I'm very sorry to say that the place that I spent the longest time during my two day trip to Paris was at the Louis Vuitton store on Champs Elysees. 'Why?', you might ask. To cut a convuluted story short, a couple who are friends of my cousin who I was showing around Paris have a major shopping fetish. Correction, they have a shopping fetish for all things logo-ed. If there's a monogram somewhere, they're having it. My cousin did warn me about their excessive-ness but I was not prepared for the eye-popping amount of money and time they lavished in Louis Vuitton.
So first things first, I absolutely loathe going into any Louis Vuitton store/department because it doesn't matter what you're wearing/doing, the security staff are ALWAYS going to give snooty sneers so you can imagine what the SA's are like. Then there's the unfortunate fact that a lot of wealthy people from Mainland China frequent Louis Vuitton and ransack the stores as if it's a Sunday market. So much so that, Louis Vuitton stores in Europe tend to have a limit policy as to how much you can buy.
For instance, the couple I was with tried to buy the entire set of limited edition Monogram Groom collection (left) and the SA's refused on grounds that the collection was so limited. It's also to do with the fact that the counterfeit industry in China is booming so much that such excessive buying leads SA's to be suspicious of these people taking the goods back to counterfeit factories in China as templates for the fakes. Therefore, I carry a bad smell of stigma with me, being Chinese going into any Louis Vuitton store.
I had to endure 3 hours of lolling around the store as this couple literally bought everything in sight. We stayed a good hour or two after the store had closed to get everything sorted out. Apparently, buying at LV is not as simple as handing over the credit card. But it involves paperwork, lots of stern stares, interrogations from store managers and many apologetic SA's who refuse to sell them bags. All this for what? Ugly multi-coloured monogram over black background phone straps, terrible court shoes with gold buckles in a brown monogram print, many assorted bags in that generic brown monogram that in my mind only looks good when it has been bashed around for a good ten years and even worse, denim monogram that to me look as bad as the fakes that you see in Camden. As this couple asked me my opinion on their purchases, I could only smile crookedly and say 'Hmm...nice...'.
My cousin and I were secretly grimacing at their expenditure. I understand that buying into this monogram lifestyle is a personal matter of taste which I don't object against. I just can't fathom how freely so much money can be spent in one store and they could besmerch exploring one of the greatest cities in the world and instead hang around this monogram palace like they're in heaven.
I always knew people like this existed but I have never had any as acquaintances and to see people like spend and operate like this actually really freaked me out. I don't want to get all smarmy about my lifestyle choices. In no way am I the paradigm of good taste. It's just that the more time I spent in that store watching these people crazily throw thousands and thousands of euros at these monotonous soul-less goods, it just really saddened me. Aspects of Louis Vuitton are wonderful and these people may think they're buying into high fashion because of the high prices, but to me, excessively consuming a monogram print on a bag is not fashion.
Moreover I was just amused that this couple rejected the Eiffel Tower and Louvre in favour of going to this one store. I took my cousin to St Germain, Le Marais and some stores in Montmartre where we saw a plethora of beautiful things that only Paris could offer yet for this couple, Parisian fashion was distilled in the Louis Vuitton store.
This rant might seem a little obvious and it's something I've always felt, which you've probably guessed. But that three hours spent in that store really galvanised my feelings about this issue and actually really upset me, so I all I can say is, I'm never stepping one foot in an LV store as long as I can help it. Brings out the worst in me.