Worst. Press. Release. Ever.

Worst.Press.Release.Ever: Luxury

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Although we have yet to undertake a formal taxonomy of bad press releases, here at Hyperallergic we have discerned different kinds: there are the bad press releases that contain claims so exaggerated they make you question reality; there are those whose words are thrown together in an unpalatable salad; and then there are the ones that aren’t so much badly written as written for bad reasons — like, say, a half-day museum program organized to consider “the present and future of luxury crafts.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: “Luxury in Today’s Society: Between Excellence and Excess.”

Hosted by the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), the institution that produced a luxury boutique exhibition about perfume, the “Luxury in Today’s Society” symposium will bring together “luxury brand CEOs and international academics” — partners in crime if ever I knew! — to discuss luxury. To wit:

Both celebrated and controversial throughout history, luxury goods have simultaneously acted as personal keepsakes, cultural artifacts collected by museums, and symbols of privilege. Often examples of the highest skill and craftsmanship possible, these items have supported the development of new possibilities, but also raise questions of society’s attitude towards success, wealth, leadership and progress. The luxury business has been transformed by two decades of rapid growth, and by the technological change, globalization and economic winds that have swept across society. So what does luxury – that most alluring and emotional of product categories – look like today? How are the public’s expectations and understanding of it changing? How are luxury brands responding?

Are you feeling concerned about the state of the luxury goods market yet? Do you ever lie awake at night wondering what might happen to luxury if capitalism imploded and there were no more wealthy people? Luxury, a woman’s best friend. Luxury, who’ll stay by your side (literally) through thick and thin (unless stolen).

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The press release continues:

Indeed, many forces are putting pressure on luxury to find new forms of expression and value. … Whether it chooses to or not, luxury plays an important role as an embodiment of what people consider worth striving towards, which is both evolving and fragmenting as people increasingly pursue their own definitions of success. This undermines luxury brands’ ability to hold themselves up as a universal target of aspiration. And it means looking beyond business and marketing practice to understand the sociological context within which luxury must maintain its relevance.

You know, I have to admit, I’ve never quite been able to imagine a world in which luxury was irrelevant. But that’s probably a failure of imagination on my part.

This probably makes me an ideal candidate to attend “Luxury in Today’s Society: Between Excellence and Excess,” which is being co-hosted by La Fondazione NY, an organization that promotes cultural exchange between Italy and the US. A natural fit, you may say, as Italy is known as a home for luxury brands and houses. It’s also the birthplace of the Mafia. And maybe, on second thought, rather than attend an absurd “academic” conference where CEOs pimp their own products, we’d all do better to stay home and read up on the discomfiting connection between the two. I highly recommend Roberto Saviano’s Gomorrah, a chilling book that will make you think twice about what you buy and where.

Worst.Press.Release.Ever is a sometime feature on Hyperallergic.

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