A balanced view on performance versus beauty by proud Welshman Ashley Nolan:
Are we throwing unnecessary assets at a site? Beauty doesn't automatically require 100+ high-res images spinning your product around in 3D. In the majority of websites of this type, restraint needs to be displayed. Think outside of the much overused parallax trend. We have a vast array of tools at our disposal now in the browser. Consider using SVG over high-res imagery which is much more friendly when it comes to file-size.
Then, for the assets that are necessary, think about how and when you load them. Offsetting the loading of unneeded assets means users get to experience your site quicker and if they do choose to leave the site before viewing the whole experience, they haven't downloaded things they'll never even see.
So don’t stop creating beautiful experiences. Just start thinking about how to control those experiences and optimise their performance to benefit the users viewing them.