Around the world in a lot of days!
Travelling back through history
So I...
…in the cold and dark
…Why suffer?
Letters from... around the world
It’s not a trip but a need!
The day Vitus Bering beat John Wayne
The hunt
The ecstasy of a consumer and the Eskimo Syndrome
The suitcase
Tell me, what time does the sun set?
8 x 5
Why the sponsor?

The ecstasy of a consumer and the Eskimo Syndrome

How should I dress? It will be cold, the kind of cold to which I am certainly not accustomed. My first instinct was to go to shops specialising in ski togs and climbing gear. I gave in to the suggestions of solicitous clerks and tried sheathing myself in soft, dazzling suits, but when I donned one of these outfits and took a look in the mirror, I promptly burst out laughing.
That’s when I realized that, if you’re not an Eskimo, you don’t have to dress like one. All too often I have seen seemingly authentic Tyrolese with lederhosen and feathered hats who, strolling down the streets of Cortina, have given themselves away in a chance encounter with a friend when they’ve come out with “uè Peppì ct’è muerte qua stai?” in pure Neapolitan dialect. The memorable arrival in Milan of Totò and Peppino De Filippo in the film Toto, Peppino, and the Hussy should teach us something about climatic differences and a sense of what’s ridiculous.
The upshot is that I set out to look for normal clothes I could alter invisibly to make them warmer. Few people know, for example, that hefty Donegal tweed lined with the kind of heavy silk used inside coats yields an extremely warm but normal-looking garment. This idea (and plenty more) guided the thoroughly enjoyable research that kept me occupied for a long time.
They were unforgettable days, unrepeatable moments, minutes of pure ecstasy. I have no compunction in acknowledging that the description a friend of mine applied to me some time ago – “hedonist-consumer-compulsive” – is not a figment of his imagination.
In all honesty, saying that I like buying clothes oversimplifies the facts.
I have my trusted shop, where my father took me so many years ago for my first pair of long trousers and that I continue to patronize.
It is one of the few places I know where you can buy a dinner jacket, a warm cashmere pullover or an infinite array of corduroy trousers. It’s a shop that has the right things in the right seasons. I have always considered it a sophisticated emporium, and when I took my son there to buy his first pair of “grownup” shoes, both of us experienced that initiation rite like the emotional passing of a “generational baton”.
It is located in the very centre of Rome, on one of those streets that is almost always shady, and over the years it has become the emblem of that street. With the hungry gaze of a teenager standing in front of a bakery shop window, I stood there for ages, looking at those orderly rows of jackets before pointing to the tweed jacket I wanted. In a city that is becoming more and more tropicalized, it was not easy to find what I needed. If I had been at their branch in colder New York, things would undoubtedly have been much simpler.
As a result of this delightful search – and much more – I will have clothes that are normal yet much warmer, and loose enough to permit the well-known strategic tactic of dressing “in layers”.