AltLuxe

Posts from the “AltLuxe: the New Luxury” Category

End of empire stuff

Posted on August 2, 2015

Despite the fact that the world is full of strife on one end and bad taste on the other,  I’m not one to let these things get me too terribly down. But there was one thing that really got me depressed and truth be told, disgusted. Entitled “Instagram: Retail’s Holy Grail” (behind the FT paywall) the piece reported that  “millennial females’ anxieties about appearing too many times in the same outfit in their internet photographs is driving fundamental changes in the way they shop.” Selfie culture is driving Millennialistas to buy cheaper, more often. Says Jamie Merman, an analyst for Sanford Bernstein, “Faster is absolutely better because part of the selfie phenomenon is that women want changing trends, and current trends, quicker.” So wrong. Vile, in fact. They sell or…

Lessons on pleasure from Mandy Aftel

Posted on December 7, 2014

I recently had a chance to interview one of my favorite people, Mandy Aftel (the artisan fragrance genius), about her book, Fragrant, one of the best books of the year, perhaps the decade. (Read more here, then make sure you pick up her book.) As our conversation often does, it meandered around to the topic of luxury and pleasure. It’s easy to think that someone in the field of fragrance – and in particular the fragrance industrial complex with its preponderance of glitzy ads, celebrity scents, and its ties to the the 20th century’s notions of luxury and sensuality – might be sucked into the norms of the industry. But she’s honed her own sensibility, values and ethos along the way and precisely because of the prevailing…

What will you leave behind?

Posted on September 14, 2014

What is this stuff that surrounds us and what does it mean? A great deal of this blog is about what to buy (or rather what not to) and how to relate to what you buy but when all is said and done – and I do mean done – what do you leave behind, what does it say about you, what is its true value? This subject’s been on my mind a great deal, as I sort through the things my mother left behind. It’s been so interesting a journey on so many levels. I don’t mean that cynically or snarkily or as a euphemism for feeling awful. I mean it’s been truly interesting: an education in the notions of value, of enduring…

Understated Luxe

Posted on May 31, 2014

A nice summation on the alt luxe look, via an interview by the fab Sarah Lonsdale of Remodeslita with Richard Ostell. Bottom line: Form follows feeling: the incredible importance of emotion in design Trust your intuition Design for now Mix different textures Use humble materials: “Pare down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry.” Love that quote from Leonard Koren’s book Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers. Surround yourself with the real deal Balance old with new Stick with a neutral palette Mix styles. “But don’t do it just for decoration.” Yes. Practice restraint. “Know when to stop.” Rules to live by for more than interior design, I think. More images and text over on Remodelista.

Time to do some taking

Posted on May 27, 2014

The other day, I was sitting and chatting with a new friend – an art impresario – and listening to her story about how she discovered her latest artist. She used a charming, somewhat old fashioned, almost European phrase three times in as many sentences and I was suddenly struck with how unexpectedly wise that turn of phrase was. It was a simple and common enough two word phrase: “took notice”. Not “I noticed” but rather, “I took notice”. “I noticed” is passive, as in something drifted by your consciousness, and it registered there, however lightly.  “Taking” notice, is active, as in paying attention, more intensely, more insistently. You sit up and take notice. You don’t just observe: you examine, you query, you internalize, you grapple, you…

The luxury of time

Posted on April 12, 2014

There’s one thing that keeps coming up in conversations about luxury, and it has nothing to do with stuff and things and sensuality. It doesn’t even cost money, not in the absolute, so it seems to feel less status-y, more wholesome. That “thing” of course, is time. The luxury of doing nothing. The luxury of hanging out with friends. The luxury of focus. The luxury of time to do nothing. The luxury of an afternoon thats unplanned and unstructured, where you go with the flow of desire or instinct. (Sounds great to me.) When we’re running about working, projecting, parenting, investing in our relationships/our bodies/our sanity, of course time feels like a luxury. Of course time feels precious and rare. But is time inherently a…

The goods: the craft of the T

Posted on April 8, 2014

My T’s are the hardest working things in my wardrobe. Particularly my black ones. They are both beautiful and useful…nay, essential: I wear them at least 5 out of 7 days. So I take them seriously. Now it’s time for true confessions here: the Gap Favorite used to be my go-to T. I’d buy a new one every year and reveled in the fact that they were cheap. But they’d changed over the decade I’d been doing that. I didn’t love wearing them anymore: I could feel the quality was on the decline, they’re not wearing all that well, and I’m forever finding loose threads. And I just didn’t feel that great about wearing a T from the Gap, not when I’m about promoting indie manufacturing and the…