Chapter 8: Mom Needs to Make Some (Hermes, Chanel, VCA) Memories!

Today, we resume the #PurseBopsInFrance series, the shopping adventures of my traveling companions. We present to you our fourth fashionista’s experiences. Her BopTalk name is Dream. Some may remember her extensive themed Hermes reveal on BopTalk from South Africa.

Dream is the most experienced traveller and luxury shopping consumer amongst the five of us. She has amassed incredible collections from all the premium fashion houses. From Chanel bags and ‘ready to wear’, Cartier & VCA collectors pieces, through Hermes Birkins, I do not know anyone who has built a more comprehensive collection over the past 20 years! She makes her purchases around the world, so everything has a meaning ~ I love that! Her closet and style is the envy of any fashionista and is what truly sets her apart. One of the things I admire most is that she uses every piece in her collection, not just on special occasions but in her everyday life.

Follow her reveals and memories from France below…

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Unpacking the France shopping haul at home.

Let’s Talk Bags

PB: Did you have a plan or strategy of what you wanted to purchase while you were in France? 
Dream: I didn’t really have a plan prior to coming to France. Having said that, I am very well versed with the styles and collections of my favorite brands like Hermes, Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Cartier. So when I’m travelling abroad I can usually spot something that I know is not available in the US. I am also very good about keeping up to date with US prices. Overall, I am an instinctive shopper and it is easy for me to decipher which items will be good, unique buys that I cannot find in the US.

PB: Were any of your purchases total impulse buys? For example, did you plan on buying a Chanel exotic mini? 
Dream:  Most of my purchases were impulse buys – but strategic impulse buys! Let me explain the Chanel exotic mini. I sincerely had no intention of buying another Chanel bag. I’ve been collecting Chanel bags since my college days, and I already have a few exotics. When we were at the Chanel in St. Tropez, I noticed what seemed to be a lower price on an olive green exotic mini bag. The difference seemed noticeable enough compared to the US price so I naturally had to ask PurseBop to investigate. PurseBop texted her SA at Bergdorf’s and we discovered that in the US the exotic was $21,000 USD and in France the exotic was 17,500 euro, which is a huge difference! I kept that price differential in mind and kept shopping. In Monte Carlo, we were sipping on champagne and admiring more CC bags, and there she was – my red mini. It was GAME OVER. It was the perfect shade of red, and from our pricing homework, I knew it was an unbeatable price. I would not have bought just any exotic mini, but this one was a beautiful addition to my collection.

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Red exotic mini & Chanel Brasserie jacket take maiden voyage to Chicago with me & #missBoptalk.

Chanel Exotic Mini

RegionChanel Exotic Mini
USA$21,000
Europe€17,500
VAT Refund (approx. 10%)- €1,750
Cost after VAT€15,750
US $ Equivalent$17,116

Louis Vuitton Duffle

RegionLouis Vuitton Duffle 2
USA$2,960
Europe€2070
VAT Refund (approx. 10%)- €207
Cost after VAT€1,863
US $ Equivalent$2,035

Jewelry Splurges

PB: Was your Van Cleef & Arpels (VCA) necklace  planned or impulse?
Dream: My VCA necklace was a total impulse buy. Originally, we were just browsing at the boutique in Monte Carlo but I felt like a needed a significant memento of our trip. Buying the necklace was about “creating a memory” of the day, the place, and our experience. I knew from previous VCA purchase that my savings would be minimal (only the equivalent of the VAT basically). More than anything, the selection at Van Cleef & Arpels in France was fantastic, so I couldn’t pass up a purchase. The piece I purchased matched another piece in my collection, which was another advantage even if the savings were not as great.

PurseBop can verify…I managed a few quotes from her husband, and he explained, “These were not impulse buys, but instinctive buys! Shopping is wired into her DNA. I have come to realize that what seems like shopping chaos is actually strategy. She shops with a defined articulate plan that is difficult to see right off the bat. It is the experience and memory created that motivates her. Whether she is buying for our daughter or herself, a memory is created.”

VCA

Van Cleef Sautoir Vintage Alhambra 20 motifs also known as “Jaune Nacre Blanche”

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Chanel Necklace – €860

Cartier Earrings

RegionCartier Earrings
USA$8,600
Europe€7,600
VAT Refund (approx. 10%)- €760
Cost after VAT€6,840
US $ Equivalent$7,433

VCA Necklace

RegionVCA Necklace
USA$15,900
Europe€14,000
VAT Refund (approx. 10%)- €1,400
Cost after VAT€12,600
US $ Equivalent$13,692

CC Treasures: The Chanel Jackets

Dream didn’t just stop at bags at Chanel, she also indulged in Ready-to-Wear. She purchased two Chanel jackets to add to her haul. While she was pleased with her new RTW pieces, the RTW price differential in Europe was not significant. The Chanel jackets would have cost about here at home. “In fact, from years of experience the US  is the best place to purchase Chanel RTW because of the sales and advance pre sales.  I always attack the pre sale early to pick out my seasonal favorites…”,  explains Dream.

Our first shopper, Rita, purchased Chanel RTW in France too for the same reasons Dream did: the selection and sizes were much more diverse compared to the US.

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Chanel Jacket , Brasserie Collection- €4,570

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Chanel Jacket – €3,790

Hermes Loot

PB: After seeing the selection, were you flexible? Did you end up completely pleased?
Dream: I find that the selection in France is always better compared to the US. Even now, in the season with the lowest inventory, I was able to find Hermes belts that are impossible to find here. Inventory for skins is always more abundant in Europe. I have bought many exotic B’s and K’s while traveling in Europe too. The more unique selection is my main motivation when shopping abroad. And as PurseBop has extensively explained, the fact that Hermes has not adjusted prices to account for the euro makes it all too attractive.

PB: When it came time to choose, what factors swayed you? I consider you to be the most well travelled shopper of the group, please share the process you go through while making shopping decisions.
Dream: Firstly, I only buy something if it is a good deal. I will NEVER buy something if it is more expensive while traveling, unless it is something so rare that it serves as a souvenir. I don’t buy just to buy, rather I buy to create an experience and a memory. I almost always buy an Hermes scarf or shawl to match the theme of my trip. For example, when I went to Africa and stopped in Paris on our way there I bought an Hermes safari inspired pattern scarf as a souvenir. (I shared my goodies and pictures on BopTalk as well!)

I always ask for a free gift too. My family and friends all laugh, but I truly feel happy receiving a token of appreciation from the retailer. I’m not shy about asking for freebies either! If I have spent 20k at Chanel, some goodies are a nice touch such as a perfume or cosmetics. My regular SA’s all know this about me by now, but when travelling I never forget to ask. Again it’s not about the money, it’s the experience.

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The selection of belts Dream managed on this trip and these do not include HIS.

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Hermes Sac SilkyCity 33 Soie Tatersale/Veau Barenia

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The souvenir Hermes enamel bracelet.

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Hubby had to buy a new LV duffle to accommodate all the new shopping treasures from Monte Carlo & France.

Hermes Maxi Twilly

RegionHermes Maxi Twilly
USA$325
Europe€270
VAT (approx. 10%)- €27
Cost after VAT€243
US $ Equivalent$264

Hermes Enamel Cuff

RegionHermes Enamel Cuff
USA$700
Europe€675
VAT (approx. 10%)-€67
Cost after VAT€608
US $ Equivalent$662

Dream: Last but not least, almost everything in my home and everything I wear has a memory attached to it and that is very important to me. We are headed to Paris and London for the holidays with the kids and they all know “Mom needs to make some memories!”

Handbag Math

Back to some handbag math…

Chanel Exotic Mini in the US: $21,000 + $2153 (tax 10.25%)= $23,153 total
Chanel Exotic Mini in Europe: €17,500 – €1,750 = 15,750 = $17,116 total

What She Saved: $23,153 – $17,116 = $6,037 (~26% savings)

  • Dream’s Chanel bag purchase was her most lucrative deal. On the other hand, the Chanel RTW price differential was practically non-existent.
  • Even though Dream mostly bought smaller H accessories on this trip, overall, buying Hermes abroad has the most price savings impact since prices are significantly lower in Europe.
  • The savings on VCA and Cartier was minimal and only amounted to the cost of VAT
  • France presented a more unique selection and more exotics in particular

Total Cost Savings

*This total is only gathered from a sampling of Dream’s purchases and does not reflect the prices and savings from all the items in her haul

ItemMoney Saved
Chanel Exotic Mini$3,884
VCA Necklace$2,208
Cartier Earrings$1,167
Louis Vuitton Duffle 2$925
Hermes Maxi Twilly$61
Hermes Enamel Cuff$38
Total$8,283
ItemMoney Saved
Chanel Exotic Mini$3,884
VCA Necklace$2,208
Cartier Earrings$1,167
Louis Vuitton Duffle 2$925
Hermes Maxi Twilly$61
Hermes Enamel Cuff$38
Total$8,283

Bonus Hermes Birthday Reveal from Dream

I was delighted to share in the unveiling of her exotic birthday Birkin 35 in Sanguine earlier this Spring. A surprise gift from hubby for her special birthday. We celebrated the moment with champagne and pictures of course…

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The Glorious Birkin Sisters : Our birthday Birkins posing together… my Lady B Vermillion & Dreams exotic beauty.

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Action shots of the exotic B  ~ Dream brought her exotic Birkin the very next week to France. A great example of using her treasures and not hoarding them. A fantastic lesson/tip to be learned and applied by all.

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Sheesha at Four Seasons, Monte Carlo.

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Cocktail time after an expensive day of shopping for all of us in Monte Carlo

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Admiring the Hermes loot after a day of H shopping in Cannes.

Whats up next, you ask? Chapter 9:  My personal Hermes Reveal from France. Stay tuned…

Love PurseBop
XO

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