Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Vuitton Mirage

My very first initiation into the world of Louis Vuitton and the lesser Gucci was a few years back when I received a $1600 Louis Vuitton Messenger bag as a gift. I remembered being waltz into the store and admiring the items on display as I envied the Mainlanders parading on themselves every item imaginable that carried the LV salutation. It was as if they saw the need to convince the store personnel and the clientele that they too belonged to the LV club and to be accepted. Much to my curiosity, the store people granted no heed.

Regardless of them, it grew upon me. I admired my bag in the secrecy of my room and I longed for more. I started to understand the addiction I witnessed in people and even friends close to me; my ex, my aunts and also my grandmother. I started eyeing their leather belts and began dreaming of the day I could afford to waltz in myself and buy an item with my own dough.

It was when I brought up the subject with my designer cousin in London about my desire for more Vuittons did she reprimanded me. I was confused to say the least. She struck hard, she was ruthless. She said that Louis Vuitton was the opposite of what fashion is. It was contrary to what fashion stood for which was individuality, innovation and creativity. I was disagreeable. I refuted her with examples in the celebrity world, with Takashi Murakami and his revolutionary contribution to the company and of course the throngs of devotees that swarm to LV stores across the globe in which she simply replied: “Precisely”.

Still I doubted her perspective and her credibility. After all, her label still is… well, unheard off. However, what she said rocked my belief system. As if she dismantled the foundations of my belief system and pragmatism, threw in a few building blocks and left me to engineer the rest of what will develop.

Just the other day I caught up with a friend. Picked her up from her 5 star hotel and started to hunt for a nice secluded bar to impress her with. I remembered seeing her walking out of the foyer decked out from head to toe in Louis Vuitton gear. There were the colored monogram shoes, the blouse, the purse and of course the ubiquitous LV bag. I was impressed. Not by her clothes or style, but the manner in which she decides to spend her money. It was not a manner of reproach, do not get me wrong. I do enjoy spending money. Her style… well there was nothing wrong with it. She looked great. But then I could see my 50 year old aunty in that style, I could see rich Indonesian wives who could not speak a word of English carrying that same bag, I could recall seeing foreign maids in Hong Kong rocking the Vuitton from stalls that sold cigarette lighters adorned with naked women next to the “Vuitton”. I could see it everywhere. And you know what? I knew then and there that my decision to retire my $1600 Vuitton bag from the public eye long time ago was a much validated decision, a good one at best.

These days, my eyes instinctively look away as people draws out their Vuitton purse from their bag as if waiting for all eyes to feast on it. I understand and sympathize that it is their crowning glory as the room dims and the spotlight slowly descends on their precious little wallet.

Ludicrous. I can say in strict confidence, and I believe a lot of people share this view that Louis Vuittons, Gucci, Burberries… there are purchased for its namesake. Their motivations are not fueled by a desire to be set apart or to be differentiated, but to conform to what the status is associated with it and to feel part of the club. It is the bells and whistles that lure them. Brands like these on their own are probably great. They have however, been cheapened and tarnished until there is this stigma that develops over time until some people wised up, identified the problem and have disassociated themselves from it.

So some are alluded to the fact that as long as you are rocking a Vuitton, baby you got it made. They presumptuously assume that they are the epitome of glamour and fashion, not forgetting the big bucks. So when I see someone dangling their LVs in my face, I keep my silence and snicker to myself knowing that I am one step ahead of them.

The saying is erroneous. Not everyone looks good with a million dollars.


Maggie said...

good reminder for those superficial sad wierdos who are so brand-obsessed just to be regconised by the society. get a life!

Fendy Xie said...

well i guess you've got your own style and it's just looked very nice!

oh, and nice collection of shoes you have there.

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