Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Glamor Lives On

Sometimes I think to myself, "What am I doing in France? What have I been doing lately?"  The weeks seem to pass quickly in a mostly pleasant routine, focused largely on anticipating every weekend when Mr. Oil is around to co-parent during the day.  I mean, and do cool stuff around Paris.  The glamor lives on, I tell you.

This week, I didn't have much in the way of work but I still had my nanny, so I took advantage of rare guilt-free free time to indulge in a few new Parisian hobbies of mine.   The first is my continuing, yet still surprising to me, obsession with perfume.  I have smelled a lot of really excellent perfumes this week.  But the perfume hunt segued into another new hobby, which is going to sound a bit odd but just go with it - watching really rich people shop.

I'm unused to the world of true luxury goods that is in its prime here in Paris.  So I'm also unused to the idea that people actually have so much disposable income that they would drop 10,000 euros on a handbag.  I'm not naive about this stuff - though I did grow up in Portland, Oregon and I'm not sure anyone in Portland has ever owned an Hermes bag - but it is something else to see, day after day, droves of people waiting in line to spend large amounts of money on wallets, purses, scarves, and yes, even perfume. And just to clarify - I'm not envious of these shoppers and their purchases.  Really. It's just a kind of fascination.

Unleashing the hidden stalker in me, I went to the Hermes on Rue Faubourg-St Honore the other day, and learned a few interesting things.  One, Hermes sells furniture. Like a 23,000 Euro writing desk.  Also, they sell what may well be the world's most expensive beach towels.  780 Euros.  And you know what - they are not even that soft.  I think I could do better at Target, and then I can iron-on some letters that say "Hermes."   Second interesting thing - people bring itemized lists. Of things they want.  I saw this both at Hermes and Louis Vuitton.  I'm guessing they may be buying for other people, or for what certainly must be an intense black market of luxury goods in Asia.

Koala towel from Hermes. $800.

Flamingo towel from Target. $14.99

Today I learned that the only thing better than luxury brands recognizable the world over are luxury brands that aren't as well known.  Presumably, the "true" wealthy shop there. Louis Vuitton is so common, you know.  My example here is Loewe on rue Montaigne.  Now, Loewe is not actually a French store.  It's Spanish, with a proud heritage dating back to 1846.  Primarily a leather goods company, they make beautiful, non-flashy purses, bags, wallets, etc.
If you ever want to buy me a 400 euro gift, please buy me a wallet from Loewe. So pretty. And honestly feels like butter.

Naturally, they also make an array of leather clothing, including jackets but also dresses, skirts, and shirts. 
I've been looking everywhere for a leather dress!

I also finally was brave enough to snap a photo of Asian tourists stocking up.  This couple was leafing through the catalog, and waiting for an employee to bring them certain items.  I finally realized they also had printed out photos of particular items.  Plus, they already had their requisite Dior and Louis Vuitton bags.  So you know they mean business.
Seriously, I'm kind of a stalker. Or a luxury voyeur.
It was a day of sunshine here today - bitterly cold, but the sun was shining.  I was really enjoying the reflections of classic Parisian buildings and monuments like Place Vendome in the doors and windows as I walked by, and snapped a few pics.

See? The glamor lives on.

PS.  You can spell glamor with or without a "u".  I'm American. We don't do extra "u"s.   In case you were wondering. Which at least one person was.