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Architects of Desire

From leading Christian Dior in the Americas to building the NBA's Phoenix Suns to the cultural revitalization of Miami, these leaders are thinking seriously about mimetic desire.

I recently hosted this conversation in Washington, DC, with Craig Robins, CEO and President of Dacra (one of the architects behind the artistic renewal and cultural enrichment of Miami), Alexandra Winokur, President of the Americas at the legendary fashion house Christian Dior Couture, and Ryan Resch, Assistant General Manager and VP of Strategy for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.

If this seems like a strange mash-up, well, it sort of is. But it’s exactly the kind of unexpected conversation that I believe we need more of. I see each of these leaders as having integral roles to play as “architects of desire”, each in their own way.

Bernard Arnault, who is the founder, chairman and CEO of LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the parent company of Christian Dior), has said: “Luxury, for me, is how you can create desire. The most important word in our business is desire, how to create desire.” I ask Alexandra directly about this as part of this conversation.

Ryan Resch and I share the story of his having to (understandably) cancel dinner on me at the last minute in NYC due to one very important deal he had to work out at the trade deadline last year to acquire one of the NBA’s superstars. We discuss the way he thinks of building an NBA team from the perspective of generating and reinforcing the desire to win championships—and the role that mimetic desire may have to play in this effort.

Lastly, entrepreneur, real estate developer, and renowned art collector Craig Robins—who is the reason this panel came together in the first place due to our conversations last summer about the role that mimetic desire should play in cultural renewal (on a community or city-scale, to begin with)—speaks with us about the way that he sees positive mimesis playing a role in his work. How do you make a community a better place? Girard doesn’t say much about this. Actually, he says nothing at all. But Craig starts a much needed conversation.

These real-world insights and applications of Girard’s ideas are something new, and I hope you enjoy them.

If you’re interested in reading some extended thoughts on the concept of “architects of desire” from me, here is the transcript of a talk that I recently gave on the topic at a separate colloquium.

I’ll be back next week with some thoughts inspired by Marshall McLuhan—someone you may be hearing from a lot more around here.



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Luke Burgis Newsletter
Pursuing the mysterium tremendum et fascinans and writing at the intersection of philosophy, culture, art, technology, and religious wisdom.