CULTURE

In search of the world’s best-ever buys

Ever wish you could travel the world in search of great – mega-brand – buys at the best possible prices? A new globetrotting guide to factory outlets and discount centers in Europe and the United States offers a comprehensive shopping travelogue accompanied by a series of short stories. Justine Frangoulis-Argyris’s «Stis Agores tou Kosmou» (Markets of the World), recently published in Greek by Ellinika Grammata, offers a plethora of purchasing choice. Whether a shop-till-you-drop fashionista or simply in search of practical information, the book features detailed accounts of where to go, how to get there and what to look for. The author suggests outlets in (or near, in most cases) the cities of Paris, Milan, London, Berlin, New York, Brussels, Rome, Florence, Las Vegas, Orlando, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Madrid and Lugano, among others. What you will come across here are much-desired items by such fashion powerhouses as Armani, Prada, Gucci, Chanel, Yves Saint-Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, Versace and Burberry to name but a few. Sometimes discounts can reach 50 to 70 percent of the original retail price and cover apparel, accessories, footwear and some jewelry – who could refuse a visit to the Bulgari Factory Outlet in the Eternal City, for instance? Some places seem impossible to resist: Such is the case of the Woodbury Common Factory Outlets, just 45 minutes away from New York City. Featuring no fewer than 220 brands, you can get there by car, Gray Line buses, limo service or by helicopter. Short stories Besides what seems like great potential for never-ending shopping therapy, however, Frangoulis-Argyris also offers readers some reading and reflection. The author starts off by offering her own take on fashion and its place in today’s society, coupled with a history of how the outlets actually developed and grew. Every short story comes with the underlying theme of Greeks traveling – or in one case, dreaming of traveling – abroad. A professional seamstress finds herself visiting the Parisian house of Chanel; a man traveling to New York for the first time comes across the metropolis’s abundant consumerism as well as an intriguing, lonely kite; a woman recovering from breast cancer buys expensive lingerie at La Perla. The various stories leave the reader with a sense of nostalgia; sometimes the joys of consumption fall below our expectations, while other times the desire to buy is not what it seems. Or perhaps in some cases, all that the long journey of life really needs is a nice shopping break. About the author Born in Lefkada in 1959, Frangoulis-Argyris graduated from the Political Science Department of the Athens Law School before going into journalism. Besides writing for daily newspapers and a variety of magazines, Frangoulis-Argyris has collaborated with various radio stations, including Skai, Flash and Athens 9.84, as well as Greek state television. In 1989, Frangoulis-Argyris moved to Montreal, where she began working as a correspondent for the Athens News Agency, several Greek publications as well as local radio. The author’s first venture into publishing was penning «The Lonely Path of Integrity,» a biography of former Archbishop Spyridon of America, published by Exantas publishers in 2001. She then went on to write a novel, «Petaei, Petaei to Synefo,» which was published by Psychogios Editions in 2003. The idea for the author’s third book came about when her sister, Constantina, became fatally ill. For years the two siblings had wandered around the globe together paying visits to the numerous outlets. Frangoulis-Argyris’s «Markets of the World,» pays tribute to happy times full of exciting, shopping experiences.