EXHIBIT A. + EXHIBIT B.
The Story of How the Art of Slow Luxury Came To Be
Subtitle: My Life Highlights as Founder and Illustrator of Humorous Life Moments; Graduate of the School of Hard Knocks; My Dad’s Anger/Wisdom; and plus Bambi, the young deer of Disney Fame.
OR How did I go from Exhibit A to Exhibit B?
How did I learn to conquer my stress and emotional reactions and finally be more in that cheerful, free-spirit, peaceful, easy FREE feelin’ … as seen above?
Like a Lion, 9 Lives Baby.
Please note: I am no drama queen, motivational saleswoman, or pyramid-scheme potion hawker. I found some wisdom and sharing, people.
I’m sharing both the good, the bad and the ugly. The fast lane and the luxury of my life. Sharing The Entering of My Sixth Decade, and it feels like I’ve got way more than 9 Lives! Here are the silly selfie illustrations I’ve done all my life … All to inspire you to find your creative Slow Luxury place, no matter where life finds you in any moment. If I can do it, you can!
And now. Why My Dad + Bambi = Slow Luxury:
“SLOW DOWN. SLOW DOWN. SLOW DOWN!” My father repeatedly bellowed like a Thunder God as I zoomed past him.
“Na-aaah!” I shouted back in some youthful tribal growl.
I was his always-rushing-everywhere Aries-ruled, passionate child torpedoing past to chase her next creative endeavor. I knew he was attempting to impart his best repeated life advice… yet it Never Quite had That Slow Luxury Lasting Calming Effect he desired. Never… through all my life trials…until the day he died and my whole life crashed to a halt.
Like a slow-non-luxury motion tidal wave, after he passed, I lost everything in quick succession. I lost the business I founded in NYC, I lost my family and I almost lost my home too. Only then did my father’s words echo like a mantra through my shock, my grief and my struggles. Life forced me into The Slow Down, and this is where the foundations of “Slow Luxury” were birthed.
So. Let’s slow luxury on down together, let me explain. (We’ll get to Bambi too, promise!)
LIFE #1. Little Lady, Yer ROOTS are showing!
A creative, hippy, kind of free-spirit wild child with a highly active and curious mind, I always ran on adrenaline, always seeking a bigger vision. I was creative directing other children making movies, manufacturing art productions out of fabric, yarn, paper, pinecones or painting rocks to sell in front of the house. “Look, a hat with feather antennas!” or “Look, the dog as a puffy sofa!” A sparkly new dream was always just around the next corner. Me, always on the run to catch it. Luxury was growing up middle class in America, with all the riches that life gives. Opportunities and options like majoring in art in college or traveling to Europe in the summer for art and entertainment purposes. Nonetheless, my busy, kid painted rock sales birthed a workaholic/art/party girl who also was a yogi since age 16.
As I grew older, luxury was happily cradled in the huge ROOTS of an old oak tree in nature to ponder life. Of course, there were no monks around to encourage that habit so I chose a fast-track creative career instead.( see America, circa 1980’s) I saw myself as the Love Child of Andy Warhol and Grace Jones and I arranged my work and nightclubbing appropriately. If I have 15 minutes, gotta dance!
LIFE #2 I DESIRE, I hustle.
Beginning in the late 80’s, NYC I still ran Full Tilt out of the college gates to chase DESIRE. Luxury was my work, from designing nature-inspired jewelry for the runways of top luxury designers like Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, and Mary McFadden to designing stores for Macy’s; my butterfly illustrations in a national bridal catalog and objects d’art for wellness brands like Aveda; plus a NYC gallery exhibition. A little luxury, never slow.
LIFE #3 I CREATE, I go corporate, organic, herbal and grunge.
Even with my next corporate creative and design positions in the very 90’s new field of sustainable fashion, I often clocked over 16 office hours a day for years like the craziest Wall Streeter. Luxury was all Portlandia-like, living in an artistic community, and everything au natural.
Although half of me was a nature-girl, eating and growing organic foods, and a lifelong yogi… when the company I worked for suddenly downsized and I was let go, my speedy, free-spirit self was programmed to think fast to re-invent my life.
Perhaps Pop’s “Slow Down” refrain was somewhere in my CREATE aura because in the late 90’s Luxury was joining a yoga community in the bucolic countryside and re-inventing Self as a Yoga Teacher. Luxury was chanting next to Christy Turlington at the ashram and encouraging Krishna Das to take his show on the road. Honestly though, I only lasted a half minute at this beautiful, yet super slow profession! ….until one day…
My kundalini rose (my adrenaline kicked in) again, because…
LIFE # 5 I now COMMUNE you to Dance!
From a yoga shawl and pants to new Luxury! With Manolos, a grey Bebe power suit, and my Miu Miu pink backpack on, I led marketing for an international EDM (electronic dance music) brand during the day, moved back to NYC at age 40. By night, I put my Prada sneaks on to dance parties everywhere and eventually I invented and host my own art-tech-house music party at Baktun, [The Cooler’s Sister Club upstairs] in NYC’s Meatpacking district.
The Meatpacking in the early 2000’s still meat-packed. This meant exiting the club at 3am into a literal wall of meat market scent, walking very fast, past the meat workers and trucks, yet still high on the experience I just created for hard-to-please NYC club goers. ( Almost Andy Warhol! ) It wasn’t Studio 54, but it was packed and very cool. I was up the next mornings at 6am to grind again… by this time, (at age 40!) I had moved back into NYC re-invented as an agency publicist for major brands like Sunglass Hut, Chanel, RayBan, and Speedo. Yes, ha ha. Speedy Me ran the Speedo PR account.
…until…9am on 911.
LIFE #6. WISDOM comes sometimes in the middle of a Bridge.
The twin towers falling. Mine was that last creeping car in the traffic allowed on the George Washington Bridge to escaping into New Jersey. The bridge was empty of all cars as I was halfway over the bridge. I inched forward with dread looking over at the towering infernos while the radio unbelievably reported news of the Pentagon hit like it was War of The Worlds. I heard the next day that mine was the very last car, as the bridge closed right after I passed over it due to a rumor of explosives underneath. In the days that followed, we all were on hyper alert at slow speed, nervous and numb, puzzled, and in deep grief. No Slow Luxury here to see, perhaps the WISDOM + lesson itself.
Life crept back to “normal”, so did I. Nerves altered.
LIFE #7 FAME, from hip-hop cover boys to Paris couture designers.
Now a lifestyle and luxury publicist with my own agency, I placed my clients, from hip-hop moguls with Eminem’s famous XXL magazine cover to top brands, stylists, and designers in major media from the Today Show to USA Today. Yes, P. Diddy parties were in the mix.
Runnin’ again, (this time the luxury was mastering runnin’ and Louboutins together)… I produced events like fashion runway shows in NYC, LA, Miami and even St. Barts. Art gallery exhibitions, videos, and film festival tribute events in the Hamptons for Sony Pictures Classics. I produced a TV pilot at Paris Fashion Week, head-to-the magnificent white powdered wig head of Karl Lagerfeld. Life was good and creative again. Fun. And fast.
….until… The 2008 market crash.
LIFE #8 DESTINY is always + forever death and rebirth.
Nothing prepared me for the 2 years of hell that followed. FULL STOP in a day.
Clients canceled contracts. No one was hiring PR. What about my dreams? There was no slowing down, no yoga, no peace, just panic.
Then the 2009 phone call. My beloved Pop died. I slowed down to a crawl that felt like I was left for dead myself. Options for emotion or action were done in a haze. PTSD? It was a very layered, non-luxury thing at this low point.
It was here, at each new daily crisis, slowly and gradually, I finally heard my Pop’s parental advice. His loud and clear mantra soared into my new reality.
“SLOW DOWN. SLOW DOWN. SLOW DOWN.”
And so I did. Finally, I noticed that instead of reacting, facing each crisis head-on with my warrior spirit running ahead brandishing a mystical, magical sword in the air… something inside, something bigger than me slowed me down and stopped me. At each “what fresh hell is this?” my body would turn in shock, (albeit slow like a zombie!) face the other direction and I would take a few steps. (My version of the famous yoga move of finding a breath, a space between thoughts.
I noticed that this state, when I dropped the attention and fixation on a problem, when literally turned my back on it…if I walked and looked the other way, suddenly the answers and my DESTINY breezed in. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was re-programming my mind from a stress reaction to a profound new awareness and a transformative healing ritual. Like Kabbalah’s Principle 11: When challenges appear overwhelming, Inject certainty. The Light is Always There.
LIFE #9. RE-ELATE, again + again.
Gradually, over the next several years, life renewed itself in an even grander way…globally… through the fields of art, green design, and product development that I so loved.
RE-ELATION. Luxury was curating art installations in the urban landscapes of Milan, NYC and the wilds of Brazil. Luxury was speaking invitations to share my projects at a Brazilian design conference, on the roster with the design legends like Karim Rashid. Luxury was a calendar filled with to-do’s as in Art Basel Miami, Milan’s Salone or directing NY Fashion Week happenings in Bryant Park. Luxury was hosting journalists at the first new resort to open in Lake Como, Italy in 100 years and leading another group to Scotland with Textiles Scotland to connect with heritage brands and learn about this Slow Luxury idea. And to talk about Bambi.
So Why Bambi? Why Slow Luxury?
”Oh, no, not Bambi!,”
cried the fashion magazine editors when I pitched them on my Scotland client’s truly sustainable, eco-conscious and gorgeous deerskin bags made from carefully managed wild deer populations free-range living it up in the vast, wild Highlands mountains. No matter how I tried to explain that this was so much better than the horrible factory farming of cows that produced the leather that all the other luxury bags were made from, the editors just boo-hoo’d about Bambi being killed (really???) They simply didn’t get it.
“Oh, no, not Bambi!”
Again and again we heard this same refrain.
…until…one day when…
Slowly I turned. Away. My father’s words on reverb again:
“Slow Down. Slow Down. Slow Down!”
Aha! Slow Food. Slow Fashion, of course! Slow Luxury!
It was only when I hit upon the idea of coining the name, “Slow Luxury” for my client’s concept and product, something immediately graspable that would not evoke a threatened Disney character, that editors and buyers suddenly got the concept.
Upon hearing “Slow Luxury” they suddenly “got” that a sustainable value aspect could redefine the idea of “luxury.” From here we had major interest, and I placed the bags in media such as Vogue, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Huffington Post, and Women’s Wear Daily. The collection’s designer was nominated for ‘Accessory Designer of the Year’ at the Scottish Fashion Awards. The collection launched and was sold at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and online at ahalife.com. Success!
Well, boy howdy! My Pop was right all along. If we are always rushing to the next “it” thing, we miss the beauty right in front of us. To affirm slow luxury as a state of being allows us to slow down, listen for and invent our best futuristic visions and passions. Our deep breath, our life force. We all need this circling back soulful connect.
As I mention the words SLOW LUXURY, people immediately pause. The pause that refreshes.
While we originally set up Slow Luxury as consultants and advocates for SL in the industry and with clients, I realized that the most inspiring version of Slow Luxury is REALLY all about a slow deep dive into the luxury of OURSELVES. If we create non-toxic, sustainable lives of beauty, we heal the planet at the same time. In any situation, if we see humor and honoring and acts of kindness vs. panic, fear, disconnect, or depression, well then these small acts of kindness to self and others…these are the real “luxuries” available to all.
We are the true luxury.
Our own artful, biodynamic, creative, divine, earthy, healing, precious, sensuous, soulful SLOW LUXURY.
Get Slow Kids. Get the Goods right here!