Drop Till You Shop
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
TURIN, Italy -- Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir has been out shopping every day, shopping so much that the Louis Vuitton store here, which he affectionately calls "Louie" and which he's visited six or seven times since arriving two weeks ago, paid for his cab recently when he was leaving.
" 'Cause I'm nice," he explains.
Because he's nice, or because he drops a lot of money?
"Well, both," he says.
He is nice. And charming. And so thin he buys children's sizes when he shops at Lacoste. And loaded down with money from skating shows like "Champions on Ice." And great at getting discounts. And capable of spending $1,330 in two hours, which is what he did Monday on his daily shopping trip.
He knows the staff in the high-end stores of central Turin. He knows who's having sales and who moved around their merchandise in the few days since he was last in the store. It's a rush to watch him spend -- reckless and freeing, like shooting tequila in the morning.
"I like to shop," Johnny says.
So far, Weir, 21, who came in fifth in the men's figure skating competition for the U.S. team last week (but first in matters of beauty and brashness), has bought the following items here: five pairs of shoes, a pair of rabbit fur hand warmers, a Dolce & Gabbana hoodie he says reads "Sex trainer: Best to practice seven days a week," and a sable scarf that was supposed to be $715 but was instead $415 because he spoke French with the saleslady.
Ah, the fabulousness that is Johnny Weir! The fur collars! The special deals! His absolute favorite item of clothing is a Roberto Cavalli beaver-and-python coat. He is also proud that the "Louie" in Boston "pre-sold me a bag before it was allowed to be released," he says. "I'm the first person in the entire world to have this bag."
Before starting the day's shopping, he meets us for cappuccino at a cafe near the Olympic Village wearing the aforementioned rabbit hand warmers, a Fendi scarf, True Religion jeans, which are his favorite brand ("I like how my butt looks in them"), a black leather coat with some sort of fur collar, and recently purchased red John Galliano sneakers, "new for this season," which were supposed to be $416 but which he got for about $120 because the store's credit card machine was broken, and "I made a scene because I had to walk to an ATM."
He compliments our earrings and orders a biscuit, which is all -- aside from an orange -- that he will eat today, at least until 6 p.m.
Johnny Weir says he is very spiritual. It is true that he adores the celebrity rag Us Weekly and that he's currently reading a book by too-thin, too-blond starlet Nicole Richie. But he also has a deeper side. He says he's been obsessed with the Holocaust since he was little and considers himself "a little bit" Jewish, although he isn't, not technically. He says he's had his past lives read and found out that most recently he was a Jewish girl from Poland during World War II.