011: I Like Great Stuff
In the words of the great Maria Bianchi "Miuccia" Prada,
That I like stuff will perhaps come of no surprise to you; it is, after all, the largely inevitable consequence of living in a capitalist Western society. However, I have a deeper fondness for great stuff, that is, stuff crafted in mind perhaps for the niche consumer, or stuff contained in considered packaging, stuff not intended for immediate consumption but rather a courtship, stuff whose satisfaction per wear only increases over time, stuff so exquisite that upon returning to it years after its original purchase date, one can only think, "Wow."
When I first started this newsletter, I hinted that from time to time I'd share things I liked but I couldn't find a rhythm for it that fit quite right. This is by no means a take at anyone, but there are endless newsletters and articles dedicated to telling you what to buy across the internet, so much so that the tidal wave of choice can feel a bit paralyzing. I cannot tell you how little I act on so much choice. Many of these guides also include paid promotions or haven't been through any trials, which can lead to disappointment upon purchase.
So instead of sending an avalanche of stuff your way, I thought I'd instead send recommendations for great stuff that have been tried and tested by yours truly on a seasonal basis, something you can bookmark and return to through changing seasons, rather than ending up in your trash folder week after week. The great stuff I want to share with you is a combination of things I've bought for myself, gifts from loved ones, and gifts I've given to those I love. Perhaps you'll find something you'll love, perhaps you'll find something for someone you love, too. Without further ado!
Akari 1A Light Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi. A Noguchi lamp makes sense virtually anywhere. They're hardly wallflowers and catch the eye, but without ever being exacting, and bring a deep warmth to any space they occupy. You could put it in a hyper-modern home, a cottage or Versaille – it fits right in.
Amalia Water Jug by Porta This was a birthday gift for my friend, D, who has a profound appreciation for all things well-made for the home. When faced with what to get D for her birthday, I knew immediately I had to get this because I could envision her actually using it. This may seem odd, but when buying gifts for the people you love, I find it's important to really think about whether you can see that person with their gift, whether it'll be for them a token of your enduring affection for them, or if it'll be re-gifted or recycled.
When I bought the jug, one of the store's owners rung me up and paid great care to how it was wrapped. Upon mentioning it was a gift for a friend, she tested two gift boxes to find the one that didn't just fit, but fit right. It's purveyors of great stuff like her, who aren't just there to make a sale but are gracious of their clients, that make me want to hand over every last dollar I have to them.
Prada Catwalk by Susannah Frankel Resembling a baby-blue Prada shoe box, a beautiful book that chronicles three decades of work by the queen of Great Stuff. Mine sits on my coffee table and it brings me great joy just to look at it as I drink my morning coffee. I strongly recommend buying this from Maimoun, whose founder Mina Alyeshmerni puts an incredible amount of thought into the presentation of the goods she curates, from the visuals of her online store, down to the packaging and thoughtful notes (if you haven't figured by now, the way great stuff is packaged is conducive to it being great).
Schiuma da Barba (otherwise known as Shaving Foam) by Santa Maria Novella Prior to my dear friend D introducing me to this, I used to use whatever old shampoo or conditioner that did me no good to shave my legs with. Schiuma da Barba elevates something rather rudimentary into a luxury experience. It's deeply moisturizing, which can never be bad, and perfumes the skin with what I can only describe as a leisurely evening spent reading by the fire. Another store that pays attention to fine details, such as the quality and design of their extremely chic shopping bags.
Lip Glow in Burgundy and Mahogany by Dior Tinted lip balms that actually do what they're supposed to, and don't look flesh-colored or sickly on brown skin. I smear Mahogany on my lips frequently while I'm seated before my laptop conjuring no new thoughts and instantly feel like less of a troll, or even a glamorous one, I daresay.
Ishtar Terracotta Duo Set by Tasneem On the day of my wedding reception, I didn't have a private moment to look at myself in the mirror (and probably veto everything). It wasn't until the day after, when photos started rolling in, that I zoomed straight in on my lips because the color was phenomenal. The makeup artist I worked with, Tasnim Nahar, used this lipstick by Tasneem Styles (I swear this isn't a joke) to achieve the elusive 90s flushed lip which isn't easy to master.
Socks by Falke I succumbed to Falke socks this season, and let me tell you, my feet are very pleased. I bought this pair from Peress on Madison, which you must make a pilgrimage to, if you have the great privilege of living in New York. I also bought these cashmere and merino wool-blend socks for myself and these cotton socks for my husband. so that I wouldn't feel selfish for gorging on fine goods for the feet.
Shamble Earrings by Zohra Rahman I've been collecting Zohra's jewelry for a few years now, whose designs are like Calder mobiles for the body. I originally bought them to wear to my best friend's wedding, and they never go without a compliment. They're also great fun for offsetting the blues that come with a thousand-layer winter.
Leather Coat by Bonnie Cashin My litmus test for the pinnacle of style and taste is to wear my stranger pieces around my parents. 99% of the time this produces negative results. However, last weekend my parents came over for lunch and I wore my obnoxious tangerine vintage leather coat by Bonnie Cashin lined with faux-fur to see my parents off, and they were sincerely so blown away by the color, craftsmanship and uniqueness of it. "It's so...COOL!" my mother exclaimed, breathlessly, and I will be satiated by this validation for at least three years. My coat is the same style and color as the one linked above, but isn't lined. This one is.
Rose Suede Pants by Saks Potts While my search for the perfect black pants will never end, my search for the perfect black suede pants has! These women know how to design bottoms for people with hips and ample, erm, bottoms.
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