Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fashion central

Zoe leaping in her new kit
I'm not telling you this because it is any kind of revelation or insight, but because it is a plain and simple truth. Boys are different to girls. Today my daughter and I headed South of Auckland city to experience a little outlet shopping mayhem at the Dressmart complex. It has grown since the last time I was there. First we found some sushi, it pays not to shop on an empty stomach. You will need the energy to battle the crowds intent on locating and securing their bargains. Ultimately we found a little store specialising in outfits for tweens. Zoë is such a skinny little thing that it is difficult to find things that fit. Skirts and shorts, supposedly designed for her age group fall comically to the floor when she lets go of the waist-band. Unlike her brother, now 16, when I send Zoë off to the fitting rooms to check whether styles and sizes are a happening thing I wonder if the large hadron collider had, indeed created a black hole and Z had been sucked into it. She takes her time. I am pretty sure Taylor, on the other hand used to disappear inside the cubicle, look at the garments for the amount of time he calculated it would take to try them on, then emerge and deliver his verdict. If it looked ok on the dummy it will look the same on him - even if the mannequin didn't have a head. It is true that some garments do look better on the headless. There has to be some explanation for the phenomenon. I can buy clothes that look irresistibly cool in the ad or on display but on me I look, what is the word for it?…Wurzilgummage-ish.

The outlet store phenomenon is interesting for its effect on luxury goods marketing. In the United States they are especially popular. One in California, Desert Hills is the third most frequent tourist destination in the state. Japanese bus tours do a roarong trade. By going mass luxury brands have become somewhat dependent on volume and market share - where once they were exclusive and scarce. The upshot of which is that luxe brands aren't immune, as they once were to the roller coaster of the markets.

Zoe pronounces some of her choices a hit and tosses the 'unwanteds' under the door of the cubicle for me to deal with. I think I waited for more than half an hour for her to go through the process. It reminded me of waiting for her mother to get ready to go out when we were married. Some things must be in the DNA. I had a quick sortie to see if there were any fashionable garments that I could inflict my scarecrow styling to but abandoned the mission when Zoe announced she had a headache from shopping (once again uncannily like her mother). I prefer to shop alone in any case, so left it for another day. Probably just as well - I'm past pinto lizard skin boots with impossibly pointy toes and disgraceful Cuban heels.

At home Zoë modelled her purchases and insisted on the full fashion shoot. She rejected half of the images. I rather liked the one above. Instead of Elton John and Amy Winehouse in the front row there was only Latte and Thumper - the rabbits who were bemused and moulting heavily.

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