Update October 20:
Charlie was there and has a slew of lovely shots from the night; check them out.
Ever since I first heard about the design walks that downtown Charleston started a few years ago, I held certain contempt for the idea as a whole. That was until I went to Lesesne during last night's walk.
The boutique shop is right next to the now defunct B'Zar, there I found that good business owners valued the customer (albeit perspective, but customer nonetheless), and not their self-image as I once thought.
Read more stories on this subject in our King Street topic page.The mother-daughter duo was nothing but cordial to everyone that entered their place of business. "Would you like a glass of wine?" one would say -- keeping in mind that the quickest way to a Charlestonian's heart is through his/her drinking habits. "Thank you very much!" I would always respond. After that, cliché intended, the rest was history.
Yet, I digress. Last night's establishment of the hour was definitely Seeking Indigo and its yogi-friendly companion, Sprout. The post-flower-child generation was definitely in attendance and much of Seeking Indigo's décor was very reminiscent of Putumayo's almost to a point where I felt like I was being punk'd. Sadly, Ashton Kutcher was nowhere to be found.
This newly acquired space and theme will undoubtedly serve its desired purpose in the peninsular Charleston area as a sort of "ashram" for the overworked and underappreciated, but well-to-do, among us.
People seemed very enamored by Siematic, a dealer of high-end kitchenware and accents, with its seemingly raffled, coffee table books and expensive-looking BMW motorcycles, but in an economy that's being priding itself on its instability as of late, their display of decadence seemed hard a hard time of escaping the notion of excess in a time of simplicity.
In the end, the Upper King District Design Walk was everything that everyone, including myself, expected it to be: an opportunity for boutique-style businesses to be noticed by an affluent group of individuals with free wine and hors d'oeuvres in hand. There was a bit of promise, though. Upper King business owners seem to be realizing that there is more to entrepreneurship then just a revamped look or laser-light display.
A quick bit of eavesdropping throughout the night brought me to the conclusion that this year's walk was rather short on attendance compared to previous walks. "Where is everyone?" one seasoned, art walk pro asked.
With the closing of well-known businesses left and right over the past several months, it's no wonder walkers felt like they were trekking through uncharted territory.
You can take a look at photos from last night's event on TheDigitel's flickr page.
Editors note: You can catch more pictures and comments by Brian on his Twitter stream, @GQBound. Be forewarned, it's not always for the feint of heart.