The LA Times recently let iconic designer Philippe Stark loose on a shopping spree to the thrift store chain Big Lots to find out his take on living elegantly and economically. Once in the store, Stark grabbed a cart and said “We shall see. Give me 20 minutes.”
Stark roamed the aisels of the store packed with closeout merchandise on a mission to find items that caught his eye but also reflected his embrace of sensible consumerism by selecting quality over quantity.
“You must be very rigorous,” he says, sifting through discounted wares in search of the gems. “Try to find the essence, the most iconic or simple representation of a thing. Look for the bowl that looks most like a bowl. That means we must avoid colors and patterns, and everything that can be trendy.”
Stark quickly pulled together a ‘Scandinavian style’ place setting. Mixing a silver charger, white dish, and a black plate. He added a glass tumbler bringing the total cost to $5.50. For utensils he found a 42-piece set for $25. He commented that on a white table cloth, the setting is flawless.
Over in the childrens area, Stark is happy to see a large selection of art supplies and furniture for kids. He grabs a folding table and chairs, sidewalk chalk, a 240-piece paint and marker set, packs of pencils, and a ream of paper in the color he calls “Prada green”. All of this for less than $50.
“In a crisis, we have to think about our children and especially push their creativity,” he says. “If capitalism is failing because it is a selfish system, we can teach them to reinvent society so that it is based on sharing.”