Travelling in Paris with friends who are not the slightest bit interested in fashion certainly highlights the fact very quickly that what you know as a long-time fashion writer is potentially the most superfluous information on Earth.
Sitting in the very grand and elegant foyer of the inimitable Hotel Le Bristol, I made a passing remark about the fact that a lot of the female patrons were carrying Hermes Kelly Bags.
“What’s a Kelly bag?” my friend said innocently.
I explained that Kelly bags were named after the actress Grace Kelly, a classic and expensive handbag that starts around $8000 and is very sought after and highly desirable, an iconic bag customers will happily join a wait list to buy.
My friend watched in amazement, as one Kelly bag after another made their way to the luxurious ground floor restaurant, in pink, in beige, in ostrich, in bright turquoise, and were hastily given their own specially designed footstools to rest on next to their proud owners.
“Why are they worth so much money?” my friend asked, while I sat earnestly explaining that they just are, it’s a given, taking into consideration the scarcity factor and the workmanship but my friend had drifted off.
We left the hotel and began to window shop along the Rue Saint Honore, home to some of the most exclusive and pricey fashion boutiques on the planet.
“That’s a nice shoe,” he remarked, looking in one window front.
“Yes, I guess it is, but nobody wears Maud Frizon, that’s not a thing anymore,” I said like the insane fashion snob I have been trained to be.
The pink satin shoe in question was absolutely gorgeous and 240 euros.
We wandered down a few more blocks and went into Prada.
“Now, these!” I exclaimed, brandishing a wedge sandal in seaweed green satin. “These are heaven!” They were 560 euros.
“The other ones were nicer,” my friend said quite reasonably, while I rolled my eyes and said, “Yeah but, these are Prada.”
We moved on to Gucci. I starting ooo-ing and ahh-ing over everything.
“These clothes are weird,” my friend said, who was not entirely incorrect – but Gucci is cool, so I started to patiently explain why dressing in head-to-toe sequinned dress with orthopaedic sandals and granny glasses is a viable fashion option, even if you live on the northern beaches.
Balenciaga did his head in. I was admiring a black velvet clutch evening bag that was decorated with diamante Eiffel towers.
“So gorgeous,” I said.
“But I saw some bags that looked like that in those tourist stores on the Rue de Rivoli” said Mr I’m-just-telling-it like-it-is-because-nothing-you-are-saying-makes-any-sense.
“It’s not the same, the Balenciaga one is IRONIC,” I replied, a little half heartedly this time. He was wearing me down.
“What’s the ironic bit?” he said. “That you would prefer to pay 10 times more?”