Still got cash to burn after dropping $US17,000 on the high-end gold Apple Watch Edition? For $US4,100, you can see Apple design chief Jony Ive discuss “the new 21st century definition of luxury” at Condé Nast International’s first ever “Luxury Conference” in Florence, Italy.
As Cult Of Mac reports, Ive is to open the conference in April in conversation with Vogue International editor Suzy Menkes, and will also be joined by top Apple designer Marc Newson. The pair will be discussing “the new 21st century definition of luxury and their collaborative work to date.”
It’s a clear sign of how Apple is positioning itself as a luxury brand. The Apple Watch, its first foray into wearables, is launching in April. The gold version is going to retail for $US10,000 and above — more than twice that of most pre-announcement estimates, which pegged it as around $US4,000-5,000.
The Wall Street Journal wrote that the launch of the Apple Watch establishes Apple as “technology’s luxury brand… crossing into high-end fashion, with a smartwatch that blurs the lines between jewellery and gadgetry.” And Google Venture partner said that “it’s about what the Watch stands for: a new Apple that is just as much about fashion as it is about function.”
Even prior to the Apple Watch, the Cupertino company has increasingly become viewed as a luxury brand. In January 2015, its products officially became the top luxury gifts in China, unseating previous #1 Hermès, and beating out fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Chanel.
“Apple is now a powerful part of the luxury industry,” Menkes said in an announcement about the Luxury Conference. “The iPhone, iPad, and the upcoming Apple Watch are in direct competition with handbags, timepieces and high end accessories. I want Jony Ive to tell the conference delegates where 21st century luxury is headed.”
So what do you get for your $US4,100? The conference will “focus on the future,” says Menkes. “A new world, in which technology competes with hard luxury — watches and jewellery — and leather goods.” In addition to Ive and Newson’s conversation, speakers include Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld, Hermès CEO Axel Dumas, and fashion designer Jeremy Scott.
Attendees will also get “lunch and refreshments, on both days of the conference, a welcome reception, and a party,” but accommodation and travel to Italy is not included.
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