​what is luxury? asks the V&A

The Museum will attempt to define all things luxurious in a new exhibition opening next spring.

by Stuart Brumfitt
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Dec 8 2014, 4:20pm

Fashion brands, supermarket foods and new build homes are all desperate to join the "luxury" category. But the true definition of the word will be examined by the V&A in next year's exhibition What Is Luxury? when it opens on 25th April next year. The show will be putting the spotlight on exceptional examples of contemporary design and craftsmanship, alongside conceptual projects. From a diamond made from roadkill to a vending machine stocked with DNA, a golden crown for ecclesiastical use to traditional military tailoring, over 100 objects will address how luxury is made and understood.

Visiting research fellow Leanne Wierzba, co-curator of the exhibition, says it will reveal "the stories and craftsmanship behind the exquisite and intriguing objects on display and demonstrate the precision, time and application of skills invested to produce them.'

There will be a laser-cut haute couture dress by fashion designer Iris van Herpen, a chandelier by Studio Drift featuring real dandelion seeds applied by hand to LED lights and the Bubble Bath necklace by Nora Fok, made from more than 1000 hand-knitted nylon bubbles.

More conceptually, there will be Time Elapsed, a large spirograph designed by Philippe Malouin for glassware company Lobmeyr, which rotates to draw patterns made of sand, comments on the time-intensive process of making fine crystal and will act as a centerpiece. And Time for Yourself, a playful toolkit, which features a watch with no dial and a randomly-spinning compass, which will invite visitors to contemplate the idea of getting lost and their relationship to the luxuries of space and time.

What is Luxury? will provoke thinking and debate, raising issues around privacy, resources and access that could determine present and future ideas of luxury.

vam.ac.uk/whatisluxury