For all of my life one thing has been certain.
I love to shop. However within the last few
years I've found that acquisition is no longer
my primary motivation for visiting purveyors
of goods. Rather I now tend to consider such
journeys as invaluable sources of research.
When it comes to interior decoration I tend
to go with my "gut." Hence the things that
surround me are incredibly personal. A long
term manifestation of my love affair with
beauty and elegance. One which has taken
a lifetime to gather Thus I need little more
than affirmation. Which fortunately is free.
How sweet it is...
Last Sunday "T" and I explored Connecticut.
Honestly it was rather shocking to discover
what awaits just ninety minutes or so from
midtown Manhattan. We started the day with
lunch at the Hopkins Inn in Warren. Sitting
perched above Lake Waramaug this family
owned haven of hospitality has been dishing
it out for forty years. While definitely not chic,
I honestly had one of the best meals I've had
in ages. Rarely are sweetbreads on the menu.
Not only were they PERFECTLY prepared
they were served in a manner that was both
friendly yet finessed. It was simply lovely.
Way out east
Why travel six to eight hours to Vermont,
New Hampshire, or Maine when "Yankee"
charm lies within commuting distance?!
Post lunch we drove along picturesque
byways to nearby New Preston which can
only be described as truly CHARMING.
Nestled next to a bubbling stream sits a
cluster of shops including Privet House.
It's hard to not desire almost everything in
the joint. Fortunately I already own much
of it. You see, the owners are as addicted
to antiques, accessories, and tabletop as
I am. Proof that I'm not the only junkie!
It's rather scary when one can easily callout all
of the names and manufacturers of such vintage
wares. Yet as we wandered through this shop's
array of antique colored glassware, I felt totally
at home. Back in Montana, our great wall of
china sports a multi-hued mix of the glassware
that they sell. Yet mine were bagged on e-bay
for much lower prices. At times Frank chides
me for coloring our world. Yet seeing fellow
tastemakers hawk similar goods affirms that
I was right (as usual!) My one concern being
should this trend become too mainstream -
I may have to sell it and start all over again!
Birds of a feather
What would our world be like sans we homo
homies? It certainly wouldn't be as elegant!
Since the dawn of time gay men have been
helping stylistically challenged heterosexuals
get their acts together. Saturday we popped
up to Bergdorf Goodman's seventh floor.
There sat the Dransfield and Ross "pop up
shop" - a curated compilation or veritable
treasure trove of decorative finds. Known
for tabletop and decorative pillows said
gents are also connoisseurs. Thus the walls
of said shop are lined with an array of art.
All at surprisingly affordable prices!
Soon I was chatting with a charming shop boy who
turned out to be Mr. Ross himself. The subject of
our discourse was a landscape signed by the once
famous - now somewhat obscure thirties fashion
illustrator known as "Eric." Being a long term fan
of Carl "Eric" Erickson, I found this work unique.
I could not recall having seen it prior. Until Miss
"T" reminded me that it first appeared in Fleur
Cowle's "Flair" magazine in the fifties. Proving
that even the most minutia minded maven needs
a friend at times to put things in context. While
I didn't walk out with said tidbit... I must admit
that I'm still thinking.. and thinking about it.
Nowadays such shopping excursions confirm
that I've been there, done that. Frankly it's rare
that one sees anything new or beguilingly old
for that matter. While good for one's wallet, it
makes one wonder what's left to be discovered.
One can buy almost anything via the internet.
We know from experience how quickly UPS
and FedEX delivers Hermes, Cire Trudon, and
Santa Maria Novella. Yet in order to order one
must know what they want. Beyond stocking
up on basics, it's hard to discover new things
in a digital context. That's where shops like
those I've mentioned offer more than goods.
Not simply places of commerce, most stores are
also sources of inspiration and education. True
retail therapy involves more than spending cash.
It's about discovering something you never knew
existed and... bringing it home. Hence a properly
curated mercantile does much more than service
a community's needs. They take us all to a better
place. Which has me thinking that maybe theres
a way to leverage our knowledge for the good
of our community at large. For years Frank and
I have toyed with the idea of opening a shop in
Lewistown, Montana. Our question is would
anybody local want whatever we might sell?!
Being a retailer is like serving as a missionary.
True merchants leverage their knowledge and
expertise to enhance their customer's lives.
Hence grabbing something new at your local
grocer expands your culinary boundaries. Just
as discovering the latest hue in a shop window
brightens one's outlook. Somehow we shifted
from fueling our desires to checking off lists.
Few if any know what they're missing until
they see it for themselves. So why not indulge
in a bit of retail therapy today? The world is
ready and waiting to be discovered. And who
knows? You just might learn something NEW!