Monday, April 11, 2005

My First Louis Vuitton

I mentioned it before, the Louis Vuitton “flagship” store on Taipei’s Chungshan North Road has closed down for conversion into an even bigger store. But in an effort to keep customers coming to the area, the French fashion giant is running a “temporary” store just north of the original site, near the Ambassador Hotel. Visiting there today, I must say nothing looks temporary here. The shop carries most elements of the Louis Vuitton product line, not just the cherry, logo and other leather bags, but also dresses and shoes.
My interest there today was for a replacement for my wallet, which was rapidly disintegrating. So I asked the sales assistant to show me a range of Louis Vuitton wallets. There was the brandnew blue one, which I feared might look a bit too feminine. At 15,500 New Taiwan dollars – say 500 US dollars – it was the priciest of the collection, but not by much. A black leather wallet went for 14,200 NT$, smaller and older models in green and brown went down to 13,000 and 11,000 NT$. All of them seemed to have been made in Spain, not in France. I eventually settled for the black one at 14,200 NT$. It’s just large enough to stuff it with 1,000 NT$ bills and with my limited collection of credit cards, national health insurance card, and subway card. Just like all the others, it bears the LV logo, but not too large, and without the flowery design found on the handbags. Service was excellent, I gave my Chinese name just because I don’t like spelling out Western words, paid in cash, waited a while for the nicely packaged wallet and receipt, and there I went out the door, flaunting a small dark brown paper bag with the words “Louis Vuitton, Maison Fondee en 1854, Paris.”

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