Prada: A low-brow tastes the upper crust |

Prada: A low-brow tastes the upper crust

Steve Benson
Reporter Steve Benson wanted to know how he'd be received at Prada if he dressed like a scuzzball. The sales people weren't exactly kind, but who can blame them? Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.

Do some Aspen stores favor a certain clientele? I sought to answer that question by paying a little visit to Prada, a high-end, designer apparel store on Galena Street.

In order to test the Prada help, I had to appear different than the average customer. I wore an old sweat-stained fishing hat (as usual), a hole-filled Grateful Dead T-shirt and black fleece pants covered in my yellow lab’s hair. I topped it off with a good week’s worth of facial hair, and avoided showering for about two days.I looked just a little more disheveled than usual.On my way over to Prada, I swung by The Cantina and downed a couple beers, thinking that a hint of hops and barley on my breath might add to the experiment. When I walked into the store, the two elegantly dressed women working downstairs had their hands full with a group of customers. I caught a couple of sharp glances and raised eyebrows, but otherwise felt pretty comfortable. After a few minutes, the customers left. Once the door closed, I turned to ask the ladies for help – only to discover they had vanished.Hmmm.

I eventually found them in a little side room and asked if there were any men’s clothes.”The 50-percent-off rack is in the back,” replied one.Ha!I strolled to the back, thumbed through the rack for a minute, then re-emerged and asked if there were any other men’s clothes. One of the ladies was pretty nice this time, and directed me upstairs.

As I walked to the upper level, I could hear a man and woman speaking Italian. Another woman was standing next to them, obviously a store employee. When she saw me her eyes grew rounder than golf balls. I could practically hear her prayer: “Please go away, please go away.” I perused a rack of jackets and shirts for about two minutes, then realized I wasn’t going to get any help. I finally blurted out, “Are there any price tags on these clothes?” – since I couldn’t find any. The woman then walked over to me, grabbed the leather jacket I was holding, reached down inside the zipper and pulled out a price tag. She held it up to my face. Then, as if I couldn’t read, or maybe just to make sure I got the message, she blurted out, “$1,095.” In other words, “something you can’t afford.”On my way back to work I swung into the new Quiksilver store, where one of the cute female employees immediately approached me and asked, “Can I help you find anything?”Steve Benson’s e-mail address is

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