I’m not sure at what point in my life I became aware of designer labels, but since I am a child of the 70’s, there were some crucial, foundation building years of my life that came about during the advent of Gloria Vanderbilt putting her family name on every bottom in America. I’m just saying, it could’ve influenced me.
I remember the day that I graduated from wearing Garanimals to Luv-its. Oh you know y’all remember Luv-its. My favorite pair had an ice cream cone stitched on the back pocket and let’s just say that I thought I was IT at Magic Skate wearing my sweet, sweet Luv-its and my white skates with green pom-poms. Look out world because here I come and I’ve got dessert embroidered on my booty.
In time the Luv-its became just a little passe. It was all about Gloria Vanderbilt and that swan. I had to have a pair. My Mema came through and bought me a pair of aqua (I would say turquoise, but we all know it was the 70’s and aqua is more appropriate) Gloria Vanderbilt jeans with a matching aqua Gloria Vanderbilt top complete with elastic waist band. Oh yes ma’am, I was going to take 5th grade by storm.
Then, tragedy struck. I can still picture the whole scene. I was sitting in our living room wearing my new Gloria Vanderbilt ensemble while changing the batteries on my 8-track player (could that sentence even apply to any other decade than the 70’s?) when I looked down and realized that I had gotten battery acid on my aqua jeans. They were ruined. To say that I was upset is an understatement. It was a display of prepubescent hormones that could serve as a warning label to anyone who will ever come in contact with a 10 year old girl.
Fortunately for me, Jordache jeans came in style shortly thereafter and I moved on. There is no better school picture of me than my 5th grade picture complete with Jordache jeans, royal blue Izod shirt, and winged hair that was shellacked to my head by an inordinate amount of Flex hairspray.
Throughout my teenage years, I pined for Polo shirts, complete outfits by Esprit, Guess overalls, Laura Ashlely dresses, and Dooney and Bourke purses to name just a few.
Then, one Christmas while I was in college, this boy I was dating bought me a real Fendi purse. I don’t even want to think about what he paid for it. I adored this Fendi purse. I carried it everywhere and it lasted much longer than the relationship with the guy that bought it for me in the first place. Even after we broke up, I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the Fendi. It just looked too good with everything I owned and it would be wrong to lose a nice handbag because of a bad boyfriend.
I’m not saying I am proud, I am just being honest.
Anyway, I carried that Fendi for about a year and a half before the leather on the drawstring began to completely erode away. I couldn’t believe that such a nice purse was falling apart after a measly year and a half. So, one day I was in Houston, shopping at The Galleria and noticed the Fendi store.
I marched in there with my purse just knowing that it gave me instant credibility. I explained that my purse was about a year and a half old and the leather was falling apart. The saleswoman took my purse, looked it (and me) up and down and then in a snooty, faux french accent said “Well, this is obviously just a department store Fendi.” It was like I had handed her a dead possum in Fendi clothing. She then said “Our Fendis are not meant for everyday use, so there is nothing that can be done.”
Oh right, because why would you pay an exorbitant amount for a purse that you were actually going to use?
I hadn’t thought of this story in years, but this week my friend Hite sent me an ad for a Fendi purse with a note asking about the department store Fendi. I can’t believe he remembered, but he’s probably spent years being embarrassed that he associated himself with someone who was using a designer handbag from a department store for everyday use. How tacky.