Six years ago I walked into a shop in Vienna and began a love affair with a fashion label. I had had them before. In 8th grade, I started a relationship with Calvin Klein that quickly got serious. Nothing, but nothing, was going to come between me and my Calvins. Not Jordache. Not Gloria Vanderbilt. Not Sassoon. Not my mom. “Aren’t you a bit young to be so exclusive?” she had asked. “Don’t you want to see what else is out there?” No. No, I did not. But by 11th grade and to my mother’s relief, I became restless and moved on.
In my 20s, I discovered Costume Nationale. Their shoes looked like what I imagined cool artists would wear when out with their interesting friends in cities like Antwerp or Copenhagen. For three seasons I was loyal. But then their designs went from a worn vintage style to a sleek modern one, so I took the two pairs of boots and two summer slides, mementos from our time, and moved on.
Then there was the fall of Autumn Cashmere, 1999. When they debuted their light, super-long cardigans, I became a collector. Blue, gray, black, white, red—for four years, I didn’t go anywhere without one.
Of course, there have been dalliances, too. My favorite handbag, for example—a washed leather satchel—is the result of a chance, quick encounter with Prada in Munich. My favorite wedge boots? Pink Walter Steigers I spotted while running along a side street on my way to someplace else. I saw them, I bought them, I’ve loved them ever since.
Yet, none of these relationships, however intense and meaningful, can compare with the one I have had with Golden Goose.
It was in a shop in Vienna where I first discovered them. Between Miu Miu and Demeulemeester, there they were: a pair of boots made from worn, caramel leather with cowboy boot details. As soon as I saw them, I felt they were mine. Never mind that they cost as much as my rent. Never mind that I was a teacher, a profession that all but binds you to an unwritten oath of life-long frugality and sensible footwear. Never mind that at all. I was going to have them. And I had a credit card.
They say you can’t develop deep, truly meaningful bonds with things. That things aren’t where real fulfillment lies. Well, six years and three more pairs of Golden Goose boots later, my love is still as strong, my ardor just as pronounced, as on that very first day so long ago. I don’t know many marriages that can say the same.