AltLuxe

Posts from the “Living Well” Category

Learning to wait

Posted on August 9, 2016

I recently received a gift from no less than Francois-Henri Pinault, the head of Kering, which holds a good chunk of the luxury industry. No, it wasn’t a little something from McQueen or Stella McCartney, or even a pair of Pumas. No, M. Pinault said something a few months back that really got me thinking differently. The occasion was his comment on an announcement by Burberry that it would move toward letting consumers “shop the runway”, doing away with the practice of having Fall collections shown in Spring and Spring collections shown in the Fall. Paul Smith and Michael Kors followed.  The Guardian dubbed it “See Now, Shop Now”. Now, all this made eminent sense to me: the idea that in this day and age there’d be this time lag between showing and making…

Is cool where it’s at?

Posted on May 21, 2016

I have these friends – smart, accomplished, reasonably self-aware grownups – who a great many people would consider cool, very cool. And yet, these friends are earnestly obsessed with others’ coolness and want “cool” people in their orbits so perhaps that coolness will rub off. Which of course is not cool. What is it about coolness? People are cool (Bowie, Prince, Benicio del Toro, and Charlotte Rampling seem to top a number of lists I looked at.) Things are cool: as of this instant, vinyl, cannabis, koji, local grains, Cuba. And ideas, too: philosophy, localism, and populism (Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump). As a word, “cool” has ebbed and flowed in terms of its own innate “coolness” but the attraction remains. Cool is “hunted”, and its absence sneered at, dismissed.…

The new “new” thing

Posted on May 12, 2016

By Regina Connell Part of alt luxe is the appreciation of the imperfect, the undone, the used. These are states of being and evolution in objects (and people for that matter) that connect you to life, that keep you grounded, open, humble. But what of that in-between state where things aren’t quite so bright shiny and new, but haven’t yet achieved that wabi sabi state of beautiful disrepair: a category into which most of the things, people, and relationships in our lives will fall? We grudgingly look to maintain them, the act a necessary evil in our lives. As a society, we tend to take the same approach. In the West, while we pay lip service to all that lovely wabi-sabiness, we actually worship at the altar of Progress. The New is…

Peak Curtains

Posted on March 14, 2016

It became a meme a couple of months ago, this notion of “peak curtains”. This pithy phrase came from Steve Howard, IKEA’s head of sustainability, speaking at The Guardian’s Sustainable Business debate. The full quote was, “In the West, we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff … peak home furnishings.” He said the new state of affairs could be called “peak curtains”. Now Mr. Howard went on to laud IKEA’s initiatives to take back and repair product, but what he was saying nonetheless feels true. It’s been an AltLuxe meme for a while, it’s been a nagging worry among manufacturers and retailers – the notion that people particularly millennial – want experiences, not…

Skin deep

Posted on March 14, 2016

Some days, I feel I’m drowning in imagery. It’s not just the time spent in front of my computer or phone that’s the culprit. There’s the extraordinarily good stuff on TV: Netflix and House of Cards and Game of Thrones and Empire and The Americans and Downton Abbey…There are the print magazines with which I’m obsessed …  There’s the constant design image grazing I do for work, the FOMO (as in, “Didn’t you see that great room / sofa / tile installation / wooden spoon on insta?”) and the constant battle to find the right images, get the rights, edit them, get them in … there’s even the beauty of where I live and work – the sunsets, the rain, the interiors, the products, the factory, the ironic streetscapes (or…

In praise of specificity

Posted on January 12, 2016

When I was in Japan a few years ago, I went to a place called Tokyu Hands. It blew me away: floor after floor of stuff, so much of it incredibly specific. A container to hold sliced tomatoes so they wouldn’t sit in their own juice. Teapot brushes. 15 different types of scissors for ikebana. A knife specially designed for cutting chestnuts. An those were just the things whose use I could fathom. I found it fascinating but perplexing: even if some of the products were clearly genius (I loathe soggy tomatoes) why oh why would you want all this stuff in a country where houses were so minuscule?  Would you even use it? Wasn’t it all a bit silly? Was it just another example of Japanese…

Have the chocolate

Posted on January 2, 2016

I recently came across a reasonably compelling piece on how eating for pleasure could be the best diet plan. And, it reminded me that what goes for the body, goes for a lot of other things, I do think. Headspace, a favorite modern mindfulness blog/app, reminded me that often,  we go on holiday, eat what we want, and, miraculously, return to “real” life with minimal weight gain, feeling amazing. Not to mention having some pretty amazing memories (and dishes to add to a culinary repertoire.) Why is that? “Pleasure is an important appetite regulator. With every meal, the body registers feelings of fullness (the stomach expanding) and levels of satisfaction (has the body received what it was hungry for?). When we deprive ourselves of pleasure, our brain…