We had the pleasure of talking about luxury with the founder one of our favorite brands, Suzanne Ellis Wernevi of Luna & Stella. She shares her thoughts on modern luxury below.
1) What does luxury mean to you?
Luxury is a good book on a hammock on an island with a warm breeze. I’ve never been to Dominica but I have a friend who grew up there, and the stories from her childhood sound magical. I would love to test out a hammock there someday.
2) How can the right jewelry enhance your self-expression?
Jewelry collected over the course of a lifetime becomes part of your story -- connecting you to a time, place, memory, or person. At my company Luna & Stella, we love to mix old and new -- a Victorian locket with a vintage chain and modern charms, for example. We like to layer contemporary pieces with antiques or family heirlooms for a totally personalized look. Below are some pieces from my personal collection.
3) How much does craftsmanship matter for luxury today?
It means everything -- so many forms of traditional craftsmanship are becoming a lost art. Many of the lockets in our collection were beautifully hand-engraved in the Victorian era, when engraving was a profession. And the invisible hinges on the lockets -- nearly impossible to reproduce today -- were all carefully made by hand, with precise engineering for a solid hold which remains secure over a century later.
4) Do Gen Zers care about luxury products?
Yes! They have an eye for quality and craftsmanship, but also care deeply about sustainability. They are driving much of the renewed interest in antique and vintage items, and are finding creative ways to mix old and new. They love the history and story behind these pieces, but also have a keen understanding of the benefits of upcycling to the planet.
5) Where do luxury products fit in a post Covid world?
Luxury was moving toward experiences pre-covid, and covid has only accelerated that trend. There will always be a place for beautiful, well-made things, but I think the products that connect us with an experience, a memory, a person, or a relationship, will be the things that we treasure throughout our lifetimes.
6) What are some of your favorite luxury brands?
I have a soft spot for Bally, the Swiss leather goods brand. When I worked at the headquarters in Lugano in the early 2000s, it was co-located with a hundred-year old shoe factory and accessories “modeleria” where the first prototypes of every bag were made. The skill of the craftspeople and the pride they took in their work made a lasting impression. Closer to home now, I love my handbag and weekender by Lotuff that were made right here in Providence using traditional techniques like the ones I observed in Switzerland and Italy all those years ago.
What does luxury mean to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.