luxury research hub

Luxury is one of the key words of our time, driving a multi billion dollar global industry, and used ubiquitously to describe exclusive objects and aspirational lifestyles. Pinning down the concept in concrete terms is more elusive and problematic.

This hub is dedicated to interrogating the idea of luxury through its changing definitions and manifestations from the ancient world until the present day. It is also committed to examining issues of sustainable luxury, and the concept of luxury as emotion.

This hub is driven by a view of luxury as a contingent historical product - in word, concept, and practice - which evoked and continues to evoke ambivalent and strong emotions in every period.


the luxury network

Between 2013 and 2015, the Leverhulme Trust funded an International Partnership Network on the topic ‘Luxury and the Manipulation of Desire: Historical Perspectives for Contemporary Debates.’

Based at the University of Warwick, under the co-directorship of Giorgio Riello and Rosa Salzberg, this network included Marta Ajmar of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Glenn Adamson of the Museum of Art and Design, New York; Peter McNeil of the University of Stockholm and UTS Sydney; Maria Giuseppina Muzzarelli of the University of Bologna; and Catherine Kovesi of the University of Melbourne.

A series of international conferences and workshops were held, and several publications have resulted from this network, which also witnessed the launch of a new journal Luxury edited by Jonathan Faiers, and which culminated in an exhibition ‘What is Luxury?’ held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2015.

Although the network’s official activities have concluded, its members continue to work in the field and engage with its core ideas.

Consequently a decision was made to give the network’s website an additional platform here within the Luxury Hub of Emporium.

Click here to access

'Luxury and the Manipulation of Desire'