Most of us are never going to get to live like a Kardashian.
But could I look like one – or even just feel a little like one – by shopping at the Kardashians' Dash, their new store in New York? Or was the store just another fantasy, a prop in a life that is all about appearances?
Fueled by visions of endless parties and nights up late giggling with the girls, I set off to find out.
Dash is located in the heart of SoHo, a neighborhood of narrow, cobblestone streets that was once the province of starving artists and a favorite for throngs of tourists.
I found it at the intersection of Spring and Greene (just down the street from Chanel). The frontage and entrance of the shop is small, with just a long thin sign flapping in the breeze with the store's name on it and two mirror covered mannequins in the window.
Walking into the store, I was greeted by a burly security guard instead of one of the three chirpy girls who were chatting behind the counter. Um, OK. But I roll with it.
I'm not sure what I expected to see -- rows of club-ready clothes in tropical colors or severe blacks? Lots of glittering jewelry? Disappointingly, the narrow entrance corridor was jam-packed with brown and rust tribal-inspired pieces and some Western coats and wraps. I was not feeling the L.A.-Miami vibe I had hoped for.
Still, the journey was young.
Walking further into the store (which opens up into a much larger space) it was what I didn't see that surprised me: No grouping of mannequins communicating a look, or front table stacked high with something the Kardashians are expecting to sell mountains of. (In all seriousness, the garment industry phrase is "stack 'em high, and let 'em fly.")
Flanking either side of the cashier's counter are shelves. To the left was a mountain of LA Lakers T-shirts in several variations and colors, the predominant one being pink, lest we forget for a moment that Khloe Kardashian's husband Lamar Odom plays for the team.
The shelves to the right house a treasure trove of Dash brand stuff -- T-shirts for $60, candles for $40, water for $10 a bottle and the book "Kardashian Konfidential," though there were no autographed copies. On the cash wrap itself was a box of Dash branded Silly Bandz, a relative deal for a mere $8.
Specific items carried included Saba sweaters for $282, a Smythe jacket for $546 which "we only carry up to a size 8," the salesgirl shared, Wildfox Couture sequin T-shirts for $140, a jacket from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's Elizabeth and James collection for $394, the most over-decorated Alice & Olivia jackets ever, one in sequins for $440 and a leather one for $1,248.
Of course, there was Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian for Beach Bunny swimwear and Kardashians for Bebe dresses, along with the other K-endorsed product, QuickTrim Fast Cleanse, which we guess makes sense if you can't quite squeeze yourself into the skinny black pants they're offering.
But here's the thing about Dash: The store doesn't feel much like a store. It feels like a set for a show. The inventory is sparse and the mood less than service-oriented. And there wasn't anything I wanted to buy and I had a hard time picturing others making a bee-line for the goods, too.
Certainly, there will be young women shopping here who want to look like a Kardashian and can afford either on their own or their parents' credit cards to buy the looks.
But where is the piece of Kardashian fame a teen could buy and wear for under $50? Where's the baseball cap, the affordable T-shirt. the inexpensive costume jewelry or bits of fast fashion? They seem to whip it up for the QVC K-Dash collection. Even Tiffany sells $100 silver baubles to its aspirational customers.
Case-in-point: In the 30 or so minutes I was in the store, the only other shoppers, two middle-aged women who seemed to be from out of town, looked around, debated the Dash product shelves, and left empty-handed.
"Are you sure there isn't something your daughter would like to have?" one asked the other.
"No," the other replied, with a disappointed look on her face. "Let's go."
I called a rep for the show to find out how it is doing, and so far, not a comment. There have been claims published online that this shop was moving $50,000 to $100,000 worth of merchandise in the pre-holiday weekends, coincidently the same time period the E! series was filming.
The whole thing rings hollow to us, like a faux facade. And any retailer in town would tell you February is the time to mark down winter merchandise to move it out, making way for spring goods that will arrive any day. This store had not a sale sticker in sight, nor did its salesgirl geniuses (who were chosen by a casting agent) have any idea when sales would happen or when spring was arriving.
What a disappointing day as a Kardashian.