AltLuxe

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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 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…

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…

Consuming Pleasures: Good Food

Posted on February 14, 2014

By Regina Connell. Given a choice, I’d rather stock my pantry with artisanal food: high quality, carefully and lovingly prepared by the hands of independent entrepreneurs, distinctive, with the best ingredients. This is, to me, the kind of luxury and pleasure I can indulge in every day. Easier said than done, however. I’ve tasted a lot of very earnest local, hand-crafted but incredibly so-so stuff out there. How do I know which food or drink is tasty, authentic, and responsible and not (frankly) a waste of time, money, and calories? With the number of indie producers out there, it’s impossible to stay on top of it all, not to mention just one category that’s blowing up, like craft beer. Enter the Good Food Awards, the closest guarantee…