It’s as if everyone is drinking the otherworldly Kool-Aid, and the resulting synergy is one with mile-long marketing legs. In July Chicago’s Ruby Room spiritual spa, where services range from Intuitive Numerotherapy and Crystalssage to more mundane brow tweezes and highlights, acquired the rights to Chicago Fashion Week. “We’re giving the concept a bit more soul in terms of sponsors, designers and people that we attract,” says owner Kate Leydon. “We’ll be aligning with all intuitively conscious businesses.” But, she adds, “not in a way that’s hippie-dippy-do.”
There’s no denying that the New Age stereotype of yore, in which a serene aura was typically Birkenstock-shod, has given way to a more glam approach. Exhibit A: Madonna. (Or Christy Turlington Burns, an Astarabadi client.) Exhibit B: the spate of spiritually minded jewelers.
“I have a weakness for luxury,” says Perlota designer Sophie Pendleton, a former stylist for such glossies as Madame Figaro and Spanish Elle. “I like nice things. I like beautiful things. I don’t want to deny that.” Still, that doesn’t stop the current Singapore resident from pitching her sleek fine jewelry wares as magical charms with a little Age of Aquarius kick. Her pieces have names like Alchemy and Pentacle, and she chooses gemstones for their alleged healing properties. “You feel their vibrations,” she says, “and they really balance your mood and emotions.” Ditto for Raphaele Canot at De Beers. This summer the creative director added an Amulets collection, based on primitive masks, to the company’s Talisman line, which features rough-cut diamonds. “I went back to the meaning of the diamond in history,” Canot says. “It has this very deep talismanic dimension.”
Melissa Joy Manning, whose work incorporates found objects like Nepalese yogi charms, recalls one customer who rushed back to her studio hours after buying a bear-claw necklace because “it made her heart race when she wore it.” As for Manning’s stone creations, she notes that her designs have open backs. “If you buy a sapphire ring and it has a closed back,” she explains, “the energy doesn’t flow. You aren’t a vessel for it.”
Jewelers Ana Reign and Catherine Michiels go a step further. Reign, a graduate of San Francisco’s World School of Massage and Holistic Healing Arts, burns sage incense over her pieces “to clean out any negative energy.” In addition, she dips her crystals in sea salt and performs Reiki, the art of healing with the hands, over them. Key clients get an even bigger bonus: Reign works with a local Russian gypsy named Lolita, who’ll boost her designs with, say, antiallergy or postdivorce get-through-it vibes.
Michiels also enhances her collection of charm bracelets and necklaces—not to mention wedding rings and handbags—with Reiki magic. “But I don’t want to promote it as, Oh, I’m the woman with the light in her hands,” she says. “I don’t want to sound like this New Age freak. This is jewelry. I’m not the earth-mama type wearing clogs or anything.”