Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Of Fleas and Fauxtons

One of the last times I went to the flea market (don’t laugh, I’ve found some great stuff at flea markets), I think I did a terrible thing. We – Mark, Adam and I – were at the large open-air one up the hill, and were about halfway through walking the aisles when I spotted something at once so hilarious and so horrifying that I could not hold my tongue.

Upon a table, amidst the various trinkets and baubles one would expect to consort with the vast expanses of cast off trifles, there sat a Louis Fauxton of such magnitude that I had to approach it; like a rubbernecker at an accident scene, I could not look away.

The woman at the booth saw me approach and must have mistook my look of amused amazement for one of desire, for she stated that she could sell it for $50, although the tag said $75. I raised one eyebrow and said to her “You know it’s fake, right?” I admit, that was probably not the nicest or most tactful thing I could say, but I just couldn’t help but address such a flagrant violation of couture.

She said to me “No, it’s not. I bought it at an auction.”

To which I said “Yes, it is” and then proceeded to tell her why.

I am a Prada girl at heart, but I have really no trouble spotting fakes of all genres. I actually find anything with a pattern, such as the monogram Coach and Louis Vuitton, to be the easiest fakes to spot because there is so much that can go wrong. For instance, on this bag, which was feigning the cherry blossom pattern of seasons past, the monograms weren’t even from one edge of the bag to the other and the faces on the blossoms were totally wrong looking. This specimen also had subtler issues with the hardware and the pleather trim.

She looked absolutely dejected. I could not tell whether she was upset for being found out, or was upset that she herself had been had. Either way, she knew I was right. She said, “I can let it go for $10.”

Of course I didn’t buy it. Even if it was a good fake, I wouldn’t have bought it. I have a small, but really nice collection of bags, and a fake like that would be an insult to my closet. Even if I was able to fool 9 out of 10 people who saw it, I would never be able to fool myself. I would always feel just a little ashamed for carrying such a bag.

At this very same flea market two weeks later, I saw a “Coach” mini bag with a very crooked logo pattern and obvious gaps in the rings holding the straps to the bag. I also saw a “Prada” tote in a style that was never made, with flagrantly absent pins in the triangle logo. These were not fooling anybody. The lady at the booth knew it, too, because she glared at me when I pointed out the difference to Adam’s sister Allison, who we were shopping with, even going so far to point out the difference in the stitching between the Prada I was carrying and the sad charlatan on the table.

I just don’t understand the mentality of carrying fakes. Now, there is nothing wrong with carrying a less expensive bag from an average department store which borrows design features from the current hot styles; I would never look down upon somebody who carried those types of bags or upon their reasons for doing so. But it is a different thing entirely to take a cheaply made bag, plaster it with designer logos and then try to pass it off as authentic. That kind of behavior speaks to a disturbing superficiality that I just cannot abide, and belies a sickening type of desperation.

Are there really women out there who care so much about what others think that it outweighs their shame over knowing that they are living a couture-appurtenance lie? I’m sorry to say that there are, and they are everywhere – at the bar, at the mall, walking down the street, even at my own workplace.

Do not think that I don’t understand the pressure to present a polished appearance - my budget and I struggle with it every day. I spend a ridiculous amount of money on clothing and accessories. My boss even makes fun of me for carrying an $1100 Prada when I should be saving for retirement or whatever it is that a responsible adult does with money. But with certain things, I always have to have the best – the most supple and ambrosial bags, the most opulent 120mm Louboutin Pigalles, the purest coke, the smoothest cognac the hottest men (and women) and everything else in between. Some things just aren’t worth doing if not done right. And sure, I may spend quite a bit on things that others find to be extravagant . . .

But it is still much cheaper than therapy.


DearestDarlene said...

Well written and insightful - what is a posh chick doing at a flea market tho?

Anonymous said...

i totally agree with you! i was just discussing the merits of real vs fake with some friends the other day. i always want the best (and secretly - or maybe not so secretly since i'm admitting it. plus i think people know - want to have better things than the person next to me) and would never buy a fake.

by the way i <3 your blog!

A Suburban Socialite said...

@: dearestdarlene -
I don't think I've posted on it before, but I'm into antiques.

@: stripper barbie -
Thanks for reading, and you're absolutely right - one's own pride has a lot to do with it.