Royals & Brands: What the Royal Heart Beats For

If there was no royalty, there would be no luxury and without luxury, would royalty be as royal? LuxuryFacts chronicles the first connoisseurs of Luxury - their lives, their times and their tastes for everything luxe!

By: Salman Z. Bukhari
Posted on: April 10, 2012
If there was no royalty, there would be no luxury and without luxury, would royalty be as royal? LuxuryFacts chronicles the first connoisseurs of Luxury - their lives, their times and their tastes for everything luxe!
When you run a country, have an army of people to fulfill your every whim and fancy, and wealth and power, it is but obvious you would rather die on your throne than settle for anything second to the very best. The birth of Luxury can be directly linked back to the emergence of the Royalty worldwide. Display of decadence and the charmed life may be called a professional hazard, or just a curse you are born with, but when you are the Royalty, there is no escaping the constant scrutiny. People look up to you for hope and direction, justice and most often than not – style. Kingdoms may cease to exist in the new age, what remains is the tag and the movie star status that is automatically accorded to the blue blooded from Britain to Botswana. 
True to their predecessors, today’s royalty are living up to their titles, living a fairytale life founded by the need for the very best that has become a second nature, a burden to the tax payers but then again, what would life be without the kings and queens and their bratty kids? 
No story of royals can be started without the House of Windsor and the lady who helms at the center of the Kingdom of Great Britain – The Queen. Now this a woman made of legendary stuff, not only is she the longest reigning emperor in the country’s history of Monarchy, she has been living it up for quite a while now. Each year the British Monarch adds brands to her muster which supply her favorite things, and is known for awarding knighthoods and royal seal of approvals to those who fit the bill. 
From Clarins for skin care to her namesake Elizabeth (Arden) for cosmetics, the Queen shows immense loyalty towards British and European labels. Veuve Clicquot Champagne and Burberry (obviously) clothing make it to her list of commissioned brands. A woman of tradition, she does amaze us with her choice of cars – Aston Martin and Land Rover. But then if you are the Queen… you are well… the Queen.
Movie stars are America’s version of royalty. Grace Kelly became royal times two by marrying into Monaco’s royal family. The legendary image from her pregnancy in 1956 of Grace covering her baby bum with a Hermes handbag shot the French brand into galaxy of fame, egging them on to rechristen the handbag ‘The Kelly Bag’.
Flora, one of the most loved Gucci icons, was born as a special commission for Princess Grace of Monaco in 1966. The princess had paid a visit to the Gucci store in Milan. Rodolfo Gucci insisted that she select a gift on the house, relenting to his request she asked for a scarf. But the leather bag making Gucci had none. Distressed Rodolfo promised the princess that her gift will be sent to her soon and commissioned the creation of the Flora print. The rest as they say is history. Gucci’s Flora soared into fashion consciousness after the Royal nod. 
Princess Stephanie, the youngest daughter of Prince Rainier of Monaco, has been always a rebel. She doesn’t order her perfumes, nor does she insist on scents made only for her. Stephanie has simple taste as she always goes for Chanel while also preferring the light aroma of Allure.
A commoner marrying a prince, that’s what stories are about, but just imagine the frenzy when Diana walked the aisle with the heir to the British empire. Known for her love of fashion and often risqué choices, Diana shot to fame with her tongue in cheek fashion forwardness. Although she relinquished her title after the infamous fall out, Diana’s brand choices inspired many designers to make her their muse. What Oprah did for books, Diana did for handbags. In 1990 the late princess was spotted carrying the Bamboo Bag by Gucci. Years later, in 2012, the brand reissued the design in its cruise collection. Launched in September 1995, the Lady Dior bag was given to the late Diana, Princess of Wales by former French First Lady Bernadette Chirac, on the occasion of her visit to the Cézanne exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, sponsored by the LVMH group. The cannage-patterned bag has since then become an iconic Dior design, still loved and cherished by many the world over.
Tod’s handbags have gained a lot of celebrity endorsements, and the most famous one ought to be Diana again, who rejected endorsing Versace, but frequently carried Tod’s handbags. Tod’s thus created an edgy and slick handbag to reflect Princess Diana’s elegance and named it D-bag.
Her son, Prince William, is an avid motorcycle rider who has been riding off-road since he was eight years old. In 2008, he participated in EnduroAfrica, a 900-mile bike rally through Africa, that benefited charities such as UNICEF and Sentebale. His ride for the occasion was an Italian brand - Ducati 1198s super bike.
Back home, India could very well be the cornerstone of decadence and luxury. This country’s obsession with the finest is weaved into its cultural and historic tapestry. Luxury brands recognized this opportunity much before India became a major destination amongst the emerging BRIC economies of today.
One stellar example of Indian Royalty’s opulence and grandiose is The Pearl Carpet of Baroda. Sir George Birdwood, a connoisseur of Indian jewellery, called this incredible carpet “The most wonderful piece of embroidery ever known,” 
The Pearl carpet was commissioned in 1860 by Maharaja Gaekwar Khande Rao of Baroda, a notable jewellery collector of the 19th century. He appointed the carpet to be made in order to fulfill a vow: he had a desire to offer a priceless Pearl Carpet at the mosque of the Prophet Mohammed in Medina, Saudi Arabia. In March 2009 it went under the hammer at the Sotheby’s inaugural Middle East auction in Doha and was sold for $5.5 million.
Cartier’s magnificent creations for the Indian Maharaja of Patiala finds a place in the history of the brand and that of luxury today. Louis Vuitton’s association with Indian Royals is a testament to the pursuit of our aristocracy for everything Luxe. The company was commissioned by the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir to customize his luggage including one for his trusty typewriter. Maharaja of Baroda got the house to create the finest traveling tea set. Goyard, on the other hand, designed fine luggage for the Maharaja of Kapurthala.
The lifestyle of the rich and famous continues to fascinate the world. The royals world over may have given up on their thrones,  their powers and life as they would have known it, but what remains in the end is their style, their immense passion for bespoke, sacred, scarce and very, very exclusive. Who else but luxury brands can address these basic needs for a not so ordinary life? 

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