Another tough day in the office….

I am back at my office at the Kempinski, gazing at the ski slope. The skiing the other day began badly. We all got to the top of the slope and the children refused to go down it.

“I’ve forgotten how to ski,” declared Olivia.

“How do we get down?” asked Leo.

“I’m scared,” wept Bea.

We tried everything but in the end Rupert had to take them down, one by one. Then we hit the nursery slope, where I am at my happiest. After 20 minutes of patient training by Rupert the girls were yet again ready for world domination (their natural state). They demanded to go up to the top and asked me to lead them down. Soon they were overtaking me. Leo had a lesson and came out glowing.

“I LOVED it,” he said, his cheeks all red from the cold. “I went so so so fast.”

FakesI am doing some work in my new office while I wait for them to arrive for another skiing session. This work includes looking at handbags in Harvey Nichols and all the designer shops in the mall to compare them with fake ones I saw last night. I am writing an article about fake versus real (I’d love to hear your opinion on this). I am also writing a piece about belly dancing.

As Muriel was told in that classic film, Muriel’s Wedding, “you’ve got to find your level”. I think I have found mine and I’m loving it. I may even get used to the skiing soon, one advantage of there being a total of two slopes.

Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008

9 thoughts on “Another tough day in the office….

  1. Fake v. Real.

    Unless you’re talking about diamonds, delicious underwear, cashmere twin sets, silk stockings or crocodile shoes, it has to be “fake” every time.

    Especially for jokey junk like Vuitton bags and Polo shirts, which deserve to be ripped-off because they are crap products that only idiots would pay for. Oops, I’ve just realised I still have a Vuitton suitcase or two.

    A few months ago, in Thailand, Janou bought a Vuitton bikini for €3 and a Hermes belt for €5. My daughter has a wardrobe full of Gucci and Hermes bags, Rolex watches and Vuitton products, none of which cost more than €20.

    I also still wear Thai rip-off Lacoste shirts from 15 years ago. They cost €3 while the “real” thing cost €100.
    I still wear my Thai shirts while the originals were long ago consigned to the rubbish.

    My latest fun shirt is a good quality Ralph Lauren Polo shirt copy with a tiny embroidered Polo player falling off his horse – $20.95.

    Strange the Thai’s haven’t got round to copying the undies yet. Maybe they don’t understand the concept.

  2. Fake vs Real – I’m afraid I’m a brand girl every time, especially when it comes to bags. Unlike GHCH’s clothing, I had really bad fake bags in the 80s and you could pretty much tell they weren’t the real deal. Plus, they were cheaply made and fell apart quickly. Since then I’ve only ever gone for real (not that I buy a lot of designer anyway!). My mindset is “what’s the point of having it if it isn’t real?”. Maybe because I’m not obscenely rich (or even rich), the cachet of having something expensive, well made with the best materials and details, is special and still means something, and knowing it isn’t real takes away the pleasure. For me, anyway.

    One of my best friends however, has a haul of fake bling from the beaches of Spain and loves it all – especially when she’s complimented on it! (she never says, whereas I would fess up immediately.)

    Another friend teaches belly dancing, so I would love to read your article…


  3. I completely agree with Jo. Plastic flowers or real flowers? Real every time. Fake orgasm or the real thing?

    Here is my view:

    A designer designs a designer bag i.e., a professional sat down and thought about what would look beautiful styled in leather or suede then a prototype was made using the best craftsmen then a team of sales people and more designers talk about branding and customer preferance need I go on? No wonder it costs. Go for quality every time even if it means only buying a new bag every five years. A good indication of what really lasts and the pieces you love are those that you take when travelling because they make you feel good. My carry on bag, that I can live out of for a week, contains a small selection of good pieces. When I went to NY this summer I came back with one pair of grey flannel Prada trousers which fit like a glove and I know I will wear them until the seams fall apart. That was all. Buy the best you can afford even if it is only one piece.

    Even if your fake bag looks like the real one YOU know that it is not and that personally wouldn’t do a lot for my self-esteem. It’s not about money. There is a great French expression that I once heard said “Ce n’est pas une question de coût mais de goût.” (It’s not about money but it’s all about taste.) Sorry H. that turned into a mini blog posting! Glad you are on the up.

  4. PLEASE don’t make it one of those articles that examines both sides, but then ultimately concludes that of course, REAL is better everytime, because (and usually for no other reason!) that it is real.

    Ironically I yesterday broke my fake (Thailand) Dior sunglasses, and so this morning I have had to pull out the real Chanel. I find I am so much more ‘aware’ of them – not to touch the lenses for fear of scratching, don’t rest to long on my head in case they stretch and after they come off I wrap them carefully in the case to preserve the dimontes. My fake ones were very similar in style (at 5% of the price of the real ones), and for the year I had them I wore them everywhere and didn’t worry about scratches, sand getting in them, dimontes falling off or stretching or hinges breaking. I still got lovely compliments on them every now and then, but I had none of the care factor.

    The same with my Hermes bag – it only gets an outing on special occasions and is cleaned and polished immediately upon my return home. The fake Prada and others I use on a daily basis are thrown around and if somethings happens to it – it’s easy to replace.

    You might ask why I don’t just use the Hermes bag all the time (get my money’s worth and just be careful with it). I suppose because if something happens to it, it a very expensive tragedy. With my other fake bags at 5 – 10% of the price of it, if something happens to them, it’s nothing to pick up another one.

    My conclusion is in this era of thousands of different outfits, where we change our clothes/accessories so often for fashion and “keeping up with the Jones” and also expect them to withstand so much – fake is better every time. It’s nice to know the real thing is out there (and to even have the occasional one or two pieces for special occasions) – but when it’s a great quality fake, the sense of freedom of wearing it far outweighs any small satisfaction of me knowing (and no one else) that it is “real”.

  5. I love the real thing if I can get it on sale somewhere. I have sources for designer everything although the prices are higher than the Thai goods described above. Purses are somewhat different than some other ready to wear items. There is no faking the feel of real quality leather and the accompanying finishing design details. HAlf price is about the best I can do on designer purses. I feel really smart when I get a really good deal on a designer purse. Marshalls and TJ MAxx are where I do my best bargain shopping.

    Sharyn G

  6. My girlfriend is dating a guy from Riga at the moment, so she spends quite a lot of time there. She is a complete brand addict, she would rather be dead than seen wearing a fake. Even years ago, when literally there was barely any money for food, she would borrow to by Armani and D&G. Anyways, the story she told me comes from Riga. People in new countries love to expose their wealth to others and one of the best ways to do it is to park your Maserati in front of the poshest restaurant and get out of the car wearing brands, and the bigger the writing on your jeans or T-shirt is, the better! They would not even consider buying a luxury item if there is no brand name exposed across it, “Why, no one would know it costs lots of money!” The rest of the population however have to invest in ZARAs and MANGOs or in brands cheap rip offs. One day she met a friend of her boyfriend, who was parading around in jeans with huge wings and ARMANI written across his ass and a T-shirt, which said GUCCI on the front and Dior on the back. As turned out, the guy was convinced, the T-shirt was a collaboration design between GUCCI and Dior!!! And he was serious 🙂

  7. Since reading the book, Deluxe, by Dana Thomas I have no qualms at all about buying fake stuff. I do have a proper Ferragamo handbag that I bought about ten years ago and have only used a dozen times but now has a pen mark down the side of it (light tan leather and pen don’t mix!) I also have a fake LV that I use a lot more. A friend, who would never dream of owning fake anything, said that real LV bags never have the LV logo sewn into the seam. Guess what? Neither does my fake 🙂

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