A Lesson On Luxury

How fortunate we are in this day and age. Instagram, Facebook, social media. Everything at our fingertips! Gone are the days we had to wait months to see what the major fashion houses were sending down the catwalks. Now, it’s instant. Yet with all this access to information, I have never felt more at odds with the current direction in bridal trends. The words ‘luxury’, ‘elegance’ and ‘style’ are thrown around by every ‘blogger’ and ‘stylist’, yet I see very little actual refinement. So today’s task for me is to give a little lesson on style.

I’m Italian. I was born in Australia, but I have essentially been saturated in Italian culture all my life. My parents were migrants, and my grandparents. They abandoned their Italian villages some 50 to 60 years ago in search of a better life for them and their families, and this is exactly what they found. So here we are, three or four generations on and myself and my extended family, and hundreds of thousands of other migrants’ families are living a comfortable, financially secure life in Melbourne. Yet there is something I can’t help but be bothered by. Our lives have improved. We have acquired wealth and education that our descendants would have only dreamed of. So why then, is there such a lack of style amongst our generation, in particular when it comes to evening and bridal trends? Why all the glitter and sequins? Why all the fake tan and exposed skin? Why the tacky hair down with spiral curls and weddings with white flowers and crystal chandeliers from entry to exit? I have a theory.

It all stems from our migrant ancestors. They had very little, often nothing. Food was a luxury and their lives were the simplest of simple. They dreamed of things like houses large enough for their family, meals that had meat and that they could find paid work in the town. What hard lives they had. If only they knew how fortunate their families would become down the track. Their values and morals were so strong, and even though they had very little, their faith, their family connectedness, their sense of community were astounding. So as the generations have evolved, these amazing values have filtered down to us today. That love of celebration, family, community, it lives on through us. What a lucky bunch we are to have such heart.

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Another thing that has passed down is the longing for the ‘finer’ things. With our descendants’ longing for a comfortable life has also come a longing for wealth and ‘glamour’ in our generations. Our grandparents and great grandparents couldn’t have it, but we can! So the solution? We want it all. Everything. And this is the problem.

Yes, we have reasonable wealth. Yes, we have disposable incomes. Yes, we have access to finance and education and great jobs and careers. This doesn’t mean we need to show it all off. The biggest sign of a lack of class is the need to show excess. You can afford a fully sequined dress? Congratulations. So can most people in Melbourne. You can look as tanned as a Grecian goddess and have long tresses of curled hair to your bottom? Good for you, so can anyone walking into that affordable beauty salon. We have access to everything. So what is the true meaning of luxury today, in these amazing times of abundance? Restraint. Simple as that.

You walk into the cheapest of ‘boutiques’. What will you find? Most likely lace, sequins, shiny fabrics. These are no longer commodities. They have filtered down to the bottom of the fashion food chain. And wedding styling, my biggest worry. All these weddings plastered over the internet. Masses of white flowers vomited over the gawdiest of function venues. Crystal chandeliers sprayed around like confetti. Tiered cakes that look like buildings covered with white, tacky sugar flowers and patterns. These over-the-top, excessive, un-inspiring events, to me, are the antonym of chic.f535bf42396d5dee8c18bd6fa56ee2f9

We have evolved enough to know that we can dream big. These days, whatever you want, if you try hard enough, you can have. So such excess is, to me unnecessary. The way to show luxury is to know when to stop. To show depth and flair. To understand that less is more. We are not our poor ancestors. We have no need to show our riches. In fact, the opposite is true, the more we flaunt it, the less style we truly omit. There’s this discussion I had a few years ago with an old friend that really helped me understand this. He told me about how he had moved to an affluent suburb and couldn’t believe the wealth around him, yet nobody felt the need to show it. It was natural. They had always had wealth. They lived their lives, for the most part, stylishly and with no agenda. After moving back to his old neighbourhood my friend really saw the difference. Such wealth was still present. But it was shown wherever possible, in any way. It really highlighted that it was ‘new money’ for such people and the only way they could validate their success was to display it publicly.891a8256a0d26f6d6a1a4350f7b87a07

So that’s my view. Style comes from within. Luxury and excess are very different things. Restraint is a precious commodity and should never be neglected. Through Signor Mont, I have hope for the future of the bridal industry. I have hope for a return to style, eloquence and true glamour in all its simplistic glory. Hopefully now you have some idea of what drives the Signor Mont aesthetic and how I view the world.

Anthony Montesano

Signor Mont Couture