Reawakening the 'Sleeping Beauties' of Haute Couture: The Case of Guy and Arnaud de Lummen
Pierre Bourdieu's concept of cultural capital is particularly relevant to explain the ‘sleeping beauty’ phenomenon, whereby contemporary companies buy brands that have gone out of business, thus reviving ‘dormant’ labels. According to Bourdieu, there are three forms of cultural capital, including the 'objectified state,' which consists of cultural goods that one can own. Applying Bourdieu's definition to intangible cultural goods, the chapter analyses the cases of two entrepreneurs, Guy de Lummen and his son Arnaud de Lummen, whose investment in dormant fashion firms exemplifies the sleeping beauty phenomenon. The chapter shows how the father-and-son team appropriated the objectified cultural capital of sleeping beauty brands, both materially and symbolically, first, by buying the legal rights to use them, and second, by acquiring the knowledge necessary to commercialize new products.
Peer-reviewed book chapter for European Fashion: The Creation of a Global Industry, ed. R. L. Blaszczyk and V. Pouillard, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018.
Marc Audibet for Vionnet, Dress, 2007. © Luvanis.