Apologies for the lack of blog posts of late…. I’ve been busting my butt to roll out the 2012 collection in April (AND designing my 2013 collection!). There is one additional experience in Paris that was particularly memorable to me. It was so memorable, that I feel the need to share it with you – two months later.
Jess and I had ﬁnished our Friday afternoon in Montmartre and caught the metro to the St. Paul station to meet John for dinner. We knew we were early, but ﬁgured that we would entertain ourselves until he got off work. January is a great time to shop in Europe – most of the stores are featuring deep discount sales to clear their shelves for the new Spring collections. As we got onto the street, we found a store with great sales and each purchased a few pieces.
We wandered down the street towards the cathedral as Jess smoked a cigarette. She had been on the hunt for a pair of low cut, rouched booties. As we walked, I spotted a wall of boots at a vintage store. Jess was checking out the boots as I scanned the rest of the store. I typically donʼt have the attention span for vintage stores, and when I say that I ʻscannedʼ the store – it involved me standing in one spot and glancing over their selection of clothes. My eyes stopped on a glass case that stood about 6 ft. tall. There were ﬁve glass shelves in the case, each with four to ﬁve pairs of sunglasses. I stepped closer to look and realized that most of the sunglasses were Christian Dior – circa 1960ʼs and 1970ʼs – and some were lesser known designers (or at least lesser known in the present day). Jackpot. I looked on those sunglasses like they were gold.
I had Jess ask about the price since I don’t speak French, thanked the clerk, smiled, and kept on our journey. As Jess and I walked, she asked what was special about the sunglasses for the price being asked. Jess is a writer, so I put it in terms that would apply to her, “It would be like ﬁnding a ﬁrst edition, signed book by your favorite author/poet.” She stopped dead in the middle of the busy sidewalk. “And youʼre not getting them? Weʼre going back.”
I smiled at the clerk as we entered the store for the second time that night. Jess explained that I wished to try on the sunglasses. I began with two pairs of Dior, which ﬁt well and matched my personal style, but I wasnʼt convinced. I put a third pair on and looked in the mirror.
I canʼt even begin to describe what the experience was like. I felt tingles all over as I saw myself for the ﬁrst time in the vintage André Courréges, a designer that I had studied in my Masterʼs program and the claimed inventor of the mini-skirt. They were perfect. Large frames, light tint, bronze color. Jess whole-heartedly agreed with a smile and a nod, conﬁrming my purchase instincts.
As the sales clerk swiped my card and placed my glasses into a protective pouch, my euphoria increased. I was full on buzzing…. Like walking on air, flying through the cosmos, Full-On-Bliss!!! I left that store grinning ear to ear as we met John for dinner. I still donʼt understand how such gems end up in the marketplace – who would ever let go of something so valuable? John explained that it was common for the French to purge their possessions – mostly because of their conﬁned living spaces. I couldnʼt help but think that their loss was my gain….. and then realized that I had caught the designer vintage bug. Now I wonder – when and where will I ﬁnd my next great buy?
Also featured in this photo is a necklace that I found at a flea market in Brussels.