Monday, April 03, 2006
TODAY I CRIED AT THE DRY CLEANERS...
You know when you have a favourite piece of clothing that you know you’ll treasure forever, that makes you so happy just to look at it and completes any outfit? That was how I felt about my favourite Marni bag. A butter soft kid leather clutch bag, in dusky rose/beige it was (can you see where this is going?) a vintage style frame bag with the perfect brushed bronze clasp that closed with the most satisfying clunk. The leather was ruched around the frame and fell in soft waves into an oval shape, just the right size. The strap was designed to wear around your wrist, so the bag would dangle in an alluring way leaving your hands free to say, drink Champagne or dance wildly. I even loved the lining, no glitzy evening-y tat, just unbleached cotton – so Marni, so ‘this is the best quality bag you will ever own’. Of course I bought it at a hefty discount, not being in the purchasing of £700 bags for occasional use bracket.
My beloved bag served me well for oh, three years. It managed to be perfect for any event, an important interview, first dates, weddings, parties. I knew I would have it always, would probably still be using it when I'm an old spinster, propping up the bar at Claridge's. But it was starting to look a little grubby, and having many exciting upcoming occasions to take it to, I thought I’d treat it to a professional clean. It wasn’t cheap and the price went up according to how much the item was worth. So I said £100. Kicking.self.hard. They sent my beauty away and I missed it in the two weeks I didn’t have it.
So I was very excited to get it back this morning.
When they handed me the ‘bag’ (I use the term loosely) even through the plastic wrapping the first thing I noticed was the holes. As if rats had been frenziedly gnawing at it after some rottweilers had dragged it repeatedly through a bramble patch. The cleaning process seems to have involved a hot wash in an acid bath, followed by a good scrubbing with a cheesegrater. The leather, now a sorry tie dyed mess had leaked on to the lining, turning it pink. And there is no longer a lovely band of leather covering the metal frame. In short my bag looks like it has been attacked, Texas Chainsaw Massacre style.
The bit I couldn’t believe is how they had the gall to put it on a hanger and pop it in a plastic bag ready for collection as if I might not notice it had been destroyed beyond all hope of repair.
The icing on the cake? A little note left inside which reads ‘we were unable to remove some of the stains from this item’. Even if I get compensation it will come nowhere near to covering the cost of a new bag – or a new anything from Marni.
The lady who works in the dry cleaners was very sympathetic – it is being ‘sent away’.
She asked if I wanted it back and I didn’t know what to say, I just stood, stunned, blinking back tears in a way more appropriate to someone who has just been told, ‘I really am sorry. There was nothing we could do to save your legs once the gangrene had set in’.
You may be reading this and thinking ‘it’s just a bag, you're so shallow’ and I am surprised at myself too. But in all honesty I am G.U.T.T.E.D. I want to cry and not a Fendi Spy, a Mulberry Elgin or a Chloe Betty bag can make it better.