Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fashion Fatigue

Is it possible to be just sick and tired of shopping? I started off this blog by mentioning how in the past five years I've allowed myself to indulge in whatever designer bags catch my fancy. I believe some of my friends even thought me strange, going through a retail addiction phase so manic they could not relate anymore. As you grow up internally as a person, and allow yourself more luxurious options in life, there is also the general rift that can come with hanging out with your friends who may think you un-wise and wasteful, shallow or pretentious, especially if there is a significant income level between you and the others. This is why friendships are best when money is not of particular focus.

But I digress. For years, the Louis Vuitton obsession took over me like a druggie. I bought into the Marc Jacobs fantasy like a born-again Christian, frenetic in my chase of the next limited collaboration. More often than not, I got really good at keeping track of the newest items that didn't even show up in their customer service's computer database yet. So I would call back, or ask to be added to some waiting list. By the way, one thing I've learned is that the waiting list is open to everyone. The idea of VIP depends on who you ask. A local SA may not know me from Joe Schmoe, so maybe I won't get my ass kissed as much, but I have in my collection enough of a variety of limited pieces that if I had any sense, I'd sell it all so I can easily buy a new car and maybe put down enough to almost pay it in full. A car, or a closet full of unused purses? Which one would you choose?

So even though I started this blog only about a week ago, I have to admit that I'm now experiencing shopper's fatigue. I buy fashion magazines by the truckload, and am almost a bit tired of the mimicry that shows up in all of these glossy pages. Everyone gushes over the same designers. If I could paint a clear metaphor of what a fashion magazine is, it's that it's the equivalent of the high school newspaper, and all the popular people made it into the pages.

And what is luxury, anyways? Is it the materials, the design, the length of time it takes to create the creation? I grew up making a lot of jewelry. I have had compliments paid to a bracelet I made while shopping at Saks. If I had been smarter, I would have sold them on it and tried to get a buyer to look at it, but I wasn't business-savvy enough. When LV tried to sell their canvas bag with their logo in beads, I loved it, but could not substantiate the price in my mind, no matter how high the LV myth was elevated in my mind. Something told me that if I spent enough weekends sitting with glass beads purchased from A.C. Moore, I could do the same with my own initials, and aren't custom items more of a luxury than a mass-produced item? How blurred are the lines between luxury and DIY?

The last two handbags I purchased were both limited pieces. While on a business trip in Las Vegas, I wandered into the LV store there, and besotted, I purchased the LV Monogram Dentelle Batignolles Horizontal, with the lace in silver. I lugged it through the airport in its box, not ready to use it just yet, and now that I'm back home, I've used it just ONCE. It's not because I don't think it's fabulous, and I definitely would not sell it, but I can't think of when to use it. I work in the boonies, so no one at work even cares or appreciates designer pieces. So it sits in my living room, untouched. I really should put it back in its drawstring bag, but if I don't keep it out, I might forget that I even own it.

The other bag I bought was also one of those "If I get it, great, if not, that's ok, too" purchases. I first saw this Montaigne purse in Bottega Veneta's spring 07 campaign. Loved it!!! I pre-ordered it on the website, and was told it may or may not be available, because it was SOooo limited. So months later, after I had even forgotten that I had pre-ordered it, I get an email from the SA that it was available. Did I still want it? Of course I said yes. It arrived in all it's girly pink glory, the leather so soft, the bag as romantic as the advertising promised. I pictured myself using it on bright sunny days, when I went shopping or brunch with the girls. But I never did. I have NEVER used it. The rainy spring and unpredictable weather of summer prevented me from wanting to leave the house with it. I didn't want it to be ruined; it was so pretty! So now it sits unused, in my bedroom waiting for that perfect moment when I can expose it to the (kind) elements. Will it ever be utilized?

Since my BV purchase, I have not bought another designer purse. I've been buying cotton shoppers, which are lighter to carry, and I've been drifting back to my classic LVs, and not the ones covered with cartoons or other limited accoutrements, which was such a draw for me in the first place. The last few things I've purchased were 2 Proenza Schouler for Target suede clutches, a Devi Kroell for Target faux-python clutch, and 2 faux-leather Simply Vera (Vera Wang for Kohl's) bags. Yes, I'm going cheapskate here, but still getting the designer touch.

I would really like a black BV; I find that might be more useful for everyday use, where if the leather is scuffed, at least I can't see it, and there's something very confident in myself to not carry a bag that has logos and instant recognizability all over it. But I don't feel compelled to go out and buy one right now. I got the Gucci catalog in the mail the other day. I only own one Gucci purse, and I got a lot of use out of that bag (and a lot of compliments), but the new Gucci designs seemed redundant, desperate, and not very mind-blowing. Plexiglass on leather? I obviously DON'T need another purse when I have new ones that I have never used. And plenty uses out of the cheaper bags.

So you may see more posts from me pining for the latest fashions. But will I be buying anything? Maybe I just need a break from all of this retail therapy.

Louis Vuitton That's Love Canvas Tote - $1,720

Louis Vuitton Monogram Dentelle Speedy - $1,420 (a cheaper alternative to the $1,720 for the Batignolles Horizontal)

Bottega Veneta Montaigne - $1,980 (brown for fall, but inquire for other colors)

Target (for the latest GO deals)

Kohl's (for the latest Simply Vera deals)

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