I was a shopaholic long before I was into clothes. I used to sit in front of the tv mesmerized by commercials for Barbie and My Little Pony. Pound Puppies, in particular, were my kryptonite. I had to have every new toy I saw on television. I was the child that threw regular tantrums in the toy aisle and was never satisfied with just one toy. My mom, ever the quick thinker and problem solver, devised a scheme to keep me quiet. When I relentlessly begged for a certain toy, she’d tell me it was on backorder and not to worry because she put me on the waitlist, and I eventually I’d forgot about it and move on to whatever new crap Mattel was hawking. I was on the theoretical waitlist for thousands of toys and stuffed animals that were, in fact, in stock. However, it was this early exposure to waitlists that prepared me for the Chloe Paddington craze of 2005. As soon as that bag made its way down the runway, I had the foresight to get on every waitlist in town and at every major department store and boutique across the country. I scored my Paddington bag from the first shipment and was the envy of thousands of women. Too bad the bag was more expensive than a Pound Puppy.
From a young age, my world consisted of makeup and facials and blowouts and waxings. Natural beauty was a foreign concept, especially with my frizzy hair. In fact, I spent a fortune to look as little like my natural self as possible. To be honest, I really don’t even remember my natural hair color. I assume its some shade of brown, but its really anyone’s guess.
Beauty treatments are just a way of life. And that is why my biggest fear is getting into a horrible accident and slipping into a coma. Not for any noble reason like what I might miss or concern for my loved ones. My fear is I will be in a coma and neglect my beauty regimen. I’ll be plugged into a million machines in a hideously unflattering hospital gown, unmanicured, with clogged pores, no makeup, and unblown, frizzy hair and some gorgeous, single and wealthy doctor is going to see what I actually look like. Not even HIPAA can protect that secret.
So I made the decision to start a coma beauty fund. A coma beauty fund is similar to a retirement fund, but much more important. Like any investment plan, I am diversifying my portfolio among Israeli tech stocks, real estate, and high yield t-bills. My broker says I’m still young, so I can afford to take some risks, but a coma can strike at any time and last for years, so I also stashed some cash in an undisclosed location, known only to my coma executor. My attorney helped me to draft a living will containing specific instuctions for all of the possible beauty specific coma scenarios. Like, how often someone needs to shave my legs; contact information for my makeup artist, manicurist, and eyebrow girl; how to mix my color and iron my hair in case my regular stylist is busy; educational and experience requirements for any substitute hair stylists to ensure no one goes Edward Scissorhands on me and I don’t wake up with a bonzai tree on my head. The important stuff- a few nips, tucks and plucks to achieve that “Yes, I am in a coma, but i still care, look.” And should my facialist be booked and unavailable, I hereby authorize my agent to pull the plug.
I have an idea. It’s so crazy, it just might work. Compagnie Financière Richemont should hire Raf Simons to take creative control of the Azzedine Alaia label. Simons was recently fired from Calvin Klein, which was an ill match from the start, in my oponion. Simons notably resigned from Christian Dior after only a few years. Though sales rose during his brief tenure, and he had a good relationship with LVMH CEO, Bernard Arnault, Simons was vocal on many occassions about the stress of turning out 6 collections a year. Azzedine Alaia was famous for refusing to show during the regular Paris schedule; he showed completely at his own pace and Richemont allowed him this freedom. This is why Raf Simons would fit in perfectly in the company culture created by Alaia. He could show as he sees fit, leaving him plenty of time to focus on his own menswear label. From a design standpoint, I believe Raf Simons would respect Alaia’s architectual brand heritage while moving the label in a modern direction. There will never be another “King of Cling,” but Raf Simons could possibly be the Karl Lagerfeld to Azzedine Alaia’s Coco Chanel.
Why is it sometimes far too easy to justify dropping insane amounts of money in the moment? Yet I have to think several days before making practical and necessary, small purchases. I’ve even been known to run next door to use the hotel restroom when I’m low on toilet paper and don’t feel like spending for more. Maybe it is learned behavior. I’ve seen my mom spend thousands of dollars on jewelry without batting an eyelash but refuse to put out a few hundred to fix her bathroom sink. As she explains it, “who cares about working plumbing when I can have diamonds?” Fortunately, she has a second bathroom. I myself spend a fortune on clothing and accessories at Chanel and Dior and then bitch when I have to buy toothpaste. Its definitely more fun purchasing outlandish and frivolous things than paying for boring household items and bills. At least I buy things with value rather than cheap impulse crap. I remember stumbling on a sidewalk sale with my mom and hemming and hawwing over whether to buy cigar boxes for $1. First we grabbed several boxes but when we had to actually dig into our wallets to pay we had second thoughts. Do we really need these? Are they really worth the money? Eventually, we declined and wound up spending $3000 on earrings later that day.
Baltimore used to have a Saks Fifth Avenue. I know. I’m as shocked as you are, and I was there. Back in the day, Owings Mills Mall was at the forefront of fashion, at least, by Baltimore standards. My family was there for the grand opening in 1986. We ate dinner in the food court every Tuesday night in the summer for double punch night at One Potato Two, and Friday nights for Shabbat dinner. What better way to observe the day of rest than with Boardwalk Fries and a slice? In the 80s and early 90s, everyone was a mallrat. The Saks at Owings Mills Mall wasn’t enormous, but they had a great makeup department. I mostly remember the large selection of St. John dresses to appease the bubbies (the Jewish grandmothers) and a pretty decent amount of DKNY. Honestly, before 1994, I was much more interested in checking out the electronics department at Macys. But in 1996, Saks announced they were going out of business and were being replaced by a JC Penney- talk about going from one end of the spectrum to the other. Anyway, that’s when my mom and I stepped up our game and started hitting up Saks everyday for new markdowns. We scored hoards of makeup, clothing, and accessories for up to 70% off retail. I also purchased what was at the time my most prized posession: a DKNY nylon mini backpack. When Saks closed it was a sad day for Baltimore shoppers. The nearest Saks was now in Chevy Chase, and 45 minutes away (unless you count the outlet at Arundel Mills, which I do not), and I quite honestly don’t think Baltimore shopping has ever recovered. I, personally, had to skip town.