PIZZAZZ – Luxury

By Kathleen Mailliard Solmssen

San Francisco – California

Photograph by Peter Solmssen. San Francisco





Peter Solmssen. San Francisco



And That’s PIZZAZZ





When I dream about luxury triple-ply cashmere and French champagne a story about both of these dreamy items comes to mind.  A fashion magazine editor once asked Diane von Furstenberg, “What is one thing you always take along on every trip?”  She replied, “Without question, my tiny cashmere pillow.  It travels with me everywhere”.


Immediately, with a combination of confidence and fear, I went to my wardrobe and pulled aside a holey cashmere sweater with those wonderful truffled sleeves.  I cut pieces from the front and back, stuffed it like a Christmas goose, and glued the edges together.  Now, I too, never leave home without my “Diane Travel Pillow”.


One sunny Sunday as guests settled around our terrace overlooking one of California’s gorgeous waterways, I served brunch (of course in my Chanel ballet slippers) to owners of a caviar company, a winery, and a supper club.  Chilled to castle temperature, I poured everyone a flute of French bubbles while my husband and I sipped on a fantastically inexpensive Bellini cocktail.  The curious became more curious.  Ah yes.  And ultimately? Every guest switched from their French champagne for a bit of belissima.


CHOICE is luxury.  No concern for price or availability.  No matter what.  If you want it, you can get it.  Leaving the EGO out:  freedom and pure pleasure is luxury.  While some is earned, others inherit and the taste levels vary greatly.


Back in the day, artists traded their art for favors.  I have a friend in New York City who traded his photography for art.  Picasso traded with him.  Knowing I had the blessings of the photographer, just running my fingers up and down and around those paintings was pure luxury.  Slipping into a bathtub filled with an entire bottle of English bath oil is heavenly luxury and sipping tea over conversation for hours with a dear friend are just a few luxuries that fill the memories and scrapbooks of my heart.


Then there is the other side of money:  giving it away.  Big time.  In other words, philanthropy.  No matter how much “dough-ray-me” you have, giving away a good-sized slice of it can either hurt or feel fantastic.  Whenever I give away a chunk of change, I feel like I’ve just had a marvelous massage.  When worry can be out of the equation and replaced with wonder, now you are talking luxury!  Don’t get me wrong, I love top-of-the-line yachts, furs (vintage of course) precious jewels, top-drawer vacations and cognac served in rock crystal snifters, but simple pleasures are luxuries that last forever and indeed luxuries that no amount of money can buy.


Now that’s PIZZAZ.


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