I had the most fabulous afternoon on Monday… and no I didn’t bump into Brad Pitt or a George Clooney look-a-like… Thinking about it, things didn’t start out quite as fabulously, as upon leaving the house I went flying on black ice after about 10 yards and nearly went straight back in – but I decided that I wouldn’t be beaten by the weather!
Prada (www.prada.com) on Old Bond Street was my first stop followed by the newly opened Miu Miu store on New Bond Street (www.miumiu.com). BLISS! Ok, I’m easily pleased but I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for both the brands ever since I was a buyer. I remember my first trip to the Prada and Miu Miu showrooms in Milan – I was on “cloud 9”, just sitting in the reception I knew that I was somewhere very special! I can’t quite put it into words but it was a mixture of excitement to see the new collections for the season, exquisitely dressed people speaking Italian and very handsome men!!!
Now I know we’re only talking about clothes and accessories but even a simple black skirt seemed far more glamorous than normal. I remember one season that the female sales people wore knee-length shorts, knee-high socks and Prada loafers and they looked so incredibly chic (I’d have looked like a boy-scout)!! The fabrics and leathers used for the collections were second to none and the quality was exceptional.
Miu Miu, Prada’s little sister brand was somewhat more edgy – I remember being in an appointment with my boss (who was “Mrs. Prada Sport” and definitely not “Mrs. Miu Miu” – for those who aren’t in the know, there’s a BIG difference!) and being shown by a sales person what I can only describe as a long brown pillow-case with sleeves and a red bow at the neck… (this was quite normal at Miu Miu, one season it was beautifully girly and quirky – other times it was just odd) – we looked at her and used our favourite expression for this type of situation… “Erm, we couldn’t possibly buy something like that as we’re a bit backward in Chester,” and then they’d look at us as they always did, as though we had 2 heads! Basically our customer didn’t buy something necessarily because it said Miu Miu on the label – we were in footballer’s wives territory, they wanted to look good!!
Anyway, some of my fondest buying memories were in that showroom, even though I also remember after being in there from 9am-6pm (following a 5.30am flight) that I’d always end up suffering from really bad motion sickness because the rails were on wires hanging from the very high ceilings and they made me feel sick and dizzy whenever they moved from side to side!
Ever since then Prada handbags have been the ultimate luxury to me and a definite investment, whether in canvas or leather, they are built to last. Miu Miu also has incredible bags, which are often more “relaxed” than Prada (usually with a slightly lower price point) – and in my opinion they can be a more feminine alternative to Mulberry for everyday bags.
As you can imagine, I was so excited to see the new Miu Miu shop on New Bond Street and it was even better than I imagined. Everything is laid out almost as though you’re in a grown-up sweet shop – you just pick what you want from what is on display (I wish!) – everything was to die for… I especially loved the sequinned bag that was in the window, an instant outfit maker! So next time you’re in London, you must make a trip into Miu Miu’s world. Take a look…
P.S. INSIDER INFO ALERT: PRADA has just opened at Bicester Village in Oxfordshire and it is truly fabulous… get in there quick (www.bicestervillage.com)! Of course unfortunately, the Prada bag I want for Christmas is full price on Bond Street – will Father Christmas come through for me this year??