Jul 13, 2006

Who is J. Peterman?

I'm on the catalog list to end all catalog lists, but it's worth it even despite the hideous carpet catalogs that I can't help thumbing through (there really are catalogs for carpet pieces.) It's worth it because of a little gem of insanity that arrived recently; the J. Peterman catalog.

It cannot be described, but must be experienced, so I will paste some gems below:

My First Black Amex

One of my favorite spots in Hong Kong is the Captain’s Bar at the Mandarin Hotel. Leather, wood paneling, subdued lights…could be an English men’s club.
Perfect decompression chamber.
On my last visit, I was having a nightcap a few stools down from a well-known director who was reading a script. At closing time, he pulled out a kind of credit card I’d never actually seen before. Not green, or gold, or platinum, no; it was black.
The rumors were true, then. There really was a black Amex card so exclusive (less than 10,000 issued worldwide) that most people had never even heard of its existence.
The gent noticed my curiosity; he looked over his wire-rimmed glasses and gave me a weary smile.
“Believe me,” he said, “you don’t ask for these things; they just decide to send them to you.”
Price: $148

A Summer Dress

Left Paris on the Concorde, shot over the channel, shot over Ireland, over Greenland, over Nova Scotia, turned left, amazed at all the leather seats, tiny windows, the snooty exhilarating speed of it all...
There below me now is Cape Cod. Three hours and change. How can this be?
Cape Cod: a beautiful, aging woman, facial bones increasingly prominent, skin colorless, almost approaching transparency.
But what I can't see and hear and taste and touch from 11 miles up are...the smoking seaweed, the slow collapsing waves, coconut oil on summer skin, the young women in their summer dresses.
And the mischief in their eyes.
Price: $78

Private Lives of the Stars

“Clark, I wish you’d let Bill Powell show you how to mix a decent martini.”
“Yes, dear.”
“Aren’t you done yet with that copy of Variety? I’d like to see it before the next edition is out.”
“Listen, you galoot. Bring those ears over here and explain to me again why they call you ‘The King’.”
The glamorous existence conferred by wearing the dressing gown you see here. In the boudoir, lolling around the living room, at cocktail time, intimate dinner parties. All the while, delicious touch of pure silk satin flowing over 90 percent of your body.
Price: $198

And there are bajillions of these. All drawings, all accompanied by similarly-styled story-snippets. The prices, as you may have noticed, are none-too-cheap, either. Who buys this stuff? And more importantly, who sells it?

J. Peterman, I want to shake your hand. You're a crazy person, but you rock.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

J. Peterman is also a minor Seinfeldcharacter. I didn't know the catalog was real - I want to be on the mailing list!