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6 posts categorized "Frills"

September 05, 2008

Style & Luxury fashion is and isn't (purely) about money

What is luxury? More specifically, what is a luxury product? A luxury product is something that most people cannot readily afford. It’s that simple but there is more. A luxury item is an item that doesn’t cost the earth to manufacture, but has other costs factored into the product. If you take any luxury label, and you assess everything, from magazine marketing campaigns (advertising) to the rents it pays across the world - to occupy space in a department store to the building it uses as a ‘boutique’, the costs are astronomical. Then you factor in the behind the scenes marketing costs: photographers, models (in many cases known public personalities), makeup artists, wardrobe stylists, and you have more expenses, so a luxury item, like a Louis Vuitton product has all these prices factored into the retail price. Although the quality may seem superior, the materials are usually similar to what you will buy elsewhere.

My simplest example is a Napa leather Oroton handbag that I recently bought at an Oroton outlet. The bag is black (goes with everything), it’s a good size and it has a classic design (that really doesn’t go out of style) but it is out of season (for the label) and it was sold in their outlet store for $175 dollars. However, its retail price was $325.00. Now I know that the company will earn a profit from the $175.00. Companies make sure that the cost is accounted for, which means that this bag must have cost less than fifty dollars to manufacture. In other words, how much (raw cost price) are other luxury items? I guess it’s more obvious to state the obvious - people tend to pay more for a name than the ‘real’ cost, and no, I don’t really care for the excuses: ‘but it’s SUPERIOR quality,’ excuses that may as well be hinged with, ‘it was constructed from the hand of God himself.’ Sorry but I don’t buy it. I’ve known people who have worked in the rag and fashion trade to know that wholesale prices are low and that the manufacturing costs are even lower; products enter the boutique with mind boggling prices. Take a fashion and accessories label like Coach. I don’t care that it’s been around since 1941. Who cares? But its products aren’t made in the US of A, they’re made in Asian countries. How much do you think they pay the workers? Let’s take a cheaper item from their catalogue, something that is priced at $98.00 (US). Factor in advertising, rents (around the world for stores because all these luxury boutiques don’t own their buildings outright), marketing campaigns (photographers to models to makeup artists), how much do you think that  product is to make before it enters the store? Less than twenty dollars? Less than thirty dollars? Most likely.

Thus, luxury to me, is all about presenting an image. The buyer is a person that associates luxury products with status, and in most cases, many buyers are tacky; money doesn’t buy class, nor does it buy decorum. Kelly Osborne may wear all the Chanel handbags in the world, but her style is shabby.


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July 07, 2008

Foot Fetish

There are sites that I become addicted to and many of these highly addictive sites are, you guessed it, typically female fashion sites that list the latest collections and designs such as net-a-porter.com. Why do I like these sorts of sites? The prime reason relates to accessibility. I'd feel a little out of place in a premium boutique on Sydney's Castlereagh Street because it's silly to ask an assistant about the retail price of a product. Products in stores like Chanel don't have price tags. It's not like K-Mart or Target. Hagging in premier boutiques is just not on.

Anyway, the other day I was browsing and came across an inspirational image. I'm not a shoe person. IBootsgallery can't say that I am rapt at every shoe store. You won't see me writhing in ecstasy at Payless Shoes but get me to the shoe department at David Jones, and I can be there all day, and this isn't limited to women's shoes. Men's shoes are nice to look at as well. When housemate needs shoes, we have to walk all over town because he has difficulty finding his shoe size in most stores, so we kill two birds: we take exercise by walking and eventually find a retail pleasure.

Friends often ask me why I bother looking at things that I can't afford. It doesn't hurt to add them on a wishlist. It makes life more fun. There is no point wallowing in self pity or similar emotions, and it's always pleasurable to look at beautiful things and quality products.

Take these boots on the right. Aren't they orgasmic? They are orgasmic and you won't find them in K-Mart or Payless Shoes. They're designed by Christian Louboutin. These 5 1/2 inch heeled beauties retail for a little over US$1000.00, and they are to die for. I have a fetish for red soles. The red sole adds a certain elegance.

I admit, I'm a fusspot with boots. It's a difficult decision for me and I feel strange wearing a flat or semi-flat heel, and I'm not a fan of kitten heels. I'm not a regular shoe fetishist. It's not a 24/7 thing and most of the time I think of shoes last, but if I'm in a shoe department or walk by a boutique that displays killer shoes, I'm suddenly caught in the shoe zone. It's like "ah, hello there, and aren't you a sturdy heel?"

It is like feeling a fraction of what a foot fetishist feels. I can see the fascination with shoes and feet when I see shoes like the above boots. They alter my taste for boots. Will I ever set foot in Payless Shoes ever again? Louboutin is definitely out of my range, so I'll settle for the middle-man: Sandler.




July 02, 2008

A Scent in the Step

I've written about the importance of olfactory pleasure before. Fragrance is a must for me, each day, every day, and that's not because I haven't taken a bath or that I smoke cigarettes, it's rare for me to leave the house without applying perfume. Perfume is like underwear: intimate, personal and decorative (in a transparent yet potent sense).

Yesterday's meeting at my work, to go over 'lewd' word documents didn't make me nervous, but I wasn't sure of my reaction. I fixed that with a layered lunch (accompanied by a bottle of merlot), and a shop fest at Ralph Lauren (housemate's birthday). After we bought what we bought I realized that I -heaven forbid- was naked. This was easily fixed with a quick walk through the Myer cosmetics department, and I don't like being handed cards by strangers. They're often promoting perfumes that are far too green. For some reason I am given green fragrances, so I practically skipped away from the samples girl, and found myself near the store exit, going for the most interesting bottle. I thought I sprayed myself with men's cologne (never judge a perfume by its bottle), but it had pleasant woody notes. It wasn't frou-frou floral and didn't have 'smack in the head' oriental top notes. Lucky me, I thought - I found the next buy.

Like lipstick, perfume is a difficult thing for me. It takes me forever to find the ideal fragrance, and although I had a work related meeting to look forward to, the moment I inhaled the fragrance on my wrist, I felt on top of the world. The fragrance? Gucci. I felt complete: nice lunch, great wine, fantastic shopping and a fabulous fragrance. I think the heady combination perked me up. Nothing could bother me at that point. This time it was housemate who almost lost it in the meeting. I wanted to giggle, because I thought it hilarious, but I kept on thinking, 'no one is going to spoil my day today.'

Yesterday (the shopping, lunch, perfume trip) wasn't so much about me being a girl and more about sensual indulgence, and this type of indulgence doesn't have to be sexual or lead to a sexual conclusion. Gucci didn't evaporate. In fact, six hours later, and it morphed into a subtle or smooth blend of fruit and amber. If it were a color, it would be violet. If a fabric, then a plush velvet, like the plush maroon evening coat at Ralph Lauren. A sensual, beautiful fragrance.

I feel that finding that perfect fragrance is similar to falling in love. After all, attraction is based on a chemical reaction that involves pheromones. And when you do fall (for anything), nothing - no matter how annoying - can rile you.

May 11, 2008

Quotations & The Theater of Life

I like quotes. They may not solve every single moment known to humankind, but there are some fine pieces of wisdom in short quotes.

I added Quote of the Day to Lucrezia Magazine for that extra injection of optimism, and I’m pleased with the selection of quotes this generator gives. Today’s quote:

"Change your thoughts and you change your world," Norman Vincent Peale.

I confess, I don't know who Norman Vincent Peale is, but a good quote can motivate one to delve further. Norman was a protestant minister and author of The Power of Positive Thinking, and although many critics have weighed in on the concept of positive thinking, viewing it on a micro level or one quaint quote, isn't all so bad. No one's theories are 100% adored, and many theories are reinvented in some way or form. But the 'change your thoughts,' quote is interesting when I think of the current wave of debate that exists in society: all the paranoia, negativity and doom-saying/apocalyptic views. The tendency to make people feel guilt for every single action isn't really wise, because it can tend to piss people off. Don't eat this, don't drink that, don't shower for longer than 3 minutes, don't use the word husband or wife use partner instead, and similar things tend to restrict freedom, and teeter on the edge of over-sensitivity, and all this is done with the view of a 'new and improved' (an oxymoron) society.

One of my favorite uses of quotes, only because it enabled me to express my own work related frustration, was my work's practice to add quotes on meeting briefs. We'd all take turns, and I couldn't wait to be the chairperson so I could add my quote to the handout and read it out (we had to read them out). Some of the quotes I've used at work:

"Always be smarter than the people who hire you. (ouch!)"
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give (which was dedicated to the lazy Playstation twats on my floor)."

What I like about quotes is the way they can alter one's perspective for a few moments. They can make one pause to reflect, or offer a side-splitting laugh, that can be a positive mini-break within a hectic day. Quotes like, 'never take life seriously, no one gets out alive anyway,' and 'there are no stupid questions, just stupid people' do make me smile, because life can be like that: taken far too seriously and occupied (temporarily) by stupid people who drive a person bonkers, and although it may not seem funny at the time, it's funny in the long run because it all contributes to the theater of life.







April 04, 2008

For the Person Who Has Everything

I was going to titled this section ‘Puhleaze!’ but it wouldn’t be fair. There are situations in life where you’re caught out and need a unique gift. The golf clubs are passé, toasters are daggy and there is nothing tackier than a gift voucher as a present.

Many years ago, sex toys were garish rubbery things that looked like they belonged in a laboratory. Now we have colors, cute animals (the rabbit clit stimulator, and the butterfly clit stimulator), and streamlining. There are other items that do require a substantial investment, or a larger budget, but they make for interesting and/or mind boggling objects d’art for those who want something different.

It was as I was waiting at an appointment a few days ago, that I came upon something that I didn’t evenKcholder know about: the condom case. This case wasn’t an ordinary condom case. It was constructed from calf leather, and retailed for a few hundred Euros, or AUD $660.00. The item made me cackle. I thought, 'how many other expensive objects can be found?'

The Hermes condom case. It folds out and has three pockets. It’s a conversational piece. I’ve never known anyone who uses fancy condom cases. I tried to find an image of these expensive cases on the web but it has been an ordeal; the official Hermes site doesn’t feature them even though they have been displayed in magazines.

For a cheaper/stylish version, there is the Kenneth Cole condom holder (right) that retails for US $50.00.

Pr_lelo_yva_2For the discerning woman, there is the 18 K gold plated Yva (below left) from Lelo. It is like the Lelo Nea in shape and does the same job, and it is described as the perfect 'accessory for that dressy party.' I think you could whip out the Lelo Yva, massage your temples and no one would have the foggiest. At more than one thousand dollars (and Euros), it is the cream of the vibrating crop.

April 03, 2008

The Latest Chick Magnet?

This isn't a glamorous post. It is far from glamorous, but I can't avoid mentioning it and placing it in the new ''Frills'' section of this blog. Frills will be about aesthetics, and I know cardigans aren't about aesthetics. Cardigan conjures up grandfathers, geezers, the fashion challenged, uptight prigs, and male high school history/English teachers.

I am surprised (and further surprised by James Bond/Daniel Craig being caught wearing one):Cardigan247x165

"A British supermarket chain has released a phone survey of 1000 people that claims to show the cardigan has gone from frumpy passion killer to dead sexy chick magnet."

Since when is the cardigan a chick magnet? I can't visualize the addition of this item of clothing in an erotic story: "her fingers gripped his cardigan..."

I had trouble accepting pink business shirts, and now it looks like Sydney will be populated by bloody cardigan wearing blokes. God help us.

Image: BBC

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