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The faces of luxury: from outrageous to understated

Luxury has many faces and it is many things to lots of people, but as the old adagio goes, luxury can’t be all things to all people. From a historic point of view, the world of luxury has gone through many changes. In today’s economy, brands are forced to rediscover good taste, originality, and common sense. It is not easy and it is not fast. We are called upon to witness this fascinating transformation, happening under our own eyes.

There was a time when luxury meant power over others, and it was expressed through a whole lot of opulence, flaunting, and parading with the aim of asserting a privileged position in society.

Closer to our days, only a decade ago, the luxury playground was dominated by baby boomers and Generation X – in other words those born after the World War through to 1980. It was a time for going all out, with expensive proprieties evaluated at amounts similar to a small country’s GDP, scandalous custom-made cars, outrageous and often pointless display of wealth that was intended to impress, stir envy and gain a high position in the socialite arena.

Fast forward to today, the entire luxury market is going through a demographic transformation where the consumer framework is profoundly altered by incontrollable social mutations. As with any change, there are those who quickly adapt (because let’s not forget André Gide wise words - “l'intelligence c'est la faculté d'adaptation”) and there are those who fall into nostalgia, longing for the “good old times” and still following the “good old habits”.

Luxury brands, reluctantly understand that the new configuration of the market is pretty much similar to the wave of globalization: you either ride with it or you get crushed by it. But what riding with it really means? It is in fact, a mandatory course of action that involves reinventing and adapting to new realities and new technologies.

To go back to the topic at hand, we see today that outrageous luxury is losing ground. Too much of a good thing, they say, can also be dangerous to your health, and implicitly to your public image. While we can still see it everywhere, the outrageous luxury is living its last appealing days, slowly turning into aggressive kitsch.

We can watch and observe this trend in the world of niche perfumery as well. There is, for certain, a quest for simplicity, also known as “minimalism” that is mostly seen in the bottle design, constant quest for “sustainable” and “responsible” wrapping, the brand’s story/philosophy emphasizing the closeness to nature, and so on and so forth. All these endeavors are now being adopted under the label of cheaper marketing tools.

In this upside-down environment in which luxury is no longer meant to blow your mind and blind us with its bling, there is a brand whose very motto is “understated elegance”.

Founded in 2002 by Ian Ewoud Vos, Pure Distance is one of the most exclusive perfume houses in the world, which offers only pure perfume extract, putting passion and energy into the making of fragrances “with soul and signature”.

We should not be led into thinking that Pure Distance is distancing itself in any way, shape or form the concept of luxury. This idea couldn’t be further from the truth, because this exquisite Perfume House has been the expression of elegance and sophistication along the years, working with contemporary iconic perfumers such as Antoine Lie, Roja Dove, Annie Buzantian, and Cecile Zarokian in London, Paris and New York (the famous axis of eternal beauty and luxury).

One may wonder why this brand is considered to be the epitome of understated elegance and, at the same time, on top of the new type of luxury, the smooth, intoxicating, alluring luxury destined to be owned only by a handful of connoisseurs.

The magic of this brand is in the quality of their fragrances, a constant strain of masterpieces, each and every one with its distinct individuality but all of them aligned with the basic concept of the founder: Puredistance 1 (2007), Antonia (2010), M (2012), Opardu (2012), Black (2013), White (2015), Sheiduna (2016), Warszawa (2017), Aenotus (2019), Gold (2019) and Rubikona (2020).

The exclusivity is guaranteed by the selling policy. Pure Distance can be found only in one hundred selected locations all over the world and as a sign of respect and gratitude to the customer, each bottle of perfume is signed by the founder of the brand. A delightful, irresistible personal touch….

Because we can’t live without luxury or, at least, dreaming about it, it is time to get on board with the refined version of it. Gone are the days of loud manifestations and shiny sparkles everywhere. The world of luxury has changed its face, it is now a beautiful, shape-shifting goddess, luring us with a soft-spoken voice and mesmerizing scents.

The “understated elegance” promised by Pure Distance is now available to us, those willing to ride the new wave of luxury, into a society that knows its limitations and aspires to overcome them with grace and perseverance.


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