AltLuxe

Posts from the “Consuming Pleasures” Category

Shhh.

Posted on February 23, 2015

Secrets. They’re not supposed to exist, are they? We’re supposed to tell it all, share it all, let it all hang out, preferably online. Mental health types talk about the corrosive effects of secrets.  We barely tolerate the notion that some state secrets should remain that way.  And TMZ’s created a $100 million empire on spilling celebrity secrets that readers lap up then lean back to savor, purse their lips, feeling smug that no secret should be safe from the public. As goes the broader culture goes the material, consuming world. “Authenticism” is the thing where every live edge table or industrial makes clear its material roots. Function is form and form is function (and nothing else.) Radical transparency is the by-word of companies like Everlane. And we’ve come to…

365: Letter writing goes another level

Posted on January 5, 2015

Ah the pleasures of letter writing. Just the thought of it makes me happy. Not the email type, of course, but that proper, ink-to-paper, paper-to-post kind of letter writing. I love its slowness and deliberateness, the lack of expectation of immediacy, its absence of predictive text to both assist and confound: it evokes that greatest of luxuries: time. It evokes an era when the ladies of the house dispatched themselves to their “morning” rooms to take care of the correspondence of the day. I find it fascinating that there was an age (and not too long ago) where people – from the authors to the everyday – were defined by their letter writing, that it’s these artifacts through which we know them. The objets of letter writing also…

AltLuxe eating

Posted on October 16, 2014

I live in the Bay Area, where we’re known for our restaurants, our food “scene”. Every week, some chef who cut his teeth at Chez Panisse, Coi, Aqua, etc. bounds onto the scene with another “hot” restaurant announcement. The produce – the cow, the hog, the chicken, the beet – is sourced (usually from within 100 miles of the Bay Area.) The name designer is hired. Publicists go to work. Lines form. People are grateful to be having dinner at 5:30. The cookbook is written. The chef appears on Top Chef, and opens another restaurant, perhaps in Vegas. Or Miami. I love eating. I love going out to restaurants. I love tasting new foods, styles, and being served in beautiful, interesting places. Going out to…

Consuming pleasures: the S word

Posted on May 17, 2014

  Sale. Funny word, that. For some people, that word is like catnip. When that email plops into that mailbox, eyes light up, plans are made, research is done. (Flights may even be booked.) Then, in the store, or online, there’s a frenzy: hunt, buy, hunt, buy. And who doesn’t want to pay less for something? I am pleased to say that I have bagged a few great bargains in my life…those gold mesh Manolo Blahniks I’d bought for $50 and sprayed black (worn with pleasure for years now) or the better knife set at 50% off. Or the super low fare to London where I had that life changing Christmas holiday. Yes, of course. But a few years ago, as I did my annual wardrobe cull, I realized…

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…

InstaLuxe

Posted on March 30, 2014

Came across this article, “Behold a Four-Day Design Miracle in Noe Valley” (San Francisco) in the local lifestyle mag, 7x7SF. The piece chronicles a – yes – four day furnishing of a house in an increasingly swanky part of San Francisco (beloved of the newly minted Technorati Wealthy). And it reminded me of all that AltLuxe is NOT.   According to the article, the owners, after some fits and starts, got sick of the process of decorating their home. They were leaving town for four days, and they hired designer Ian Stallings to complete the project in that time. He interviewed them to find out what they liked and cared about, and then executed beautifully, right down to a fully-outfitted cabinet of curiosities. There are quirky…

The key to luxury: awe

Posted on March 2, 2014

By Regina Connell. I was wandering around San Francisco’s Pacific Heights the other day. Cold and rainy, it was actually the perfect shopping day, tailor-made for lingering in stores, rather than wandering in between. As I lingered long in a little cluster of stores on Sacramento Street: March, The Future Perfect, Elu, and the newly opened Jessie Black – all wonderful examples of AltLuxe, I had an epiphany … that what I’m really looking for from luxury – new or old – is one simple feeling: awe. I felt it as I picked up an intricately detailed, sumptuously seductive leather jacket from Elu, with metal brads joining the seam down the back. I felt it as I picked up a sake cup at March:…