Her aura outlined by spiky plastic, most probably 3D-printed, diaphanous fish scales, in hues of yellow, white, and purplish blue, Björk, under a skin-tight black plastic body suit, is looking out at her audience. Her imperial gaze cannot be faked. This sort of frontal assertiveness stems from what she now recounts as two years of suffering (from a break up) and writing in isolation. Today, the #artist cum performer cum #fashion icon is promoting her new album #Vulnicura that had to circulate a month before Björk’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (March 7, 2015) to alleviate the losses from its earlier-than-expected leak. A good business woman who thinks on her feet, Björk decided to un-bundle what would have been a mega-show of a retrospective, plus album release, plus worldwide tour and reveal her new brand in a slightly imperfect, staggered broadcast for popular consumption.
One does not have to be a huge fan (I happen to be) to evaluate Björk’s transformations that are mandatory in the business of music. Old fans need to be intrigued and new fans need to be made. Her successes are consistent in spite of the difficulty of her work that requires some thinking.
Björk is no Britney Spears, no Rihanna, or Mariah Carey. Björk has built more than a mere brand. She’s built a #luxury brand and here is why:
- She cannot be easily mistaken for someone else, she stands out.
- Her music is not necessarily appeasing but is crafted with her own voice and is authentic. She does not try to sound like anything familiar.
- She does not pander to her audience’s wishes. It is she who defines the form of her music, her performances, and her own appearance.
- She keeps non-enthusiasts out.
- She dominates her fans: You either love her or hate her. In other words, she stirs strong emotions.
- She is genuinely interested in science and technology. She diligently follows what progress is being made in these fields and incorporates what she considers noteworthy (or cool) in her work.
- She studies nature and makes it part of her work. In that sense, she is very similar to another brilliant #composer, #Sibelius, whose work derives from his experiences in the Nordic landscape.
- She is concerned with the #future of mankind more than with the past. She looks at the world through a macro-lens very similar to Alexander McQueen’s. In that sense, she places sustainability in the heart of her work (although I cannot attest to her carbon footprint).
- She nurtures talent: Many artists work with her and experiment with new technology, digital arts, and creative productions.
- She does not repeat herself. No release is like an older release. Her material is fresh, comes straight from the heart, is well researched and superbly produced.
I admit it. I had specific luxury brands in mind for each one of these points. Try it! And allow Björk’s image to hover over your desk as golden Marilyn does in Warhol’s famous silkscreen print. They are illuminating the path to your brand’s timelessness.
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Thomaï Serdari for PIQluxury.
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