celebrity shopping

My Family Made Me Buy It

Eleven dynastic lineages — from the Spielbergs to the Wahlbergs — share items purchased en famille.

Illustration: by Maxime Gérin
Illustration: by Maxime Gérin

After Lucas Zwirner told us about the Swiss shampoo his art-dealing father, David, hooked multiple generations of Zwirners on, we wanted to know what sorts of other things dynastic lineages have taught relatives to buy again and again. A lot of our shopping habits develop this way, we realized — like recipes, they’re passed down from generation to generation. Below, Zwirner and members of ten other particularly interesting clans — from the (Christopher “Biggie”) Wallaces to the Spielbergs — tell us about the things they buy because their families always have.

Wahlberg men prefer these ever-cool sneakers

Illustration: Maxime Gérin

“Me and my dad, Donnie, share a love of sneakers. Nike Air Jordan 1s (from $100) are an essential in our rotation. They’re timeless, and the silhouette is just cool. I have borrowed my dad’s — sometimes I need to put on two pairs of socks to wear his, depending on the size. My uncle Mark is also a huge fan. My dad, he, and I are always dressed the best. Effortlessly, too — we don’t try hard. But there’s an unspoken rule that we will never be caught twinning in the sneakers.” —Elijah Wahlberg

The Haim clan’s go-to blister beater

Photo: Joe Lingeman

“On the weekends, our mom and dad would play for hours in a couples cover band. During rehearsals, they would always apply Krazy Glue to cover any blisters. After seeing them do it for so long, we’ve adopted the practice so we can finish our set even when we have blisters.” —Este, Alana, and Danielle Haim

Three generations of Millers (including Susan) learned astrology from this book

“My mother, Susan, learned astrology from her mother as a young girl. My grandmother taught her using The New A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator, by Llewellyn George. My sister and I now both have copies. While we know bits and pieces about astrology, we are not even close to our mother’s skill, but we continue to learn from the book. My mom told me that there is a newer version, which she says is not as good. But you can still get the better out-of-print one secondhand.” —Chrissie Miller

Morgan family antique linens can only be washed with this detergent

Illustration: Maxime Gérin

“Through my marriage to the Morgan family, I learned how to maintain antique linens that have been in the family for over a hundred years: Amway Home SA8 powder laundry detergent. It’s ideal for our heirlooms, each of which has a red embroidered number in the corner: 1/100, 2/100, and so forth. It preserves the life of fine linens and won’t harm the pipes in your home. I live in a townhouse in New York City, so that is a concern. The detergent is formulated with a natural ­water-softener agent, so it leaves linens soft. It’s great for napkins, towels, and robes as well. Especially whites.” —Sonja Tremont Adams Morgan

The Jamaican pepper sauce beloved by Biggie Smalls (and his grandma; his mom; and Faith Evans and their son, C.J.)

“Our family’s love of Jamaican food started with my great-grandmother Gigi, who lived there. And for us, Caribbean Sunshine Jamaican Scotch bonnet pepper sauce is a staple. From my dad’s mom, to my mom, to my sisters and brother, it’s a go-to whenever we crave a Jamaican-food hit.” —C. J. Wallace

The chile paste Kimora Lee Simmons taught daughters Ming and Aoki to keep in a purse

Illustration: Maxime Gérin

“My daughters and I love sambal oelek, a rich chile paste that pairs well with almost anything. In general, we love Asian condiments in this family, particularly the ones that pack heat. It would not be a surprise to find a jar in my purse.” —Kimora Lee Simmons

The specific ball the Kalmans bounce to get inspired

“This family has always found inspiration by bouncing a ball. It can help empty the brain. And emptying the brain can lead to better ideas. My mom Maira’s preferred method is throwing it against the wall above her bed. Things are occasionally broken, but only rarely. When my dad, Tibor, was a little boy in Budapest, he would toss a ball back and forth with his father. Over the years, the pink Spalding High-Bounce Balls have become a favorite. They can be used alone or with family and friends.” —Alex Kalman

The scent you can smell on every Spielberg

Illustration: Maxime Gérin

“Torn by Henry Rose is what my mom wears. My sisters and I have always raided her closet. The two youngest: her shoes and makeup. The eldest: her jewelry. Me: her perfumes. But Torn is something all four of us will steal. You never know who is filling the kitchen with its vetiver-and-vanilla scent. My mom is incredibly affectionate, so you could say the scent was already rubbing off on us, literally, before we started using it.” —Sasha Spielberg

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Everyone in the art-dealing Zwirner family uses this Swiss shampoo

“Rausch shampoo has been a staple in Zwirner-family bathrooms for years. I suspect it originated with my grandfather Rudolf, who is responsible for many of the more European conventions my siblings and I adopted as children (like bathing nude, even at American beaches). But it was my father, David, who passed the habit of using Rausch on to us kids. It works for everyone. My father still uses it. My sisters, Marlene and Johanna, use it. Boyfriends and girlfriends who started buying it because our family uses it have kept on with Rausch long after those relationships ended. Every few years, whenever one of us is in Germany or France, we buy a whole carton and bring it back in our luggage so we can distribute bottles to the rest of the family. That works because a bottle could last a year or more — you need so little of this stuff to get your hair clean. Recently, my father got a new carton and proudly told us he thought it would last him the rest of his life.” —Lucas Zwirner

Photo: Maxime Gérin

“My family has been tie-dyeing for years. I grew up doing it. You know when you put something red in the white wash by accident and it dyes everything pink? My mom always did that. But instead of getting rid of things when it happened, we would just tie-dye them. I’m pretty good at tie-dye, but my mom is really good. And Dylon is the best. I recently used it to dye a rug. It was white and looking a little worse for wear, so I dyed it purple. I’ve also tie-dyed bits of chiffon to make scarves and T-shirts that I give as gifts — including to my mom.” —Georgia May Jagger