Emily Thaw Emily Thaw

YSL Purchase Experience in Honolulu, Hawaii

If you have not already been informed, Hawaii is one of the best places to purchase luxury goods in the United States. Official Yves Saint Laurent boutiques sell all items for prices that are 20% lower than the online listed prices for the U.S. website.

Other luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Valentino, Dior, Jimmy Choo, and etc also offer cheaper prices. Not all brands offer a discount on all of their products. For example, Gucci's small leather goods are 20% off and their bags are 25% off. There is no discount for shoes and belts. The tax in Honolulu is around 4.5% meanwhile, it is around 8.9% in New York City. With this in mind, I wanted to purchase a luxury purse during my Hawaii trip.

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I visited both the Luxury Row and Ala Moana Center locations for Yves Saint Laurent. Out of the two locations, I found my experience at Luxury Row to be better. Ala Moana Center has complimentary parking at their massive lot, which will be a more favorable location if you plan to drive. Luxury Row during the evening to nighttime has a much better atmosphere, that sparkles with lights. If you love walking through scenic and calm places, you will prefer Luxury Row more. Keep in mind that there is no street parking available. There are a few valet lots.

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First, I will be talking about my Loulou purchase. I originally wanted the Pale Blush color, which was very limited in stock. There was one available at the Luxury Row location but it was a displayed piece. I checked it out and noticed that the leather was damaged, the shape was worn out, and the hardware had scratches. Even though I absolutely loved the color of the bag, I could not fathom paying a very high price for a purse that had already been worn out before purchase. Definitely try to be a smart shopper, especially when shopping for luxury goods.


Instead, I decided on the black Loulou bag in small with gold hardware because it will match many of my outfits and there were brand new pieces available in store. I love the versatility - it can be worn three different ways: 1) on the shoulder 2) crossbody 3) double-chained on the shoulder. Here is an unboxing video, which includes some modshots.

As expected, the packaging for YSL is beautiful. The chains were carefully wrapped. A dust bag and box provided is also provided. The retail price for this Loulou bag in Small is $1,950.00 in the United States boutiques. With tax it would come out to $2,123.00 if I had purchased it in New York City.

In Hawaii with the 20% off it came out to $1,560.00 before tax. After tax, it came out to approximately $1,630.00 usd.

By purchasing this purse in Hawaii, the bag is almost $500.00 cheaper than in New York City.

Immediately when I walked into the boutique, many of the employees kindly greeted me. There were no other customers inside the store. Many beautiful pieces were carefully displayed. The sales associates were very kind and helpful. They brought out multiple styles out for me and playfully said, "I am giving you even more options to choose from, sorry!"

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Outside of the Luxury Row location

Outside of the Luxury Row location

At the Modern Honolulu Hotel

At the Modern Honolulu Hotel

The hardware looks silver in this photo due to the lighting. I purchased the gold hardware.

The hardware looks silver in this photo due to the lighting. I purchased the gold hardware.

After a week of looking around at Ala Moana Center's YSL boutique and reading numerous reviews on this other YSL bag, I decided to stop by the Luxury Row boutique again. This time, I was assisted by a different sales associate who was very sweet and helpful. She even joked around saying, "Welcome back! You were here a few days ago, no?"

This time, I wanted to check out the Envelope Bag in Mix Matelassé in the size medium. I was particularly interested in the Dark Beige color with gold hardware, which I saw when purchasing the Loulou bag. I checked out the bag at the Ala Moana Center boutique but noticed that there was a slight difference in color. The color at the Ala Moana Center seemed duller and less saturated. Meanwhile, the dark beige color at the Luxury Row location was a beautiful nude/pink. This color is not available for purchase online. It is available at certain boutiques.

The retail price for this Envelope Bag in Mix Matelassé is $2,190.00 in the United States boutiques. With tax it would come out to $2,385.00 if I had purchased it in New York City.

In Hawaii with the 20% off it came out to $1,752.00 before tax. After tax, it came out to approximately $1,831.00 usd.

By purchasing this purse in Hawaii, the bag is around $554.00 cheaper than in New York City.

Here is a photo of the bag unboxed. You can see that the chains are carefully wrapped in this photo. The exterior size of the bag is quite similar to the Chanel Classic Flap Bag in Medium. The interior of this bag is larger than the Chanel and can fit more items. Similar to the Loulou bag, this bag can be worn three ways: 1) on the shoulder 2) crossbody 3) double-chained on the shoulder. As of the moment, I look for this versatility in a bag. There is also a flap in the back, like the Chanel bag.

Here is a photo of the bag unboxed. You can see that the chains are carefully wrapped in this photo. The exterior size of the bag is quite similar to the Chanel Classic Flap Bag in Medium. The interior of this bag is larger than the Chanel and can fit more items. Similar to the Loulou bag, this bag can be worn three ways: 1) on the shoulder 2) crossbody 3) double-chained on the shoulder. As of the moment, I look for this versatility in a bag. There is also a flap in the back, like the Chanel bag.

This color is the most accurate of how the bag looks like in real life.

This color is the most accurate of how the bag looks like in real life.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my YSL purchase experience in Honolulu, Hawaii. If you are travelling to Hawaii and you are a fan of luxury goods, please do check out the price differences. Many tourists purchase luxury items that are on their wish list when they are in Hawaii because of the great savings. Please feel free to ask me any questions!


Love,

Emily


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Emily Thaw Emily Thaw

Louis Vuitton Lockme II BB

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This is the older version of the Louis Vuitton Lockme II, which can only be worn crossbody style or on the shoulder.

I purchased this bag on May 31, 2017.

It has been almost two years since I've had this purse and it is still in excellent condition. This was my first ever luxury handbag purchase and I will always remember the day I walked into the Louis Vuitton boutique in Waikiki.

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The purse itself is quite structured and stands upright. I love the silver chain and the LV logo with the twist closure.

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The leather strap is very durable and comfortable when you wear it crossbody or on the shoulder. The strap does not slide off the shoulder, which is usually an issue with some other bags. Since the strap is not a metal chain, it is also light.

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On the side of the bag, there are buttons that can shrink or expand the bag.

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The leather of the interior flap is still in great condition but I do notice that the leather is more flimsy for this part of the bag.

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There is an extra compartment in the front part of the bag where you can store your phone, card holder, credit cards, cash, and etc. I thought that this was a functional addition to the purse.

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Overall, this purse is extremely low-maintenance and the leather is very durable and sturdy. I personally adore this purse which can be worn crossbody and on the shoulder. I recommend the new version since it is more versatile: can be worn crossbody, on the shoulder, and chain-doubled.

I hope this wear and tear update/review was helpful for those who are interested in this purse.

Love,

Emily

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Emily Thaw Emily Thaw

Chanel Purchase Experience in Paris

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When I visited Paris for the first time in late May, my goals were to visit all of the tourist attraction spots that my boyfriend and I were interested in, try out Pierre Herme macarons, eat other French foods, and hopefully purchase Chanel Classic Stud Earrings in size small since I was not able to find them in New York boutiques.

After landing in Charles de Gaulle Airport, we got sim cards for our cell phones and ate breakfast. It was around 8:00 AM in the morning and not many places were open at the time. We decided to go to Trocadero to take photos with the Eiffel Tower in the background and by 9:00 AM, the area was already flooded with tourists. We both had our carry-on luggage with us and we were jetlagged but we still managed to take beautiful photos.

Our check-in time was scheduled for the afternoon so we still had time to stroll around the Trocadero area. We ate at an Italian place for lunch and shortly afterwards, we headed to Pont Alexandre III. By this time, we still had an hour or two to spare before we could check-in. While we were standing on the Pont Alexandre III bridge, I realized that the 51 Avenue Montaigne Chanel boutique was only three minutes away by car.

We entered the boutique with our luggage and the location was not too crowded, compared the 31 Rue Cambon location. I was assisted by a sales associate shortly after entering the boutique; the queue was not too long, which was great. My sales associate presented a lot of earrings for me to choose from and the pair that I was searching for was available at this boutique! After looking at the pair of earrings and deciding which size suited me better, I decided to purchase the small size. I did not want to take too long or browse around too much because I did not want to keep my boyfriend waiting for a long time.

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I walked out with the earrings that I have been looking for! The small bag is so adorable!



I asked my sales associate for the detaxe form so that I would be able to get a tax refund from my purchase at the airport. The sales associate will ask for your passport so that they can write your information down. To qualify for a tax refund, the purchase must be over €160 in one store - on the same day. The price on the tag includes tax already. I got around 11.6% back at the airport because I qualified for the detaxe form (purchase exceeded €160 in one store - on the same day).







In June, I booked tickets to go to Paris for the second time with my parents. We left for Paris in mid-July and arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport at 8 AM... again! I followed my airport routine which was to get our bags, get sim cards, and eat breakfast. As usual, the check-in time was scheduled for the afternoon so we had a lot of spare time. My mom and I wanted to stop by the 51 Avenue Montaigne Chanel boutique since I had such a great experience there. Once again, I walked into the Chanel boutique with my luggage and jetlagged appearance!


We had the Classic Flap Bag in medium with the gold hardware in mind because boutiques including New York, raised the price for the medium flap bag the previous winter. I also wanted to take a look at the Lambskin Espadrilles because my size sells out quickly at the boutiques located near me. Upon arrival, we were quickly assisted by a lovely sales associate. She said that I knew exactly what I wanted and she appreciated that.


After looking at the Classic Flap Bag, we finally decided to purchase it. After making the purchase, I asked if I could take a look at the available Lambskin Espadrilles and my sales associate showed me a variety of different colors and materials. On display, there were only the classic black Lambskin and the nude with the black cap. My sales associate took out nude-pink Lambskin Espadrilles and my jaw instantly dropped. I have heard that this color sold out everywhere and that it is no longer listed on the official website; it shocked me that it was available in my size as well!

I tried on the highly coveted size six nude-pink Lambskin Espadrilles and I instantly fell in love with them! The material was much softer than I had imagined and I knew that the quality is well worth the price tag. Although I was looking downwards at my feet to thoroughly decide if I wanted to purchase the shoes, I felt intense stares from at least ten people around me. Girls and guys were bombarding my sales associate with questions about the color of these espadrilles and the availability. She responded that this was the last pair in Paris. I decided on spot to purchase them because I knew that I would not even be able to purchase any color in New York because of my small shoe size, which sells out very quickly.


Once again, I asked my sales associate for the detaxe form, showed her my passport, and paid for the items. Since the purchases exceeded €800, a customs fee would be collected upon arrival in New York. Considering that the prices are a bit lower in Paris than in New York and refunds are given, it was still cheaper to pay for the items and the customs fee rather than to purchase them in New York since the tax is so high.

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Outside of the 51 Avenue Montaigne Chanel Boutique

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Classic Parisian photo featuring the balcony and the exquisite Chanel packaging!

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The Caviar Classic Flap Bag in Medium with Gold Hardware and Classic Stud Earrings in size small

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Caviar Classic Flap Bag in Medium with Gold Hardware

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Nude-pink Lambskin Espadrilles




Love,

Emily




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