Crème de la Mer

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I’ve lusted over the ridiculously expensive ($150 an ounce) miracle cream Crème de la Mer for years. No matter how successful I became I still couldn’t bring myself to purchase such an extravagant beauty product. As I’ve aged I’ve caught myself time and time again eyeing the Crème de la Mer counter at Saks and Neimans from a distance, knowing that I should be skeptical of their promises of smoother younger skin.

I was recently given a gift card to Barneys New York to indulge myself in luxuries that I’d never allow myself. One of the first items I thought of when I saw the card is this miracle elusive face cream. The cream that is, as written on their own packaging,

Coveted by those in the know.

Barneys doesn’t carry this product in stores so I had to order through their website. I am so rich in gift cards that I even sprung for overnight shipping. Through a comedy of errors Barneys didn’t ship the package to me. It took two weeks for them to admit their mistake and actually ship the cream.

In those two weeks I had time to reflect on the other times in my life I’ve lusted over something and been disappointed in the actual product or the experience surrounding the product.

8 years ago I was able to fulfill the highest of all fashion dreams- that of buying a Chanel jacket. I’d fantasized about owning a Chanel jacket since I was sixteen. I used to spend my lunch hours in high school devouring Vogue and Harpers Bazaar. Even then, Chanel was the ultimate fashion house.

Even though I bought the jacket at the original Chanel store in Paris, the experience itself was underwhelming. I wore the jacket once and lost weight so it didn’t fit. I went to Africa and decided that I couldn’t be a stuffologist anymore. I tried to sell it to a friend who ended up losing it. The entire Chanel jacket experience was empty and sad.

This became the topic of a lunch conversation the other day with people I work with. One of the other designers has a daughter loves fashion. Six or seven years ago when True Religion Jeans were the hottest denim label in town my friend primed his daughter for her first $200 jeans buying experience. They talked about it for weeks. Finally, they went to a great store, they were treated like royalty and she gleefully chose a pair that fit her perfectly.

A few days later she looked at my friend and said,

I thought these jeans would change something but my life is still exactly the same.

Wow. We all know that most consumer products can’t change our lives. I might argue that my recent Vitamix purchase could be an exception to that rule, but in general everyone knows this to be true.

The True Religion Jeans experience changed my friend’s daughter’s viewpoint forever. Her tastes tend towards vintage now; she no longer buys something new because of hype or the media.

Which brings me back to my disappointing buying experience of the Crème de la Mer. Certainly I know that this new cream will not change my life.Part of me just wants to know what I’ve been missing. Do the women in the testimonials know something that I don’t? I doubt it. Will this experience leave me empty and sad like the Chanel jacket experience? Possibly.

But right now, when I was finally able to open the jar and touch the creamy smooth goodness I’ve wondered about all my life I feel optimistic. Not optimistic that this cream will change my life but optimistic that in realizing this small dream that other larger dreams are attainable as well.

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