Thursday, March 03, 2016

...but one road that lead to an important goal*

On Monday I took my mum to Frankfurt for a spot of shopping. Sounds a bit daft to say "I took her there" but she isn't keen on driving into big cities on her own and my dad isn't a big shopper. I guess that's partially due to the different definitions of "shopping"
Mum and I usually mean: "Let's pop into a few different shops, maybe we buy something - maybe we'll just have a look."  My dad means: "I have a list of items I need to purchase. I will go to the shops in the most logical order and tick off each item as and when I have obtained it." No wonder the question "what do you want to buy in here?!" would feature regularly when both go together.

Anyway, apart from a suitcase that I needed, as mine broke on the way over (thanks, Lufthansa), we didn't really have a list. My mum mentioned something of "another handbag, something a bit more casual than the blue one I got for my birthday" and I thought it would be fun to take her to Mulberry and pop into all the other designers on the way there. I'm not particularly familiar with Frankfurt but I'd guess that Goethestrasse, where Mulberry is situated, is the poshest shopping street in the area. Close to the banking quarter and near the end of one of Frankfurt's most famous high streets, "The Zeil", you'd be spoiled for choice over where to spend your hard-earned millions.

As on my last visit, we parked right next to Goethestrasse in the Goetheplatz underground car park. I'm not particularly shy but it's so much nicer to walk into designer shops with somebody else rather than alone - especially if you probably won't buy anything and just want a good mooch. So we kind of zigzagged our way along Goethestrasse - in a totally non-drunken way...

Louis Vuitton

Like the last time, the least friendly of all of the stores on the street. I felt a bit watched and almost didn't dare touch anything. Quite ridiculous when I consider that their bags are the least sensitive as 80% of them are plastic-covered canvas. Ok, I'm being a bit mean but just saying...


Trying to remember what we saw but nothing that stuck. Lots of monogram stuff for the tourist shoppers. Staff were attentive but not too pushy.


They hadn't been much on my radar and I had pegged this brand as fairly traditional and boring. I was surprised at some quite cute models though and almost came away with an adorable limited edition grey loden-covered Munich-themed grab bag. 

The quality is really nice: lovely leathers in even grain, lots of which feel really robust and perfect for every day use. Good overall choice of smaller, medium-sized and larger, as well as work, casual and dressy bags. Price-wise they're below Mulberry: small cross body bags from €279, medium totes around €500 up to exotic leather bags for €2,700. 

Continental purses are around €200, smaller leather items from €89.

The sales assistant was knowledgeable, a great ambassador for the brand, yet appeared candid in re. to the bags ("too big for you") and didn't try to recommend something that wouldn't be suitable. My mum found a bag she really liked and we said we'd come back after a cup of coffee - and seeing all the other shops. This is it, by the way:


Despite the fact that I said I just wanted to show my mum the bags "I'm always on about" - and not signalling too much of a "yes, we're gonna buy" message, the SA was friendly, helpful and patient. She showed us 2.55, Classic Flap and Boy and explained the different leathers. Would love a Classic Flap in Caviar leather but at over €4,000 I can't see myself committing that kind of money for a bag. Chanel or not.


Slightly more pushy SA but you have to give it to her: The Diorissimo she picked out for my mum did look lovely we suddenly thought €3,700 for a bag was fantastic value. She wasn't keen on me taking pics but said "I didn't see anything..."


Friendly SAs, happy to chat about what is happening to the brand at the moment and offering bags for me to have a good look.  

I finally played with the Kite Tote and think it works quite well: the square bottom means it won't fall over when put on the (gasp) floor. The handles seem a bit fiddly at first but I think like many other bags, once you get the hang of it, you will do it without thinking much and switch between hand-carrying and wearing on your shoulder. My pros and cons remain though: I still don't like the microfibre lining in the black and blue flat calf leather versions and I also think the flat leather is so prone to scratches. Not sure about the deep embossed leather - still a bit worried the "scales" might lift like they do with silky snake. If they did a version in NVT Oak I'd probably jump at it.

Talking about NVT: I had a good chat with the SA about Coca, the new collection, what we liked and what we didn't like and how many styles are clearly veering towards a Celine look. Then he dropped a bombshell: NVT is apparently to be discontinued. No more NVT?! Their most iconic and most beautiful leather? I'm not one to over-dramatize these kind of things. We're talking bags here and not world peace. But I do feel like Mulberry now really wouldn't be Mulberry anymore. Postman locks without the tree and no NVT? What is left? I wonder whether people thought the same when Darwin was retired..?

 Anyway, other than that lots of red ("foreign tourists buy a lot of red"), cream...

 taupe and blue,

and quite a bit in the deep embossed camel and oxblood.

We said our thanks and goodbyes - and there was absolutely no sense of them feeling that they wasted their time on us even though we did not purchase anything.

A quick lunch and a hop over to Kaufhof on the Zeil to finally buy that suitcase. 

I've got to say: nicest Kaufhof I've ever been in. Browsed the handbag department and found lots of brands such as Picard, DKNY, Michal Kors (though we don't look at those), Aigner, Liebeskind, Campomaggi and more.

I managed to get my suitcase (thanks to my dad who managed to measure my broken one whilst looking after little M, so that we could compare the volume!) and we quickly moved on. 

A hop and a skip back towards Goethestrasse and you'll pass Goertz, a big, multi label shoe shop - which also happens to sell bags. I know them as stocking decent higher level high-street brands, including UGG and Converse but this one was the best I've seen yet. Not only a range of more aspirational brands, including See by Chloe, Salvatore Ferragamo etc but also a a breadth of choice in terms of options. Fabulously different brogues, Chelsea and other boots as well as lovely ballerinas and, of course, tons of heels.

After that, we really just wanted to go back to Aigner and pick up that bag that my mum liked. Nothing else we had looked at, had even come close. She kind of liked the Mulberry Small Freya but not quite as much as the Aigner - and with it being roughly double the price, this was an easy decision to make.

On the way to Aigner we popped into Salvatore Ferragamo

Fairly small premise with only a few bags on display. Downstairs is all men's bags. Not much chance of just browsing. A guy jumped at us straight away, took a bag off the shelves and showed it to us with great flourishes. Impressed with the lovely and practical (!) medium-sized Sofia in a gorgeous colour combo. Just goes to show how much and what kind of price range we had been browsing all day, seemed entirely reasonable and good value for money at €1,890.

So, in the end we picked up that bag at Aigner. A really lovely bag and my mum is chuffed to bits - I will try and nab it off her for a quick reveal!

*Sorry. Deutsch Leistung (German major) and the best ever teacher who'd roll her eyes at the rubbish I'm reading these days. Goethestrasse meant a tedious link wasn't just an option.

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