AltLuxe

Posts from the “Consuming Pleasures” Category

The thing about things

Posted on September 7, 2015

At long last, I’m weighing in on the unlikely book that blew the minds of publishers everywhere: a book from a little known (in the West, at least) Japanese home organization consultant. I’m of course talking about Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. But I’m not that surprised. Because the book taps into a very deep craving for the values she’s espousing. The values of pleasure and joy and ruthlessness and clarity. The book is not just another self-help book (though there are some embarrassingly awesome ideas on how to organize your underwear drawer): it’s a philosophy for living and even consuming. For those who’ve been otherwise occupied, the book is nominally about de-cluttering. But it’s not it’s not the usual one about…

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…

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…