Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Swimwear Saga

Warning: I am about to irritate you with my whimpering.

While in Aruba a couple of weekends ago, tragedy struck my beloved purple Eres bikini: the color bleached right out of it. I'd bought it towards the end of the summer so I'd only been able to wear it a couple of times. I hadn't even washed it yet. After a day of frolicking in sand and surf, I came back to my hotel to shower, and while removing it, noticed that the color seemed much duller. I hoped it was just the bathroom lighting, but as it dried, I realized in horror that the lovely, saturated purple had indeed turned a weak, faint lavender. A few unaffected areas of the inside and on the straps where I'd tied it around my neck confirmed the color change.

It was mind-boggling, as I'd brought other suits on the same vacay (including a cheap $7 H&M bikini), none of which were affected. Because of its impeccable fit and gorgeous color, it was my favorite suit to date.  I'm not in the habit of spending $400 on teeny bikinis, so naturally, I was heartbroken. I've long considered Eres suits to be the gold standard in swimwear, and would often cut out photos from resort editorials as a teenager, aspiring to someday own one. I considered it an investment when I finally bought one last summer and thus, was extra careful in handling it, rinsing only in cool water and tucking it away in its plastic case once dry, far from the dangers of accidental snags. I was so happy with it that I really thought I'd only buy Eres suits going forward.

Once back stateside, I rushed the ruined suit to the Eres store after work as if it were the ER, hoping the salesgirls could tell me how to revive or replace it. I swore I'd never let it touch water again if that's what it took to maintain the color (ridiculous, I know, but it really was that lovely, and in my opinion, worth it even if just for sunbathing). The salesgirls gasped when I showed them and one commented that she'd "never seen anything like it." I wanted to shout, "Neither have I! Please do something! Save my (very expensive) baby!" I couldn't believe that the H&M suit, which wasn't expected to survive beyond a few wears, outlasted the Eres, as one would expect a certain level of quality from purveyors of high-end luxury swimwear. Was it a lesson, a punishment for my extravagant indulgence? I'm actually embarrassed that I'm so upset about it, but I can't help it. It's the principle that bothers me. I'm really hoping it was just a one-time fluke and not indicative of the overall quality of their products.

Anyway, the salesgirl told me they'd send it to customer service (in France) for the head of customer service to decide its fate. Even if they can reimburse me or give me store credit, I can't get the same suit again, as it was part of the Spring/Summer collection. I was a bit irked that a store manager couldn't take the situation into his/her own hands and settle it, as it obviously happened through no fault of the customer, but I suppose that's their policy. The head of customer service was away on holiday, so I've been waiting in nail-biting agony for a response. I'll keep you posted.

Photo credit: www.eres.fr


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  2. Although I don't wear bikinis myself, I can heavily sympathize your situation. I absolutely dread when my clothes fade, especially when you invest decent money in them.
    You can try everything changing your soap, washing inside out, cold water, warm water and even not washing these items at all and they still seem to fade......
    I feel for you, and hope for the best. I'm glad they're doing something about it, rather than not doing anything at all.
    I love your blog, keep it up.

  3. I completely forgot to update! Valentin, the assistant store manager at the Wooster Street boutique, is amazing. Despite the fact that the customer service department in based at their HQ in France, and that the head of the department was on vacation, a replacement was in back in my closet within a week. Other high-end retailers should take note -- this is what luxury should look like, and a positive experience like this will ensure that I'm a repeat customer. In fact, I just bought a new yellow bikini from them this weekend. The salespeople were just as helpful as ever. Though I'm not splurging much these days, on the rare occasions that I do, I like to go to the places that have been good to me in the past. I've never been to the Madison Avenue location, but I highly recommend this one.