Last Saturday, in the middle of doing some interior decoration shopping, I left a boutique in total shock by the price of the most sublime vintage chair that I’ll be dreaming about for a long time coming. Look out! $8,000.
I walked across Broadway to console myself with a latte when suddenly, just to my right, I see a little shop with, you’d never guess, my chair in the window. Ahhhh torture! I get a little closer, take a look, and see the price. $200. On sale for $160.
??? What the… ?
I head through the doors with my expression #18 : Colombo goes shopping, and I say to the vendor in my most innocent voice, “Is this a faux?”
He looks at me and smiles his most malicious smile, “Yes! But it’s exactly the same, the exact same thing as the real thing.”
I pop the collar of my trench and I say to him like a fellow conspirator, “But isn’t it illegal for you to sell these?”
He gives me a wink and says, “No, after 75 years, the design becomes public domain. Designers can’t hoard their creations forever!
I stayed for almost a half hour looking at all his copies. Some of them were pretty terribly done, but some of them totally had it perfect. In what felt like under a minute, I somehow capsized in design paradise. Everything is beautiful and well designed, everyone is malicious and give you side winks, and all these chairs are sitting on their little clouds costing a mere $160.
And it was right in the middle of my dream that I met Charles & Ray Eames who said to me, “Garance, how dare you? Do you not care about us in the slightest?”
Back to reality I fall, and that poorly lit store on Broadway, to you, I say goodbye. I can’t do this… Because in all honesty, I totally already have :
Flash back #1
One day during London Fashion week a few years back, I snuck away for a few hours with a couple journalist friends in between runway shows to go take a stroll around TopShop.
And right there, I see the most sublime jacket, and I swear it’s the second coming of a jacket from the last YSL collection that I wanted oh so badly. Happy as could be, I tried it on and let out a scream, when right then, one of my friends says, “You know, I like TopShop and all but that jacket is pretty much just a copy. I’m sorry. I just can’t do that to the designer. And I mean, it just makes it worse that we all work in fashion and know the collections so well.”
I raised my gaze to the sky and standing over me in my fitting room was Stefano Pilati who said to me, “Garance, how dare you? Do you not care about us me in the slightest?”
So yeah, a little taken aback by the stinging remarks from my friend (but at the same time, happy about it because it’s nice to have friends who call you out on your shit), but still, I buy the jacket, just because I’m a total idiot.
Result : Never wore it. Never once. Every time I saw it, I felt like such a traiter. And yeah well also, frankly, the material surely left something to be desired. And the jacket wasn’t even that cute. It was just a poor substitute to the one that in the warmth and glow of the YSL store, looked absolutely sublime.
Conclusion : Faux jacket, Real bad investment. Not to say that’s always the case, listen to this…
Flash Back #2
I have in my possesion, and have since the dawn of time, something I have no idea where it orginally came from, I have the most sublime copy of a Birkin.
It is made of the most beautiful tan leather, supple and perfectly aged. It’s made with a leather that Hermès no longer uses (we’ll get to talk Hermès leather soon, promise…). Oh I just love it so much.
So much that when I walk down the street with it, people stop me to tell me how beautiful it is, and I feel bad unless I tell them…
“No, but it’s totally a fake. Yeah, it’s beautiful and all. And yeah, they don’t make them anymore… but it’s still a fake.”
Result : Obviously, I never wear it.
So a fake is a fake. It could be ugly or exquisite, maybe other people know, maybe just you, but still, a fake is always a fake.
Pffffff and yeah, that’s the super boring moral of the story.
PS : I really see a difference between an obvious copy and a garment “inspired by”, fashionable and of the taste of the moment… That’s why I love TopShop and Zara.
Translation : Tim Sullivan