Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Italian Job


I'm back!

I apologize for the severe dearth of posting, but when I got back from Italy, things got INSANE at work. Like Vincent from Project Runway insane. But worse, and with the maniacal laughter from Malan serving as my soundtrack.

So here is a quickie update on the shopping highlights of my trip to Italy.

First of all, I have to say I was a little disappointed. I'm going to blame what the French call "mondialisation" which for them really just means that Americans have the audacity to open McDonalds and Starbucks on their sacred soil, but for me implies a homogenization of goods around the world.

Gone are the days when no one could buy the same shirt that you bought in Europe here and you enjoyed supreme bragging rights. When I went to Zara in Rome, I was struck by the fact that not only was the exact same stuff available in the store in Georgetown, but the selection here was better. And, due to the fact that the Euro is currently spanking the dollar's ass up and down the Atlantic, everything was way more expensive than it would be here.

However, there were a few diamonds in the rough, so to speak.

One rainy afternoon in Rome, my boyfriend and I stumbled into La Gardenia Profumerie on the Via del Corso. It was kind of like a Sephora with a little Ulta thrown in (read: they had high end brands like Chanel and Givenchy, but also run of the mill stuff like Nivea and Garnier).

We spent far too much time in this store waiting for the rain to pass (yeah, right) and picked up a shower gel that smells like oranges and vanilla (my boyfriend originally wanted the cola scent for the novelty factor, but I quickly put the kybosh on that. I feel no need to smell like a soft drink if I'm not getting the caffeine pick-me-up).

I also picked out a lip gloss for me. Because I need another lip gloss like I need another black skirt. As in, I never need one ever again. As in, seriously, if you see me shopping for a lip gloss, please smack me upside the head. But this one was different! And it was a brand I've never seen before!!

Another great source for beauty products was Profumerie Limoni, which was attached to Oviesse, an Italian version of Target. They had a wide selection of makeup and beauty products at the best prices I saw during the whole trip.

I stopped into the famed Profumerie near Santa Maria Novella in Florence, but the whole church-y vibe and the hordes of Japanese tourists turned me off. Also, they didn't print prices on anything, and there was no way a language barrier was going to shame me into purchasing $50 soap. Honestly, I have no idea what anything cost there, I was just envisioning that happening and having to go back to the hotel and tell my boyfriend that I had squandered our gelato fund on scented soap. Not a pretty picture.

And, while I didn't buy a whole bunch of things, I did scope some things out.


Chanel nail polishes are available everywhere there and after the exchange rate, the prices work out to about the same here and there. You can still buy Vamp (it is peculiarly sold out everywhere I look here) where it goes by it's French moniker, Rouge Noir and you can also find the coveted Black Satin which is fetching record prices on Ebay.

Elnett hairspray is about half the price here as in the states, but honestly, I am far too lazy to actually spray my hair with anything.

Garnier has a new skin care line. It will be imported to the US by 2018. Also, Nivea's line in Europe is far more expansive than ours.

Shampoo and conditioner come in teensy tiny bottles.

Kerastase products were $2-3 dollars cheaper there, but they didn't carry the conditioner I was looking for, and by this point I was getting dirty looks for wanting to spend all my time in beauty shops.

Also, Italy has more lingerie stores than one can humanly imagine. You would think that these people never wore clothes! My favorite was Intimissimi which appeared with Starbucksian frequency along the streets of Rome and Florence.

All in all, even without the wild shopping dreams I had, the trip was wonderful...and has only given me an itch to go shopping here, where things now seem so inexpensive.

Now if only I could figure out a way copy the outfit that the girl on Via Condotti was wearing... somehow

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