Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Close Encounters of the Fashion Kind

It's been a hell of a couple two weeks, as I keep saying. Here's what's been going on. In addition to the surgery, recovery, busy social schedule and normal day-to-day BS of life, my career has really been kicking into high gear. For more than a year my life was on pause; now it's in fast-forward and I can't even find the pause button anymore.

I've mentioned how I found an intern—who's already been promoted to an editorial assistant—and now I need to be organized not just for myself, but for him. Type-A person? Yes. Type-A 'boss'? Seems not so much. I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that I'm in a leadership role over here. Not to mention I've also been in talks with a publicity team, with them helping me massage my plan for world domination. Step one? Turning this blog into something that actually makes me money. My stats are impressive, apparently. Hopefully impressive enough to draw advertisers. That's another story. So anyway, my days and nights have been busy. A big part of my job as a freelance writer/author/blogger is going out. Press events, dinners, lunches etc. That shit takes up a lot of time. I'm not complaining, but when I'm really stressed I prefer to lay on my couch and find comfort in reality TV (Real Houswives finale tonight, woot-woot. Let's see what crazy eyes Kelly (former) Bensimon pulls.)

After the gym today I ran into Whole Foods to pick up my pathetic frozen dinner, when, at the register I had a fashion encounter like no other. I spotted a woman at the next counter who was wearing a shirt I have. Not just any shirt, mind you. A Gianfranco Ferre top that I'd bought in Rome three years ago. The very same shirt that I pulled out when mom was here last week to see if she could mend the delicate back side of it—a sheer, silk layer festooned with white-and-red polka dots. I never talk to strangers in stores, but I had to speak to this woman.

Turns out, she'd also gotten the top at the same Ferre store near Piazza Espana (the Spanish Steps) about three years ago as well. Well, there's a sign here and that sign is, I need to get that fucking shirt mended already and begin wearing it again. It's a really lovely shirt (see below) and sentimental. I made two big purchases that trip—we did Amalfi, Positano and Rome—that shirt and a little YSL, white patent wristlet. We had one shopping day in Rome. While Michael, Dad and I were content with a week on the Amalfi Coast, Mom insisted on a couple days in Rome. To shop. So on that day, we all received our "shopping money"—don't even bother commenting—and the men dispersed.

Mom: "Where do you want to go?"

I am very familiar with Rome's famed shopping streets. I've been there several times; mom had only been once I think. She was determined to find something fabulous.

"Well, I'm going to wander around this area and just go in stores where I know I can find something within my budget. I'm not bothering with Prada, Gucci or any of those. I'll probably stick to the younger lines."

Mom: "Okay, so should we split up? I want to go to all the stores."

We had a couple hours, okay?

"The streets are very confusing mom, why don't you just come with me?"

Natch, she went on her own. I wavered on the price of the Ferre shirt, but the sentimentality of it won me over. Not only is it a fantastic, whimsical shirt, but it seemed made for me and this family vacation that was like no other the Greens had ever taken. The front of the shirt boasts a map of Southern Italy and reads: "I want to live my life and not record it."

Ring me up. In a couple hours I had two great purchases that would last as lifelong mementos of this unforgettable trip.

Mom and I met back up.

"So what did you find?" I asked.

"Damnit, I didn't find anything. How did you find stuff? I wasted so much time in Gucci and then just wandered around; where are all the shops. Damnit, I should've stayed with you!"

I showed her my finds and she was even more upset. Still, she hasn't learned to stick with me when it comes to shopping advice, but she's gotten better. This day of non-purchases led to perhaps one of the most insane Nancy Green shopping moments I've witnessed.

Cut to the airport, on the day of our departure:

Nancy was purchase-less. Unacceptable. If you've been to the Rome airport, you know that every store on Via Condotti is also there. Gucci, Prada and one of mom's faves, Etro. Less than an hour before boarding, I see mom wandering around the airport in shopping mode, eyes on the prize. She dad and I go into Etro. Mom starts manically trying on things left and right. She zeros in on the raincoats, for which she has a minor obsession. She's trying on slickers with no regards for time, asking dad's opinion and then not waiting long enough for him to answer. They start announcing our plane.

"Are you guys really doing this? Seriously? You're shopping as our plane's boarding? Come on, this is pushing it even for you mom."

Etro is certainly not cheap. And imagine the airport markup. In short, a raincoat from Etro is what fashionistas call an investment piece. Mom is the type who, on shopping excursions, shops, compares, thinks and then buys. She is not an impulse buyer, unless she's suffering from temporary shopping insanity brought on by a fruitless day on one of the world's best shopping streets.

I left them looking at four-figure rain coats, thinking, "Not even mom is crazy enough to buy something like this at the airport, 15 minutes before takeoff."

I was ensconced in my seat before they'd boarded. When they did board, I laughed out loud (and cringed a little) at the Etro shopping bag in mom's hands. Alas, it made her happy, it's a fab coat and she still enjoys it. And her friends and I have gotten many giggles over that Nancy story. Probably the funniest and most unusual impulse buy anyone in our fam has made. Until I make some real money that is:)

Michael and I on our last night in Rome:

Me and the forbidden lover, aka, Afrika Baby Bam.

That vacation—fashion foibles and all—was one for the record books. If you haven't checked out the photos, they are here.