THE HEALER IS IN: Giving the wellness trend another dimension, guests at MZ Wallace’s SoHo store in Manhattan on Tuesday night were encouraged to realign their energy. While some shoppers milled around, trying on the small Camo Metro totes, Thompson Satchels and other bags from the collection, 40 tried out a little reiki. The event’s resident reiki practioner Mark Connolly was a familiar face to several in the room. “This is my coming out as a healer,” Connolly said.
Four years after exiting Condé Nast Traveler as style director, Connolly has built a loyal following as a reiki practitioner and intuitive counselor. Lucy Wallace Eustice, who started MZ Wallace with Monica Zwirner in 2000, was in the mix. For an added punch Tuesday night, Connolly gave guests a sampling of energy balancing with the ancient art of aromatherapy, such as Victorian Hedgerow. “It reminds me of walking through an enchanted old English country garden after a summer rainfall, and everything smells of damp earth and moss with that sweet, pungent country flower smell. That one is [meant to be] very soothing, calming and uplifting,” he said. Blending different essences and oils, Connolly said he would suddenly get a whiff of Angkor Wat in Cambodia or a spice market in Thailand from his journeyman days at Condé Nast. “For 20 years, they paid for me to see the world so I have very fond memories of places that are often via aroma. I started to blend things together to match a memory because I think a lot of us have associated memories with aroma.”
His post-Condé Nast pursuits included yoga, meditation, shamanic counseling, shamanic soul retrieval, five ayahuasca journeys, past life clearing, psychic training in New Jersey and sound vibration classes. Expecting to wind up teaching some sort of high-powered yoga class for fashion people, Connolly laughed, “I thought my temperament would take me in that direction. I was caught off-guard that it was the most Zen, most calm and, in a sense, the most passive discipline that I decided on.”
Interest was so high that Connolly wound up staying for an extra hour. “That was my first go and it was a bigger success than I thought, to be honest. I loved the fact that people were so willing to try it. Not everybody knows what reiki is and some people are a bit put off by energy and whatever. This shows that people are much more willing to try it and that things are moving in that direction,” he said. “It wasn’t done so much to sell, more as a client gift. But I know they wound up selling a lot.”
Keen to work with other fashion and accessories companies, or for pop-ups, Connolly said, “As fashion is moving more into wellness, consciousness and mindfulness, it is the perfect event for creating spaces, aroma spaces and treatments as well. It’s also very flexible. There’s a lot that can be done with it.”