I'm not sure why the question, "If you could shake hands with anybody - alive or dead, character or actual person - who would it be?" stills makes the rounds in polite company. It's a nice ice breaker, I suppose, that helps to start conversation, but I've always felt that there are so many other questions that could really liven up a crowd and that give an interesting look at different personalities.
Today, after being asked the handshake question and ruminating over how much I dislike it, I decided which question I'd prefer to answer: "If you could choose anyone - alive or dead, character or actual person - to go on a shopping spree with, who would it be and what would they buy?"
C'mon, think of how fun it would be to conjure up the various places that characters like Scarlett O'Hara, Cinderella or Tyler Durden would shop. Or what about real people like Jean Harlow, Babe Ruth or William Shakespeare?
My preferred shopping buddy? Marie Antoinette. I would choose the former French queen due to her legendary preferences for hedonistic excess. If I were just going along for the ride, and there was no cap on the money that could be spent on this shopping excursion, then we would be dipping into couture ateliers and ordering Laduree macarons by the barrelful.
And since we are talking metaphorically, I'll go ahead and stage this shopping trip in New York. Because that's where you go to get the good stuff.
First, Marie (we'd be on a first-name basis if we were shopping buddies) would stop by the parlour for French sweets, Laduree, and pick out dozens of pretty, pastel macarons in the much-championed flavors of fleur d'orange, salted caramel, pistachio, framboise, citron, rose petal and coconut. And we would absolutely cut the ghastly hour-long line that usually forms outside the door of Laduree. Because queens don't wait in line. Then, to wash down those delicieuse macarons, a bottle of Perrier-Jouet champagne (1825, if possible) would suffice.
Then off to the Bergdorf Goodman cosmetic counters where we would pick up a few items from French labels, such as Laura Mercier's Invisible Illuminating Powder in Candlelight, because a requisite part of any queenly presence is a glowing visage. At Yves Saint Laurent, Marie would select the mint green, peony pink and creamsicle orange Manucure Duo Nail Lacquers in No 7 and No 8. Then we'd be off to the La Mer counter, where a pot of the brand's Creme de la Mer would make the shopping list; the full 16.5-ounce, $1,800 version, because true pampering knows no price limit. And since queens need to luxuriate in nature's loveliest scents on the regular so that they don't smell like peasants, Marie will pick up Jo Malone's Red Roses Bath Oil, too.
After having sated her appetite for gourmet treats and sumptuous toilette products, Marie would head to Neiman Marcus where she would be garbed in the newest offerings from Franco-Spanish designer Monique Lhuiller's Resort 2013 collection, and would choose the showstopper of a gown that features prints of beautiful flower blossoms and a ruched skirt. To go along with the gown, Barney's would be the next stop, where Christian Louboutin's glittering Fifi Strass Cinderella-esque heels would be the chosen footwear and then to Bergdorf Goodmans to pick up a pair of Judith Ripka's 18-karat gold, diamond-encrusted Gothic Estate earrings , which would provide the perfect complement to the ensemble.
And should Marie want to write letters to all of the new acquaintances and friends she met while on this short trip, what better tools to scribe beautiful calligraphy on and with than Smythson's Cerise Pink Double Border Correspondence Cards paired with the red gold-plated, Mozart-tribute Montblanc fountain pen.
And she'll, of course, require a lovely Hermès Dip Dye scarf with which to wave goodbye to her adoring fans once she calls it a day.
See, wasn't that a fun question? I thought so. So, there will definitely be more of these to come.