Fall/Winter shows and my first VIP discount

It’s men’s fashion week all across Europe, with the big houses showing in London, Paris and Milan, and my email box is clogged with Giorgio Armani and Prada missives. Simultaneously with the shows, the new collections have started hitting the boutiques, so it’s time for a quick browse in Munich, Zurich and Geneva (if I get time to get down there this week).

Munich first, and a surprise when the assistant recognizes me as a serious shopper from a previous trip. I have a quick look at the racks, and some obviously new pieces like winter coats. Parts of the collection look a bit young – I even comment that it “looks a bit Emporio”, which shows the level of discernment/snobbery I am achieving.

But it’s still hot summer here, so I ask what else they have, and within moments we are delving through dozens of new tops hidden in the triple-layer drawers. Some really soft, long-sleeved cashmere tops catch my eye, look great on, and after another short browse we’re at the delicately hidden cash register. The cash register experience is a Giorgio Armani feature I have noted, and will discuss another time.

Now of course these tops are the new Fall/Winter collection, and the summer sales, while on, have so far only applied to the previous season during my explorations. But today a nice surprise: I ask if that is the best price to a regular customer, and I am presented with a 10% “VIP reward” discount on the new collection.

This is a departure. Firstly, a discount on the latest clothes, which is great. Secondly, just six months into this project I am apparently a Giorgio Armani VIP customer. Now, I am not so self-absorbed that this pumps up any ego; I am aware this is a fig leaf to cover up a relatively small discount. But still it is nice to have your face recognized – and 10% is more than US$150 on this purchase.

I wonder I there will be similar surprises in Zurich and Geneva?

There is no Giorgio Armani in Mexico City

A short business trip to Mexico City, and a side visit to Avenida Presidente Masaryk in the Polanco district, home of Vuitton, Cartier, Gucci – but no Giorgio Armani.

I was a little surprised, as Mexico City is one of those places with plenty of rich and plenty of poor, and the rich are fairly visible. You would think Armani clothing would be ideal for these kind of climates and this kind of society, but sadly it seems only Emporio Armani can be found in Mexico City, and this project is not going to sink to that level.

After shortly popping in to a couple of the usual high-end shops clustered in this area, and feeling decidely uninspired by the jewel-encrusted timepieces and logo-ridden vulgarities, I was quite pleased to find a very understated, charcoal blue tie at Hermes, and for the first time since Christmas, I went off-brand and impulse-bought it.

While not Armani, Hermes make fine products, with similarly discreet logos, and I don’t feel that bad about this purchase.

I will be back in Mexico City before long; but perhaps I will find more luck in Geneva next week, or Paris in July.

UPDATE:

Some new information. Please read the comment below from Alex about a store-in-store in Sakes 5th Avenue, Santa Fe.