I love collecting. But unlike people who collect to accumulate, I collect to use. My Waterford collection gets quite the workout. My home furnishings collected over time bring me and my guests great enjoyment. And my not-so-secret obsession with luxury goods at bargain prices brings me extra excitement in life. Remember: shopping is a sport and I went professional at the age of nine.
I never should have jumped on EBay. But I did. And there is nothing I can (or want) to do about it.
You know. It seems crazy hearing about Ebay. People gone wild with excitement and you just think your friends are foolish for spending their money buying something from some stranger on the other side of the globe. And then, suddenly, something catches your eye. For me, it was a pair of Puruti Crocodile loafers in mint condition in my size, that new would have been $2,400, which I couldn’t pass up for $130.
Then it was an Hermès scarf that I wanted to hang as wall art in my second floor landing: The Real Escuela Andaluza Del Arte Equestre. The colors in red, gold and black just pop and it indulges my love for all things equestrian. And then I spotted my prize: a rare edition of the Hermes Attrape Tes Reves in Hermès orange that made me hit the ‘Bid’ button again. Luckily, I had the good fortune of coming across 12 huge, gold wooden frames with glass for $1 each that I’m able to get my contractor to rebuild to fit these silk scarves and other art I’ve collected for my home. Each frame has saved me about $150- $250.
Looking back, I think I’ve bought more Hermès for others than I have for myself. They receive new items, and I buy myself a mix of vintage and new. And that’s perfect. They’re friends that appreciate great quality. My favorite Hermès tie is one of horses in the most beautiful collection of colors. May the patron saint of plastic bibs always watch out for me.
But hold your horses, there’s a bit of home schooling you need to do before you go crazy on the Bay. Lots of luxury goods are knocked off left and right, and sell right beside the real stuff on so many websites. My advice: learn about what you like and then proceed with caution. The only thing worse than owning a fake is having paid authentic prices for your trifles.
And trifles they are: things of little value or importance. Whether it’s race cars or clown figurines, Fiesta ware or velvet paintings of bullfighters, your real wealth is your health and that’s where your money needs to go first.
Back to shopping. Now, if there was ever a person with a divining rod for luxury bargains, it’s my Aaron. His first score in this sport since we met was a mint condition Gucci wool blanket that he found at a hipster resale shop for $39. It was an odd item for them to resell, so likely they didn’t know that it sells today for $1,500. His second score was a pair of vintage Ray bans made with solid 14K gold frames. They’re worth about $525. He got them for $30. Then, (because everything has to be done in 3’s :-0), Aaron bought me a black leather Dolce & Gabbana jacket that was new with tags (and still selling on their site for $5,000), which he grabbed for $100.
I’ve always said and I stand by it today: the world is a bargain if you know where to shop. Whether it’s $3 or $3,000 . . . it’s only worth what someone will pay.
For those of you who are curious as to this legacy brand I collect:
HISTORY OF HERMÈS
A family-owned label for five generations, Hermès is the epitome of true class and the perfect picture of ‘blue blood.’
In 1837 Paris, Thierry Hermès founded his namesake brand as an equestrian harness and saddle workshop. I wonder if he had any idea that he was creating a dynasty that people all round the world covet among the best brands in design and quality.
In 2016, Hermès luxury goods are sold new and resold pre-owned at jaw-dropping prices, because the lasting quality and designs are just that good.
Some notable points in Hermès History:
1929: Hermès first women’s couture collection was previewed in Paris.
1930’s: Hermès began to sell their products in the US in Neiman Marcus, New York.
1937: The first Hermès silk scarf is born.
1956: The Kelly bag debut after Grace Kelly carries a crocodile handbag to hide her pregnancy.
1984: Actress Jane Birkin replaced her straw handbag (Thank God! See photos)with a leather Hermès handbag, and thus began the trend of the Birkin handbag.
2016: The Birkin bag has the longest wait list for an accessory today, 6 years.
Remember the episode in Sex In The City when Carrie Bradshaw quipped that she would be “the woman who lives in her shoes”. Well, take a look at the tiny crocodile house that one might be living out of some day, should the money run out. This Hermès handbag and/or future home could have been yours if you had only bid a single dollar over $300,000.00 on June 6th at Christies, NYC.
Know that you would not be the first person to find an Hermès scarf while thrifting. A friend of ours found one for a dollar at Goodwill and sold it to someone in Japan for $450. May the Vintage Gods be with you.
Please share your collections with me. We will then know each other’s Achilles heel and can keep our eyes out for the must haves that excite us.