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Professor Giorgio Riello explores the history of luxury in his latest book

Luxury cover imageLuxury: A Rich History is the latest book by Professor of Global History and Culture at the University of Warwick Giorgio Riello. Luxury is a rapidly changing global industry that makes the headlines daily in our newspapers and on the internet.

We live in a world obsessed by luxury. Long-distance airlines compete to offer first-class sleeping experiences and hotels recommend exclusive suites where you are never disturbed.

More than ever, luxury is a pervasive presence in the cultural and economic life of the West – and increasingly too in the emerging super-economies of Asia and Latin America.

Yet luxury is hardly a new phenomenon. Today’s obsession with luxury brands and services is just one of the many manifestations that luxury has assumed. In the middle ages and the Renaissance, for example, luxury was linked to notions of magnificence and courtly splendour. In the eighteenth century luxury was at the centre of philosophical debates over its role in shaping people’s desires and oiling the wheels of commerce. And it continues to morph today, with the growth of the global super-rich and increasing wealth polarization.


From palaces to penthouses, from couture fashion to lavish jewellery, from handbags to red wine, from fast cars to easy money, in Luxury: A Rich History Giorgio Riello and co-author Peter McNeil present the first ever global history of luxury, from the Romans to the twenty-first century: a sparkling and ever-changing story of extravagance, excess, novelty, and indulgence.

Giorgio Riello Professor of Global History and Culture at the University of Warwick said,

"My interest in luxury builds on Warwick's long tradition of research in this field going back to the 1990s. I am particularly interested in understanding how present-day notions of luxury have been shaped over time. Today's luxury brands, for instance, use the past to emphasise their tradition and longstanding service to their clients. This book is the result of a three-year Leverhulme-funded network that brought together historians, sociologist, anthropologists and business studies experts and those who work in the luxury sector"

Read more about Luxury: A Rich History here.

AB 27/05/2016

Notes to editors:

Peter McNeil is Professor of Design History at the University of Technology Sydney and Professor of Fashion Studies at Stockholm University. Trained as an art and design historian, he works mainly on eighteenth-century western Europe and on twentieth century Anglo-American topics ranging from fashion to the politics of the domestic interior.

Giorgio Riello is the author and editor of several books on the history of fashion, dress, and textiles including the best-selling edited collection Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers (in collaboration with Peter McNeil) and Cotton: The Fabric that Made the Modern World (2013). He is currently Professor of Global History and Culture at the University of Warwick.

About the book:

Published by Oxford University Press, 26 May 2016


Luxury: A Rich History
Peter McNeil and Giorgio Riello

  • The first ever global history of luxury, from Roman villas to Russian oligarchs. A sparkling story of extravagance, excess, novelty, and indulgence through the centuries
  • Looks at everything from penthouses to palaces, couture fashion to fast cars, lavish jewellery to vintage wines
  • Shows how today's obsession with luxury brands and services is just one of the many manifestations that luxury has assumed
  • Looks at how luxury continues to morph in the twenty-first century, in the age of the global super-rich and increasing wealth polarization

Contact:

Alex Buxton

Communications Manager
Tel: 02476 150423
Mob: 07876 218166
a.buxton.1@warwick.ac.uk

Read more about Luxury: A Rich History here.