Henry Samuel Paris, The Daily Telegraph, November 13, 2014
Restaurant diners are offered food according to their health requirements of the day captured by body sensors, "emoclothes" glow to reflect a person's emotions, robots with powerful artificial intelligence become top wine experts.
These are just some of the ways France will stay ahead of the pack in art de vivre and luxury, according to six science fiction writers asked by the country's biggest names – from Chateau Cheval Blanc to Chanel - to dream up what luxury might look like in 2074.
Last week the Comité Colbert, a group of 78 companies from the French luxury sector and 14 cultural institutions, including the Orsay and Louvre museums, celebrated its 60th anniversary at Versailles Palace. The prestigious club’s aim is to share common values and extend the values of Gallic luxury – a hugely important French sector – throughout the world.
Luminaries from the world of fashion, gastronomy, culture and academia mingled and discussed how France can continue to remain a beacon for luxury while normally warring fashion houses laid down their arms to dream up a utopia 60 years from now.
A preface to the stories predicts: “In 2074, despite the doomsayers, Europe is still beautiful and creative, and France is more than ever a source of joy for the entire planet.”
Cars are banished, but Paris still retains its broad old Haussmanian avenues and Place Vendôme remains the epicentre of the finest jewellery.
A pandemic hit the planet in the 2030s but the silver lining was a wave of human solidarity and desire for a “universal demand for well-being and happiness” that swept around the globe.
“A symbol of freedom, an instrument of fulfillment, a vehicle for generosity, once reserved for minorities, luxury has spread over the surface of our small solar planet.”
In the first story, writer Xavier Mauméjean predicts humans will have a programmable “egosphere” – a social super-ego that can interact with others or be switched to sleep mode.
Sitting in the restaurant of a train travelling at more than 1,000 km/hour “under low pressure, propelled by a magnetic field,” the lead character picks up a menu, whose “sensors would immediately analyse his state of health before suggesting the meal of the day”.
In Amber Queen, the name of one of the finest - ficticious - sweet wines in the world, Olivier Paquet recounts how the ageing head of the vineyard has lost her sense of taste. She places the chateau’s future in the hands of Adélaïde – a robot that uses artificial intelligence to taste the wine and speaks in poetry rather than the language of oenology to “transmit the emotion you experienced”.
In Facets, Lune Guénon, the first neuroscientist to become a fashion designer, sparks a global phenomenon by creating an “emofabric” that reflects emotions via “organic microchips in the brain”.
“Each piece of clothing mirrors the wearer’s personality, becomes an artistic construction,” writes author Sarah Bailly.
However, the designer realises the importance of remaining in touch with age-old couture traditions so that “emofabric lets us tell our stories; traditional fabric lets us read a story”.
In Diamond Anniversary, a Place Vendôme jeweller has created flexible jewellery that “fit against the curves of a wrist by reacting to the heat, all on its own”, and uses diamond from meteorites.
Another story, A Corner of Her Mind, sees the birth of “monoform” leather that can take the shape the designer wants, “moulded or blown, like glass, without a single seam”, while The Chimera’s Gift describes a future “biosensory fabric” which reacts to the body’s needs,” for example releasing “mint, cypress and sage microcapsules” to cool its wearer, and a “bioskin” of elastic cells that “preserve the face from any form of exterior assault”.
The comité also enrolled acclaimed linguist Alain Rey to invent new words future art de vivre, such as “bel-être”, a cross between beauty and well-being, or “noventique”, which reconciles the notions of heritage and avant-garde (see full list below).
“Before writing a single line, we got the science fiction writers to discover our luxury houses, in the sectors of wine, jewellery, leather and fashion,” said Elisabeth Ponsolle des Portes, general delegate of the Comité Colbert.
“Let’s be clear, at the age of 60, either we start declining or we project into the future,” said Sidney Toledano, CEO of Christian Dior Couture.
THE NEW WORDS OF LUXURY
Created by human activity, technique, savoir-faire. The word is the opposite of naturel as well as industriel.
Describes what “carries”, transmits beauty, regardless of its nature. Luxury producers are honoured to be referred to as calliphore.
In keeping with its Latin etymology, formose, compared to beautiful, contributes an idea of natural elegance and charm.
Formed by combining éternel (“eternal”) with instant. It refers to one of the major paradoxes of luxury: while producing immediate sensations, luxury experiences are long-lasting ones.
Adjective and noun
Formed from the radical nov- from innover (“innovate”) and nouveau (“new”) and the ending of the adjective authentique (“authentic”).
Based on ubiquity and formed from the Latin orbs, orbis “circle”, it deals with simultaneous presence, not in abstract terms but on the “World of Men”.
Formed from intime (“intimate”) and planétaire (“planetary”), this word qualifies the character of emotions and pleasures, both humanistic and universal on a human level and yet personal and
This article was written by Henry Samuel Paris from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.