Sunday, April 27, 2008

Window shopping with the rich and famous: Paris

Ever drifting down the stream--
Lingering in the golden gleam--
Life, what is it but a dream?
--Lewis Carroll

In the grand scheme of things, to have the freedom to dream is a luxury in itself. Even more so is to live the dream, as the next destination for the finer things awaits.

Spending a day in London (see April 21 entry) was indeed an awesome experience culturally and sartorially. A Eurostar train ride to Paris, however, is yet another story when it comes to fashion.

Paris is world renowned for its haute couture. While I am not a member of that exclusive circle, I did enter the doors of the most prestigious shirtmaker in France --Charvet, founded in 1838. It is located at Place Vendome, across the street from Cartier and in close proximity to esteemed jewelers. For those who seek a taste of Charvet's history, click here.

At the time of my visit in early April, a salesperson quoted 600 Euros (about $930) for one custom-fitted shirt. A demi-fitted shirt, which requires fewer measurements that are used in cutting the shirt from a template, goes for 400 Euros (about $620). Ready-made shirts cost 275 Euros (about $425).

Now I know.

Strolling about Place Vendome, one can quickly view the open space of the square and the exclusive shops situated on the perimeter. An example is shown below.

Patek Philippe epitomizes the best in timepieces since its founding in 1839. Serious watch aficionados may wish to consider checking out the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, where four levels' worth of watches are on display.

Suffice it to say that no matter the cost of a Patek Philippe watch, it becomes priceless over time. It is an ideal accessory to wear with your best outfit.

Moving on, a Metro subway ride to Rue Saint-Germain is the next stop on the whirlwind window shopping tour. Walking down the street, numerous stores such as Faconnable and Emporio Armani are in sight. One of my favorites is Berluti, which has breathtaking displays of bespoke footwear. A bespoke shoe here goes for 4,000 Euros (nearly $6,200).

I consider Berluti and John Lobb among the Hall of Famers of shoemaking. While the latter represents the majesty of British tradition in footwear, the former offers an artistic flair that is equally undeniable.

But I digress.

In Paris, I caught a glimpse of the best in men's shirts, jewelry and shoes. Between here and London, you can't go wrong in seeking items fit for a king (or, at the very least, the Duke of Windsor).

No comments: