I don’t know at what point in history shopping became its own activity entirely — yesterday I tried to watch The Paradise*, which takes place during the Victorian era in London, and even back then, we see young women swooning over fancy lace and spending all their money** on perfumes, and some are even able to use their clothes to up their social status.
This doesn’t surprise me. There’s a particular pleasure in shopping — it’s both intimate and social. It’s a way to enjoy yourself and communicate something at the same time. That’s especially true today, and it even goes far beyond that…
Today, you can build an entire career based on shopping.
Don’t take my word for it. Careers are rare. But let’s take a look at some recent phenomena…
There are more and more of them all the time, they are getting cuter and cuter, and their wardrobes are always overflowing. And also – it’s like a sport : as Alexia said in the comments on Monday — some girls never wear the same thing twice.
They look like they have dream lives*** running from plane to plane, taking three photos of copious breakfasts with Valentino Studs in the foreground and the Eiffel Tower in the background.
They aren’t technically stylists or models. I’m not even sure they could dress anyone other than themselves.
They are…experienced shoppers.
And it works! Most of the time, they’re really good at mixing brands, inspiring, and promoting young, local designers we wouldn’t have heard of otherwise, which is great… Some of them make real careers out of it. Why not?
But at the same time, does this shopping hysteria correspond in any way to reality? The answer is clearly no. I get dizzy just thinking about how all the changes and clothes organizing (getting it, sorting it, folding it, hanging it, trying it on, sending it back****) every day.
But it’s great eye candy, and as long as we don’t find ourselves freaking out when we look at these blogs “but why don’t I have a different pair of pumps every day and the Eiffel Tower behind me!?!?!” I’m totally ok with it.
I love what Victoria Beckham does, and she explains it really well herself: After so many years of shopping, she knows exactly what she wants to find when she goes shopping.
So she created her own brand based on her experience. And she does a great job of it. She puts her whole shopping philosophy to work in her career. When she launches her line of handbags, they’re perfect. You have to admit she has plenty of experience with perfection given her 100 + Birkins.
I can’t wait to see what her stores are like.
I don’t know if we can really call it shopping (But at the same time, she really shops — remember when I ran into her at Isabel Marant? She was trying on clothes and showing everything to Kanye… No stylist in sight), but she’s worth mentioning because she’s the most recent example of rehabilitation by clothes and only clothes (okay, a little bit of Kanye as well) — and that alone turned her from reality tv star (“Boooh!!!”) into a Vogue cover model (“Aaaaah!!!”)
Because really, unlike some celebrities who change their image to mark a career change, Kim didn’t change anything but her clothes. Whether you like it or not, she is using her private life to create an empire, and she still uses her name to sell all kinds of things, chic or not, to her fans.
But now she knows how to dress, and our opinion of her (oh la la, you guys got SO mad at me when I said I liked her new looks!) is going to change.
A year from now, she’ll be on Vanity Fair’s best dressed list, and one day we will have completely forgotten that Kim Kardashian used to show off her booty in Hervé Léger. We’re going to think she’s chic. We’re going to start talking about her irony-free. Without having to apologize or explain like everyone does these days why-she’s-actually-cool-if-you-really-think-about-it.
We’ll start describing her as an experienced business woman with flawless style.
No, seriously! You’ll see!
And all of that will happen just because she is a smart shopper.
It’s funny, don’t you think?
Ok guys, I’ll let you go. I have some shopping to do!
*It’s on Netflix. Not great so far. Have you seen it?
**Well — they spent all their family’s money, anyway. It’s not like women worked back then*
*No, they didn’t work, they plotted. Or at least that’s what all the films would have us believe. All the men were at war, and all the women were sitting around plotting schemes. Pfffff.
*** Ok, I mean, it’s the Internet dream life. Let’s not fool ourselves!
**** No, they’re not all rich, some of them just really know what they’re doing. And, uuuum, sending back clothes they ordered? Which is? Not a good idea. It’s always when you decide to do that, that you end up with a coffee that decides to spill itself (oops!) on your $10,000 dress.
Translated by Andrea Perdue