Future classics are harder to identify than past classics: we know which objects and brands were important for our parents and grandparents. A reasonably educated Brit would be able to rattle off the names of the books that were mandatory reading in the late Victorian era. However, he could not even begin to guess what genres would count for his grandchildren.

The word “classic” suggests something that has already stood the test of time. It has to be something that transcends at least a single generation. No-one remembers much about designer outfits from a century ago. Nevertheless, aspirant fashionistas today still know that Coco Chanel raised the concept of the “little black dress” to a more timeless plateau...

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