Defining Authentic Luxury

The two words that make up the phrase – Authentic and Luxury – are among the most popular buzzwords in business today.  But as with pervasively used terms, their overuse has meant a loss of much of their meaning.

The phrase “Authentic Luxury” has two separate and distinct components. One, “Authentic,” is objectively measured and quantitatively validated. Authentic brands include some of the world’s biggest and best known, such as Nike, Apple, and Disney. Many other brands can stake the claim to being “Authentic,” but most, like Nike, Apple and Disney, are hardly “Luxury.”

collage of Disney, Apple and Nike Logos

The other component of the phrase is “Luxury,” which is subjective and determined by the individual. What’s luxury to one person, isn’t necessarily luxury to another. So luxury lives in the minds of the customers and is as unique as each individual. Most people will agree that certain brands are, indeed, “Luxury,” such as Louis Vuitton, Viking, Tiffany, and Lincoln Motors. But when you dig a little deeper into the authenticity of these brands and the products offered, you often find that they are heavy on marketing, but light on authenticity.

Lincoln Motors car grill, Tiffany Blue Bag and Box, Viking Appliances and Louis Vuitton Bag

“Authentic Luxury” combines the two and elevates a brand to a level, where “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” “Authentic Luxury” brands may not be the biggest or most well-known, but they are truly distinctive and special through the authentic way they deliver true luxury – brands like Loro Piana, Baccarat, Mont Blanc, Hästens, Aga and ROHL. In my research, I have found, often design professionals are best able to distinguish between the real and the faux.

collage of Mont Blanc, Baccarat, Loro Piana, ROHL, AGA and Hastens logos

“Authentic Luxury” raises the bar that many “luxury” brands can’t achieve. After extensive research studying luxury brands – those that have that ultimate “Authentic” quality, and those that don’t – we’ve determined that truly “Authentic Luxury” brands have these three special qualities:

TOuch of Hand

A touch of the hand, which includes both the touch of the designer and creative craftsman, as well as the feel of the object in the hand and to the touch of the individual.

Polishing by hand a ROHL Perrin & Rowe Showerhead

Truth in Materials

Truth in materials, including items crafted from the finest, highest quality, most exquisite materials true to the designer’s vision, no substitutes or short cuts.


A brass cast used to make ROHL Perrin & Rowe Faucets

Place of Origin

Place of origin connects the authentic luxury item to a place and time that is part of the brand’s essential DNA. In winemaking, this concept of place is called “terrior,” which in French literally means the nature of the earth or soil, but it has taken on a much deeper meaning to wine connoisseurs indicating the specificity of place, which includes not only the soil in a region, but also the climate, the weather, and the aspect of the vineyards. The concept of “terrior” means the wine connoisseur truly tastes the place where the grapes were grown and the wine crafted.


“Authentic Luxury” is where original design and a commitment to craft come together. It connects the touch of the master craftsman’s’ ideas, using the finest, truest materials to create products that reflect the origin and provenance of where it is crafted.

ROHL Perrin & Rowe Bridge Kitchen Faucet in Inca Brass paired with a Shaws Farmhouse Apron Front Kitchen Sink

For the things that matter to you, exploring and understanding the concept of genuine “Authentic Luxury” can be a key consideration in the final decision – whether it be diamonds, handbags, decorative plumbing and hardware, automobiles or that very special hotel property.


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