When Marie Antoinette supposedly said “let them eat cake”, she was seen as a luxury junkie who’s out of control spending grated on the poor and unfortunate French people. But today, cake has become one of our favourite luxury foods. A revolution has taken place where individuals in the world have got richer. Luxury is no longer the embrace of the kings and queens of France but the mass marketing phenomenon of everyday life. Simply put, luxury has become luxurincation of the commonplace (Berry, 1994; Twitchell, 2001). The word luxury is derived from luxus, meaning sensuality, splendour, pomp and its derivative luxuria, means extravagance, riot and so on. The rise of the luxury in Western society is associated with increasing affluence and consumption. It is a phenomenon that has been creeping up in society for hundreds of years. At the turn of the twentieth century, it was Thorsten Velben (1899) who coined the term “conspicuous consumption” in his theory of the leisure class. Veblen’s argument is based upon the belief that as wealth spreads, what drives consumers’ behaviour is increasingly neither subsistence nor comfort but the “attainment of esteem and envy of fellow men”. Because male wage earners are too circumspect to indulge themselves, they deposit consumption on surrogates. Vicarious ostentation is observed in Victorian men who encouraged their wives and daughters to wear complicated trappings of wealth.
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