Underwear Underworld, Part 1: You Know You Love It… Victoria’s Secret

san-francisco-victorias-secret-store-5d20652-wingsdomain-art-and-photography

Image curtesy of this lovely lady’s blog: http://www.girlscene.nl/blog/11730/_mijn_top_10_favoriete_winkels_in_het_buitenland 

PART 1:

I love beautiful underwear, I do. However I wanted to share my recent experience at the boutique boudoir that is Victoria’s Secret. Another underwear journey, although this time the experience was wholly different. As you might have guessed, I came back home to England for Christmas. and an eager friend who has just broken up with her boyfriend, defiantly dragged me round the Victoria’s Secret sales.

“an eager friend who has just broken up with her boyfriend, defiantly dragged me round the Victoria’s Secret sales”

In short, it is a black and purple, plastic and glitter explosion shoved together inside a frilly, seduction-scented box, layered carefully with the skin of a thousand, female preying mantis. The underwear is unusually created by sexy, little elves, covered in lip gloss who live on coconut water and bronze eye shadow.  By contrast to the howling winds and driving rain outside during this particularly wild, British winter, this shop is a palacial, safe haven.  You cannot skid on the wet entrance to Victoria’s Secret for you will be shot on sight– and yet women insist on wearing dagger-like stiletto’s. I am sure it is part of the internal training process.

“a black and purple, plastic and glitter explosion shoved together inside a frilly, seduction-scented box, layered carefully with the skin of a thousand, female preying mantis… unusually created by sexy, little elves, covered in lip gloss who live on coconut water and bronze eye shadow”

My friend abandoned me. I did not know whether I was allowed to touch certain puff balls of silk, let alone try them on. The bras seem to prop themselves up by the bulky cup, poised to greedily jump on your boobs. I clutch my chest protectively. Despite all this, the bras are gorgeous, expensive, but nice. Eventually, I found a couple I thought were fine so I got measured.

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Lexington Armory, New York, America - 07 Nov 2012

Original image url: http://lemoncurve.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/fashion_scans_remastered-victorias_secret-fashion_show-2012-scanned_by_vampirehorde-hq-2.jpg

“I did not know whether I was allowed to touch certain puff balls of silk, let alone try them on. The bras seem to prop themselves up by the bulky cup, poised to greedily jump on your boobs”

Before I’d even reached the changing room, (that looked like a suspended selection of Caeser’s silken nightrobes) I was pulled over by very attentive service. We need details. Lining up they take your name down on a list – as if I was queuing up to get into a prestigious club. Is this your first time? How many would you like to try? So-and-so will assist you and wait outside in case you need any help – here is the bell (points at glittery, golden bell).

Good gracious.

I felt as if I was bobbing outside a club where instead of steamy bottles of Vodka lining the shelves in a shiny, expensive fashion, its bras. Millions and millions of bras. Looking at me. And knickers. It’s really a wonder the bras aren’t served up on a clean, black tray, glistening with unicorn spit, or cooled in buckets with ice shaven from igloos of eskimo princesses.

“It’s really a wonder the bras aren’t served up on a clean, black tray, glistening with unicorn spit, or cooled in buckets with ice shaven from igloos of eskimo princesses”

I decided I wanted to get measured and apparently I was not the size I thought I was. (How off can you be?) I was informed to get measured every six months. Six months, that’s the amount of times one goes to the dentist. Come on though, as long as you clean your teeth, you’re doing nothing wrong. But your boobs – can’t the just look after themselves? And really how often do they change size and shape? One morning will I look down, 18 months after my last measurement and see teabag-like-bra covering my nipples because of how big they’ve gotten? Afterwards, a trusty card was thrust into my hand – much like the stamp a bouncer gives you at a club telling you that you can come back.

“I was informed to get measured every six months. Six months, that’s the amount of times one goes to the dentist. Come on though, as long as you clean your teeth, you’re doing nothing wrong. But your boobs – can’t the just look after themselves? And really how often do they change size and shape?”

Advertisements
Another Stylish Snippet From My Milan Visit: Let there be beautiful underwear, let there be La Perla

Another Stylish Snippet From My Milan Visit: Let there be beautiful underwear, let there be La Perla

For those with a luxury, lingerie budget: http://www.laperla.com/uk/

Wish list: Dolce & Gabbana style

20131224-123811.jpg

Christmas wish list anyone? I thought I’d post a snippet of my recent trip to Milan! This shop window was one of many dazzling displays on the Via della Spiga. A walk through this street is like skipping through the pages of Vogue!

Unimpressed: Bridge Rendevous

“When I stopped for a moment, he swooped over like an uninvited pigeon, and said in an Italian dripping with old oil and stale, half-price men’s cologne…”       

What a treat I had yesterday afternoon as I took the dog for a walk. After about ten wintery minutes of walking towards the bridges near the house, I noticed a smartly dressed man walking rather close a few paces behind me. When I stopped for a moment, he swooped over like an uninvited pigeon, and said in an Italian dripping with old oil and stale, half-price men’s cologne: “Do you know by any chance where Largo Argentina is please?”

“Oh…” I said dryly and pointed bluntly in the correct direction, poker-faced and un-amused (practised expression.) He knew exactly where it was.

“Sorry-” he stopped me with a floppy hand: his pointy nose and parrot face, grinning stupidly: “I only wanted to speak to you.”

CUE A ROLLING THE EYES MOMENT.

 “Sorry-” he stopped me with a floppy hand: his pointy nose and parrot face, grinning stupidly: “I only wanted to speak to you.”

Ladies! If you have two breasts and a pair of eyes that blink: drifting, bored men will find cunning ways of intervening into your life, albeit in the most harmless, but nevertheless, intrusive ways.

He then asked where I live? Poking into my lovely walk, crossing his arms across his creased, baggy suit, that his mother had probably laid out on his bed a few hours earlier. Who was I? How long was I staying? (In a way that suggested, I bet you don’t know where I am going with this! What a score!)

After making several, unimaginative, but vaguely realistic excuses to leave, he questioned:

“Quando posso rivederti? When can I see you again?”

I wasn’t sure, in which millisecond of the conversation, I’d remotely hinted that I positively couldn’t go on, if I didn’t see him again – I then noticed, as the gnarled Gollum did once Frodo crossed his path, that he was wearing a ring. A wedding ring. God, he must have thought I was born yesterday. Or maybe he’d borrowed it from a dressing table at home and forgot to take it off, and his mother was frantically looking for it?

“He then asked where I live? Poking into my lovely walk, crossing his arms across his creased, baggy suit that his mother had probably laid out on his bed a few hours earlier.”

Peek-a-boo bike

Peek-a-boo bike

This bike was watching me as I was doing some food shopping the other day behind Campo De’ Fiori. You can’t see it in the photo, but on the left there was actually a young, colourfully dressed couple embracing. I … Continue reading

French hostess, Dimpled Ivan, After Class Chats

20131215-220501.jpg

This Friday morning, I went to the Dante Alighieri language school behind Piazza Navona, for one of my once a week lessons. After dropping off the children and taking the dog for a brisk walk down the river, I gathered my things and trotted off to school. By the end of the first lesson we had learnt the basics.

Our teacher is a jumpy, shrill woman with a dark bob, string of luxurious pearls that dance on her bosom, accompanied by 24 tottering layers of acrylic paint on her face. Unsurprisingly, she got everyone stirring into conversation. The class began with quiet, embarrassed murmurs, but by the end we were all bellowing “Ciao!” and “Where do you come from?” and in Italian: “Where can I find the tram/parking space/nearest post office?” as if our lives depended on it.

        “Our teacher is a jumpy, shrill woman with a dark bob, strings of luxurious pearls that danced on her bosom, accompanied by 24 tottering layers of acrylic paint  on her face…and got everyone stirring into conversation.”

Guess what? I made more friends!

Two sexy, French ladies: Selina and Anne-Sophie: Selina works as a hostess in a posh, French restaurant where she was told off for “not showing enough leg” and where I imagine the stiff, toothless pole of luxury panther hairs, half-meerkat/half Dracula Karl Lagerfeld is invited when in Rome on vital Chanel business: and Anne-Sophie, an enigmatic hippy with a gap in her teeth, who reluctantly came to Rome to get away from “nosy, over-protective parents”.

“She was told off for “not showing enough leg” and where I imagine the stiff, toothless pole of luxury panther hairs, half-meerkat/half Dracula Karl Lagerfeld is invited when in Rome on vital Chanel business…”

There is also George from Lebanon, dazzlingly different to any friends I’ve ever had: training to be a priest and bought all our coffees and pastries as he has lots of money because “I don’t believe in materialism”. Finally there is Ivan from Ecuador: dimpled, slightly too small and soft around the edges for a perfume ad, but charming and I felt like I was on Question Time for all his inquisitiveness, (I think he likes me). His father had moved here under the guise of a diplomat working at the Roman Embassy, so he’d school and country hopped because of this profession.

“…Ivan from Ecuador: dimpled, slightly too small and soft around the edges for a perfume ad, but charming…I felt like I was on Question Time for all his inquisitiveness, (I think he likes me)”

Opposite the school entrance, there is a café constantly buzzing with perky, fashionable students and loud, multilingual greetings and high-fives. We all mainly discussed Rome, our situation and why we were here, who is single or on the pull.

Anne-Sophie and Selina are both au-pairs and are both here for a year like me. George and I had an interesting conversation over our cappuccino about boyfriends and girlfriends. He asked me whether I was single. Apparently, in his culture, a girl would only belong to one boy. The Armenian culture (I learnt) is very strict and choice is often rigidly narrow.  It was very refreshing to be with someone unconcerned by the throes of life that would ordinarily trip me up on a daily basis. All in all, I left feeling heady with glee and fulfilled at the wonderful variety of people and conversation that life can spontaneously toss at you.

“All in all, I left feeling heady with glee and fulfilled at the wonderful variety of people and conversation that life can spontaneously toss at you”

The Afternoon You Always Wanted

20131208-203104.jpg

Yesterday, I met the girls for lunch. It was a magical, crisp day and I was in a cashmere jumper dress, hat and leggings and white flat shoes. I wondered along the Ponte Mazzini to Trastevere to meet my friends. I think the family I live with are relieved I have friends!

“The family are relieved I have friends!”

We went to a snazzy, American place where there is a yoga-fied hostess from California who set up the joint two years ago and apparently lives the ‘American-Roman dream’. She was very smiley with very white teeth and the place had a homely vibe. There were bookshelves, benches, tables, it was a dining room/sitting room love-child, and Raashmi, Sara and I had four courses for twelve euros. Fresh vegetables, couscous, grains and beans, more steamed vegetables. It was basicly the type of meal in the Vogue recipe section that you have once and love the idea but never make it ever again.

“The type of meal in the Vogue recipe section that you have once…love the idea but never make it ever again”

Afterwards, the three of us walked through Trastevere which lounges directly across the Rivere Tevere from where I live. The streets are narrow, cobbled and built in such a way that the apartments lift up into the sky and guide you through intertwining greenery, peek-a-boo cafés and boutique shops. It was a chilly day; the piercing blue sky made the shadows appear very clear-cut, the light sharp and delicate. It is funny things you notice when you go abroad, odd smells, shapes and sounds.

“The streets are narrow, cobbled…built in such a way that the apartments lift up into the sky and guide you through intertwining greenery, peek-a-boo cafés and boutique shops”

After a while, as you can imagine, we ended up in another corner café. It was a place Sara knew, a cosy cuddle from the brisk cold. We ordered cappuccino and freshly baked fruit cake which was Adonis in cake form, (see photo).

What?! Cappuccino after eleven in the morning? – Yes? We must not speak of it again! Says the hooded italian in the corner watching us – it is far too late in the day to even think of ordering such a thing and you will get amused maybe even exasperated looks.

“Cappuccino after eleven in the morning?…You will get amused maybe even exasperated looks”

The place is a mixture of a pub/café with stools reaching up to small round tables. There is also a collection of tables outside where students were studying, books splayed open on tables with empty cups moonlighting as paperweights.

About five thirty, on the way home to meet the children, I had a chilling thought: What if I’d never met these girls? I saw a vision of me: a hermit walking home, lonely and quiet and fat from eating myself busy. Our mind is our own worst enemy I have come to believe. I then made spremuta (freshly squeezed orange juice) and helped Teresa create a map of the world as part of her homework: coloured in of course with special shading that made Teresa squeal with delight. (Map zero, Signorina one.)

“A chilling thought: what if I’d never met these girls? I saw a vision of me: a hermit…lonely and quiet and fat from eating myself busy”

The (Lack Of) Men In My Life

One thing that struck me fairly early on in my life in Italy is the lack of men. Now calm down, not in that way.

Well, maybe a little.

Anyway, what I mean is the lack of brothers, smiley, cheery father and fun friends of the opposite sex. Also intelligent guys to talk to that weren’t always checking on whether I was Eeenglish and not Italiana?

Like most things when you get off your rump in search of adventure and whatnot, you’ve got to make things happen. Well in these early days of November I fear the only men in my world are as follows:

  • Twelve year old italian laaaaad that loves to hate me but loves me really
  • Old, old pizza man who asks me out for a “little beer and maybe conversation?”
  • Street starers
  • Nosy, prying waiters of all shapes and sizes and varying levels of personal questions

Then when I started looking in unexpected places:

  • Bernini sculptures of men: Rippling, smooth, marble muscles and (silly) curly hair, big smooth hands and…noses
  • Wonderfully handsome student who saved my life (more later)

Well there it is for now.

Every cloud (or wispy suggestion of one in Rome) has a silver, perfectly polished lining. You will find you are too busy for anything more remarkable than that at the beginning.

20131201-122352.jpg