Feldspar Soap Dish


At present, the trend in retail is towards experiences, of body, mind, wallet and soul.

Shops or stores, as we are meant to call them, which push the boundaries of conceptual consumption. 

Giant video screens, reminding me that I’ll be top boy, running things, thumbing my nose at the man, if I sling a large luxury group bag over that shoulder. 

Gizmos, digital envelopment, and confusion.

Because they all forget that the best shops, those places you actually want to spend money on things you don’t really need, but really want, are shops in which, if you had to, you could live, places you’d move in to, hunker down to sleep and pad the corridors at night looking for the fridge.

It’s the scent, the comfort, the chat or if I wish to be my grumpy teenage self, lack of.

So, shops, houses, easy, Connolly, Clifford Street, yup, I mean come on! Anderson & Sheppard Haberdashery and Bespoke, well that’s my country and town house right there. 

Then there is Alex Eagle the store, previously town-housing on Walton Street, now a temple of chic on Lexington. 

Now there, yeah, I’d happily live. I wouldn’t need to take up too much room, just plonk me in the corner and I’d be content.

Of course, this shops as houses things only works, if the goods are up to scratch. Now, it’s easy to be flash, to throw money at a problem and end up with a store interior and stock which not only looks a bit Smethwick’s but caters for that crowd too.

The trick is to be able to stock high and low. Connolly and A&S do this well, there is a breadth of stock and price points, all hitting the same level of quality. 

Alex Eagle does it too. A shop which I think endeavours to find what’s good, what’s great and to showcase it in a look, touch and buy way.

I’m perhaps not the target customer for the clothing, so I’ll leave that, but the interiors and household goods, manage to avoid the genuflection and liberal holy water sprinkling required when entering many interior stores. 

You won’t always leave with a Ben Kelly column, Benchmark table or Sottsass mirror, although I know where I’d put them all, but you probably will leave with something. It may be small, it will always be right for what it is. Because there is a purpose behind the items stocked, whether practical or decorative. 

This time, a solution, to a new problem of my own. We as a household have returned to proper soap. Now gone are those bottles plastically un-proud, to be replaced by bars of what until recently was viewed as dated. This is the future, returning to the past.

As with all of my solutions, it requires equipment. In this case soap dishes, to prevent the re-remembered struggle to extract the soap from the sink side. The equipment search was a tricky one, nothing really looked right and forgive me but that is important. 

Tricky, until I popped into Alex Eagle and bought the simple Feldspar soap dish. Designed in Devon and made in Stoke, English fine bone china, finely traced edges, and taller than expected ridges, tipped with blue, and my favourite of all good china, that roughly smooth bottom.