celebrities, fashion, royals, YouTube

Wallis Simpson versus Meghan Markle… cut from the same cloth!

Once again, I am teetering between wanting to write about the explosive current events happening right now, and something a little more “fun”, “funny”, or “harmless.” Since I’m in a fairly benign mood today, I think I’ll go for funny… and write about a YouTube video I saw yesterday, posted by River.

There are some uncanny similarities between Wallis Simpson and Meghan Markle…

For those who don’t know, River is a hilarious, androgynous, British YouTube personality who wears a crown and offers commentary on the British Royal Family. Yesterday, I happened to catch a video in which River talks about the uncanny similarities between two American women who famously married British Royals. Twice, River shows viewers outfits that Wallis Simpson and Meghan Markle wore. And given that Wallis Simpson was around many years ago, obviously Meghan’s style is copying hers.

My question is, does Meghan know that her now famous white dress and glove ensemble, so heavily photographed during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, is very similar to an outfit that Wallis wore decades ago? I mean… right down to the gloves, belt, and the collar! Meghan’s dress looks like it was made of different fabric, and the skirt is more A line. And Meghan wore a hat, while Wallis didn’t. Still… very similar!

And River also pointed out how similar Meghan’s “birdshit dress” is to another dress Wallis wore. I had to chuckle at the term “birdshit dress”– they were actually lotuses, but River says it looks like a bunch of birds flew over Meghan in a black dress getting bombed by their shit! I didn’t notice it when I first saw her in the dress, but now I can’t unsee it. River’s right. It does look kind of like birdshit.

A screenshot from River’s video. They do look awfully similar.

I also read that on her wedding day in May 2018, Meghan rode in the very same Rolls-Royce that carried Wallis Simpson to her husband, the Duke of Windsor’s, funeral in 1972. The link I just provided comes from a Fox News article, published May 29, 2018, not even two weeks after Meghan and Harry married on May 19th of that year. The reporter who wrote the story, Brittany Vonow of The Sun, noted:

Ms Simpson will forever be known as the woman who rocked the Royals and who plunged the monarchy into crisis.

Her marriage to King Edward III in 1937 meant that he became the first ever monarch to abdicate, changing the path of history – and eventually leading to Queen Elizabeth II ascending to the throne.

Edward had abdicated in December 1936 after being told he could not both be king and marry Wallis.

He made a BBC broadcast saying he could not do the job of the king “without the help and support of the woman I love”.

Hmmm… this sounds familiar, too, as Meghan and Harry have famously “stepped back” from royal duties, and are now living in California. While I don’t know how the British Royals actually feel about what has transpired, I can only guess that Harry’s defection from life as a public royal has “rocked” the family in a similar fashion. Granted, Harry has no realistic chance of ever being the King of England, so in that way, the situations aren’t comparable. King Edward III’s decision to marry an American divorcee had greater ramifications than Harry’s decision to marry an American divorcee has. But still, it’s like history is repeating itself in a very obvious way.

I didn’t go looking for the photos comparing Wallis and Meghan, and apparently neither did River; someone sent them to the channel, with the comment that the outfits are extremely similar. I would love to know whose idea it was for Meghan to wear that white outfit to the Platinum Jubilee, though. Even before I hadn’t seen Wallis Simpson’s incredibly similar version, I had mixed feelings about Meghan’s white dress. It does look like it fits her perfectly, for once, and the style is very classic. However, I couldn’t help but think of old fashioned nurses when I first saw it. Watching Meghan walk, a slight switch in her ass and a snooty smile on her face, reminded me of watching Whitney Thompson on America’s Next Top Model Cycle 10. Whitney had a similar walk and smug expression on her face.

Quite right, I’m afraid. That is a hat that inspired some hate.

River points out that Wallis Simpson was very fashionable. He seems to think Meghan is less so. But did she mean to channel Wallis Simpson with that dress? Because I don’t think there’s a doubt that sometimes, they look like they were almost cut from the same cloth. On the other hand, I’m not sure Wallis would have worn the poop emoji hat that Meghan famously wore… I look at it and can see why people are reminded of poop when they look at it. On the other hand, it also reminds me of chocolate, especially with the little “shaving” on the side. That’s probably a kinder way to look at it, anyway.

I highly recommend River’s channel, especially if you’re interested in the British Royal Family and don’t mind snark on Meghan Markle. I find it very entertaining, especially during my boring afternoons during the summer that feels like it will never end. River always dresses in style and loves little trinkets. Sometimes some stunning zingers come forth, too, making me laugh a lot! But then, I am famously easy to entertain. 😉

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fashion, good news, rants, social media

Energy surges… my body is finally kicking the crap out of the virus.

I think I’m starting to feel somewhat better now. I can tell, because when I start getting over a sickness, I get a surge of energy, and I start getting annoyed by little chores that need to be completed. Yesterday, the weather was cooler, so I took the dogs on a much needed walk. I ended up walking longer than I had planned, because there was a lady sweeping the narrow pathway where we usually go when I’m feeling lazy or sick. I didn’t want to get in her way or have to maneuver past her. When we got back to the house, I had every intention of vacuuming, because I always do that on Thursdays. But I was, all of a sudden, so tired that I hosed off the sweat in the shower and laid down on my bed. Before I knew it, I was sound asleep for two solid hours, complete with vivid dreams about a woman from my childhood to whom I haven’t spoken since the early 80s.

I went downstairs after my nap, noting that it was mid afternoon, and I just really didn’t feel like vacuuming. The vacuum remained in the closet, and I pulled a notice taped to my front door, letting me know that the chimney sweep is coming. In Germany, it’s a law that chimney sweeps have to inspect every year, even in homes that don’t have fireplaces. In our old house, we didn’t have a fireplace, but we did have a visit from the chimney sweep every year– a pretty brunette lady who was quick and polite about her business. Former landlady would always show up to “supervise” her work (and be nosey). In this house, we do have a fireplace, but our current landlord doesn’t feel the need to bother us or “supervise”. So I have to wait for the chimney sweep. It’s a good thing we weren’t away, since we got very little notice. Hopefully, I won’t share germs with him.

Bill got home last night at about 8:00 pm. Arran was as delighted to see him as I was. We had a little dinner and beer, and went to bed. I got up a little later than usual, and Bill was making us breakfast. I started a load of laundry. Bill said he thought he’d try to come home early, and I remarked that I hoped he’d be home in time to deal with the chimney sweep. After he left for work, I went up to my trusty iMac and started thinking about what I wanted today’s topic to be. Suddenly, I had an overwhelming urge to vacuum, in spite of a coughing fit. I went to the kitchen, got the vacuum, plugged it in, and briefly considered getting the laundry. Then I realized that I’m so slack about vacuuming, that I could just vacuum and be done with that dreaded chore very quickly. It’s not even 9:30 am, and I’ve already done laundry, vacuumed, and written half a post. I think I still have the energy to walk the dogs, turn on the robot mower, and deal with the chimney sweep! So let’s hear it for strong immune systems! Maybe by tomorrow, I’ll be even closer to my old self. I might even try to weed whack a little.

I still don’t know if this was COVID or a cold. It felt mostly like a cold. I had something similar last month, only my nose ran a lot more, and I didn’t have a sore throat. If it was COVID, it wasn’t bad at all, as sicknesses go. I think that’s proof that vaccines work, even though I know I’ve read comments from people who have said they were unvaccinated and didn’t get really sick with the current COVID variant. Maybe the mild illness isn’t such a good thing, though. Maybe it gives people a false sense of security when COVID doesn’t bite very hard. Then, they get really sick with a different variant. I won’t pretend to know… What I do know is that nothing I’ve had so far as come even close to what I think was swine flu in 2013. That shit knocked me on my ass for a solid week, and I was coughing and fatigued for many weeks afterwards.

Having typed all of that, I now realize that if that was COVID, it was really contagious. I wasn’t in super close contact with anyone last week, except for when we went to the wine stand on Friday, and when we went to AAFES on Sunday, to pick up a few things. We did talk to one person who said her partner had been sick with COVID, but we weren’t that physically close to her. She was probably the source of the sickness, though.

I’m still plowing through my book about Roe v. Wade, marveling at how very comprehensive and well researched it is. Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe) was a very complicated woman, but there were so many other interesting and complex characters in the story of Roe v. Wade. I look forward to finishing the book so I can write about it. I think it will make for an interesting blog post, which will probably parent a few other blog posts. 😉 And while Roe v. Wade may have been a very flawed decision, I still believe, and continue to see strong evidence that overturning the ruling is going to have tragic and devastating consequences for a lot of people. I continue to be saddened by the terrible and ignorant comments people have about abortion. Are Americans really that uninformed about why abortions are necessary sometimes? Do so many people really think that the only people who have abortions are heartless, irresponsible, awful people who are loose and careless? Do people really believe that using pregnancy as a “punishment” is a good idea?

I am genuinely heartsick about it, even though that particular ruling won’t affect me. I did read a comment from a woman last night who wrote that she got pregnant at age 50. Fortunately, she had a miscarriage, because the prospect of being pregnant at 50 was “horrifying” for her. I read a comment from another woman, who at age 51, wrote that she was going to get her tubes tied. Obviously, this is a woman who hasn’t reached menopause yet, just as I haven’t. Some asshole MAN wrote, “I think you’re good, ‘Grandma’.” Seriously? What an inappropriate and tone deaf comment by an ignoramus. I hope no woman ever lets that guy get close to them. He shouldn’t be breeding!

Can I just say I’m so sick of those kinds of rude, dismissive, snarky comments from people? And I’m also sick of people who “react” to things they haven’t bothered to read, or in the case of videos, haven’t watched. Yesterday, I shared a video by this hilarious androgynous person named River. I think River is technically a male, but they present as female– or a princess, even. River often comments on the British Royal Family and fashion, and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are frequent topics. Yesterday, River made me laugh as they shared a pretty pink ring “Second Hand Suzy” purchased. River said that they didn’t have a pink ring… at least not one that one can wear on a finger! I thought that was hilarious and shared the video, which had a title that suggested it would be about throwing shade at Meghan Markle. River is actually quite kind and fair to Meghan, but I still got an “angry” reaction from a friend… who didn’t even bother to check out what she was reacting to. I know it happens constantly and almost everyone is occasionally guilty of doing it, but it’s still annoying. Why not just keep scrolling instead of making erroneous assumptions? Leaving angry reactions to friends, particularly when they aren’t really warranted, is kind of disrespectful.

The reason I shared this is at about 2:33, and my reason for sharing it has NOTHING to do with Meghan Markle.

I don’t like most of the Facebook reactions, anyway, because people use them inappropriately. On the other hand, there are times when I can feel satisfied leaving an angry reaction to someone’s rude comment rather than firing back at them. Sigh… social media is such a mixed bag, isn’t it? Remember the days when you had to communicate face to face or by letter? Seems like life was so much less complicated then. Someday, I hope someone will come up with a better version of social media. Or I’ll just simply stop caring about it.

Well… I suppose it’s time to wrap up this post and walk the dogs, so I’ll be ready when the chimney sweep gets here. I doubt Bill will be home early enough. He has to take the bus home from work, since he had to get a rental car for his overnight to Stuttgart. I need to take the dogs out for their walk… ride this wave of energy while it exists. Because, just as today’s featured photo suggests, sometimes energy surges are tragically fleeting. I’m just glad the vacuuming is done. I hate vacuuming. I need a riding vacuum.

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advertising, business, fashion, music, nostalgia

I used to think Victoria’s Secret was “luxury”…

This morning, I woke up to an article in The New York Times about Victoria’s Secret, that famous underwear purveyor that once beguiled me in every mall I ever visited. The article, which I’ve linked and unlocked, was about how Victoria’s Secret is trying to “rebrand” due to rapidly declining sales and a diminished reputation. A new documentary called Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons has come out on Hulu. I haven’t seen it, because I’m not currently subscribed to Hulu, and would have to use a VPN to see it, anyway. The documentary consists of three parts, and is all about how Leslie Wexner took a brand that was originally a small chain in California and turned it into a huge business run by men objectifying women.

I haven’t shopped at Victoria’s Secret in over twenty years. There are a few reasons for that. For one thing, I’m too old and fat to wear their lingerie. For another, it’s been many years since I last thought of anything at Victoria’s Secret as worth buying. Back in the early 90s, it was kind of a cool place to shop, with dark, mysterious boudoir inspired interiors. Everything was in drawers, as if I was going to my own dresser. They sold lovely perfumes and soaps, silk and satin underwear, terry cloth robes, and really comfortable sleep shirts with cool patterns and in bright colors. I used to LOVE their sleep shirts, which were long sleeved, with a breast pocket, and satin edging around the collar. I never bought a Victoria’s Secret bra, because they all had underwires, and I hate underwires. Plus, my boobs were just too big.

Jax is awesome!

Then, as the 90s progressed, the store’s interiors brightened up, and the merchandise became crap. A lot of what they sold was not only poorly constructed and overpriced; it was also really ugly. And then I got way too old for their demographic, which seemed to target younger and younger girls. Like a lot of people, I was both amazed and horrified last month when the Tik Tok singer-songwriter, Jax, put out a song she made for a pre-teen girl she babysits named Chelsea. Chelsea had gone to Victoria’s Secret to buy a bathing suit for a pool party, and a “friend” told her the suit made her look too “fat and flat”. So Jax made a song called “Victoria’s Secret”, which went viral.

Wow.

I have to say, I think Jax is a super talented songwriter. I don’t really care for the autotuned sound, or super plugged instruments, but there’s no doubt she has major writing chops. I just listened to another song she did last year, and it actually made me really emotional, even though it’s very modern pop and I usually hate that style. What can I say? I’m old, and I like to hear real voices. But I just listened to the below song, and it legitimately made me cry. My husband is just like the man she’s singing about; we actually have that relationship. I think Jax is going to have a big career. And yes, now I see that she was on American Idol, but I’ve never watched that show in my life, and couldn’t now, even if I wanted to. Sheesh, now I feel like I’ve been hopelessly out of touch with current events.

This is so sweet. I bet it becomes a wedding staple.

I think another reason I was turned off of Victoria’s Secret years ago was because Tyra Banks made a name for herself with that brand. I used to watch Tyra on America’s Next Top Model, a show with which I had a love/hate relationship, much like I did for 7th Heaven. Tyra used to talk about how her voluptuous figure was welcomed by Victoria’s Secret, and yet I read many comments on The New York Times article about how limited the sizing has been since I quit shopping there in the 90s. I guess it got really bad. I have never been particularly thin, but when I was a young woman, I could easily buy stuff at Victoria’s Secret. They must have sort of quietly phased the more inclusive sizes out, only to bring them back now in a bid to save their brand. Although I watched Tyra’s antics on ANTM, it wasn’t because I liked or admired her. I just found her to be a narcissistic trainwreck. I liked ANTM for Paulina Porizkova, Andre Leon Talley, Jay Manuel, and most of all, Miss Jay (J. Alexander). And I enjoyed watching the contestants, some of whom had very compelling stories. Renee Alway, anyone?

Tyra, back in the day.
Hoochie? The music reminds me of porn.

Did normal, regular people actually wear the stuff Tyra was modeling? I don’t know. I remember when I was in my late teens and early 20s, they had polyester string underwear with bright colors and juicy patterns, but they also had plain silk bikinis that I really liked and wore all the time. I see the above video, especially toward the end, Tyra wasn’t super skinny. But it sounds like the brand eventually became less size inclusive, to the point at which anyone who wasn’t super small couldn’t wear their stuff. And even those who could wear it, didn’t get to wear it for long, because it would fall apart. Then Jeffrey Epstein was in the news, and it turned out that Leslie Wexner was buddies with Epstein. He ended up stepping down from his post as chairman and chief executive of Victoria’s Secret, probably because not only is he ancient, but because the brand was liable to be canceled… On the other hand, Donald Trump also hung out with Epstein, and he hasn’t been canceled yet. So I don’t know.

I used to have a Victoria’s Secret sleep shirt that looked just like this. They had lots of stuff in bright colors, with seemingly luxurious fabrics. (eBay listing)

I remember even before I shopped at Victoria’s Secret, they had a mail order catalog that had really beautiful stuff in it. There were velvet “pyjamas” (spelled with a y, Brit style), lovely lace nightgowns, even fashionable sportswear separates that were classy, elegant, and tasteful. A former friend of mine’s middle aged mother (at the time) used to get the catalog and I would look at it, amazed by what they were selling. It really did give off the appearance of being a British company with a posh London address, but the truth is, Victoria’s Secret has always been all American. It was originally founded in Palo Alto, California, by Roy and Gaye Raymond, who expanded the brand to five stores before they sold it to Leslie Wexner in 1982. Wexner moved the company’s headquarters to Reynoldsburg, Ohio, where it remains today. So much for London, eh?

Ah well… like anything else, Victoria’s Secret was based on a mythical image that never existed and was pushed by men looking to make money and objectify women. And a lot of people bought into it. I know I did, when I was a lot younger, but in those days, it was not as trashy as it is now. I’m obviously not the only one who thinks so, either— this link goes to another blog post that actually shows the kinds of stuff they sold, back in the day. It was much nicer and classier; some of it would be great to wear even today!

An ad that currently appears on Victoria’s Secret’s Web site. Hmm…

It’s been years since I last went to an American mall, but I remember even when I did that regularly, being totally turned off by how Victoria’s Secret had changed. Gone was the mystery and elegance of the early 90s, and it was replaced by gaudy, sleazy, poorly made junk. And now, it appears that it’s being marketed more to young girls who don’t yet have boobs, if I am to go by Jax’s video. It sounds like the bean counters have finally wised up– maybe a little too late– and realized that bigger women have a lot more money than most prepubescent girls have, and there are a lot more of us looking to buy lingerie than there are skinny modelesque women. Those women probably wouldn’t want to shop at Victoria’s Secret anyway. So now they’re more size inclusive, but a lot of what I’ve seen isn’t appealing at all.

I’m happy with my cotton Jockey underwear, that I usually order from Amazon. My husband doesn’t mind, because he’s not a shallow fuck like this guy who commented on The New York Times’ article.

the whole reason. We men buy lingerie for our partner; the marketing is to look good for the man.. and definitely those fatties are not our standard of beauty (I’ll bet this guy is a pro-birther, too)

I’m gonna get cooch stains on the underwear, anyway, right? Might as well get some that are practical.

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fashion, royals, videos, YouTube

Time to check in with an “old friend”…

I got out of the habit of watching YouTube videos by The Body Language Guy, Jesus Enrique Rosas. Some readers may recall that I was kind of into his videos a few months ago, and he would regularly show up in my video suggestions. Somehow, I fell out of the loop, and after noticing that a lot of people were hitting my blog, having read my comments about some of his earlier videos. I’m sure the interest generated in my older posts about Jesus Enrique Rosas has come about because of the Platinum Jubilee, and the fact that Harry and Meghan have finally taken their children, Archie and Lilibet, to England to see Queen Elizabeth II.

Initially, I liked Meghan well enough. I thought she seemed dynamic, and I figured she might be a breath of fresh air for Britain’s Royal Family. But, I have since changed my mind about Meghan, not that it matters a whit to anyone. I think it’s a shame that Harry and William are not on the best terms, according to the press. Also, I’m sorry to say that she kind of makes my Cluster B warning alarm bells go off. However, I don’t know Harry and Meghan personally, so everything I think is based purely on speculation and conjecture. Of course, I wish their children well, too.

Yesterday, I navigated to Jesus Enrique Rosas’ YouTube channel and was not surprised to find the below video there, with many snarky references to the “Harkles”… I notice Jesus is wearing a really snazzy new suit, too. YouTube must be treating him well.

As usual, there’s snark aplenty! I get a kick out of Rosas’ wit.

I do wonder if things have turned out for Harry as he’d hoped. Is it all it’s cracked up to be, living in California? Does he feel “dissed” by the Royals? How did it feel to be “booed” by his countrymen? Harry used to be a very popular member of the Royal Family. Now, it seems that a lot of people have turned on him. I think he tried to have his cake and eat it too… and he wasn’t able to do that without significant consequences. I’ve always respected Harry, for many reasons. I think he had a very difficult childhood, though he clearly has a gift for military service. I don’t know what he sees in Meghan, but I’m sure he knows… and really, that’s all that matters.

As for Meghan’s dress… I liked the style well enough, although the white ensemble kind of made me think of an old fashioned style nurse. I’m sure it was no accident that she chose that color, which screams innocence and peacefulness. I liked the way the dress fit her, but I think I would have chosen a different color… because Lord knows, they aren’t innocent, and trying to look innocent is kind of disingenuous. If you listen to Mr. Rosas, you hear him talk about how how Harry and Meghan seemed to be trying to act like the past two years never happened. And whether or not anyone has the “right” to feel this way, I’m sure a lot of Brits feel betrayed by the “Harkles”. Yes, they expected Harry to come home and see his beloved Granny, but as he did so, there was, of course, going to be some shame involved.

River– another hilarious commentator on the Royal Family, also weighed in. River wasn’t a fan of Meghan’s outfit.

I enjoy River’s commentary about the British Royal Family. There’s always plenty of funny snark about the bizarre fashions some of the Royals wear at these events. I am not a fashionista myself, lacking the budget or the body type to wear really interesting (and probably uncomfortable) clothes. But I do enjoy seeing who wears what. Personally, I’m on team Catherine… I think Kate is fabulous, and William could not have possibly chosen a better woman to marry. She’s absolutely perfect for the job of Queen, should the British monarchy survive beyond King Charles. She’s the epitome of grace and class, has a beautiful figure, and seems like a very lovely person, too.

I have probably mentioned before that I attended the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. I was five years old at the time, and we lived in England. I have no memories of it, except for the memorabilia my parents had in our house when I was growing up. And, of course, on our trip to London in 2009, we found a memento of the event near the Tower Bridge.

We were around for this one.

I would like to visit London again at some point… maybe when things are a little more normal in terms of COVID-19. I always get a kick out of my my ancestral homeland. I fit right in on many levels. I don’t enjoy being around crowds, though, so I wouldn’t want to be at the Jubilee, even if there was no pandemic. I’m sure hotel rates are OBSCENE… or even more obscene than they usually are in London.

Anyway… I just wanted to post a lighthearted post today, given yesterday’s bitchery. I enjoy watching the Royals, even though I know a lot of people think they should go. I have tremendous respect for Her Majesty the Queen, though, and I know the past couple of years have been very difficult for her. Losing her dear husband, watching her beloved grandson move to America, being denied access to her great grandchildren… and getting older and more infirm, all as the whole world looks on. It’s tough, I know.

Hope you all have a nice Sunday. I think I shall retire to the living room and hang out with Bill for awhile.

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book reviews, business, fashion

Repost: Dana Thomas explores the “McDonaldization” of luxury goods… 

Here’s an as/is repost of a book review I wrote for Epinions.com in 2010. I’m just preserving it for posterity purposes.

For many Americans, luxury is a word that conjures up a lot of pleasant images of high quality, exclusivity, and status. People buy luxury items not just for what they are, but for what they stand for. When you can afford to purchase an $800 pair of shorts or a $500 silk tie, you’re telling the world that you’ve made it. Trouble is, the vast majority of people worldwide can’t afford to buy luxury items, at least not without sacrifice or going into debt. Author Dana Thomas explores the world of luxury in her 2007 book, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster.

I picked up this book on Amazon.com, partly because I really enjoy non-fiction books about current events and partly because I can confess to wanting a part of the “luxury dream” Dana Thomas writes about. Apparently, I’m no different than a lot of middle class Americans who want to feel a little luxurious, but can’t afford to buy a products that cost hundreds of dollars. So instead of purchasing a $1000 Chanel handbag, I might instead purchase a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. Instead of buying a $2000 Christian Dior garment, I might spring for a $25 tube of Dior lipstick. Unlike a lot of consumers, I wouldn’t consider purchasing a “knock-off” luxury product, though Thomas writes that plenty of people would happily buy a bag that just looks a lot like a Prada.

According to Thomas, it’s because of the globalization of products that used to be exclusively for the very rich, luxury is not as lustrous as it used to be. In Deluxe, she explores the history of famous brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Hermes, and Chanel. She takes a close look at the darker side of high fashion, exploring how products that used to be tailor made in Europe are now mass produced in China. She offers a glimpse at the crafty street hustlers who sell fake luxury goods in Santee Alley, part of the Los Angeles fashion district.

Thomas did extensive research for this book, traveling far and wide, and talking to a diverse group of people in the fashion industry. Of course she quotes a number of fashion designers and the business people who run the companies that produce luxury products. She interviewed the craftsmen who make exquisite crocodile bags for Hermes, explaining how Hermes bags are made and why they are still so special. She spoke to the curator of Hermes’ museum, Menehould de Bazelaire, a former teacher who once taught Greek and Latin at New York’s Lycee Francaise and returned to Paris to become an archivist. De Bazelaire now runs Hermes’ museum, an operation that is open by appointment and documents the brand’s long and illustrious history.

Thomas discusses how luxury stores and outlets have sprung up worldwide and explains why Hong Kong has nine Prada stores while New York only has one. There’s a discussion as to how the Internet has changed the luxury business and made luxury goods even more accessible to the average person. Thomas mentions how 9/11 took a huge toll on the luxury business and offers insight as to why it suffered so much after the attacks.  She explains how the rap and hip hop culture unexpectedly and, in some people’s opinions, unfortunately, influenced the fashion world.  Thomas even spoke to a man who began his career as a police officer and later got into the business of busting people who sell luxury knock-offs. The end result of all Thomas’s hard work is a very comprehensive look at the world of luxury and high fashion.

My thoughts

I enjoyed reading Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster more than I thought I would. Thomas obviously has a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject and her investment in this project comes through loud and clear. That being said, even though I might buy a bottle of Bulgari perfume and, back in my horsebackriding days, I once dreamt of owning a genuine Hermes saddle, I can tell that I’m not as invested in the dream as some people are.

According to Thomas, there are secretaries in Hong Kong who save up their paychecks to buy just one special handbag. There are women in Brazil who eagerly await catalogs from luxury designers and take pictures in to local merchants, telling them which product they want to buy when it’s available locally. There are women in the United States who hold “purse parties”, making a killing selling counterfeit versions of luxury goods to housewives. The practice is illegal, but apparently it’s become so common that even church organizations have been known to sponsor them as a way to raise money.

Aside from exploring today’s luxury market, Thomas offers a fascinating history of how brands like Hermes, Chanel, Prada, and Gucci came to be. I really enjoyed reading about how, through twists of fate and circumstance, ordinary people became the names behind extraordinary products. I also found it interesting to read how world events like the two World Wars and 9/11 have affected the fashion world.  The only drawback I can come up with is that this book was published three years ago, so some of the information is dated.  For instance, Thomas quotes the late Alexander McQueen as if he were still alive.  He died in February of this year.  This is not a big deal, but I think it’s worth mentioning.

Overall

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the history of fashion, economics, history, or even just likes to read about current events. It’s very unlikely that I would ever spend $1000 on a handbag… unless I could be sure it would be the last handbag I’d ever buy! But it’s fun to read about those who would spend that kind of money and how luxury designers are making sure that their once exclusive products are becoming more accessible to the masses. I guess, for that reason alone, it makes little sense to buy into luxury products. When it’s no longer exclusive, it’s no longer all that special.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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