The Beautiful People: I refer you to the comments about “impossibly beautiful sexy immortal billionaire genius demigods” made under Can’t Argue With Elves. The engineering works, people. However pretty a people the baseline Eldrae alathis were to begin with – and they were – by the time autoevolution reached the very transsophont Eldrae kirsunar, it had gone Up To Eleven. The self-designated Supreme Eldrae and their cousin species in the Empire are self-consciously designed to be perfected, unflawed, soul-churningly beautiful, marvelous to behold, exquisite and/or excruciating in unsurpassed elegance.
(And if you’d care to sign up, they can do it for you, too. Queue for applications starts to your left.)
It’s a sort of inherited status, I suppose, inasmuch as you acquire it – most commonly – by being the offspring of an Imperial citizen-shareholder, although most of it is offered freely to immigrants and, well, anyone who turns up waving checks or cashy money at the right businesses… but since this does represent more or less the entire society, these Beautiful People do, at least those who haven’t yet earned their way into the investor-leisure class, have to work for a living, and many of those continue to anyway.
And yes, the surroundings also match (see: Emotion Bomb and Scenery Porn), because it’s not like they stuck to just improving themselves. Also played straight, again for almost everyone, with regard to the clothing (see: Sharp Dressed Soph), the housing (see: Big Fancy House), the wealth levels (it is a materially mostly-post-scarcity society, after all)…
Emotion Bomb: Played straight with, essentially, the “glamor” that comes along with the (see Can’t Argue With Elves) whole engineered-over-millennia impossibly beautiful immortal genius demigod thing.
Somewhat subverted because it’s an entirely – well, mostly – unintentional effect of the eldrae trying to live up to their incredibly high opinion of themselves; they were going down this road well before they’d ever met any other species.
Completely subverted in that they really wish you’d pick yourself up off the floor, look them in the eye, remember that there probably is something to be said for you/your species, and ideally, if it bothers you that much, try to be less ugly, stupid, and ephemeral. Here’s a catalog. First product’s free.
And while it’s not as blatant as most examples of this trope, it’s amazing what the subtle deployment of memetics in dress, architecture, body language, etc., can do, given time to work its magic…
Can’t Argue With Elves: The eldrae, and indeed the Imperials in general, so not just the Space Elves, live this trope, being profoundly elitist and unashamedly, even if they bothered to notice, arrogant about their superiority in almost every way to anyone else and generalized personal awesomeness. That literally thousands of years of bio-, nano-, and sopho- technology actively directed at (and succeeding in) creating an entire society of impossibly beautiful sexy immortal billionaire genius demigods – coupled with a pressure-cooker of a culture that demands personal striving for perfection and considers pride in the result a virtue – actually lets them back this attitude up most of the time is just icing on the hubris cake, so far as everyone else is concerned.
Really, the only things that make them tolerable at all is (a) their complete and utter refusal to demand any special privileges or position because of their utter awesomeness, even if that’s just because they can’t tolerate the thought of only being comparatively awesome rather than absolutely awesome (a.k.a., “What sort of pathetic excuse for a Superior Race has to actually keep the Inferior Races down? Newsflash, morons, that means you weren’t qualified for the position in the first place.”), and (b) the way in which they’re willing to, and even insistent sometimes on, selling beauty, genius and immortality to the rest of the galaxy so that they can stop having to put up with all these ugly, ephemeral morons.
Actually, that doesn’t make it any better.
(All of this may not be strictly true as written, of course: it was written, as it were, from the point of view of the people who find themselves on the wrong end of it.)
(Also, it occurs to me, somewhat subverted by the fact that they greatly prefer it when people Argue With Elves. I mean, they still believe that they’re right about everything, and probably aren’t going to agree with you unless you have a really good argument, but they will respect you more for trying.)