Saturday, December 04, 2010

PILGRIMAGE...

Many, MANY years ago before the internet, every season I would await the arrival of the postman with the A.P.C. catalogue all the way from France at my parents' house. I would flip through it, noting with a dot of pen my favourite things, then fill in the order form in neat capital letters, post it to the address in Ivry-sur-Seine just outside Paris, and wait. A few weeks later my package would arrive from Ivry and I would get all excited and be well dressed for the remainder of the season. I found this entire process weirdly thrilling, and I still sometimes miss the ol' paper catalogues - most of which I've kept.

Last weekend when I was in Paris, E (who was staying at my place in London and I at her's in Paris) casually forwarded me her invite to the Paris A.P.C. sample sale, saying something along the lines of, "I don't know if you want to trek all the way out to this, but it might be good." I looked at the address where the sample sale was being held and instantly recognised it. Mecca.

So that was how I found myself almost at the end of metro line 7, then striding purposefully down a nondescript street, the name of which I know so well, notable only for the other couple of hundred pea coat clad pilgrims walking in the same direction down it at roughly triple the usual Parisian strolling speed.


We entered in a slow, long, winding line and then into the main part of the warehouse where we picked up big plastic bags to put our stuff in and were met with: a heavy duty sound system blasting out Depeche Mode and the entire space filled with boxes and boxes of A.P.C. stock. Heaven, in other words. People in lab coats were pushing bins on wheels to replenish stock and there were a lot of people excitedly rifling through the boxes and descending on new stuff each time it was brought out. Those boxes unpacked themselves. It was like an extremely chic village hall jumble sale. I soon discovered the reason for such politely excited rifling, when I looked at the helpful signs listing prices for each type of clothing. Yep, almost village hall jumble sale prices. We used to have sample sales like that in London, but you don't get real bargains anymore. (Although this week there are plenty going on.) In my limited experience and from what I've been told, Parisian sample sales are in a whole other dimension of mind boggling discounted-ness. (Trying to get on the Lanvin list.)

Then I got to The Rails, where all the dresses, coats, trousers and other hanging items were. The rails concealed a large number of cute A.P.C. boys (and girls I suppose) trying things on - you just had to find a space and get on with it. This was quite distracting at times, because it was difficult to balance all my loot, rifle through the rails and not get distracted by half naked A.P.C. boys at the same time. I emerged into the shoe section at last, and ended up with a couple of pairs of sandals from last summer's Madras collection that I'd wanted but couldn't afford. 

My final selection looked like a summer holiday capsule wardrobe: two pairs Madras sandals, two dresses, four or five tops, a scarf and a weekend/duffel bag. I weeded out a couple of things at the last minute as I was worried about how much I was spending - i.e. I should not have been spending ANYTHING but these were um, special circumstances. I spent £264 total - less than the original price of the weekend bag.


So now I can say I've been and paid my respects at last.

13 comments:

charlotte said...

OMG! Omg, omg, omg... That is amazing - bravo you. I used to love filling in the paper order form too, but to actually be in The Warehouse, with those prices... you found mecca, lady. And I love your selection of purchases, you clever thing.

Also, we have to meet and and eat cinnamon buns to make up for my not being able to get to Paris this weekend because of THE SNOW. gah.

Anonymous said...

YAY!!! I'm so glad you took advantage. Maybe next year we can go together. I haven't been in a while. The weekend bag and caramel sandals are amazing. Oh, so happy you're happy! XXOO Elisabeth

anna said...

OH. MY. GOD. Indeed. 'Jealous' doesn't even begin to cover it. How the fuck does one ever hear about these things? excuse my language, but it's like you've been to wonderland and back!

If Jane said...

(i am swearing! and purring!!!)
damn...and you did sooooooooo well!!! the purchases are perfect!!!
but you really are the a.p.c girl...it would be a shame to have not gone!!!

Stephanie said...

ahh you are so lucky! We never get any good sample sales here :(

Bombay Beauty said...

A coup! xo bb

Marie said...

oh i am jealous! & i want those sandals!!
well done x

Amandine said...

Hi Claire, you finally went to the A.P.C. sales to Ivry ! You know what ? When I checked my emails the day after I met you, I just realised I had an A.P.C invitation too ! ... I was a bit sad, because if I checked my emails before, I would organize my day to go with you on Saturday ... Maybe next time :) But i'm happy to read you found beautiful clothes and shoes. Great !

PS : Paris was totally under snow this morning and during almost all day. Amazing !

Camille said...

Claire, that's fantastic! I felt so excited while reading your post, it was as good as being there minus the fact I didn't get to touch or buy any clothes! One day... one day...

Ally said...

Sounds amazing! Great buys, that bag is gorgeous!

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Charlotte - oh no! You didn't make it? I am definitely free for a cinnamon bun meet up - going to email you...

Elisabeth - oui, je profit (whatever the past participle of profiter is?!) And THANK YOU. It could be a yearly pilgrimage - how fun would that be? I feel lightheaded at the prospect...xxx

Anna - haha, I would have said the same thing.

If Jane - absolutely, I had to go.

Stephanie - here either - there are some, but not like that!

BB - indeed!

Marie - I'm impatient for next summer now, maybe I'll forget I have them and get a nice surprise...

Amandine - ahh, we will go next time! And Paris in the snow...sigh. We've had it here but it's not the same...

Camille - oh, I'm glad I could "take you along with me" as it were (almost)!

Ally - yeah, I love it too, feel very lucky...

Alexandra said...

Aaah this sounds perfect! I wish I knew when these sample sales were on!!

http://herribbonsandherbows.blogspot.com/

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Alexandra - In winter, the Paris ones seem to be the last week of November - the week before the London sample sales. You need to get on some mailing lists!