Friday, June 30, 2006

Window shopping 101

Ok, so how many of you enter a shop based on the store window? I was in Italy for nearly a year, and I never enjoyed window shopping as much as I did there. More often than not, a lot of thought and planning goes into every window display. From the merchandise they use, to the color combinations, to the themes, and materials. Everything is a visual treat. I think that for a window display to be effective, it has to tell a story, or atleast speak about the brand in the simplest way possible.

And because I sorely miss looking at wonderful window displays, I'd like to share with you some pictures I took in Italy.

This was the Miu Miu window for F/W 05/06 in Florence. I love the little details like the dresser, the lamps, and the vintage-y fabrics. It instantly tells you what you are bound to see inside the store and the collections. I love it so much because I'm really into vintage as well.

There's this one shop I really fell in love with, it's an italian RTW bridal shop, and they have the most gorgeous, amazing dresses. I promised myself that when I get married, I will HAVE to get something from Atelier Aimee Montenapoleone -alta moda sposa. The window of the store showcases the dresses magnificently. It's hard not to stare and gawk as you pass by.

A window doesn't need to be very complicated. If you decide that the merchandise should be the focal point then you can make it simple and just have a clean backdrop. Here are some great examples:

Patrizia Pepe in Florence (FABULOUS stuff here!) They have two mannequins for each window facing the entrance and another one on the side of the store. Look how the color palettes of the clothes complement each other so that the look is understandable and striking at the same time. can see the reflection of the Duomo =)

And of course, Luisa Via Roma. The styling is trendy but always tasteful. This place has the most amazing things, but you have to have the euros for it. Haha!


And then you can also have fun! Here's a really cool Sergio Rossi window for S/S 06 in Florence

Miss Sixty...very funky window as you can see. Sigh, I wish we have this brand in Manila

More denim brands! Here's Replay. I wonder why the branding in Italy is so different from here in Manila. It's so much more modern and trendy over there.

And I also love that there are price labels on the window merchandise so you don't have to make guesses or enter the shop if you don't need to.


The Florentine Diva (now you know why =p

Thursday, June 29, 2006

when the customer is not ALWAYS right..

One of the things I hate about shopping is when I come across some shop, with supposedly great merchandise but ill-trained staff. Nothing kills a potentially wonderful shopping experience, than lazy, uncourteous salespeople. Let me run-down my list of pet peeves:

1. as soon as you enter the store, saleslady X glances over with obvious disinterest, either that or:
2. she looks you over from head to toe, and may dismiss or pounce on you depending on her cold assessment of your buying potential.
3. Incessantly asks you if there's anything you need, even if you've already made it clear that you are merely looking around.
4. Looks annoyed when you ask her for a diffferent size of the shoes you picked out.....
5. Acts like you OWE her, for the disturbance you caused when you ask for other styles or sizes, when it is in your hands whether she makes a sale or not. (I absolutely HATE it when they give me attitude. SORRY if I'm interrupting your chismisan session!)
6. Makes you wait too long because she is on the phone for "official" business. (Right, when did your love life become a business concern?)
7. Asks you for smaller change at the cash register! HELLO! it's not my job to make things convenient for you.
8. When the so-called manager acts haughty and offended when you make a valid complaint about the sales staff. Please, it is for your own good that you know the shitty things your staff does.
9. HARD sell. I mean, I appreciate the fact that you make the extra effort to push your product, but don't make me feel bad if I end up not buying it.
10. And my number one pet peeve is...IGNORANCE! as in, walang alam! They don't know when the stocks will be replenished, what stocks the other branches may have, or where the goddamn things are even made. Eh pangalan mo? alam mo?

Manila sales people are notorious for the stuff I mentioned above. I have terminated a lot of transactions because I got pissed off with a saleslady. I hope, REALLY, REALLY hope that retailers realize what a big responsibility people on the sales floor hold. Hmmm..I think I'll make a series on this topic. Next time, I will post the names of shops that have crappy service. This will be fun...payback time!


The Florentine Diva

R.I.P. Brand X

"In lieu of flowers, parties have been organized all over town in Brand X's name..."

many of you know this...everytime you see their shops, you always wonder "are there any people buying from this store?" I think they're like pieces of gum stuck on your just can't get rid of them. These are my current bazooka brands:
(Feel free to add to the list)

Woman - what a waste of retail space.
Doc Martens - please give this doctor 100 doses of morphine
Ducks Limited - who the hell buys from this store?
FUBU - personally, not my thing but I guess there are still lots of Andrew E.s and Salbakutas out there.
Sari-sari - they're surviving coz they have Sharon Cuneta (a famous movie star)as their only customer.
Replay - here's hoping they bring back the 90s
Linea Italia - overpriced fleamarket italian goods. They should call it Linea Divisoria
Meg Paris - seriously, i stayed in Paris and I never saw any Meg there. They should have named it Maria Luisa or Colette least if someone investigates, these stores are real.
Blued - oh yes, it's still alive!
All BOXED UP - please kill this brand, then give it an autopsy to find out how it surivived for so many years
Fugly Neigborhood store #1 - you know who you are...


The French Muse

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

There's something really icky going on in the fashion scene in Manila. Granted that we do see women who are more adventurous with their look, and more open to fresh ideas, there still seems to be a tendency to dress up in an overtly sexy way. In general, young girls adorn themselves in ways that show a lot of skin or showcase the body in a tacky way. I mean, just look at magazine covers and you'll understand what I'm talking about. I've always viewed sexy as merely being suggestive about it, there's no reason that you can't be covered up AND still sexy. When we just bare our bodies, that screams SEX, and not sensuality. There has to be a distinction for that.

I've always thought of Italian women as beautiful and sexy in an earthy, self-assured kind of way. They take care of their bodies by eating healthy, and keeping fit, but all of these are just the tip of the iceberg. They exude an aura of.."I-know-something-that-you don't." And THAT is damn sexy. I wish women in Manila can OWN their sensuality, instead of allowing themselves to be used as wind-up sex dolls.

Bellisima Donne

Photos courtesy of


The Florentine Diva


I'm so frustrated! I was checking out this store of one of our prospective clients...I almost fainted when I saw their collection! Over priced shoes with really bad, bad styles! Who do they think they're kidding? Do you think that Filipinos are that DUMB to pay 4000 and above for shoes that look like my highschool teacher's shoes (and i graduated from highschool in '93). I really felt sick to my stomach. And you guys complain about the influx of shoes from china that's killing the industry, but seriously, it's not the cost of these shoes that's killing you, but it's your THAT-REALLY-MAKES-ME-BARF styles! So just hire us goddamn it so we can give your collection a COMPLETE OVERHAUL. Clue: Best served with a plate of spaghetti :)


The French Muse
There are so many fashion blogs out there that I enjoy reading everyday, so I decided, maybe someone will enjoy reading my thoughts too. And not just mine, my friend the French muse will also be posting here. Check back in the next few days so you can see what we have for you.


Florentine Diva