As a high school pre-graduation gift, my parents gave me a trip to France. I went during Spring Break with my best friend, and we stayed part of the time in Nice with the families of our exchange students from the previous year. On a whim, we rode up the Cote D’Azur on the backs of our friends’ motorbikes and stopped in Cannes for lunch. While my friends were hanging out near the water I spotted the Chanel boutique and marched right in, too ignorant to be intimidated. At the time I was obsessed with wearing silk scarves wrapped tightly around my neck and decided that I absolutely needed a classic foulard from Chanel. I walked out with a shopping bag, a luxurious box exquisitely tied with embossed ribbon and inside, a creamy square of perfection featuring gardenias and a grass-green logo. My mother was irate, even though this was pre-European Union and the exchange rate pretty good, but I had no regrets. Without ever having heard the term “aspirational luxury”, I knew in my heart that this purchase wasn’t about the price tag, it was about owning something precious, co-opting just a little bit of the magic of Chanel.

Fast-forward nearly twenty years, and I’m still referencing that anecdote when I think about establishing an image and voice for a client, how to re-create that thrill, that ultimate engagement between customer and brand. I’m passionate about beautiful things and the stories behind them, so it’s not surprising that I’ve developed an expertise in helping luxury brands talk to audiences in a way that creates a connection and a desire to co-opt that same look and feel.

And yes, I still have that stunning gardenia foulard in pristine condition, along with the original packaging. It serves as a reminder that while the business of fashion and luxury goods can be cutthroat and all about the bottom line, it can also create the kind of beauty that inspires dreams and careers.   

Above is a photo of the infamous scarf, along with some other images that inspire me on a day-to-day basis....