In The Groove
T Singapore: The New York Times Style Magazine|July 2019
In The Groove

As the luggage brand Rimowa approaches its 120th anniversary, new energy has reset its focus squarely on the future with a recent rebrand.

Gregory Woo

SITTING IN THE lobby of my hotel in Hong Kong, taking refuge from an uncharacteristically warm day, I happen to glance up just as bellboys are moving a trolley of luggage. And as a gentle push opens a concealed door, I peek inside the coatroom and it is what looks to be, essentially, all Rimowa. Lined up, stacked and scooched in, are the instantly identifiable, vertically grooved shells of the luggage in every imaginable finish. It speaks to the ubiquity the brand has achieved amongst luxury travellers, almost like a members-only club where the entrance requirement is airline miles.

There’s something else I notice, the trunks aren’t pristine or clean. They’re dented, covered with artfully eschew stickers, luggage belts, tags and the works in a way that extends past a practical need for identification, people are truly personalising their luggage. This makes me think back to about a decade ago when the look and feel of luxury travel was very different, almost elitist.

Luggage was pristine and so were the travellers who wheeled these carefully protected, kink-free suitcases with such air you’d think they were transporting the royal jewels in them. It’s fascinating to see how the landscape has changed. The new, less precious and signficantly less haughty approach to luggage is a reflection of how luxury is being consumed today; that’s to say, that customers are no longer looking at it in a rarefied or overly precious way, but taking something that feels almost like an Instagram approach to personalising their luxury goods — a smorgasbord of carefully curated moments made to look unintentional.

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July 2019