Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Fashion Police in "I Amsterdam"


My meeting in Amsterdam yesterday was somewhere near Museumplein, where the renowned Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Coster Diamonds are all located. Unfortunately though, the company I met with had so much going on, all at the same time --- office renovation, moving in and out of furnitures, and the meeting rooms were full. So the guy I spoke to made a last minute decision to head off to their fallback hideout, which was not too far away anyway, in a café called, Caffe PC in PC Hooftstraat.

PC Hooftstraat is hypothetically, the “in” flamboyant place of Amsterdam, the street to be seen and the street to people watch. The rich and famous, the celebrities, the socialites, and the nobles of the flatlands can be spotted sauntering the elegant shops in this narrow lane, all glamorously pimped up with their intimidating fastidious strides in tow, and of course with their hands full of their shopping prizes.


A sample taste of the PC Hooftstraat collection are the following: Cartier, Roberto Boticelli, Louis Vuitton, DKNY, Bulgari, Ralph Lauren and Salvatore Ferragamo.

There are also a number of chic cafes scattered about in the area, which is by all means, the perfect joint for that tired sophisticated and moneyed lady to retreat to, after the much needed retail therapy. Maybe a glass of wine or a cup of coffee will do wonders in aiding her conscience to validate the inevitable, say, why she had to buy that € 500 tunic.

Amsterdam’s new marketing epithet: “I Amsterdam” in the Museumplein at the back of the Rijksmuseum.


This straightforward yet catchy artwork, I believe, was just recently placed in the Museumplein park.


But don’t be mislead, this is not your normal next door neighbor cheese girl. The average Dutch gal is, by far, still frugal.

If there is one thing though that stood out in PC Hooftstraat, it would have to be the unmistakable gorgeously dressed women. One can without a doubt spot the fine haute couture behind the get-up; Gucci, Prada, Burberry... Succinctly, the smell of status and money is wafting in the air.

Interestingly though, the women were more vigilant than the usual, although I personally believe, this has nothing to do with muggers and those unwelcome paparazzi. No it’s not.

When you go to Kalverstraat, which is a more regular Dutch shopping street, you will notice that the women frequenting this area tend to just go about their own shopping business. No one really cares what she and that other woman wears --- unless she would arrive in an exceptionally striking orange outfit, which would be jammer, too early for Queen’s Day.


Nonetheless, in this street, I have seen modern day Goths in chains, retro comebacks, a mix of Cindy Lauper-Madonna 80’s fishnet craze and those new hip gypsy outfits partnered with psychedelic cowboy boots. No one bat’s an eyelid anyway, no one gives a hoot, nada, niks, none. You are free to express your alternative vogue sense and it doesn’t really matter if you have the “it” factor or not. Ah, what fashion revelry?

On the contrary, in PC Hooftstraat, the women were quite different. And I believe, it is not because they have more money, higher status and are sporting off the latest signature vanity mode or accessory in town, but owing to something else, which is really utterly trivial.


Most of these so-called élan women have actually eyes only for the other woman, means any other woman. Could be you, me, her or that girl. Should we be surprised? Nah... Shall we call it envy? Um perhaps, woman’s best enemy, and an obsession by many by the way.

“...thickly made up eyes and curious necks having the propensity to go astray checking the other women sitting in the other tables... or better yet, if they are outside in the terras, they are more likely to perform covert operations 101 --- scanning every inch of any woman’s body that passes by...” - Yeah, ha-ha, the CSI fashion police are definitely at work in Amsterdam, at least in PC Hooftstraat.


I’ll have to admit that I do get stares from all types of women from time to time in exclusive and not places here in the Netherlands, but nothing like a PC Hooftstraat experience, where stares are essentially misconstrued as --- Hmm, what label are you wearing, bitch? [reminds me of how people back home in the Philippines are enslaved with the branded culture].

Well, it was indeed fun to watch. Envy and the fixation of women to check out each other is shall I say universal [read: Sex and the City], BUT... living in the Netherlands with Dutch chicks borrowing their male partner’s clothing [read: women dressed like men] or being enveloped in a surreal fashion world [read again above paragraph re: Kalverstraat], has thoroughly rubbed me and my fashion sanity to an off-tangent direction!


And now, with this PC Hooftstraat scenario added altogether into the picture, just made everything about fashion in Holland more complicated, yet very entertaining! ;-)

What irony, zeg.

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