For quite some time I have wanted a Chanel jacket. I love the classic style, attention to detail and careful craftmanship. I also love the whole Chanel ‘story’ – she was a fascinating woman. I particularly like the fact that Coco Chanel liberated women from corsets and long skirts. She is quoted as saying that women “should have the possibility to laugh and eat without necessarily having to faint.” Anyone who says that is definitely a woman after my own heart.
However a Chanel jacket is not in my budget. New, jackets go for several thousand dollars. Even second-hand ones are several hundred dollars. What was in my budget was a Chanel scarf, and I had decided some time ago that I would buy such an item when I was in Paris.
The main Chanel store is at 31 rue Cambon. I arrived there with some trepidation. Here was one of the most beautiful stores selling some of the most beautiful fashion in the entire world, and I was in my hiking boots, hiking pants, a very worn out looking t-shirt, and my floppy sun hat! Nonetheless, I was not going to let that stop me. In I went.
The door was opened for me by a man impeccably dressed in a very expensive looking black suit. God knows what he thought when he saw me, but his face gave nothing away. He was indeed a professional.
Inside, there was actually very little on display…a few purses; a couple of pairs of shoes. I wondered where everything was. Then one of the store clerks approached me and asked if she could be of help. Again, a professional through and through. I didn’t even see a flicker of disdain in her eyes.
I told her what I wanted. She led me through a series of rooms, each with its own specific purpose. There was a room just for shoes; another room for purses; another for jewellery and scarves. The scarf room contained some gorgeous wall to wall cabinets. It was from these cabinets that she removed some drawers to show me the silk scarf collection.
I took some time to make my choice. I was enjoying this and I wanted to make it last as long as possible. I picked one that had hues of blues, purples and creams…not one of their more expensive ones, but something that I knew would make me feel good when I wore it.
Now it was time to pay. For that, I was led to another room, which looked like an office in a bank where you’d go to request a loan. I chuckled to myself at the irony of it. Once my purchase was paid for, the clerk led me to a salon where I watched a Chanel fashion show on a big screen and waited for my precious package to be wrapped. Once that was done, I was escorted to the door and the impeccably dressed doorman saw me out.
The experience in itself was almost worth the price of the scarf.