Some Like It Haute
A Segway Into Couture Culture
One true thing about rural living:
High-end designer-filled stores are at least a day’s drive away. We are
relegated to the normal, everyday department store. And that’s a good thing.
I can zip to Belk’s or Peebles for jeans or blouses, and — yes, I’ll
confess! — Walmart for Fruit of the Loom. Otherwise, I can drive to Richmond
if I’m craving Coldwater Creek or Talbot’s or Williams-Sonoma.
But there’s no need for that; those catalogs come right to
my rural mailbox, especially this time of year.
Are you inundated with holiday catalogs? I am. They
provide hours of gazing enjoyment, regardless of having just four people on
my gift list.
For some unknown reason — demographic, I like to think — a
catalog for Saks Fifth Avenue arrived at the end of the driveway this week.
(I should mention that I just returned from a jaunt
through New York City. My hotel was quite near Saks Fifth Avenue; I walked
past it 20 times, yet never once darkened its doors. We rural girls know
darn well when we’re out of our element.)
The thick, glossy catalog only proved my point. The first
thing my eyes lit upon was a poncho — yes, a poncho! — by Michael Kors. It
cost $24,500. I have not mistyped this figure; the coat sells for more than
most folks around here bring home annually. It is, in my opinion, nothing I
would buy if I did have the money. It’s a poncho, for heaven’s sake. Never
liked them. On one side, it is camel-dyed suede — the type of thing that
reminds one of, say, desert boots. It reverses to “brightener-added white
mink.” Maybe it’s just me, but I cannot picture myself running into Walmart
for undies wearing a white mink poncho.
Many of the absolutely fabulous, or absolutely ridiculous,
items in the catalog, by the way, cannot be ordered from the catalog. They
must be purchased in-store. The coat, for instance, can be bought only in
“select fur salons.” I find the idea of a “fur salon” kind of creepy. Have
the paint-splashers of yesteryear abandoned their politically correct
Perhaps the oddest thing about the Saks catalog is, it
seems to revolve around a transportation theme. The stark, white cover has
just one photo to lure buyers inside: A Segway. Don’t ask me to explain a
Segway. Suffice it to say, it seems a rather silly, not to mention slow, way
to travel. The cover proclaims: “I’m going to Saks Fifth Avenue.” On a
Each mode of transport featured a very long, very lean
model clad in very expensive clothing. The first girl wore a $5,000 Armani
python-print coat, pleated skirt and five-inch black stilettos and balanced
upon — are you ready for this — a skateboard. I saw a lot of strange sights
in New York, but nothing like this.
A model sporting saggy knee socks and a mismatched-plaid
Marc Jacobs outfit posed on a pedicab. I did see pedicabs in New York. All
were manned by goofy college dudes. Another model carried an $875 handbag
while she teetered atop a tiny little scooter. Hands down, though, the most
utterly ridiculous shot featured a model in black leather jacket ($995)
seemingly enjoying traversing Park Avenue on a pogo stick.
Another model “wouldn’t dream of stepping foot into the
club without a civilized, ladylike bag.” I guess a $2,000 Chloe handbag is
considered civilized in some circles.
But I do wonder how many New York urbanites are planning
to plunk down $4,700 for a bulky “diving watch,” even if it is designed by
The section devoted to shoes was shot in the subway. I did
venture onto the subway in New York. Once. I am glad I was not wearing $700
Stuart Weitzman boots or, God forbid, a pair of $850 leopard print
sling-back pumps with five-inch heels. How does one navigate all those
stairs in such shoes?
Just so you don’t think I’m full of sour grapes here, I
will tell you there were some items I lusted after in the Saks catalog. For
instance, there was an amethyst coat to die for, just $750. Too bad it only
goes up to size 12.
I found something I could certainly use: anti-age serum by
Sisley-Paris. Too bad it costs $500 an ounce.
I did find something I could afford: a lipstick. Just $45!
Wait a minute — didn’t I just see lipstick in Walmart for
$6? I think I like that color better.