Walking leisurely by the Thames with Pushkin, my son, on my right and my wife to my left, we were happily watching people ambling, rushing, cycling, and jogging… there were others who were inhaling, exhaling, selling, telling, and no there was definitely no yelling…
‘Everything is so different here,’ began my wife, ‘and the difference is intoxicating.’
‘Keep her sober…’ I said jokingly, and then added, ‘even the clothes they’re wearing are so…’ I paused, unable to decide on the right word here until Pushkin asked: ‘Elegant and attractive?’
‘And simply not dull and dreary,’ he added.
…and so the short sentences and small observations went on until Pushkin suddenly asked: ‘You really must take time out of your Discover London walks and visit a few of the wonderful stores on and near Oxford Street, Kensington…’
‘Clothes and footwear aren’t on our buying list in this trip,’ said my wife, ‘And anyway, we’ve already been inside stores like Harrods and Selfridges.’
‘That was a decade ago,’ I replied.
The decision: “Clothes are inevitable. They are nothing less than the furniture of the mind made visible.” (James Laver, Style in Costume)
So it was decided that we will visit some of the big London stores though Pushkin did warn us that Giorgio Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and other such brands could be rather addictive and it may be difficult not to go over-board with purchases. So yes, we did include Harvey Nicols, Harrods, John Lewis, Selfridges, Designworks, Topman, Armani, Clarks, The Old Curiosity Shop, and Kurt Geiger in our ‘Discover London’ circuit.
I am talking about visiting London stores because it was the time that we spent with a few of the rather fashion-informed and fashion-aware staff there that we picked up the language of dressing up well. These were the people who effectively converted us into ‘luxury warriors’ who would, just a few months later, move unhesitatingly into the pages of Qvendo, the powerful fashion website that brings Western brands delivered to India at member-only prices.
The lessons: “I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men.” (Marlene Dietrich)
Surprisingly, most of the fashion consultants we met in London were quite unlike the mannequins because they were all dressed up in warm smiles, made eye contact and told us fabulous stories and facts about clothes, style statements, and trends!
Our vocabulary was filled with words, phrases and concepts that included ‘prime investment’, ‘totally wearable stuff without looking boring’, ‘futuristic edge,’ ‘chic, classy, and feminine,’ ‘witty, provocative, and devilishly entertaining’, and ‘affordable couture’. Of-course, looking tactile and juicy wasn’t ever on our agenda but then who doesn’t wish to indulge in a bit of romance with design once in a while? Only recently I have discovered that the Qvendo website does convert this entire vocabulary into an illustrated compendium of style!
Fashion, they say, is always fun to look at, but a great pain for those who want to try and imitate the look. And I realised how off the mark I was when I came across a quote by Anna Wintour, who was the Editor-in-chief of American Vogue in 2004. She once openly admitted that if there were “two equally beautiful dresses, she would choose an advertiser over a non-advertiser.”
With this knowledge, we began to explore new things together, trying to figure out what works best for the both of us. The search for the right clothes and accessories, I must admit, is like every new post is to a blogger: an adventure! Every comment and email is exciting. A blogger spends every moment of everyday with it, checking on its progress i.e. stalking the traffic, the incoming and outgoing links etc. Stalking style is an exhilarating feeling that I’d almost forgotten about! Alive now. Thanks to that walk by the river Thames in London!
2011 is different: “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” (Yves Saint Laurent)
Daniel P Dykes, while discussing fashion trends in 2011, wrote: ‘Though 2011 will see us move still further from the economic woes of recent history, don’t expect a massive change in the tangent of fashion: the major excesses of the last decade are gone, and 2011 will see us, rightfully, continue on with a drive of subtle consumption mixed with obvious quality. 2011 fashion trends will accommodate the fact that we’ll be buying less but spending more. That means less bland, and more quality. Fewer indulgences, but better statement pieces.’
This also concludes that known brands offering great styles will be available at costs that do not ask for mortgaging all that you have in real estate! This is one fact that one sees quite clearly in the available campaigns and the ones previewed on Qvendo.
It was Thomas Carlyle who remarked that “the first purpose of clothes… was not warmth or decency, but ornament…. Among wild people, we find tattooing and painting even prior to clothes. The first spiritual want of a barbarous man is decoration; as indeed we still see among the barbarous classes in civilized countries.” Thus what the spirit within us searches for is an eternal harmony of the senses through a good, comfortable, and affordable style statement. If this is what you too are searching for, the remainder of this article will simply mesmerize you.
QVENDO – the Luxury Private Shopping Club: “Only great minds can afford a simple style.” (Stendhal)
The Facebook page of Qvendo succinctly writes: “We bring to India a world of international trends, must-have brands and never-seen-before boutique labels with significant savings compared to retail prices. Only QVENDO can bring you Western fashions not available in stores and luxury brands and styles from current seasons as well as the classics from previous collections.
Our private club provides members a hassle-free shopping experience. We are handling all custom queries and taxes, as well as covering 100% insurance. QVENDO also provides an efficient door-to-door delivery service of up to 10 days and a flat shipping fee of Rs. 900 from their Munich, Germany Headquarter to anywhere in India.”
Sounds good? Great! But I am a very cynical person and would never trust a mere website on simply what it says on its Facebook page. I have my own 7-point test and I applied it to Qvendo too.
Qvendo offers members a fair choice from established labels as well as ‘up and coming boutique brands at a significant savings besides giving them access to brands and styles not available in India.’
The images of all products are crisp, clear, and available in all relevant angles. The images van also be zoomed into to have a better sight of some special characteristic or even the texture. This really gives a great feeling… almost like touching and feeling a fabric or launching a close scrutiny of a shoe!
Usability and speed
There is a thoughtful notifications tab on the right of the screen that is active all the time… this feature adds to the charm of a site that simply glides from hyperlink to hyperlink. There are no uncomfortable time-lags even on a broadband speed of 512 kbps that I have at home.
I did have a shocker when the site did not open in Chrome and was forced to browse in IE but soon realised my error… the ad-blocker installed in chrome was doing its job and had to be instructed to trust the site. All was well subsequently. So you really need to disable it for the domain qvendo.com.
So far as the delivery speeds are concerned, I don’t have a first-hand experience but the site does claim ‘to ship within 4-10 working days via international airfreight using efficient and reliable FedEx.’
Yes, I did go through the buying process and found it a real joy! However, you do need to remember that adding items to your cart is blocked as long as you have not verified your email ID. This is a security precaution and prevents members to buy products without a valid email ID.
Even if you haven’t done this while completing the registration process, you will be prompted and asked to request a verification email again to your email ID when you try to add a product to your cart. As soon as you have clicked the link to verify your email ID, your cart is free to go after the next login. Simple, really. No Masters in Computer Science needed to understand and use this site. The functionality is bump-proofed well!
Yes, it is important to know that you’ll have 15 minutes for checkout until the shopping cart expires… so don’t go for your afternoon siesta after you’ve activated the shopping cart and begun your check-out!
Whether it is a trouser, shirt, or a shoe or even a belt, a ring, a skirt, or a kiddie dress that you intend to buy, the site has included all possible dimensions in each item description. You can access a sizing chart that is designed especially for the members. You can find this chart easily by clicking on the size button next to each item.
If you have a law-induced psyche, you’ll be thrilled to find an extensive FAQs section and a detailed ‘T&C’ page that gives you all that you’ll ever need to know about shopping on Qvendo!
The site policy is to give you an exclusivity that is unheard of in online transactions so far. No wonder then that QVENDO membership is by invitation only: either by existing QVENDO members or the QVENDO team.
You can also find a neat and unobtrusive Authenticity Guarantee mentioned for each product. It states unambiguously that ‘QVENDO is authorized to sell this product and every brand is a guaranteed Original.’
Newsletters and blogs
A website that decides to sell needs to first ensure that it builds up a fairly loyal following is a dictum that the Qvendo team seems to have taken seriously. Their blog is fascinating and is full of not just the planned campaigns but also features interviews with designers, opinions from celebrities, style tips and a lot of newsy bits of fun and frolic from various events organised globally!
Aren’t these Qvendo Blog headlines simply yummy?
An Indian/French Love Affair – Saris by Hermes this October
Eyes wide open – Sexy runway make up inspired by the 60s
Zeha Berlin: Timeless footwear made in Germany
Your Casual Friday Style Guide
Mini-A-Ture clothings for kids who like to be kids
Colour blocking for men – dare to be colourful!(?)
Don’t wanna wear skinny jeans and leggings anymore?
Interviews with: PURO, Josef Schachl, Sachin Gada, Felix Bendish
Lili Radu is all about premium quality and maximum style
Andreas Waldschuetz: “fashion photography revolves around dreams”
Beverly Hills a la mode and what to wear on the red carpet
The blog of this lovely fashion site is gracious enough to recommends some other well-known style blogs too: MASALA CHAI | MR. PORTER | NOWNESS | STREETSTYLE INDIA | THE GLAMOURAI | TRENDLAND | WEARABOUT INDIA
And here is the best piece of inside information: ‘A sale campaign lasts 5-10 days. Within this time, every member is entitled to shop within each campaign.’ So make sure you reach online and buy and let the hoi polloi look at you with envy!
To lay to rest all queries about QVENDO having a few brick-n-mortar brethren, it is enough to say that this is an exclusive online store only. Buy products via the website http://www.qvendo.com. No Phone selling or direct sales. However, members can purchase products through the online shop from anywhere in the world and it will be shipped by custom shipping spring hill fl… just make sure that the shipping address is in India!
Qvendo has a formidable presence on Facebook and it is a treat to read the tweets it send! From Paris Hilton’s Mumbai plans to the Liz Taylor blitz at Topshop, from Miss Malini’s punches to Sasha Pivovarova on Vogue Paris… if the fashion world likes it, Qvendo tweets it!
My wish list for Rs 50,000: “The difference between style and fashion is quality.” (Giorgio Armani)
So if I had Rs. 50,000 with me what would I buy from Qvendo and why? Mind you, it isn’t as easy as going out and spending a thousand bucks… for fifty times that amount you do need steady nerves, man. How else do you expect me restrain myself from exceeding this budgetary limit?
Polo by Ralph Lauren – Chino black. This is actually a gonadal giggle with its flat front, slim, straight legged stunning success with a concealed zip fly and button closure, two front pockets, and button through back pockets! Phew!! And before you think I am some knowledgeable designer myself, let me tell you that I have simply copied this vital sounding info from the website where it described the product!
So you know now how serious this site is!
Incidentally, the size assistant available is for females and males…gives Euro, US, UK, International sizes… waist, chest, and body height in inches…all in a neat table… and you simply have to scroll down to reach shoes, rings, Sweater, Tshirt Sweatshirt, shirts, trousers, jeans, belt to access the appropriate measurement!
Cost: Rs. 7,800. Now: Rs. 4,500.
The Zeha Berlin Half Boot Poncho Antik Asfalto is my choice for footwear. These are ankle length leather boots with a lace-up design. The moment I saw this artwork in leather, my foot whistled and said:
‘Hey! I’ve found the pair that will gel with the Clarks that you already have!’
Happy feet, they say lead the brain to triumphs more often than even a full stomach can. Therefore, I had no choice but to reach out and grab this virtual half boot before the magic spell breaks!
Cost: Rs. 16,200. Now: Rs. 9,700.
If at 54, I can drool for these Giorgio Armani Shades Black/ Brown, you (if you’re younger, of course) too can and must.
These unisex sunglasses have Giorgio Armani inscribed on each arm, come with a Brown Gradient colour lens and a 100 % UV protection. The material, of course, is synthetic and the colour is black with brown.
These shades have the power to tickle the genetic impulse to remain young forever and can, without delay, launch you into some unending reverie where any of the celluloid heroes fades into nothingness! And so, who was I not to have succumbed to their charm?
Cost: Rs. 17,600. Now: Rs. 7,400.
A dark blue, virgin wool Tommy Hilfiger Sack Coat that has a two button single breasted Notch lapel with a button pocket inside, two front pockets and one chest pocket is like a girlfriend that blows hot and cold! There is also a Tommy Hilfiger logo on sleeve hem, sleeves with 4-button cuff… however, no accessories are included.
Yes, this sack coat is indeed like a girlfriend that knows when to ooze with the bonhomie of flushed cheeks and when to pierce hearts with a steely glance that never forgives nor forgets! Such girlfriends aren’t born every day…
Cost: Rs. 19,500. Now: Rs. 11,000.
Armani Jeans – dark denim Jeans. These dark blue denim jeans come with belt loops and button closure, two front slant pockets and two back pockets, the flourish of a AJ logo on the back pocket, and even abrasions for a worn look! Obviously, the material is cotton.
Well, jeans in their own special way help us ‘hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.’ (Langston Hughes) And the intrinsic truth within every old and young mortal is to keep on dreaming reaching out for until there are no more dreams visible to you… and how soon would you want this to happen?
Cost: Rs. 13,600. Now: Rs. 9,600.
Ah! What is more attractive than a man wearing a rose white long sleeved Valentino Shirt with a slim fit and a button up front? To add to the charm, there are cut corner 2 buttoned cuffs too!
You can sight a perfect gentleman there and yet as the light changes you see a maverick that is out to spray adrenalin over all and sundry to make the entire world come alive to his presence! No, not a mere prosaic Jekyl and Hyde case of the yester years here but a more profoundly poetic futuristic Ra-one, I’d say! Wouldn’t you agree?
Cost: Rs. 9,700. Now: Rs. 4,500.
And it is shoes once more. The Zeha Berlin Ideal Dark Grey/Light Grey! This lace up ankle length leather shoe has stripes on the side and jog along well with the scintillating Zeha logo on the side!
For light-hearted flights into the physical world all I’d need is something that resembles this magical shoe! I can easily glide to any height wearing them… I can sight and catch even a fleeting moment and gift it to you, my beloved… I can right and left and even up and down to make any experience fuller and more complete! Only if I have…
Cost: Rs. 8,500. Now: Rs. 5,900.
Conclusions are never easy: “When you cease to dream, you cease to live.” (Malcolm Forbes)
All I can say for sure is that the Qvendo website has set me dreaming and this is important for the creative impulse within me. I am sure the site and all that you see on the site will set your pulse racing and you will then know what it means to be alive!
However, for that to actually happen, you’ll need to first click here and reach the invitation-only Qvendo site with a special VIP invite!
I leave you with this thought:
“I make beanstalks; I am a builder, like yourself.” (Edna St. Vincent Millay)
21 September 2011
Picture credits: All pics taken from the Qvendo website or blog.