Some Thoughts on Luxury

Quietly luxurious trays by ceramicist Richard Carter via Nickey Kehoe. Carter is currently collaborating with Kostow on a new line of dinnerware Carter|Kostow.

At the studio (and in my everyday life), I spend an awful lot of time thinking about how to make things feel special, memorable, luxurious even. It almost feels like old news to call this out, but with the world around us feeling increasingly mass produced, encountering something unique somehow feels like the ultimate luxury, yes?

The fact that a "luxury" item doesn't have to be expensive or emblazoned with an expensive label to be luxurious is also a given, but I'm still astounded by how many people I encounter who still believe otherwise.

So I love coming across someone who seems to have the concept of a subtle understated luxury down to a science, like, say, Christopher Kostow, the wunderkind, totally badass, Napa Valley chef profiled by writer Chris Ying in the June Bon Appetit.

To wit:

"... throughout the menu, Kostow downplays his use of luxury ingredients, like how when you're a real baller you don't need to tell anyone how much you spent on your watch. The caviar is hidden under tiny succulent leaves, seasoning rather than gilding the lobster."

"There needs to be a perception of value, but I think our diners are extremely sophisticated, he says." I want them to experience luxury, but it's more our definition of luxury." Kostow describes it as "concern and care. I don't think anyone leaves feeling like they weren't incredibly cared for."

Seasoning rather than gilding. Concern and care. So key, yet so often completely overlooked. Luxury as a touch --  a whisper rather than a shout; putting down your device to look someone in the eye and really listen; abundant generosity -- of your time, your resources; taking deep care, when you make something -- a meal, a gift. Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

Well played Ying and Kostow. Well played.


Anonymous said...

yes and yes!

Laura Naples said...

This was so well-observed and stated!

Lakshmi said...

I feel that love adds luxury to our everyday items and objects. I have a simple Tee I got from T J Maxx. I don't think I paid more than 12 bucks for it. It fits me so well; I love the way I look in it! To me, that is what luxury is. The cost of the item ceases to matter... It is a sense of satisfaction and joy that permeates the experience of using/wearing the item.


Michelle said...

Beautifully said! I love this idea and the older I get, the more I try to keep this idea of luxury in my mind and heart. Not just with things, but with people, experiences and little things.