Sunday, July 01, 2007

We've been Bagging It

We’ve definitely been getting into our groove here. Yesterday HuYi took us shopping and just look at the new lovelies we bought! I got a gorgeous quilted “Marc Jacobs” in a very cool dusty blue color with giant brass hardware, a crisp raspberry colored canvas “Louis Vuitton” with gold hardware and name plate, two sizes of the LV denim wallets for summer, a tiny “Chloe” evening bag in black with giant toggle lock and tiny key and some fabulous gold metallic “Chloe” moccasins. HuYi bought a pair too, so we’ll be stylish Asian city
girls together. Each piece was under thirty dollars and HuYi did all the negotiating so it was really painless. I don’t think I’m ever coming home. I love, love, love it here.

Getting to the shop was an adventure of its own. We took the subway to the end of the line (the subway here is sparkling clean, air conditioned and very quiet. You buy little plastic tokens to ride and it is very well maintained. It will be quite an asset once we begin navigating by ourselves a bit more. ) and walked through the massive station to meet the boutique owner. She and her assistant brought us umbrellas and hustled us through the rainy streets crowded with people and into a spooky old building that looked to be an abandoned hotel. People milled about inside but we were quickly shuffled onto the elevator.

They buzzed us into a suite filled with shelves floor to ceiling, roughly organized by brand. There were giant day bags, evening bags, wallets, belts, shoes, watches, lighters, card holders, shirts, suitcases. It was pretty overwhelming actually, because once I started examining items on their own, I felt as though some of them really did look cheap. I don’t care if it has a “designer label”, if it looks cheesy, I don’t want it. One of my favorite ways to pass time on the El in Chicago was spotting fake Louis Vuitton, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to join the ranks of women carrying something that says “LW”.

Once you choose something, they call down the their warehouse to get your size and in ten or fifteen minutes the buzzer rings and in comes a man loaded down with plastic shopping bags, stuffed with goodies. I assume they have to be a little sneaky with all of this. The shop owner said to have HuYi call if we ever want to come back because “I don’t open unless I know you.” How delightfully clandestine. I felt like a fashion spy until a gaggle of Brits arrived. Maybe it wasn’t such a secret after all.

There were some of those famous Hermes Kelly bags, and they just looked so sad in cheap patent leather alligator. Certainly there are some things worth holding out for in life. Remember that book “Le Divorce”? Her lover buys her a Kelly and then she brings it everywhere and people immediately know she is a mistress because she is obviously too young to afford one. Except, since she’s American no one tells her and she doesn’t realize she’s humiliating herself. Let me assure you, no one would make the mistake of thinking your lover bought you this bag. They would just think you had exceptionally bad taste (or a very cheap lover, I suppose).

I almost bought another monstrously huge metallic day bag, but successfully talked myself out of it. With those giant bags (like the Betsy Johnson I already carry) the temptation to fill it to overflowing is irresistible and then you end up with 20 pounds to carry around, and it looks a little dumpy (especially when you are sweating with the effort of schlepping it around). It needs to be almost empty to really look good, so it can sag and slouch a little over your shoulder.

Eric was a good sport through the whole procedure , though he did say “Um, next time, you and HuYi can go without me, okay?” I think we were both expecting more of a market where he could go and find electronics and so on. We found some work shirts for him and a pretty new chocolate colored wallet. HuYi taught us the Chinese word for wallet which literally translated means “money bun”. We laughed at that the whole train ride home. We also went out for Karaoke this weekend, but I will write another post on that adventure. Non stop excitement here in Shem Zhen!

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