Limited-edition luxury: Then and now

Schenelle Dsouza   
The longstanding trend of limited-edition releases is dear to the luxury industry. Everyone knows that the scarcity of a product often leads to higher demand, causing many to believe that the tag “limited edition” is perhaps a marketing gimmick across industries. However, there’s always more than what meets the eye. Limited edition releases are often more than just a marketing trick, although very relevant in boosting sales. Both small and large scale retailers release limited edition collections to attract new buyers and establish an improved customer base. However, this trick seems to work best for large retailers who already have an established customer base thanks to their marketing prowess.  
The luxury industry is a major player and a rather experienced one when it comes to limited edition collections. In fact, limited edition releases are what drives the luxury industry, especially in sectors like automobile, jewellery and fashion. Exploring the many facets of limited-edition luxury, LuxeBook spoke to experts across industries, Vikram Pawah – President, BMW Group India; Tarang Arora – CEO, Amrapali Jewels; Harit Zaveri – CEO and Founder, Harit Zaveri Jewellers; Anushree Reddy – Creative Director, Anushree Reddy Official; Vaishali S – Designer & CEO, Vaishali S Threadstories; and Pernia Qureshi – Co-Founder of Saritoria, Gur Organics and Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop. 
Anushree Reddy
Photo Courtesy: Anushree Reddy
In a nutshell  
Does limited edition connect with luxury?  
Vikram Pawah believes that luxury is a bespoke experience for the body, mind and soul. “It transcends product substance and is, in a way, not only equal luxury but goes a step further; like finding a rare diamond among recurrent gems.”  
The experience of owning a limited-edition piece is the highest form of luxury. Because limited edition collections often demand more research, effort and time, they offer a much more unique and personalised creation. And when it comes to jewellery, owning pieces that are both personalised and exclusive is a satisfying experience, according to Tarang Arora. However, Arora also believes that limited edition barely does much for the jewellery industry, given that the jewellery industry is a niche section in itself.  
“I believe that the jewellery industry is full of limited-edition collections; every piece is a one-of-a-kind design because very rarely can jewellery collections be replicated. The stones and diamonds used are one-of-a-kind, they are cut for a specific design.”  
However, not all agree with the association of limited edition and luxury, given that luxury itself can be subjective. “For an aspiring customer who is working up the ladder, being able to buy their first designer handbag is the ultimate luxury. On the other hand, for luxury connoisseurs, would believe that investing in limited edition pieces is a luxury experience given the product’s rarity and exclusivity,” says Pernia Qureshi. 
Agreeably, designer Vaishali S commends the experience itself rather than the rarity of the product. “Limited edition itself does not equal luxury unless the limited-edition collection is paired with a luxurious experience. Because in the luxury industry, it’s more about the experience rather than the product itself.”  
Research strategies 
As one can expect, the research conducted before releasing any limited-edition product/s is meticulous, especially since brands want to deliver a product that is rare with a never seen before appeal. In fact, the research is what shapes the vision. When it comes to the automobile industry, Pawah believes that limited edition cars have the ability to invoke an emotion while celebrating special story. “This could either be a nostalgic moment from the brand’s historic legacy, the celebration of a milestone, an exclusive expression of art, or a signature interpretation of an iconic personality. Deemed prized collectibles, it is the exclusive story of the design that sets the car apart from other core products,” he adds.  
As for jewellery, ensuring the highest level of quality and precision is of utmost importance for Harit Zaveri Jewellers, regardless of whether it is a limited collection or not. Zaveri shares that there are a number of considerations to keep in mind when designing a limited collection, including rarity, availability, and difficulty to recreate. “We dedicate extensive periods of time to source some of the most exquisite and valuable gems, while ensuring that we’ve gathered a substantial collection before commencing with the design process, to ensure that our pieces are truly one of their kind.”  
HZJ-Antique-Necklace 1
Photo Courtesy: Harit Zaveri
The main objective for limited edition releases is to ensure exclusivity. However, when it comes to a collection or group launch, it is important to ensure that each piece connects with the other, rather than be a mix of randomness. “Each piece is designed differently,” says Anushree Reddy. “Each piece may have its own story. But at the same time, they should come together to tell a unique story.”    
Bespoke collections  
Painting a picture of their most successful limited-edition release, Pawah talks about BMW’s collaboration with renowned artist Jeff Koons. The collection titled “THE 8 X JEFF KOONS” saw a limited release of 99 vehicles, each being delivered with a large-format certificate signed by Jeff Koons. One of the most tedious projects, the development stage of this collection spanned 200 hours of labour on the exterior paintwork alone. “The colour samples were often applied with magnifying glasses, which took a lot of time to complete. And so only four cars were painted each day,” says Pawah.  
Jeff Koons
Photo Courtesy: BMW
A more recent example is the prized ‘50 Jahre M Editions’ which marked the 50th anniversary of BMW’s M GmbH division. These editions were distinguished by the iconic and historically significant BMW M paint finishes, style-defining colours such as Dakar Yellow, Daytona Violet and Macao Blue that refer to various eras of BMW M. Putting down a marker for those who love tradition, these special editions featured the classic ‘BMW Motorsport’ logo. Similarly, the MINI Paddy Hopkirk Edition was a timeless tribute to the racing legend Patrick “Paddy” Hopkirk and his spectacular victory in the classic No. 37 Mini Cooper S at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964. Limited to 15 units for India, the car was available for booking online only and was immediately sold out. 
Harit Zaveri Jewellers, who are best known for their traditional collections recall their bridal and heritage polki editions from last year. “Both separate collections, these were crafted keeping in mind the discerning tastes of our esteemed clientele in Ahmedabad, says Zaveri. While each of their collections are fairly difficult to replicate, the former even more so. “These had a lot of heritage pieces fitted with Russian and Colombian emeralds whose size and shape can be extremely difficult to recreate. And so, it was perfect for people looking for unique one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces for their special day.” 
Select clientele  
When it comes to exclusive, limited-edition collections, one often wonders if it was created keeping a select clientele in mind. In particular, a segment of people that understand the true meaning of luxury and its value as well as the craftsmanship involved. This is particularly to do with products like jewellery, where clients understand the intricacies of designing and producing unique pieces, using rare gems, unique cuts and exceptional bespoke designs that are almost impossible to mimic. When these factors are considered, the jewellery pieces created become truly unique making it an heirloom piece that can be passed down the generations.  
Harit Zaveri shares that each collection is created after “…a detailed analysis of operational reports, comprehensive CRM research, a thorough examination of demographic profiles, and a strategic assessment of brand alignment” that help determine the targeted clientele.  
For Vaishali S, it needs more to do with the needs of the clientele. The designer compares limited edition releases with seasonal ones, believing the former to be far more client-oriented that the latter. “Limited edition collections are normally more focused on the specific client or on the need they are addressing. Seasonal releases help further the development of the brand; however, a limited release is more customer-centric unlike the seasonal collection which is more brand-centric.” 
Vaishali S-
Photo Courtesy: Vaishali S
Continuing the conversation on seasonal versus limited releases, Harit Zaver stresses that premium, limited collections are nothing short of extraordinary. “Every piece in a limited collection is masterfully conceptualized with premium materials that deviate significantly from those used in our standard collections.” The exclusivity factor, he says, is further accentuated by the limited availability of each design, ensuring that they remain truly one-of-a-kind. “As a testament to our commitment to quality, these designs are meticulously crafted to withstand the test of time. It’s no wonder that our premium collections are rarely imitated, as the level of craftsmanship required to produce such intricate pieces is unparalleled.” 
An expensive affair?  
While limited edition collections work great as a strategic marketing tool, they tend become an expensive affair. It involves a lot of effort with regard to  research, man hours, specialized production and cost, etc all of which contribute to the overall expense. In such, one can’t help but wonder about the production cost exceeding the profits. To put it in simpler terms, is a limited-edition collection really worth it?  
The answer is yes.  
We already know that any limited-edition collections, be it luxury designer brands or smaller retailers, benefit from limited edition releases which provide new audiences and wider exposure. But at the same time, exclusive collections also help consumers get an insight into the brand’s creative instincts which helps them come back for more.  
Amrapali Jewels - Emerald Necklace
Photo Courtesy:
Exclusivity in itself is an attractive factor, because who doesn’t want to own a product that is both rare and personalised? As far as the expense, most leaders agree that the value is justified. “While it is an expensive affair, limited edition pieces tend to cost much more than seasonal collections. And they’re rare pieces so people want to pay an extra buck for that level of quality and design which more than makes up for the expense,” says Anushree Reddy.  
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