Tendencies, Peckham

You cannot buy time, and it is only over time that an object can become priceless. Luxury celebrates the richness, the stories, the wisdom, the scars and the sentimentality that can only come with time and age.

As our consumption evolves, and (hopefully) we become less concerned with regular consumption of stuff and more considered in our purchases, then we will see a new sense of luxury emerging.
Co-founder of The New Craftsmen Natalie Melton

Luxury
Reclaimed

Luxury is about roughness instead of perfection. Luxury is about the controlled and uncontrolled. To me, luxury is the difference between recorded and live music.

Fashion Designer, Yang Li

As part of our investigation into what luxury means today – and what it might mean tomorrow – we have been speaking to some of our friends in the worlds of art, fashion, film and more, to reveal an ongoing, of-the-moment conversation about luxury. As a result, we have seen various patterns and themes emerge – the idea that luxury can be transient, one of a kind, transformative or richer over time.

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Radical Luxury is

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Explore Radical Luxury at Selfridges

Experience the concepts behind our campaign first-hand through unforgettable in-store events and unexpected environments at Selfridges Oxford Street, London.

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Lamyland by Michèle Lamy

Shop limited edition boxing-inspired collections by Off-White, Versace, SSS World Corp and more.

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The Flipside at The Old Selfridges Hotel

26 April - 20 May

Enter our multi-sensory exhibition and experience altered states of luxury as sensory, magnetic and transient (sur)realities. Entrance is free and open to all.

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Anatomy of Luxury at The Selfridges Corner Shop

26 March - 27 May

Every week a new brand. Every week a new story. Enter The Anatomy of Luxury at Selfridges London and discover exclusive items, limited edition product drops and unexpected collaborations.

What Luxury Means to Me:
A letter from Polly Moore

As part of our investigation into the meaning of luxury today, we wrote to our friend Polly Moore to find out how her unique journey, from commodity broker to mother of twins, to CEO of a children’s charity, has given her a unique perspective on the true essence of luxury.

Before I explain what luxury means to me, let me give you some background. I worked for 10 years as a commodity broker, stopped for four years to have twins (now 10 years old), and am now the CEO of Restore the Music UK, a new charity funding musical instruments and tuition in schools across London.

I have been on a very high salary, then none at all, then average, and I have crossed paths with people from every field, race, income, political allegiance and skill set. I have been in a position to be the targeted consumer of luxury products and then very definitely the non-consumer.

There are two things, however, which have really shaped my personal response to the notion of luxury. 

Number one is a Greek island called Kastellorizo. It has 300 inhabitants, one road and no traffic lights. Everything has to be imported, including water, and if the ferry does not come, then nor does the food/loo roll/toothpaste.

And yet, such restriction makes it abundantly clear that luxury is not about the best that you can afford. In a place like this, where the thunderstorms are like the greatest lightshows on earth and the sea the warmest and clearest you will ever swim in, luxury is turning the tap on and having water come out of it. It is about the intense shades of colour on the wild flowers, the rugged beauty of the rocky landscape. It is about experiencing a moment that can never be taken away from you. Moments so heartbreakingly pure and precious that all else pales in comparison.

Luxury is about having the ability to raise a perception, it is a feeling, a sensation and a moment...

The second thing that has really affected my perceptions of luxury is my work with Restore The Music UK, a charity that funds the provision of music for children in London state schools, some of whom are living in quite challenging circumstances. This means not only that I am constantly reminded of how lucky and privileged I am, but it always makes me think about the genuine happiness music can bring.  I recently had two films made by [photographer and film maker] Rankin and producer, Vicky Lawton, to raise our profile and his team asked me to talk to them about what music really is. And that’s when I began to understand that luxury is about having the ability to raise a perception, it is a feeling, a sensation and a moment that lifts the ‘run of the mill’ to ULTIMATE. In other words, to know that what you have made happen is the best of the best of the best.

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What is interesting to me, though, is that I see the ability to understand this concept of luxury as being absolutely instinctive in children, and yet people seem to lose sight of it as they grow into adulthood. I would attribute this to the ever-growing consumerism in our society and the instant availability of anything our hearts desire; no longer is there the feeling of satisfaction or reward after patiently waiting for a new purchase. Inevitably, we grow weary of the constant assault on our emotions and wallets and start to become numb to the very idea of ‘the ultimate luxury’. We kid ourselves that luxury is time, when actually the hamster wheel we are caught up in can be slowed down in an instant when the individual simply chooses to take control of his life and press pause.

I was thinking this morning about best friends and I realised that a true best friend gives you the freedom to be the real you, and I would say that THAT luxury is the icing on the cake. It enhances your journey in life and provides an absolutely compelling sensation that makes you want to inhale the moment in an instant.

I’m not sure if this was the response you were hoping for – I tried to keep it short, but I could go on for hours...

Polly Moore is CEO of Restore The Music UK – a London-based charity that brings private sector funding directly to state schools for the provision of music to every child. Discover more at www.restorethemusicuk.com

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