My best friend Hema stayed with us for about a week and a half and we decided to go on a trip to Tuscany and Florence 🙂
And thus, last weekend, we went on a long road trip. About 200 km away from Rome and it took us about two hours just to reach the outlet shop. Thank goodness there was Cart with us. I think that I’d be very stressed out if I had to drive there on my own. You could also take a train+bus/cab combo if you plan to only spend time there.
The first stop that we went to was in a place called ‘The Space’ where it holds the brands Prada and Miu Miu together.
It is a very nondescript looking building, so you’d be forgiven if you’d think that you were in the wrong place. There wasn’t a crowd when we reached there, so I reckon we were lucky as I’ve read that only 100 customers are allowed in the building at a time and the rest may have to wait 30 mins to an hour to enter.
As soon as you enter, you will be given a ticket, which you hang on for reserving the item that you’ve picked.
In all honesty, I was quite uncomfortable there. It may be an outlet shop, but my heart was jumping wildly, looking at the prices. A lot of the bags were 200 euro and above but they didn’t even list the ‘before’ prices for comparison so that I’d at least feel better at looking at the savings.
Plus, a few of their clerks are so snobby. I touched a bag, which looked similar to my purple bag and was about to show how it works to Hema, when I heard a shriek, “Madam!” and she promptly snatched it away from me.
So I just looked around and admired some of the designs. But I’m not a big fan of Prada when it comes to their designs, as to me, most of them looks a little “old lady”.
But I did see something that I kind of liked. Not sure if you could see it, but it’s green (something I like) and has fairies (something I like) sitting on a lily.
And if I’m not wrong, this is a James Jean design. It was 50 euro which seems reasonable but at the time, I wasn’t sure if I liked it enough to get it. What occasion would I have worn it anyway? But looking back, I think I should have.
Anyway, here are some of the items that Hema got :
Something for work.
And something for functions.
I think she spent about 600 euro in total, instead of paying full price of about 1200 for both. And on top of that, she’ll get some tax rebates when she claims it at the airport.
I didn’t spend anything there.
Our next stop was another 30 km up North to another outlet called ‘The Mall‘ and this place holds more Italian designer brands like Balenciaga, Armani and Ferragamo.
There are crowds outside certain shops. Like Tods. It was so long, I reckon that it would take about an hour to enter. Anyway, we stopped at Gucci. We were lucky that we didn’t need to queue up to enter, because when we were done, there was a rather big line outside.
Anyway, like in ‘The Space’ which we visited earlier, there were a lot of Asian people inside buying designer things by the dozens. I even saw someone with thick stacks of 100 euro bills. I felt quite uncomfortable. I’m only inside because I’m accompanying my friend and I wouldn’t normally enter on my own!
Just to let you know, you need to bring your passport along with you as it seems that tourists have a buying limit of 10 items (if I’m not wrong) and the quota is checked by the passport.
And here are the items that Hema got :
A sling bag for her hubby.
And a ladybird coin purse.
I don’t remember how much she spent in total. Probably around another 500 euro? At this point of time, my heart was racing just at the thought of the amount my friend just spent. I’m really scared to spend the same amount for myself! I could have made a deposit on a new scooter or get another second hand car for that amount or fix my teeth. But it makes her happy, and it’s her money. She can do what she likes with it.
I didn’t spend anything at all here either.
Seems quite sad huh? That I didn’t get anything for myself considering that this brand is very popular among Singaporeans. But no worries, like Prada, I’m not a big fan of Gucci’s designs either as I don’t like too much logo monogramming. When it comes to designs, I prefer things that are classy and elegant and understated.
Anyway, we stopped by Roberto Cavalli to have a look see and I showed her how fierce his designs are with bold animal prints. I think his designs are cool, although it’s not something that I’d personally get for myself.
And then we stopped by Valentino to show Hema how elegant his designs are. If I were given money to spend, and can only choose one luxury brand, Valentino would definitely be it. To me, the designs are extremely beautiful, feminine and classic. But most importantly, wearable.
We went through and admired all the beautiful outfits and shoes and then I saw the most beautiful dress I’ve ever seen this year. My heart just skipped a beat when I saw it. It was the 2012 Spring/Summer Red Valentino dress.
Don’t be deceived! It may look very simple in the picture above – it’s your basic A-line dress with a pink ribbon. But this is something that has to be seen in real life. You can tell that this is quality just by touching it. The fabric was the most luxurious silk-chiffon type of material. I gasped as I twirled it. It was so dreamy and so beautiful.
It is very rare that I would be so deeply enamored by something. The last time that I felt this way was when I was in Milan and I saw this shoe by Dolce Gabbana. This dress is pure gorgeousness! But it costs 350 odd euro! And I had to fight with myself from getting it. I didn’t in the end because of priorities. But I was so sad 🙁
I might try to recreate it at least since I have my own sewing machine or perhaps force my seamstress mum to sew one for me when I’m back in Singapore in August. It may not be a Valentino, but it’ll be a one of a kind handmade stuff. Hopefully I’ll earn enough to get something without thinking twice, one day 🙂
By the way, did you know that they did a photoshoot for this collection at Bomarzo? It’s an interesting place about 1.5 hours drive from Rome.
Anyway, there you go! That was my experience in an outlet shop in Florence. Have you visited there before? And should I have gotten the Valentino dress? What do you think?
Sidenote : I went to the Castel Romano Designer Outlet in Rome as there is a Valentino shop there. Unfortunately, while they have the series, they do not have MY dress 🙁