The language of luxury

Luxury is defined as a condition or situation of great comfort, ease, and wealth, as something that is expensive and not necessary and as something that is helpful or welcome and that is not usually or always available. But how do luxury brands convey this through language? With this in mind I look at well known luxury brands to identify recurring language themes used to create that desirable luxury status.

Before we begin it’s important to acknowledge that while we are specifically looking at the vocabulary used by luxury brands, the complete luxury aesthetic creates an environment of beauty, desirability, sophistication and elegance. Everything about the experience – colours, aromas, visuals, sounds and language — must work together to enhance the luxury brand narrative. If any element does not align, the message becomes muddled.

To understand the powerful relationship between vocabulary and luxury, we look at three well-known luxury brands and select some keywords and phrases used in their communication. Read through the following lists and listen to how each word resonates with the brand and conveys a sense of luxury.
 

CHANEL

Couturier,  fearless, precious, extravagant, exalts, accentuates, mysterious, magical, eternal, spell, conjures, whimsical, elegance, illuminates, classic, elegance, shines, triumphs, signature, surprising, unexpected, fresh, impeccable, glorifies, exhilarating, discipline, reinvention, legendary, transform, perfect, emblem, adornments, richness and timeless. Have a look at these unique and incredibly beautiful short films that share the history of CHANEL as a story with multiple chapters.

Chapter 1 – No5
Chapter 5 – Coco
 

ROLLS-ROYCE

An icon, world’s best, cutting edge, finest craftsmanship, on the forefront of design, desirable, bold, brave, bespoke, authority, perfection, commanding, striking, a centre of innovation, limited edition, respected,  illustrious, powerful, pedigreed, unforgettable, unrivalled, graceful, palatial, exquisite, precise, refinement, sleek, grand and sublime.

Have a look at the exceptionally bold print advert created for Rolls Royce below.
 

AESOP 

Finest, taxonomy of design, luxuriate, poise, scientific, compendium, artistic, delight, unexpected, intelligent, meticulous, sustainable, utilitarian, carefully considered, unequivocal belief, philosophy, local, immersion, mastery, unexpected affinities.

A beautiful example of Aesop’s incredible attention to the use of language within their brand is displayed through their store showcase website simply called The Taxonomy of design.

From this small sample it is clear that all three brands reviewed use a completely different vocabulary each representing luxury as defined by their unique position within the market. While there are no string of words to latch onto, there is an underlying consistency. That consistency stems from their unwavering focus on their own chosen path. Every single word and action support their own defined unique truth and therefore create an authentic, emotional connection with their audience. ‘Language – like money – doesn’t smell. It is impossible to taste, or to touch. But language can seduce the imagination and evoke desire for, and memories of, exceptional experiences.’ – Sara White Wilson

So there you have it, whilst there is no specific language of luxury, there is certainly a connection between brand positioning and the authenticity represented within their vocabulary.

Megan Järvinen

Written by: Megan Järvinen
Published: May 19, 2016

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