AltLuxe

Posts tagged “luxury

Care about sustainability? Get serious about your brand.

Posted on January 23, 2018

“Brand” is one of those words – a little like “luxury”– that feels the very antithesis of “sustainability”. For many, it bespeaks glossy magazine ads, splashy parties, and a general glitz that feels gross, vulgar. And in many ways it is, as it pumps up demand for things we don’t want. But ironically, for all the importance of using sustainable materials and processes, the single most important act of sustainability is to not create more waste to begin with. In our society, waste implies that there is no market demand for a given item and that while it may have inherent value, it doesn’t have economic value. And things that lack economic value are waste. SO the imperative is to create value. One of…

Reinventing retail. Something new to keep an eye on.

Posted on January 4, 2018

Many retail concepts these days have me rolling my eyes, but this one got me intrigued over my morning cuppa. Founded by merchant Mindy Yang, Perfumariē is  a New York fragrance store that positions itself as a meta-discovery studio, open access event space, and incubator. The subject of What Perfume are you wearing? Now you never have to tell, Perfumariē feels very alt luxe, with its focus on nudging consumers to be more thoughtful, conscious. And it’s also a mix of the the new rules of retail I’ve been a proponent of: refining and elevating the in-store experience; centering the store experience on discovery, learning, and experimentation; nurturing tribes; and … getting daring here … charging people for the experience. Is it good? I haven’t been there: it…

Collected stories

Posted on October 11, 2015

It seems to be that if you like the finer things in life, and are far enough along to have a lot of the basics taken care of, at some point you will confront the “c” word.  As in collecting. As in being a collector. As in having a collection. I think the first time I was aware of the idea of a collector was when I was living in Hong Kong. I visited the home of a lovely man named Paul Braga, a member of one of the oldest Portuguese families there. My 7 year old self was awed by a collection of snuff bottles. I had no idea of what they were. What on earth was snuff? I was told. (Yuck, said I, the 7…

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…

Time to do some taking

Posted on May 27, 2014

The other day, I was sitting and chatting with a new friend – an art impresario – and listening to her story about how she discovered her latest artist. She used a charming, somewhat old fashioned, almost European phrase three times in as many sentences and I was suddenly struck with how unexpectedly wise that turn of phrase was. It was a simple and common enough two word phrase: “took notice”. Not “I noticed” but rather, “I took notice”. “I noticed” is passive, as in something drifted by your consciousness, and it registered there, however lightly.  “Taking” notice, is active, as in paying attention, more intensely, more insistently. You sit up and take notice. You don’t just observe: you examine, you query, you internalize, you grapple, you…

The luxury of time

Posted on April 12, 2014

There’s one thing that keeps coming up in conversations about luxury, and it has nothing to do with stuff and things and sensuality. It doesn’t even cost money, not in the absolute, so it seems to feel less status-y, more wholesome. That “thing” of course, is time. The luxury of doing nothing. The luxury of hanging out with friends. The luxury of focus. The luxury of time to do nothing. The luxury of an afternoon thats unplanned and unstructured, where you go with the flow of desire or instinct. (Sounds great to me.) When we’re running about working, projecting, parenting, investing in our relationships/our bodies/our sanity, of course time feels like a luxury. Of course time feels precious and rare. But is time inherently a…

The pleasure discipline

Posted on March 12, 2014

The way we’re defining luxury here on AltLuxe, it’s clear that it’s more than about the thing, the product, the object. It’s about pleasure, which is something that happens between your ears and in your psyche, not in a shop somewhere. (Luxury is most definitely not about shopping and spending or even spa-ing, which can leave me feeling frazzled and graspy and unsatisfied.) Luxury is about sense and experience and soul. It’s about slowing down and petting my cat and luxuriating in the warmth of his body, the sensuous feel of his coat, the crazy little snores he gives from time to time. It’s about writing in my journal. It’s about having an unexpected drink with my besties. Oddly enough, this kind of luxury,…