"Time and silence are the most luxurious things today," said clothing designer Tom Ford in an interview with Details magazine. That's true, but Ford is also well aware that when it comes to luxury men's clothing, it's the details that make the difference.
Stefano Ricci is a brand known for individual statements in the men's accessory department - ties, belts, handkerchiefs. Little things that maketh the outfit. Speaking exclusively with Niccolo Ricci, son of Stefano and CEO of the company, who has very well defined ideas of what luxury actually means, is a bit of an eye opener.
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"Luxury is a word widely abused in recent years to describe the end price of items that are frequently mass produced," Ricci says. "Yet quantity and quality are two very different matters. For this reason at Stefano Ricci we always prefer to talk in terms of outstanding quality, production excellency and unique materials: details that make the difference."
Sounds like someone's a bit peeved at the flooding of the market with sub-par yet overpriced products. It's a distinction that has created a brand new category: super luxury.
Super luxury is all about the intangibles that Tom Ford was talking about, along with the definitive tangibles now on offer – if you have access to them.
We're talking the right shade of handkerchief protruding from your top pocket, the fabric on a tie that will set you apart from the rest, or the quality of leather on your belt that makes you feel happy every time you feel it.
The maestros at Stefano Ricci have just partnered with Harrolds, a luxury department store, offering a space dedicated to only the finest of detailing.
So just what is super luxury, then?
"It is all linked to the concept I just mentioned," Ricci explains, "Luxury refers to goods in a high price range, that is justifiable to a greater or lesser extent. Super luxury is a term that reinforces the value of a product, a sartorial garment, a handcrafted technique or a sophisticated niche product."
So don't be fooled, boys. That $100 tie you just bought may not be everything it's cracked up to be. If you want a more distinctive look, a more superior feel, you will have to enter the world of super luxury. And it does make a difference.
Jacket, shirt, tie
"For men, style is defined by a jacket, a shirt and a tie. The skill, and perhaps even experience itself, boils down to knowing how to combine these elements, finding the right balance in the colours used, and avoiding clashes between checks and stripes. One therefore looks for the light of their own style through the tie," Ricci says.
It isn't easy making accessories for the super luxury market, as Ricci attests. "They [customers] search for unique products, where the value is about more than just the label. They look for new designs and increasingly sophisticated fabrics.They are highly demanding customers who are familiar with beauty and quality. Our challenge is remaining one step ahead of their desires."
It's the natural extension of the luxury market. Whereas names and logos once meant everything, now, it's more about a subtle appeal, something that only those in the same realm will know about. It's an exclusive club, made even more exclusive by the lack of labelling.
Having been a partner of Harrolds in London for more than six years, Stefano Ricci has entered the Australian market in the hope of establishing a true connection with customers. Hence the store-in-store concept launched this month in the Collins Street store in Melbourne.
"I haven't had the chance to visit Australia yet, although I have admired its wildlife and architecture on documentaries, and its ability to stage events of international standing," Ricci says. "Given the results we have seen in these years of working alongside Harrolds, I truly think it is time to acquaint ourselves better with the market."