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New Book Charts How Luxury Items Became Commonplace

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Tom Fudge: Coco Chanel once described luxury as "the necessity that begins when necessity ends." Her name and other names like Gucci and Versaci are closely associated with luxury items. But what is a luxury item? It's a complicated question, because luxury is defined by quality, status, brand and price.

Today, luxury goods certainly still exist. But many of the names we've associated with luxury have sold out, in a way. Their goods are still expensive, but they've cut some corners on quality. And they don't necessarily hire the most skilled workmen and women to make their stuff. In fact, many so-called luxury items are mass-produced in developing countries. So how can they still be high-end?

Guest

  • Dana Thomas, author of Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster

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