Speaking about luxury with Philippe Mihailovich – Luxury Brand Architect

“The creation of luxury goods has always been about giving more, giving the best that man can make. Without a generous spirit and pride in our work, we cannot produce true luxury.”

A Luxury Brand Architect creates strong brands that sell themselves. Most of projects include the creation, strategic planning, development, brand stretching, franchising or restoration and revival of brands – whatever it takes to generate high growth for f.m.c.g through to luxury, hospitality, travel and corporate brands. Philippe Mihailovich is a leading academic in the field of brand creation, brand architecture, Brand Architect & Advisor at philippemihailovich.com, director at www.philippemihailovich.com & www.hauteluxe.net and the author of the “Haute Luxe” book.

What means luxury to you in one word?


What are the models or fundamentals in life which you will recommend to others?

Integrity, honesty, authenticity, legitimacy, passion, pleasure

What is your criteria for luxury in order of preference

1.Surprise! Wow!

2.Something original – not copied

3.A living creator – a personal touch throughout

4.Created with passion and pleasure, risking to create new things – not driven by commerce

What is your favourite luxury brands and why

I really don’t have one. Normally the niche ones with living creators behind them going beyond ‘haute’ to ‘art’.

Name 5 luxuries which are “indispensable” for you and why –

Ignoring non-commercial luxuries such as health, time, space and light, they are not expensive luxuries at all:

1.The little Blackberry that follows me everywhere

2. My Vespa is my ‘luxury’ time-saver in Paris

3. My black Miharayasuhiro coat – has become my identity just as a black cape is to a vampire

4. My lovely artist neighbor who cooks the greatest meals for me and challenges my thoughts constantly and her cat who visits and forces me to relax, play and laugh

5.The light little MacBook Air for work anywhere and everywhere

Digital and luxury. Love or hate? What means digital for you

1. I love digital for ease of visual communication – primarily video, photography and online

2. As for the use of digital by luxury brands, I fear that many may be over-communicating to the point of over-exposure or becoming ‘luxe’-spam.
True luxury demands discretion. Fame and respect is obviously important as is relationship-building activities however many so-called luxury brands are chasing the mass market via digital and as such lose the personal one-to-one feel that true luxury has always been based on. In essence, luxury ‘brands’ are mass-luxury anyway. I cannot imagine Rolls Royce ever over-communicating.

How will be luxury in the future?

In my view, ‘brands’ are for people who don’t know any better. They often buy into famous brands because they are not as yet connoisseur enough to discover the independent high luxury creators making amazing things. In the long-term future, the current luxury brand clients will continue to acquire knowledge and will continue to trade upwards and will move out of brand into the ‘haute’ sphere of luxury. Already we are seeing brands discontinuing their ‘second lines’ e.g. D&G in order to go higher. As such, some brands may be left behind. Having said that, the mixing of Haute and very accessible (such as fast fashion) is likely to continue for a long-time but so will the mass success of the first-line ‘luxury brands’.