Walking through a Muji store (particulary in Paris) is always a pleasure. Beautifully designed, unbranded and affordable. It’s a much more and effective democratization of design than the efforts of Target or H & M, because the product is truly well-made. Rather than asking designers to make low-rent versions of their work, Muji asks designers to remain anonymous. The work must — and does – stand on its merits.
A recent article in the New York Times heralded the return of the travel agent. And it seems, now, to be an inevitable resurrection. Because, truly, paying $150 — or less — for personalized attention, in-depth knowledge, better rates and perks, all the while shoring up the local and global economy seems extraordinarily prudent. And luxurious.
(Bag by Globe-Trotter for J. Crew)
Lovely skirt, combining a wearable shape with subtle detail. Divine.
For years, I’ve been eyeballing Cartier’s Santos Galbée wristwatch. The combination of masculine lines and delicate details (the pretty roman numerals! the tiny silver screws! that sapphire on the crown!) were magnetic. Eventually, my father — a Brazilian, it should be known, and not known for his on-time arrivals anywhere, ever— sent me a book about another Brazilian, Alberto Santos-Dumont. It’s unsurprising that I never came across Santos-Dumont in my own reading; the man best known for the first European flight of an airplane was never going to be able to compete with the Wright brothers in American storytelling.
Santos-Dumont was known for his adventuring spirit and general air of conviviality, and while celebrating his winning of the Deutsch Prize at Maxim’s in Paris, he complained to Louis Cartier (if only I could complain about my lack of certain accoutrements to Louis Cartier!) about the difficulty of checking his pocket watch to time his performance during flight. For his friend, Cartier created a wristwatch with a leather band and a small buckle, and the Cartier classic was born.
Being a known Francophile, and a Brazilian national, the story contributed to my interest in the watch, deepened, in turn, by my own father’s admission of coveting the same watch since he was a young man. So, much like Holly Golightly, I’d find myself “visiting” my watch at Cartier on occasion, and stalking it online. Finally, this year, it became mine.
Yeah, it was expensive. Yeah, it’s a little silly. But a little bit of Santos-Dumont and my own life bound up on my wrist, and it’s a pleasure I’d pay for again.
The former art director of Muji knows a thing or two about the power of understatement when it intersects with everyday life. Kenya Hara’s “White” exults the non-color white — not as an absence of information — but as a space of infinite subtlety.
Luxury is attention.
Luxury is rough.
Luxury is intelligence.
Luxury is waste.
Luxury is stability.
– Rem Koolhaas