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Posts Tagged ‘designer brands’

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Manolo Blahnik, 1974

… everything that he did was to do with expressing himself. It was really only from his interest and passion that he dressed like that. He didn’t look like anyone else at that time because it was the time of hippies … and there he was like a creature from a completely different century. 

Penelope Tree, British former fashion model and friend of Manolo Blahnik.

This quote is from an interview with Ms. Tree in the documentary film, Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards.  She worked with Blahnik in London back in his early career. He initially wanted to be a fashion designer, but when he showed his illustrations to then US Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, she encouraged him to design shoes.

Evidently. Blahnik liked his clothes and he was very particular. A man of taste, he insisted on well-tailored suits made of quality fabric in unique patterns. As Ms. Tree points out, he was wearing suits and more tailored clothing in an era when trends called for t-shirts and jeans. Today he’s still a dapper fella, sporting suits and bow ties.

I love a fashionable rebel!

 

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My necklace is Tiffany. My jacket is Juicy Couture. My purse is Louis Vuitton and my shoes are Ugg. 

Anonymous.

Picture an 8-year-old girl saying this to me, a reporter, at a store grand opening in Downtown San Francisco. The place is packed with slick well-clad people standing in clusters sipping champagne and saying “no” to the hors d’oeuvres offered on trays by silent waitstaff.

It was circa 2009 when I was covering such events for the Nob Hill Gazette and the now defunct 944 magazine  A media savvy mother introduced her daughter to me and the youngster immediately launched into her spiel in a sign-song little voice that still rings in my ears. I didn’t even have the chance to say hello. This fashionista knew what to say and do. After listing the brands she struck a pose. Hand on waist, head tilted and sporting a wide grin she stood as still as a stone sculpture waiting for me to take her photo.

My first thought was – a little girl is carrying a Louis Vuitton?! Wearing the wardrobe and speaking the speak of a grown woman, she was at once charming and surreal.

This is just one of many memorable experiences I had during a two year period that I call The Fling, when, as a member of the press I attended openings, parties, and other events hosted by SF socialites. It was a fun and a bewildering period of my writing life that left me with many an interesting story to tell. And a few not to tell.

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qKBCeTOLKJwC… as luxury became available to the mass market, the more luxury became devalued. It was a sign of status not to have an expensive bag, but a new expensive bag every season. The notion that luxury items endure was abolished. Status came from being able to discard luxury goods as if they were high street. What was left of real worth was either the difficult to obtain (the Hermes waiting list) or the ostentatiously, obtrusively flashy, such as Cate Blanchett’s $100,000 stolen bag with the black pave diamonds.  

Linda Grant, British author. Quote from The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasure of Shopping and Why Clothes Matter, (Scribner, 2010).

This quote reminds me of a recent trip to the Dollar Store. I was standing in the checkout line behind a woman who was dressed in unbranded shorts and sneakers. Dangling from her wrist was a thin Louis Vutton  pouch. As we stood together in this slow-moving line, I began to wonder if it was the real thing or a fake. Would this woman spend over $600 on a small piece of luxury? Would a woman who can afford such a splurge bother waiting in a long line at the Dollar Store?

louis-vuitton-daily-pouch-monogram-small-leather-goods--M62048_PM2_Front viewThese days who knows. Maybe it was a gift. Or she saved up. Or she bought it second hand. Or maybe she’s loaded and enjoys bargains like the rest of us, so she’s willing to shop at the Dollar Store.

Lucky for me, since I can’t afford it anyway, I’ve never been attracted to branded luxury. Although I appreciate the quality of a Chanel or a Hermes or a Louis Vutton, I prefer my own monogram. Plus, I’m not going to spend that kind of money on something that someone else might assume is a fake. Ms. Grant is right, luxury has been devalued. What used to be aspirational is now achievable.

I find luxury in quality and uniqueness. I don’t want what everybody else has – real or fake.

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