"Every arrival [to the Fabergé shop in the late 1800s, early 1900s] was reason enough for a state occasion. Sleighs noiselessly deposited their loads. By some quickened footstep, half-waltz, half-slide, the door-keeper raced the customer to reach the inner door, and always succeeded in getthing there first. It was the prelude to what was to take place inside.
Of the interior, one can only say there was nothing much of style about it, there was no scheme of decoration sufficient to distract from the purpose for which the room had been planned, namely to sell the wares of Fabergé. Imagine a straight line from the clock down the centre of the room, allot the portion on the right of this, as you look at the picture, to articles of jewellery and that on the left to articles of fantasy and you have the room divided for its work.
The rattle of the door has been heard and up jumps Carl Gustavovitch and takes a peep from behind the partition, to see who is coming in. He inclines his head and takes the proffered hand across the counter. One or two words of greeting, a joke maybe; the customer gives some indications what he wants— a flower, perhaps... The Craftsman turns about (he is standing just to the left of the clock as you look at it), slides opened a mirrored door, thinks a moment and takes out two white holly-wood boxes.
These he places on the counter with the catch towards the customer. He opens one and waits a moment. He opens the other and waits again... When surprise— which is the alpha and omega of everything that is 'Fabergé' — has been overcome, so far as is possible with the flowers nested in their boxes, and the customer has noted the fixed prices on the tickets, the Craftsman lifts from out of its box the flower which appears to attract the customer. He holds it poised on the tips of his fingers and just far enough from his body to gain the full effect of exhibition, and his hand becomes the fulcrum for display, first to the right and slowly back again. " from Peter Carl Faberge by Henry Charles Bainbridge
An enchanting description, right? I've been thinking a lot about the experience of purchasing lately, and so, working on my own packaging. As a consumer, you're always told that in the end, it's the product that counts, and of course this is true on some levels, but there's something to be said for that magical fuzzy feeling of receiving something that's just beautifully wrapped and presented. And, no matter how many times I'm warned against "paying for the packaging," (as if this is morally reprehensible?), if I can be completely honest here — I'm okay paying for it.
The art of living "well", if that's something that matters to you, is often times (for a non-Rockefeller, at least) an exercise in living better than your means should afford you. Enter the practical necessity of knowing where to buy, and how to recognize, things of quality and style when they're divorced from the bells and whistles of their packaging and presented in unsavory contexts (thrift shopping, prime example). It's made my life a whole lot more stylish than it should rightfully be.
But sometimes, it's nice to throw caution (and wallet) to the wind and indulge in the whole experience, packaging and all. After all, how much fun would Ladurée macarons be without the gilded lattice?
Bag and body harness from (IN)DECOROUS TASTE.