“The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment.”
These words were spoken by a man who understood what luxury branding really offers.
The longevity of luxury brands is evidence to the fact that things of quality have no fear of time. How do they protect themselves from the fad of fashion? By offering a way of life, rather than merely a product. Luxury brands elevate themselves by giving someone the opportunity to become their best self. A lifestyle of luxury is exactly what Neiman Marcus embodied for Texas ranchers herding in a new gentry.
As Dallas, Texas claimed its place in America as the booming epicenter for the cotton industry, Herbert Marcus understood this class of ranching landowners were quickly becoming a nouveau riche. With his colorful resume in civic positions, it is clear to see that culture and lifestyle were the foremost motivator when Herbert Marcus spoke the words above. As the founder of Neiman Marcus, he built into this brand a legacy of enriching lifestyles.
Herbert Marcus was a high school drop out from Louisville, Kentucky. Escaping Kentucky’s economic hardship, Herbert, his sister Carrie and her husband Abraham Lincoln Neiman moved to Atlanta, where they acquired a small fortune from working at The Coca-Cola Company. With this newfound fortune, the family moved to Dallas, Texas, where they made their home and their legacy, opening up a department store heralded as being “without equal in the South.”
Neiman Marcus offered a world of fashion to a people who had never traveled beyond the prairie lands of Texas. It was a world unto itself that offered culture and class. It was a social hub for the new elites. Herbert became president of Temple Emanu-El, the first Reform Jewish congregation in North Texas. He sat as the director of the Dallas Museum of Art, and several other civic positions that bolstered the culture of the city. Neiman Marcus quickly became the de facto headquarters of the au courant. Hosting parties that tied fashion to art shows, Marcus was passionate about catering to the individual’s lifestyle as a whole. “Art,” he shared, “cannot change the world, but it can contribute to changing the consciousness and drives of the men and women who could change the world.”
To this day, Neiman Marcus’ mission statement reads, “Since our inception in 1907, Neiman Marcus has had a rich history of supporting community. In 2013, we refined our focus and began to target our social investments toward organizations that provide enriching art education and experiences to you…because ART changes lives.”
Luxury is an art. Since its inception, Neiman Marcus has positioned its customers as artists, painting a lifestyle of luxury.