For the first time in twenty years the luxury market is shrinking. Now more than ever we need to understand the role of luxury.So, what is real luxury? Once used to describe genuinely sumptuous surroundings or outstanding products, the concept of luxury has been hijacked by a multitude of aspiring or expensive commodities, so that today it is applied to everything from foot spas to instant hot chocolate. Who are the genuine luxury brands, and how have they reacted to the democratization of glamour? What strategies do they use to lift themselves beyond the mere prestige into the realm of the truly elite? Who are their customers, and what kind of lives do these remarkable people lead? How do luxury brands seduce and retain them?With wit, accuracy, and insatiable curiosity, Mark Tungate takes readers on a voyage around the luxury universe, slipping behind the facade of the world's most sophisticated businesses to show the reader how they really function. Among other destinations, the author visits Italian shoemakers, Swiss watch designers, the Champagne houses of France, and the top jewelry designers.