July 31, 2008

Another NY/LA comparison.

Here, at the architecturally amazing Prada store in SoHo, I had to sneak a photograph on my way down to the basement level space where you can root around for something you may like and no one puts in an effort to make you believe you could wear those clothes.

Prada store SoHo

Upstairs, you'll find all the handbags, where I think they make all the money, and the salespeople there will massage your credulity. In fact, I did buy a handbag, but never any clothes in this store that I visited many times.

Here's the Giorgio Armani store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, where a lovely saleswoman sees that I admire that jacket trimmed with fur and feathers and says something to me — "It's fox" — that prompts me to ask a question about sizes and the long-nurtured desire for the perfect pantsuit.

Giorgio Armani on Rodeo Drive

Before long, I am trying on a selection of jackets — they do have my size — and I'm buying that suit. Chris peruses a history of Giorgio Armani, and they serve us glasses of water as we complete the expensive transaction.

72 comments:

Trooper York said...

Well they do not have any cool neighborhood boutiques like Lee Lee's Valise that has a family feeling. When you shop there it's like you are shopping with family and friends.

Of course not everyone can travel to beautiful Brownstone Brooklyn, so they are only able to visit the vastly improved website at
leeleesvalise.com.

We also serves espresso and pastries.

Simon said...

Well - do we get to see the pantsuit being modeled? :p

Chip Ahoy said...

Score!

Maxine Weiss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
knox said...

OK you CANNOT post about buying an Armani pantsuit without providing a photo of the suit!! That is just mean and not fair. I know there aren't many female readers here, but every now and then you still need to throw us a bone.

Smilin' Jack said...

With these posts on fashion and style, I assume Althouse is merely gathering strength and venom for a truly blistering assault on the article in today's NYT regarding the increasing acceptance of men's shorts in the workplace. I don't have a strong opinion on the matter, but even I have to admit that the visuals accompanying that article are truly, deeply shocking.

Miss Daisy Jewess said...

Some crass, blowsy woman comes up to you and tells you she managed to find the exact same thing, wholesale, at 70-80% less.

How you gonna feel then?

Nobody who actually lives in Beverly Hills shops on Rodeo Drive. They don't even go there. They truck to the Outlets, or the Garment District. That's how they have so much money.....they were smart enough not to throw it away on that ridiculous Rodeo Drive mark-up.

Even the jewelry stores.....you can find the same exact thing at the Downtown Jewelry Mart. I don't know a single soul who has ever bought jewelry on Rodeo. We go Downtown....or to the Outlets.

fivewheels said...

Not to wander too far off-topic, but how much is a blogger supposed to assume about her audience's attention? I'm a fairly regular reader here, but I don't know who "Chris" is. Should I? When a blogger mentions someone, even a recurring character, does she need to identify the person in some way? Or does it just not matter?

Simon said...

fivewheels - Chris is one of Ann's sons.

vbspurs said...

Jews just want a bargain, and couldn't care less about the trappings.

Maxine, with all due respect -- are you out of your gefilte fish gourd?

Jewish people INVENTED the trappings. God bless them.

Cheers,
Victoria

Miss Daisy Jewess said...

These mother/son shopping trips.

So classic.

There's no better way for a mother to bond with her sensitive son, as he waits patiently for her to finish trying on.

Truth be told....if they were in the Loehmanns communal dressing room, and she was busy trying on bras.....he wouldn't be out-of-place.

Many a sensitive spouse, and eager son, has accompanied Mom on her shopping sprees, and quite enjoyably.

But, where's Dad? Is Dad not a world-class shopper?

vbspurs said...

BTW, the vague, but pungent whiff of jealousy during this trip emanating from SOME of the commenters here is pathetic.

I want more luxury, Ann. I want to see you dropping a wad on Prada bags, Armani suits or Pratesi sheets.

Be happy. Enjoy being alive, healthy and wealthy. It's great to be you. Everyone who doesn't think so can kiss your ass.

(As a wise woman once told me. Thanks grannie)

Cheers,
Victoria

ricpic said...

Anybody who pays retail is a shmuck.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Pantsuits are to women as shorts are to men.

Simon said...

Jeff with one 'f' said...
"Pantsuits are to women as shorts are to men."

They make the wearer look immature and put on display things that aesthetically ought perhaps be hidden? I don't see it.

Theo Boehm said...

I take it this post is a set-up.

First it's bait for Maxine and her snarking sockpuppets.  Always interesting how someone spends so much time and effort doing the same thing over and over.  Reminds me of an even less funny Garrison Keillor, if such a thing is possible.

Next, the seeming opulence and haut bourgeois bicoastal excess will bring a feeding frenzy of lefty Althouse-haters.

Of course the pants suit meme is introduced. A recent but hardy political perennial, this will likely cause arm-waving, shouting and slammed doors.

The little touche-finale of mentioning the fox fur and feathers will of course feed the lefties, but the subset of animal-rights folks will be gnashing their teeth, as well, unable to believe what they're reading.  You may expect them presently.

Tell me, has anyone bought you a diamond neclace lately?  Do you have a miniature model farm set up on your property in Madison?  And what do you think about cake?

Paul Snively said...

I could have sworn that anyone who paid retail was a schlamozel. It's so hard to keep up with these things.

I also can't help but observe that Maxine was notable at the L.A. meetup for her absence.

vbspurs said...

I also can't help but observe that Maxine was notable at the L.A. meetup for her absence.

Even in LA, there isn't a gay bar big enough for all those sock puppets.

Cheers,
Victoria

Jake Ramsey said...

Does your son always go shopping with you? Kinda weird!

Mrs. Velma Stench said...

vbspurs: I don't think anyone is jealous of a woman who gets ripped off. That's exactly what they do in Beverly Hills. And, not just retail....the inflated SoCal real-estate market.....

It's just one big rip-off.

No jealousy at all. As a matter of fact, I'm assuming we're meant to laugh and jeer at this whole trip.

Althouse didn't visit anyplace worth going. All the places I'd suggested--- she nixed.

Either it was Rodeo Dr. rip-offs, or cement graffiti. I'm waiting to compare and contrast the pornographic poetry on LA bathroom walls, vs... Brooklyn's toilet stalls.

Money thrown down a sinkhole; she stepped in dog-doo (twice); a stabbing in Century City; an earthquake---which never registered and she didn't feel.....

Oh, this trip was nothing more than high satire. If Althouse were the least bit serious about plumbing the depths of Southern California culture, and sniffing out substance....it certainly wasn't apparent from where she chose to spend her time.

Trooper York said...

"Anybody who pays retail is a shmuck."

Ricpic, ssssssssssshhhhhhuuuusssshhhh!!!!

You're killing me man.

knox said...

Pantsuits are to women as shorts are to men.

You're just used to seeing the Hillary pantsuits. An Armani pantsuit is likely going to be pretty badass.

vbspurs said...

.it certainly wasn't apparent from where she chose to spend her time.

I rest my case.

Which I bought at Leeleevalises.com.

Cheers,
Victoria

Waxine Meiss said...

"Be happy. Enjoy being alive, healthy and wealthy. It's great to be you. Everyone who doesn't think so can kiss your ass."

Well, some of the commenters here spend everyday already kissing Althouse's ass, so ...

It's a shame really. That suit will maybe be worn once, if ever. Maybe Althouse will wear it on her flight home. There's nothing more impressive than a woman in an airport wearing a pantsuit ...places to go, people to see.

With one son in Texas and one in California, and the mother in Wisconsin, one wonders if the family will ever be together again, at the same time.

These little mini-visits, where one son looks though a fashion book while the mother tries on fur coats, must surely make up for all the lost time and separation anxiety.

ricpic said...

Yeah, but they get atmosphere at Lee Lee's Valise. And espresso. And pastries. And a back rub. And word has it that if Lee Lee's not around...a quickie.

Trooper York said...

Now, now ricpic I would never step out on my lovely wife. I love her too much.

But if it helps sales, well, I am hiring extra staff. Email your resumes in the body of the email, no attachments.

Mrs. Velma Stench said...

DIASPORA:

One son in Texas, the other in California.

Mother in Wisconson; Uncle in Connecticut; Aunt in Florida.

And so, the question is: who is the leader of this family?----that one person that can gather the whole extended family, in one State---if not under one roof, --then, at least all residing no more than an hour away.

Where is the Matriarch and Patriarch, someone who can keep the family all together ?

Is there not a single person, dynamic enough, and with leadership skills, in this scattered family, that can say "enough is enough" and each one of us will make the decision to simply move closer to one another?

Who's gonna step up to the plate and insist.....compel every single member (even the outcasts, exes, and one's you can't stand)....to all move within reach of one another...

?????

William said...

People who wear Armani do not inspire warm thoughts. See above.

ricpic said...

Can't be done, Stench. Once the patriarch and matriarch go the centrifugal force that whirls families apart meets no countervailing centripetal (sp?) force.

My Uncle Carl and Aunt Rose were the patriarch and matriarch that kept all the sisters and brother-in-laws together. But then they up and died, and it all fell apart. Spun into the outer darkness forever. Into the howling wilderness of America. No more shtetl. No more warmth.

Mrs. Velma Stench said...

No matter what the genius of American advertising and the theater of Retail tell you:

Expensive frippery and trinkets CANNOT make up for the loss of family.

You can have all the expensive toys you want. But if you don't have your family around you......you have nothing.

And, don't tell me how dyfunctional and unpleasant they are. It doesn't matter. Just knowing that you have them close at hand, within reach, makes all the difference.

Dysfunction, lack-of-privacy, unpleasantness.....a family is still a family, and the benefits of proximity far outweigh any of those other negatives.

Trooper York said...

The way to mend the ties of a family that has been split asunder is to send a peace offering, a small gift to open the lines of communication.

You should of course direct your small token at the female members of your family as they are the ones who will appreciate it and make the next move to bring you all back together.

A perfect gift is the new sequined wrap from Olivia Harper which combines the best features of a wrap and a shrug as it has sleeves that you can slip into so it won’t fall off your shoulders. Or it can simply be worn as a wrap. This sequined wrap is the perfect cover for a night out when you don’t want to show your arms or you simply need something to wear because you feel uncomfortable in a halter or backless dress. This wrap will be a great addition to your wardrobe as it can be worn with so many dresses and give each of them a new look. Soon to be available in black, chocolate brown and beige it is priced at a very reasonable $94 since this will be the perfect accent to your little black dress and make all your old outfits look brand new. Since one size fits all, you can send it to all the estranged members of your family as a peace offering to tempt them to next family gathering.

Available exclusively at leeleesvalise.com in September.

10% discount for all Althouse commenters.

AllenS said...

Trooper--

Do you have any type of stylish Army tent for Maxine to wear. Perhaps with a Holstein cow pattern?

Ann Althouse said...

Ooh! This may be a vortex.

***

Can't show a picture of the suit, because I don't have it. When you buy a suit in a place like that, a tailor marks it up for alterations that take some time. It's being sent.

***

As for shopping in some non-retail hellhole.... not going to happen. I need the help from an accomplished salesperson or I'm just not going to be bothered. Also, I enjoyed the posh luxury.

If I want to save money, I'll just buy stuff at Banana Republic or the Gap or something. What difference does it make?

I'm not the kind of person who's going waste my time rummaging around in complicated places. I'm willing to pay for the service.

It's like the difference between cooking a fancy dinner for yourself or going to a restaurant. Either I'll fix a simple snack for myself or go to a restaurant.

Maxine Weiss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
knox said...

Well, some of the commenters here spend everyday already kissing Althouse's ass, so ...

Envy's an ugly thing. Well here's one for you Maxine.

Trooper York said...

NO! All of the clothing in Lee Lee’s Valise is fashion forward and stylish. Everyone has a shape that can accented and we have clothing that will make anyone look at their best. Even Maxine who I must admit would look smashing the Anna Scholz hounds tooth swing coat. Since she is fabously wealthily, she could of course afford one of our pricier items. She would so busy acknowledging accolades; she would have no time to post on Althouse, which would of course more properly help reach your objective.

Remember no tents! We fit your style.

Maxine Weiss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chet said...

My mother took me on weekly shopping trips, too. But I can tell you, we never never never bought anything that wasn't on sale---and I'm talking deep discounts !

Yeah, some of it was schlock, but the majority of it wasn't.

And, the giddy joy you feel from making a steal, far outweighs any of the "pampering".

Flossie Markupitz said...

Also, with the Wholesalers, you can haggle and, many times, talk 'em down even more.

I've negotiated some great deals on apparel at the Garment Center, and Jewelry Mart !!!

Althouse doesn't like to haggle, huh?

Isn't she a lawyer ????

William said...

Semiotics of suits: the traders and brokers wear Armani and Brioni. They're selling the idea of wealth and dash. The bankers and CPA's wear Brooks. They're selling the idea of prudence and discretion. It's ok for a tort lawyer to wear Armani but it looks kind of edgy for an academic. Grades are not a Platonic ideal; they are part of the ebb and flow of a free market. Bring your checkbook and see me after class.

PatCA said...

Good grief, yes, show us the pantsuit!

Flossie Markupitz said...

Also, if you're letting them do the alterations, you'll never be able to get a refund on return.

Flossie Markupitz said...

Well, let's have the exact price this so-called one-of-a-kind gem you insist you had to have.

Notice how Althouse never gives exact prices, or receipts, on this blog...

What, you think someone from the IRS is lurking ?

Ann Althouse said...

"Isn't she a lawyer?"

No, she's been retired from the practice of law since the 80s. She's a law professor.

Ann Althouse said...

If you don't know the difference, you're not the expert on snobbery you purport to be.

Waxine Meiss said...

"No, she's been retired from the practice of law since the 80s. She's a law professor."

Speaking of one's self in the 3rd person is a sign of mental illness. Uh oh...

I'd say that that the only difference between a law professor and a lawyer is that one of them can't handle failure.

Chet said...

Haggle.

I want to see Professor Althouse haggle.

That'd make a good Vlog !

TitusMadisonScouts said...

Just curious, where in Madison are you going to wear an Armani suit?

Part of the fun of wearing designer collections (other than the fit and how you feel in it) is the acknowledgement you receive from others. In a larger metropolitan city residents tend to be more aware of specific designers and how clothes fit a person.

Will anyone in Madison even appreciate the fine tailoring?

From my experience most Madisonians don't know the difference between Armani and Old Navy.

And who do you think you are Nancy Pelosi?

blake said...

Well they do not have any cool neighborhood boutiques like Lee Lee's Valise that has a family feeling.

Actually, we do, Troop, but they're all appliance stores. Go figger.

We should talk about opening a West Coast branch of LLV. (<--proposed stock exchange symbol...it's high time Lee Lee's went public!!)

XWL said...

Will anyone in Madison even appreciate the fine tailoring?


Maybe Dean Ken Starr is ready to make an offer Prof Althouse can't refuse . . .

(plenty of folks in Malibu would appreciate fine tailoring, they just choose to pretend that they don't)

blake said...

Actually, I think this post illustrates an interesting divide.

AA is a liberal, but she's not a leftist, hair-shirt liberal. She's a good time liberal.

Leftists (in the commie mold) want everyone to have the same level of drab misery. All this capitalist bourgeoisie frippery doesn't help the struggle against the overlords!

Althouse, on the other hand, wants everyone to have a good time. To let it all hang out (as long as it's not hanging out in shorts). She wants more for everyone, not less.

Althouse is Don Ameche to the Left's Greta Garbo.

Palladian said...

"From my experience most Madisonians don't know the difference between Armani and Old Navy."

A mark of a truly virtuous and interesting place.

Maxine Weiss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Simon said...

Maxine Weiss said...
"Her readers were under the assumption this was to be an educational trip, and that she was on some sort of Summer research sabbatical and going to tackle issues of some importance, and stature...."

A textbook example of projection if there ever was one...

Maxine Weiss said...

Oh, and the reason for my noticeable absence from the Meet-up, was that Althouse failed to list the date and time directly on her Blog.

I don't do email with people I've never met.

Although I wouldn't have shown up even then, because I didn't care for the venue in which this Gathering took place.

Regrets.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I don't do email with people I've never met.

You don't "do email" with strangers, but you would've showed up to an event full of strangers, had it been posted in plain sight for everyone to see?

That doesn't make sense.

Maxine Weiss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Theo Boehm said...

Professor A:  Not to pull a Maxine on you, but before you leave LA, you might consider something unusual and away from expensive stores and cute restaurants:  This tour of Charles Bukowski's Los Angeles.  I think it's $58/seat.

I met Bukowski once when he came up to Santa Barbara for a "book signing."  (scare quotes for a reason)  I was in college, and it was an inspiration that in LA a degenerate, babbling wino could be both a degenerate, babbling wino on the streets AND a famous author.

If you don't have time for the bus tour, this is an example of literary LA's historic preservation.

And here is a tour hosted by the great man himself.  Corner of Hollywood & Western.  Ah, the Los Angeles of memory....

Oh, there were and are nicer parts of LA.  It's just you drive 10 blocks in a random direction, and you're in what's on the video.

Any sane person flees to Boston, and never, ever thinks of going back.

And so, Maxine, what's the matter with YOU??

Ann Althouse said...

Too late! I've already left.

Theo Boehm said...

Professor, have you fled to Boston, too??

Excellent taste if you had. But if you've clicked you heels three times, and Madison is emerging in black and white from your Technicolor LA dreams, I suppose you'll appreciate reality all the more.

After all, there's....

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, I'm in Madison. Right where I want to be. It's too sunny in L.A. It was hard to deal with, esp. after getting sunburned as a golf spectator the previous weekend. Also, not enough WiFi.

Theo Boehm said...

Yes, you can never have enough WiFi.

We rented a cabin in the Berkshires the other week before picking the boys up at camp. My first question: "It's all very nice here in the woods. But is there WiFi?"

Theo Boehm said...

I'm sorry, but a forest just isn't a forest unless it's 802.11n compliant.

blake said...

Yeah, it is, isn't it?

There's a reason Ray Bradbury's stories talk about the magic of rain....

blake said...

Boy, no kidding, Theo!

I was out in the Adirondacks the other day and parts were only up to 802.11b.

What up with that?

veni vidi vici said...

Worth noting is that across the street on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is an equally sterilized, architecturally challenging Prada boutique to the one photographed in SoHo. In fact, that's what I first thought was in the photo.

vbspurs said...

Althouse is Don Ameche to the Left's Greta Garbo.

Blake, if you're thinking Ninotchka, one of my all-time favourite films and one all sentient beings should see at least once in their lifetimes...

...then it was Melvyn Douglas, not Don Ameche.

Don't worry though. They were often mistaken for each other in their lifetimes.

It was the 'tache and distinguished air.

Cheers,
Victoria

LoafingOaf said...

The little touche-finale of mentioning the fox fur and feathers will of course feed the lefties, but the subset of animal-rights folks will be gnashing their teeth, as well, unable to believe what they're reading. You may expect them presently.

People who find fur disgusting are not just a "subset of lefties." There are lots of non-leftists who don't like seeing someone prancing around in a show-off display of fur which animals were tortured for.

You like to imagine that wearing fur is another way to "stick it" to "lefties", just like you will stubbornly cling to Bush no matter how much of a f***-up he is. You'd rather not consider the fate of the animals. You've met lefties who dislike fur, so you'll pat Althouse on the back for her poor taste at the ridiculous store with the over-priced clothes. A store where "lovely" saleswomen get the customers drunk on the high-life atmosphere before manipulating them into spending a fortune on ugly fur that will sicken people all over town. Heck, you guys even wanted McCain to select that Alaskan governor as VP just because you saw a pic of her in a hideous fur outfit.

Before wearing a dead animal, a person ought to consider the ethical issues of how that animal was treated. Otherwise you'd be just another mindless consumer. Is it "leftist" to be a mindless consumer?

Well, whatever. There I gave you a little of the reaction you desired. :) All I can say is, I assure Althouse that many more people will be thinking bad thoughts when they see her showing off her dead fox than think bad thoughts when they see a man in *gasp* shorts, and with a lot more justification. Althouse is not a big fan of animals and the animals seem to sense this about her (she has blogged about how animals react negatively to her, some biting her), so maybe she'll say she doesn't care. Then she should stop asking others to care about how they make her feel by their dressing decisions.

Now I'm going back over to Andrew Sullivan's blog. He's not a "lefty" but he writes many quite thoughtful posts about the meat industry and doesn't care if the online partisans will say that he is becoming a "lefty" for doing so. Because he's not a midless consumer however much those who torture the animals would like him to be.

blake said...

Doh!

I can't believe I screwed that up, Victoria.

Yes, I did mean Melvyn Douglas. I shall now retire to my boudoir an commit sepuku with shards of a broken martini glass.

blake said...

Now I'm going back over to Andrew Sullivan's blog. He's not a "lefty"...

lol

LoafingOaf said...

From my message above: Is it "leftist" to be a mindless consumer?

I meant: to NOT be....

William said...

I live near upper Madison Avenue in NYC. The boutiques are stark and expensive. They display only a few items as though they are treasured works of art chosen by the curator for a special exhibition. I sometimes wander through Barney's--not to shop but to marvel at the vanity of human wishes. It is stunning to see how much someone will pay for a simple article of clothing. To me it seems like well bred bling--not so ostentatious as having gold capped teeth and bejeweled knuckles but the same principle operates. Behold my wealth and power and status and be amazed....Well, no jeremiads here. God bless the shoppers for their perfect lives. Advertising works. If your look radiates wealth and good taste, every passing mirror will convince you of the success of your life.