9 Smart, Slow Luxury Connects for Spring



The long NOW of winter has disappeared.  The last shadowy, emotional eclipse, the tiniest soft breeze, an urge tickled over exposed skin, or white snowdrops popping through the earth is all it takes for our hearts to leap a little and feel that Spring is here.

Above, an image that captures this perfectly for me is from the new song and video from Daphne Guinness, (whom I declare has picked up where Bowie dropped us off in space.)  Her upcoming album, Optimist in Black, previews with the song, The Long Now, (watch here mesmerized) releasing this May.

Here are 9 more smart, slow luxury treasures: art, books, design, eats, earthy bits, and far-flung inspirations to spur you on on this Spring.

1  girls gone wild


Through my drawing of Daphne, here, I discovered one of her favorite London-based designers, Ada Zanditon, we became Insta-Instagram friends, and I did this portrait of her:


Zanditon makes shamaness warrior gear, segmented and dusted with botanical mechanics enabling her girls to live wild, stylishly leap rivers and channel magic.


Here’s Zanditon and one of her explorations (she’s all about sustainable on top of this design sense!)

Meanwhile in NYC, while it was still blustery and wintery, we trekked to a little house party and well-deserved come-back for Gemma Kahng, an 80’s fab designer who also layers intricate fabrics intelligently.

Gemma-Kahng- Michela Rigucci-

As if on cue, we passed 80’s reality fashionette star TV hostess, Lauren Ezersky on the street while approaching the tea party/trunk show.  Held in a vast loft as a benefit for the American Heart Association, Kahng-clad models mixed with glamour girls, including hosts, Tracy Stern and Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, brand ambassador for shoe brand, Michela Rigucci.  Her laced black boots worn with a Flamenco long skirt are most modern kicks ~where hand-made Italian shoes formerly meant a round trip to Italy slow luxury style~ now you can order custom shoes 100% digital and 100% made-in-Italy bespoke to your pieds.


Kahng’s collection, had me sighing over frothy silk frock after frock on a rack, dreaming of that slow, sunny luxury walk of fame, as silk brushes one’s legs in a warm clime.

All this anticipation of delicious play of light feeling arising between the seasons!  Still another evening featured my other love…plants!

2   Heirloom Harvest


Toss aside those pills, dirt contains anti-depressants, reported a recent article, with happy gardeners wondering “what took you so long to know that?” At a benefit for Gods Love We Deliver, which donates food to in-bound folks, the Swann Galleries presented the co-authors conservationist and gardener Amy Goldman and daguerreotype photographer, Jerry Spagnoli, of the Heirloom Harvest book.  The co-authors’ love for dirt, plants, and empathetic art made in delicate, slow motion, is a perfect read if you are way over “steamboat punk”…and ready to get with the latest moniker…”antiquarian avant-garde.”

The value of antique illustrations, prints, and photographs from places like Swann Galleries or Phyllis Lucas Gallery in NYC seems to rise the faster our culture moves and produces it’s stream of recordings.

 Read more on the public radio review of the book here.


As cute as the French expression of affection for a lover, “mon petit chou,” translated to my little cabbage, the images captured by women artists in California, such as this beauty below, opened up more past worlds.


3  Art to Collect: Emerging from the Shadows

Years ago I bought a mid-century, naive style painting of a man in a NYC apartment, I sold it, however, that puppy is surely collectible and worth mucho now.  Now if one wanted to add art poised to grow in value to their collection here’s my tip: Acquire Emerging From the Shadows: California Women Artists 1860- 1960, a set of four books by Maurine St. Gaudens from Schiffer Publishing, and study the vast range (320!) of women artists practicing their metier when a “housewife” apron was preferred over an artist smock…this will get you all savvy on this segment of valuable “emerging” art.

Below a portion of artist, Mildred Coughlin‘s 1936 lithograph, The Great Ziegfeld.  Her husband was in film in Hollywood, thus her red carpet vistas and exhibitions around the world.  I love her farmers market sketches too.

Try to Google these gals, it ain’t happening.  That’s why I say get thee to finding these works NOW and invest, invest, invest.

Movin’ through Cali…more here.


4   Mama Earth Eat, Pray, Love


I know! More books! But chocolate, bread and wine…are you listening?  My friend and eco-warrior, Simran Sethi, traveled the globe to discover the source, the slow loss, and the saving graces of our favorite foods.  Her voice is witty with the science, this is a love affair with these foods.  She’ll speak at The Open Center in NYC on April 1.

Read more here on her book, Bread, Wine, Chocolate, The Slow Loss of Foods We Love.

For more plant love:

Bouley-Botanicals-Dr. Pedre

Coming on the 19th of April, master chef David Bouley presents our client, Dr. Vincent Pedre in Bouley Botanicals’ Doctor and Chef series.  Dr. Pedre’s Happy Gut book released earlier this year outlines a 360 degree plan for gut health and delicious foods!

The evening will be an intimate dinner and discussion of diet, health and connecting with all things green and healthy.  Speaking of…have you met matcha tea?


5  coffee, you metcha matcha

I love when meeting friends at a new spot completely confuses me as to location.  If its West Village +++confusion.  I literally bumped my mobile into my friend’s mobile, right in front of our destination, Chailait, a sunny, wall of windows at the corner of W4th, 7th and Christopher.  Situated where 3 streets converge, ridiculous address! (…I’ll stop, I didn’t have my coffee yet and…)

Filled with what looked like glowing, golden yoga teachers, smart Brooklyn-ish novelists, and fringe fashion influencers, everyone took selfies of their matchas, just like I did above.  Matcha is green tea, with a high level of anti-oxidants, chlorophyll, and nutrients, the perfect coffee substitute and match for its caffeine.  Chailait was founded by my friend’s friend, she was a former Wall Streeter, who must have drunk tons of coffee.

The benefits abound, read here, and yes, below is avocado toast, the New Yorker’s must-have brunch item.  It’s so good. Find your way there!


6 Smaller footprint? How ya like 12 x 12?

12 x 12- William-Powers_

“How could humanity transition to gentler, more responsible ways of living by replacing attachment to things with deeper relationships to people, nature, and self?”

You might ask yourself this even now, without the heavy-lifting experience of William Powers, who spent a decade in human justice and conservation work around the globe, only to see the pervasive destructiveness of the world’s current systems.

Fast forward to a meeting with Dr. Jackie Benton, who was petting a bee’s wings while they first spoke, both bee and woman, supremely content.  In that moment, Powers saw that the simple life, chosen by this lady-guru living in a off the grid, 12 x12 home surrounded by carefully managed Permaculture land, and the smallest of things, had much to teach him.


Twelve by Twelve is Powers’ experience renting the house, which I read several years ago. The big takeaway for me comes as he drops his en-cultured judgements, values and assumptions in the face of something larger, whether that be others or traits in himself. The bee-wing stroking guru told him the first day:”When you see worthiness, praise it. When you see unworthiness, trace it.” (within yourself!)

New Slow City is Power’s next book where he does the same experiment, this time in a micro-apartment in NYC, exploring Slow Food, Slow Money, technology fasts, rooftop gardening and beekeeping (sounds like Slow Luxury to me!)


Speaking of this structure design of our lives and spaces:

7   it takes 100 years to make a classic


It was only 100 years ago that architect, Sherrill Whiton, set a home-study education course on interior design into the world, which became the New York School of Interior Design, (NYSID) when students began to show up on his doorstep.

It was just 50 years when that drawing to the left venerated the latest Mid-Century design of the time, now classic; and to today, the Target office interiors on the right, where those same comforts of home are now what more of our work spaces are made of.  Visit NYSID’s alumni exhibition before April 29, for the whole story on a profession that has keenly reflected and shaped culture’s conversation and identity.  This open space design, below, from Alison Irons, for the Department of Climate Change & Energy Efficiency, speaks volumes about new integrated spaces and transparency.  Now the newest frontier for an environment re-think is healthcare, thank fully!

Dept. of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

Speaking of spaces and places…

8  A New Cruise in Art Basel’s Birthplace


A 17-year partnership and creative journey comes full circle as our client, interior designer, Scott Sanders, has re-imagined one of Miami Beach’s finest Art Deco hotels, The Albion, for his clients, The Rubells, known for their visionary art-collecting, museum-founding, pioneering urban-renewal and genre-defining hotels and hospitality.

The first conversations between influential Miami art scensters about starting a Miami Art Basel fair happened, here, on the Albion’s poolside terrace.  Vital to the history and culture of Miami Beach and a very intimate, discreet haven, Sanders, re-imagined a space “where you’re hanging around in a bathing suit but everything you see is crisp and elegant. It’s all about the grand vistas and intimate privacy on a luxury cruise ship.”

From the vast main lobby to all its portholes and curve detailing, Sanders’ design begins where this 1939 classic leaves off.  More to come soon!

Talk about streamlined sailors, the Hooded Merganser ducks are back in Central Park…have you ever seen smart nautical design like this?


9 Explore Bespoke Scent + Design Immersed in Marrakech


Imagine your complete sensual immersion in the magical, mystical scents, spices, flavors, and experiences in a place that has attracted artists, free-spirits, and the international jet-set since the 60’s.   Luminaries such as Yves St. Laurent, The Beatles and Stones; beauties from Talitha Getty to Madonna and Kate Moss; and world pioneering investors such as Richard Branson, all discovered a secret, precious world.  Marrakech, Morocco.

Custom Voyage to Morocco for Website_Page_34

Custom Voyage to Morocco for Website_Page_43

For our first trip this December, Slow Luxury is proud to be partnered with Epic Road, the transformative travel company creating exceptional, mind-expansive journeys that inspire, captivate, and thrill.  A Travel & Leisure magazine A-List preferred travel specialist,  Epic Road offers immersive and socially conscious experiences from luxury safaris tagging and helping to save the rhino population to honeymoons in Africa, the Indian Ocean, Asia, the Arctic, and Antarctica that combine the planet’s great adventures with thought-provoking experiences related to humanitarian and conservation initiatives.

Join master perfumer, Maria McElroy to create your own scent with the world’s finest oils and discover design treasures with myself, Jade Dressler, a design lover, writer and presenter along with some super denizens of this precious city.  For more information go here to our Slow Luxury site.

Until then, enjoy Spring’s flowers, wherever you are, perhaps in Paris, this image below by Aimee Song, inspired for the flowers and the python shoes.  Pardon my little personal, romantic memory involving Paris, flowers and python shoes…but hey, that pleasure repeat is what we crave come Spring!


Here in my own neighborhood, the tulips will soon blush Park Avenue…


Here’s to all the beauty, joy, freedom, deep breaths, and compassion of gentler Spring crossing your paths this season!




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