LaRedoute is an enormous French mail-order catalog and website business.
I've never ordered from LaRedoute, but friends who have ordered, say, sheets or picnic baskets have regaled me with tales of arbitrary and capricious customer service, and there's enough of that going around in New York that I don't need to look elsewhere. I've been familiar with the catalog for years though, ever since a desperate and creative French teacher used it in vocabulary lessons (saving the bracketing of desperate and creative for another post, possibly for when I'm feeling desperate).
LaRedoute doesn't have a dedicated cult following, clothing sales are mainly outside of Paris, and the most popular sizes sold are in a range of US 12 to 18, although you can easily find smaller sizes. Larger sizes, too. And guess what? They also have a Designer/Collection department.
The LaRedoute web site recently featured this tee,
which was removed after much ridicule and indignation, reportedly not because of the puzzling exhortation "Keep the move," but because in the white background motif lurks another direction: "Enjoy holydays." I was reminded of a J.Crew "holidays" tee which directed those who beheld it "Voir la joie," or "to see the joy," or possibly "See the joy," but in the tone of a user's manual or old-fashioned recipe.
I figured if there was one howler in marketing/production chez LaRedoute, there might be others, so I scrolled through the site.
I've ranted about the awkward use of almost-French on tees like this and and also on not-quite-Italian on tees. None of these wearable bloopers are cheap, so it's not even a question of supporting the ravenous family of the tee-shirt guy on the corner or in the stadium parking lot.
I guess Bushfire has something to do with College Academy W?
And of course most of us, while traveling, have seen tees bearing indecipherable
exhortations or memories in not-English, that are sold to tourists, preferably when stoned.
When xoxo sent me to LaRedoute, I thought it was a good opportunity to see whether the trend to surrealism in grammar, usage and vocabulary had reached the solid, respectable citizens of France. Reader, it has.
All of the pics in this post were copied from the LaRedoute website.
Including this one, which is not only surrealistic
but anachronistic and politically incorrect.
Oh, the canvas shopping bag at the beginning of this post is also LaRedoute.
You're wondering, what is French shopping? French shopping is to New York shopping as rugby is to football (soccer). It's like war games gone bad, the enemy is - unquestionably -the store's personnel.
By way of example, here's a conversation that took place about a year ago between me and a sales associate in Printemps:
Moi: Good morning, Madame, I am so sorry to disturb you, but would you be kind enough to tell me if this coat is available in a size 38 or 40? (US 6 or 8 or 10, depending on manufacturer)
SA, looking away from me into infinity: We don't carry large sizes.
Moi: Ah, non? So then where do you shop?heh, heh, heh. Yes, it's a rough game, and you take your chances when you feed me lines.