full body contact window shopping

by Sirje

The other day, my man and I made a unanimous mid-errand decision to go window shopping. If you dress up and wear fancy shoes, they won’t even blink if you ask to try on the 5,000€ Moschino gowns (so so soooo not pictured. One does not take photos in that particular store. I think this one is Nicole Miller). So we dropped off the lemons, kitty litter and toilet paper, brushed our collective hair, and headed down Ku’Damm.

I fell absolutely in love with a few Max Mara gowns, particularly a strapless bandeau top with miles of folded chiffon in vivid red cascading to the floor. Gorgeous. And luckily not available in my size. If I thought you could significantly take in a gown like that without totally destroying the shape of it, I would have pawned off my left foot for it. But alas.

There are two basic kinds of stores that carry formal wear for ladies on Ku’Damm. Ok three. The first kind carries one super high end label only, like Chanel, Versace, or Prada. More often than not, they are outrageously pricey and try to drench you in the experience of their brand values. Their security teams have expensive haircuts.

Then there’s the super swank boutique that carries several fabulous labels along their velvet walls, staffed at any given time by 7 beautifully groomed Russian ladies of a certain age and a dog. These are great because they eventually have to move the merchandise out to make way for the latest and greatest, and that means: sales. But you have to kiss a lot of frogs since they tend to only carry only one or maybe two of each design. These salespeople will mostly leave you alone, but oh they are watching. And as soon as you’ve established that you can’t speak Russian, they are talking about you to each other the entire time. If you put something on that might possibly be a wee bit tight in a compromising location, you may not understand Russian but you will get the message, turn bright red and run screaming on the inside back to the dressing room. On the other hand, if something looks good, you’ll know that, too.

The third kind of shop is my least favorite, but most of my time usually is spent in them because once you walk in they will literally not let you leave until you’ve bought something. They carry some decent brands but also some crap, and they might have a few different sizes of each in the back. The saleswomen in these stores have permanent makeup, clearly survive on commission alone and think EVERYTHING looks just AMAZING on you. ESPECIALLY the pricey things because you CLEARLY have the correct figure for these things. They will ply you with coffee, espresso, cookies, sparkling wine. They will bring you armsful of things that don’t really look that good on you, and they will not stop talking about how great everything looks and the specific benefits of each dress you tried on. I think the basic tactic is keep talking so that there is no room in your brain to actually form your own opinion.

Eventually, before everyone dies in there of starvation or coffee poisoning, someone is going to have to make a grand suggestion to wrap things up, like, “Hey why don’t you take a few pictures of the ones you like the best so that we can think about it and come back later? How late are you open tomorrow?”