When travel to Paris, there are some places that the worldwide fashion & style enthusiasts would all plan to visit and revisit. Having breakfast in Café de Flore in the early morning before it gets a bit congested. Taking a stroll within the Jardin du Luxemburg and the near-by neighbourhood. Visiting the not-far-away Le Bon Marche to check out the latest collections on the rack while posting some Instagram feed of their iconic escalator. Of course, visiting CRIMSON is also part of this “must-do” list.
To introduce CRIMSON to someone who has never been there before, I’d say it was like a couture-level Uniqlo. Giving the plenteous colour options, they offer with their top-quality cashmere, silk, and wool products. They are mainly cashmere sweaters, ponchos, socks, and scarves.
The soul of CRIMSON is Linda V Wright, an American-born Parisian in her seventies. If the name doesn’t ring a bell somewhere, you still presumably have encountered her pictures on Pinterest of Paris street style. Linda’s magic is to spellbindingly turn a set of essential pieces into an effortlessly chic look. Scanning her outfit from top to toe, you wouldn’t see any excess. Most of the days, it was just a mono-colour cashmere rollneck, vintage jeans, leather boots or velvet slippers. With the décor of a Sabina Savage silk stole or a Begg &Co’s polka point cashmere scarf. It was her profound understanding of the fabric & colour that makes her a master of composing a look. And her everyday looks are different, according to the theme of her mood for the day.
Talking back to a few paragraphs ago, I said CRIMSON is like a couture-level Uniqlo. Well, maybe I shouldn’t arbitrarily relate the legendary boutique with any irrelevant mass-market names. So please allow me to correct myself – CRIMSON is just CRIMSON. Meanwhile, in my eyes, CRIMSON equals to Linda V Wright and her hard-working ladies on the shop floor.
Beyond Retailing | 零售之上
Hard-working, that’s the vibe I detected l from spending a few hours in the boutique. Every morning from 10 o’clock, Linda would arrive at the store and start the day with ladies who work in the boutique. Greeting customers, figuring out what do they need and strive to meet, if not surpass their expectations. Of course, no matter how stylish the shop owner is, the endless tiding up routines are still inevitable. Not to mention all the other hassles of running a retail store. To fetch a cashmere poncho on the rack, I witness her climbing on a tall ladder by herself. And She pays close attention to everything in the store and promptly guides the ladies to respond. Even for details like adjusting a sleeve for customers, she would do it in person. You can tell that she takes her boutique very seriously by not taking herself too seriously. Eventually, at around 8 pm, Linda would finish her day of work, and start searching for a good glass of wine to comfort the fatigue. Yes, the exhaustion, which is hard to escape for people who work in retail.
Fortunate to our style enthusiasts, among the ubiquitous monopolies-owned chain stores, we can still find a few places like CRIMSON. Not to do retail simply because it’s a necessary outlet to sell luxury products and generate profit. Instead, using it as a window to demonstrate what one believes in, as a ship to deliver their thoughts. In this process, finding inspiration and becoming somebody else’s inspiration may somehow hedge the fatigue of day after day retail working.
Linda sourced a beautiful mill in Scotland to produce CRIMSON’s cashmere products. Every year she does lots of travelling, communicating and researching to generate ideas about what the best CRIMSON can offer to their customers. Then she sources for the factories, mills and designers to transform that idea into the most beautiful products. Her values and beliefs reflect on every piece of product CRIMSON offers, which wins many customer-turned-friends and admirers around the globe.
Don’t say “Style” | 別談『風格』
Despite being known for her effortless chic personal style, Linda obtains a discreet attitude about talking about her “style”. “Explaining my STYLE is useless and would be presumptuous because to throw that word STYLE around so recklessly would be irreverent in my book…… I feel my mood for the day does not mean Style. I replace the word style with the word look. Style is everlasting. Look is for the day.” Such said Linda once.
Traditionally Modern | 無界的經典品味
男裝？女裝？| Menswear or Womenswear?
My feet measure UK size 6, which is considerably big on an Asian standard for ladies. Thanks to my big feet, I can slick in a men’s shoes, a blessing indeed for a men’s shoe lover! To my pleasure, I discovered that Linda is also a men’s shoe lover. She wears men’s shoes & clothes occasionally. She had a men’s Chesterfield coat for the winter season: “ I had the shoulders taken in, and the sleeves narrowed as well. I felt like it was better quality and cut for the money. It allows for more room to layer underneath when needed.” Ornate by a pocket square from Drake’s, and a pair of men’s corduroy jeans by Acnes Studio– an ultimate chic look without anyone realising she was wearing menswear. It’s worth to mention that women choose to put on some menswear consciously is very different from women wearing men’s clothes to become manly.
裁縫定制? 高級時裝？| Bespoke or High Fashion？
Just as Linda’s approach to androgynous clothing, for her, the boundary between bespoke and high fashion also blurred. She would wear Gucci loafers one day and opts for a pair of John Lobb in another day. And she uses blue jeans and pair with her chocolate silk velvet jacket from Henry Poole.