AltLuxe

Posts from the “The Goods” Category

3 syllables. And a cure for what ails Big Retail.

Posted on January 23, 2017

Scha.Den.Freude. OK, that wasn’t actually my first feeling when I heard that The Limited would be shutting its stores effective immediately. Rather, my first feeling was that of nostalgia, maybe even sadness. After all, like so many women my age, my first job was at The Limited, and the source of so many key life skills I use to this day. The invaluable life skill of selling and servicing, how to deal with low lifes, a little bit about design and styling, and of course, how to steam clothes without burning yourself. But then, the schadenfreude kicked in. Good riddance, I thought, to The Limited and all those chains (Macy’s, Ann Taylor, Gap. Abercrombie, American Eagle Outfitters, BCBG, Wet Seal, Bebe, Hot Topic, and more weekly) with their same uninspired approach to…

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…

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:…

The Iconic AltLuxe Store

Posted on February 21, 2014

By Regina Connell. One of the other questions I get asked a lot (other than the one about the home) is “what’s the iconic AltLuxe lifestyle (not just clothing) store?” There are some stores that kind of qualify. Maybe Barney’s with its hard to find brands and strong point of view, though there’s a coldness to it, and their home goods section constantly seems to struggle from a taste perspective. There’s Bergdorf Goodman, but it’s just a smaller mainstream department store with really great buyers. In London there’s Liberty, with its strong though slightly inconsistent POV. Maybe Dover Street Market in London (can’t say about the NY store yet), in a limited way. My choice for the retail icon is the dear, departed, sorely missed…

The Goods: The Perfect Wooden Spoon

Posted on January 1, 2014

Doing anything well is about having the perfect tool. It renders the beginner at least halfway competent, the middling enthusiast confident, and powers the truly skilled to new heights. Working with the perfect tool is utter pleasure and yes, the ultimate luxury. Making something work is drudgery (and often a gigantic waste of time.) In the kitchen, one of the most fundamental tools is the wooden spoon. They were fetishized last year with all their connotations of honest home cooking and the toned-down life, and no end of earnest woodworkers took to making them out of premium woods, all sustainably produced. But I rather suspect that many of the spoons ended up as “design elements” on a kitchen wall: beautiful, authentic, ignored. What a…

Consuming Pleasures: The Line

Posted on December 9, 2013

Ah, someone who gets it. The Line from Vanessa Traina (among others) is a great example of AltLuxe. It’s an online clothing and home goods retailer, online and SOHO (NYC) space called The Apartment where everything is for sale (how’s that for contextual marketing?) Why is it AltLuxe? Because it’s about not what’s just essential, but what’s quintessential…the best of what’s essential. The clothing is timeless, seasonless, smart, and not to be found everywhere, “built to last but never boring” as they say on the site. “What unites these quintessential things is their staying power, the intention of their making, and how they work together in the context of a carefully considered life.” I love that for one of their first makers, they’ve featured…