Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Winchester Luxury Research Group

WLRG Professors at the 'Nouveau Reach. Past, Present and Future of Luxury' conference in Toronto, Canada

Published: 1 June 2017
Jonathan Faiers gave a keynote

On 11-13th May, 2017, Professor Jonathan Faiers gave a keynote address entitled 'The New Belle Époque: Remembrance of Things Past' at the 'Nouveau Reach. Past, Present and Future of Luxury' conference at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, whilst Professors Armitage and Roberts also gave individual papers and a joint paper at the same conference entitled, respectively, ‘Semiotics of the Bedroom: On Luxury Fashion Unboxing Reveals’, ‘The Secret Museum: Ignorance, Art and the Freeport’ and ‘Luxury: From the Idea to the Reality of Prestigious Places’.

The conference was organized by Ryerson University and Brock University, and brought together international specialists working and researching in the luxury sector to share insights and build relationships to strengthen research and industry practices. The objective of ‘Nouveau Reach’ was to create opportunities for scholars of luxury to promote economic growth and enhance arts and humanities research by bringing to light new areas related to luxury industry interests and needs and to create a forum for a lasting partnership between researchers, makers, and industry specialists via regular meetings that will benefit researchers and professionals at all levels. Jonathan’s keynote address offered an economic and literary analysis of haute couture employing economist Thomas Piketty’s reading of the contemporary distribution of wealth as constructing a societal model similar to that of the belle époque of the nineteenth century. Inspired by Émile Zola’s caricature of the nascent haute couture system in his novel La Curée (The Kill) Jonathan’s keynote explored the similarities and differences between haute couture past and present and what that might tell us about contemporary luxury fashion consumption. John and Joanne co-organized a conference panel entitled “Critical Luxury Studies: From Overt to Covert Consumption”. In addition to contributions from John and Joanne, this panel included papers from Dr Veronica Manlow, Brooklyn College, CUNY, New York, USA and Dr Mark Featherstone, Keele University, UK. John’s contribution to this panel considered and critiqued YouTube luxury fashion “Unboxing Reveals” produced by “micro-celebrities” such as “MissKassandraBrooks.” Joanne’s paper offered an ignorance perspective on luxury through an exploration of the secret accumulation of art works and other high value goods by the super-rich in freeport facilities in locations including Geneva, Luxembourg and Singapore. John and Joanne presented their joint paper in a panel on “Luxury and Space” organized by Professor Mario Paris, Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

All four presentations posed questions of immersion, elitism, secrecy and invisibility, performativity and narrative, and considered the impact of luxury on global society, the city, and the consumption and mediation of fashion, the circulation of luxurious cultural products, and art and design as cultural capital.

You can read more about the conference here: 

Professors John Armitage (left) and Joanne Roberts (right)
Professors John Armitage (left) and Joanne Roberts (right)
Privacy Settings