I’ll own up now to having been a very naïve traveller, still impressed by tourist novelties (which I’ve walked past ever since) but also keen to purchase ‘something worthwhile’ to take home.
It was extremely cold and, in England and soon to tour Europe, I decided a warm coat would be my ‘something worthwhile’. I may have gone to Harrods, as my memories are of a store somewhat similar to Georges in Collins Street, Melbourne. There I fell in love with a black leather coat. Not just a black leather coat, but a Dr. Zhivagoish mid length coat with a hood and silky astrakhan wool trimming around the hood and the hem. It was beautifully made, with a quilted, cosy black satin lining, and fitted ‘like a glove’. I’m sure it made a huge dent in my budget – but I was hooked.
A little later, reflecting on the hotel manager’s use of the word ‘wealthy’ (which I certainly wasn’t), I remembered my rather expensive hooded, astrakhan trimmed, black leather coat purchased at Harrods! To this day I’m sure that my coat had conveyed the impression that I was wealthy.
I don’t have this wonderful black leather, astrakhan trimmed, coat any more. It was very heavy – heavy to pack when coming home; difficult to wear when driving. It was far too heavy to wear for all but a few days in a Melbourne winter; perhaps a few more days a year when I lived in Daylesford, where snow occasionally falls. I had it cut down to a shorter, jacket length; however in time it became too small and was given to the daughter of a friend who loved it. I’ve lost touch with this family, but know they love ‘retro’, recyled, costumy clothes.
I’m rather hoping that my hooded black leather coat has toured the opp shops in Melbourne over the past three decades; is still to be found in the wardrobe of someone who thinks it is just wonderful, and that very occasionally, on a bitterly cold day, it is taken out to wear!