Monday, June 30, 2008

The Chanel Homestretch...

Right now we're highlighting the wide range of luxe materials used to create the selection of Chanel bags featured in our special event. I love the variety: Croc, Patent leather, Metallics, Lizard, vinyl, Caviar leather...all put together in a deliberately slow manufacturing process that naturally limits production and supply. I think it's particularly noteworthy that Chanel now makes its classic bag, the 2.55 (pictured above), in nearly all of these materials. This single flap handbag, introduced in February 1955, features the famous quilted pattern and chain strap. 

I did a little digging and found some further backstory about the iconic 2.55, and where some of the details in the bag originated. Here's the scoop:

--The lining's original brown color was taken from the uniform color worn at the convent where Coco Chanel was raised. 
--The first generation 2.55 features a small flap on the outside back of the bag. This was a hiding place for her extra cash. 
--On the inside of the front flap, a zippered compartment exists. Apparently, this was created to stash letters from Chanel's lover at the time. 
--The now iconic shoulder strap was another detail taken from the convent orphanage where the designer grew up. Legend has it that the keychains carried by the caretakers were made up of the same type of chains on the bags. 

I think it's even more exciting to own things that have a special provenance. To view our selection of bags by material, click on each of these groupings:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Weekend Warriors

To me, traveling in style really means having a great bag when you go through security. It doesn't need to be screaming logos, but should convey a sense of quality and sophistication that means business. If you're looking for just such a carryall, let me direct you to the Chanel Limited Edition Black Patent Leather Grande Sac Weekend. This style is particularly special because the company doesn't often release large-sized bags. Debuting during the Spring/Summer season of 1990 (one of the brand's most famous collections), Claudia Schiffer was carried the bag everywhere. (Here she is above modeling for Chanel.) It became the supermodels tote of choice in the 1990s, and it hasn't been produced since. 

We have this highly sought-after bag in four great materials: Black Patent Leather, Black Caviar Leather, Black Lambskin Leather and Chocolate Lambskin Leather. 

Want another option: The oversized flap bags fit an aspiring fashionista to a "t". Highly collectible because of very limited runs, your first option is the Jumbo Flap Bag: Only released about once every five years, it is sure to sell out immediately. Rarer still is the Weekender Flap collection, produced for roughly only two years in the mid-1990s and not available since. Due to the materials needed and the craftsmanship required to manufacture these large carryalls, they became too expensive to produce and were discontinued. 

If you're lucky enough to get your hands on one of these collectors items, make sure you know how to keep them in top condition. If at all possible, limit sun exposure and avoid contact with moisture and cosmetics. Also, because the leathers and colors are delicate, light colored bags should not be worn close to dark colored leathers, and vice versa. When not in use, store in the protective dust bag. 

To get a better sense of our huge Chanel collection, click on these smaller categories for simple shopping:

Watches to Watch

Another day, another major watch auction. This time it was Antiquorum's New York summer sale of Important Collectors' Wristwatches, Pocket Watches and Clocks held just this past June 18. Readers of this site may find it interesting that the sale had a record 484 internet bidders from around the world--more proof that buying expensive items online is now the way of the world. 

The top sale once again went to Patek Philippe with its pink gold minute repeater (pictured) featuring perpetual calendar, moon phases, retrograde date and leap year display) for $640,800. Other brands that did well were F.P. Journe, whose platinum Tourbillion Souverain a Remontoir d'Egalite avec Seconde Morte sold for $101,900, and a sketonized perpetual calendar from Vacheron Constantin that fetched $66,000. 

As a watch buyer, it's always good to keep your eye on what sells well at auction, so you have an idea of the return on your investment. 

Image via Antiquorum

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


If you're a design dork like me, you'll probably already have noticed the trend toward black walls in the home. It was widely praised on the last episode of HGTV's Design Star, was linked to today on Apartmenttherapy (see images above and below) and has been showing up in some of my favorite magazines. 

Living in small apartments in New York City for the past 10 years, it's always seemed that I want to keep my walls light and bright to open up the space. But as I'm seeing more and more dark spaces done so beautifully, I'm starting to understand how this look can bring a certain amount of drama and warmth to a room as well. 

If you're thinking of trying to incorporate this trend into your own house, I would recommend some beautiful metallic accessories to offset the deep color. (You really need a little shimmer with such a dark palette.) Here are some suggestions:

Tiffany & Co. Sterling Silver Candlestick Set. The chic octagonal design will go with nearly any decor style. 

Lalique Crystal painted Roger lidded box. The perfect place to stash your keys in an entryway or hold odds and ends on a coffee table. 

Louis Comfort Tiffany iridescent Goblets. The opalescent glass will bring the perfect gold shimmer to a black background. 

Images via

Monday, June 23, 2008

Spotlight on: Judith Leiber

There's something about a night on the town that makes you want to sparkle from head to toe. Women attempt this in many ways: Shimmering jewelry, bronzing powder and metallic accessories are your standard fare, but if you really want to make an impact, head straight to Judith Leiber. Known for her crystal-embellished creations, Leiber is synonymous with glitzy minaudieres that pack quite a bit of personality. To wit: Her brand new Cupcake bag, above, retails for around $4,200 and revels quite a bit about the wearer's sense of humor.
Want more witty accessories in this designer's cache? Provence (above, $5,995) turns crystals into a beautifully wrapped bunch of asparagus, while Pineapple (below, $5,494) mimics the real thing in shades of golds and greens. 
If you're looking for sophistication without quite so much whimsy, Leiber also offers a wide array of bags in exotic skins, leathers, satins and beads. Portero is lucky to carry a generous selection of Judith Leiber in a rainbow of colors and styles. I'm particularly taken with this Full bead gold crystal version that feels like a night at the disco, and this Vintage Oversized Mauve Crocodile clutch that screams luxe without being quite so "look at me."

To see our full collection, click right here

Images via Judith Leiber. 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Private Event Photos!

The champagne was flowing and the handbags were selling as we celebrated our private Chanel event last night. Above, hosts Melanie Charlton, Emilia Fanjul Pfeiffer, Annie Churchill, Lauren Goodman and Sabine Heller at the exclusive auction preview featuring vintage Chanel handbags hosted at Antony Todd in New York City Wednesday, June 18, 2008.  

Antony Todd, host Amy Dwek and Portero CEO Michael Sheldon. 

A guest and host Allison Sarofim. 

Portero's Stephanie Phair with Allison Aston. 

Portero is a trusted independent auction site for authenticated pristine and pre-owned luxury goods. Chanel is not affiliated with Portero or with this event. 

Coco Crazy!

I find Chanel bags to be the ultimate in sophistication and utterly chic, so when I found out that our staff was aiming to pull off the event of the season, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the merchandise list. Close to 200 authentic Chanel bags at sweet deals, some limited edition and nearly impossible to find? Now that's a reason to shop online.

Chanel is somewhat of a different breed from other brands--While celebrities usually vie to get their hands on the newest models or anointed "it" bags of the season, with Chanel, they often rely on the black quilted flap bag to get from A to B.  Why? Honestly, the classic design will never go out of style, and it signals a sort of understated elegance that no other handbag can touch. The flap bags are truly quintessential Chanel, and we have a selection that feature the signature double chain strap, interlocking CC closure and diamond-stitched, quilted leather. Did you know the design of this bag hasn't changed in 30 years?

But if you're looking for something slightly out of the ordinary that still has all the Chanel hallmarks, look no further than this Limited Edition Gold Metallic Lambskin Leather Mother & Daughter Twinny bag.  The featured product in the 1995 holiday season ad campaign, it was only available in the global Chanel boutiques to VIP customers, and was never on the shelf.  The New York store received only 10 of these bags, and ours (in pristine condition!) could be the best example in existence. The bags are sold clipped together, but apart, you have day and night perfectly covered.

If you don't want to get ahead of yourself, let me explain what you'll be seeing in the days to come. Our first week will feature groupings of Patent Leather, Metallics, Unique/One-of-a-kind and Vintage bags that will be hard to resist. Even if you partake, I'm sure you'll also be looking forward to week two, spotlighting weekend and travel bags. Who isn't looking for the perfect carryall for chic weekends out of town this summer?

Even if you aren't considered a VIP at the global Chanel stores, you are definitely one for the next two weeks at Portero. Click here to get straight to the handbags. Happy shopping!

Portero is a trusted independent auction site for authenticated pristine & pre-owned luxury goods. Chanel is not affiliates with Portero or with this event.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Champagne and Chanel!

If you can imagine heaven on earth, it looked quite a bit like a very special event organized by Portero tonight in New York City. Let me set the scene: Held at Antony Todd Home, one of Manhattan's premiere destinations for chic furniture and accessories, the event featured a curated collection of over 100 vintage Chanel bags. From classic flap bags to needlepoint totes to rare weekend carryalls, the bags were the center of attention as guests placed online bids for the style of their dreams.

The displays, curated by Todd himself, featured many limited edition and extremely hard-to-find pieces. In addition to Portero, a select group of nine women played host to the cocktail party. This esteemed list included Annie Churchill, Melanie Charlton-Fascitelli, Emilia Fanjul-Pfeifler, Lauren Goodman, Nicole Hanley, Sabine Heller, Erin Lazard, Monica Mitro and Allison Sarofim. 

Although many bags were sold quickly, the large selection means that Portero members will have the same VIP access, all starting tomorrow when our Chanel spectacular shifts from a private party to a public event. Don't hesitate if you see the bag of your dreams--a group this special won't last long. Stay tuned to the blog for party pictures straight from the event!

Portero is a trusted independent auction site for authenticated pristine and pre-owned luxury goods. Chanel is not affiliated with Portero or with this event. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Blinded by the White

So it's summer, which means it's really no surprise that celebrities are wearing white in full force around town. Above, at the Paris premiere for new movie Hancock, Charlize Theron strikes a pose in a deep v-cut, full skirt dress with simple bow detail on the waist. Below, we have Heidi Klum in NYC heading to the 67th Annual Peabody Awards to pick up a trophy for Project Runway. Her form-fitting dress is a little bit 'nurse of the future', but I in fact love the severe lines and silhouette of her ensemble.

What's nice is that with these two outfits, we get to see different ways to accessorize this very stark white. Charlize chose to go with colorful, patterned details like leopard print platforms with a green jewel and a bright green clutch, also with jeweled accents. Heidi, on the other hand, kept with the rigidity of the dress and chose black geometric platforms and a rectangular black clutch. Both went simple on jewelry and went with simple drop earrings that recall the color of the bag. 

Want to steal either look? Here's just one example of the way to do it with Portero merchandise.


Devi Kroell Teal Jeweled clutch. This bright color is the perfect foil for bright white, and the jewels will give you the same look. 

Lauren K aquamarine and diamond drop earrings. That bit of blue in both the earring and clutch really makes the outfit pop. 


Lambertson Truex black leather clutch. The lines of this ultra modern bag really mimic the geometric feel of Heidi's dress. 

Laura Munder 18-karat blackened yellow gold and diamond earrings. The Deco feel of these drops really work with the overall look, and the blackened 18-karat yellow gold reinforces the absence of color. 

Images via JustJared

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wild for Ikat

If I could point to one pattern that is really making the most impact right now across the worlds of fashion and design, I think I'd have to pick Ikat. According to Wikipedia, Ikat is a style of weaving that uses a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye on the threads before they are woven to create a pattern or design. Ikat is actually the name for both the process and the cloth itself, and either way, Kristen Bell wears it well in the image above. (She's in a Jenni Kayne dress at the premiere of Forgetting Sarah Marshall.)

The look is also huge in interior design right now, and the tribal-influence is showing up as upholstery (above in a fabric from Thibaut) and in home accessories (below in a pillow from Madeline Weinrib Atelier). If you like this look for your own abode, I would head straight to Weinrib or to John Robshaw Textiles for some gorgeous colors and patterns. 

Luckily, there's a lot of ways to accessorize this look in  your own wardrobe. Because Ikat is associated with ancient cultures worldwide, it's a good way to bring a little bit of flavor to your wardrobe as well as some summer color to your outfits. If you're playing up the ethnic angle, here's a few key pieces that would look perfect with Ikat:

Chloe Medallion Aubrey Bracelet Bag. Black napa leather, silver studs and hanging gold medallions recall the stacked and dripping jewels of African cultures. 

Mary Norton Moo Roo Feather evening bag. Feathers are huge right now, and I love the ornate shell detailing. 

18-karat yellow gold 4-row Bamboo bracelet. Urban yet organic. Just like Ikat right now.

Images (top to bottom) via, Thibaut, and Madeline Weinrib Atelier  

Thursday, June 12, 2008

On the Fringe

Let me be quite clear: There is a way to do fringe and a way to completely ruin it. Do I have to tell you what camp poor Mischa Barton is in? Lately, her fashion choices have left me puzzled--not only are they falling on the wrong side of quirky, but they also manage to be totally unflattering. 

The light at the end of this very dark tunnel? The fringe itself. There's something about summer and a bit of fringe that feels breezy, slightly hippie and sexy. I think it must be all of the motion, and the way that all of those strands catch in the wind. 

Luckily, Portero has a few great options for fabulous fringe, and they certainly won't leave you looking like you somehow took a wrong turn off of the reservation. 

Miu Miu brown suede fringe messenger bag. Now this is how Mischa should have interpreted brown suede. I love the long strap that can be worn on the shoulder or around the body. 

Gucci limited edition striped Indy bag. Bamboo tassels with black leather fringe give this bag a one-of-a-kind look. 

Balenciaga cream leather Motorcycle First handbag. If you're not ready to fully take the plunge, get your mini-fringe on with this classic design in the perfect summer shade. 

Image via JustJared

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Perfect Timing

Although Father's Day is just around the corner, there's luckily still time to find the right gift for the man in your life. Last week I highlighted a few celebrities that may remind you of your guy (or of yourself--Dads, feel free to splurge on yourself!), but this week, let's try a little something different--TV shows. If you or a guy you know likes the types of shows I'm pointing out today, we definitely have a watch that will fit his personality perfectly. 

The image above is from one of my favorite shows, AMC's Mad Men. The storyline is simple enough: The series, set in 1960,  follows the exploits of a cutthroat Madison Avenue advertising firm led by Don Draper (Jon Hamm, pictured above). The period sets and costumes are impeccable, and if the sleek, understated vibe mid-century design is his thing, he'll certainly be into our selection of timepieces for the Vintage Watch Lover

I personally find this next show totally addictive, and wish I had an undiscovered treasure laying around so I could test the experts on the PBS staple Antiques Roadshow. There's just something about finding a buried gem somewhere and learning that you have a piece of history on your hands that never gets old. We created a special section just for the Watch Connoisseur in your life who probably appreciates the premise of this show. 

Lastly, you might have a guy on your hands who never tires of the classics. The old black-and-white TV Land sitcoms are standard fare in your household, not reality TV. If you want to gift a guy who really appreciates the tried and true rather than the latest and the greatest, head straight to our Classicist section for something that will never go out of style. 

One last tip: Portero is launching Dealer Starting Prices on Jewelry today, so definitely head over to Portero Specials to check out a selection of luxury jewelry at their absolute lowest bids. You could score this pair of David Yurman 18-karat yellow gold champagne citrine and diamond earrings at more than 50% off the retail value. 

Monday, June 9, 2008

RIP Yves Saint Laurent

I would be remiss in not posting about the passing of one of the world's fashion legends, Mr. Yves Saint Laurent. A prodigy at an incredibly young age (he took over the house of Dior at age 21 in 1958), YSL was an innovator who also never lost touch with the needs of the modern woman. 

From Le Smoking (his iconic jacket) to safari looks to color-block Mondrian patterns on simple shift silhouettes, YSL's designs were calculated but stunningly easy to wear. Maybe even more important to women: His introduction of pants into the wardrobes of working women in the late 1960s. 

He was also visionary in working with women who would have a lasting impact on global style. His partnership with Catherine Deneuve (one of the world's most beautiful women) was magical. If you haven't seen one of my favorite movies, Belle de Jour, starring Ms. Deneuve dressed solely in YSL creations, you are sorely missing out. 

YSL passed away on June 1 in his home in Paris after a lengthy illness, and he will be deeply missed. Luckily, you can click right here to see a fantastic selection of Yves Saint Laurent handbags, where his chic legacy lives on. I'll leave you with YSL's enduring legacy: "Fashions fade, style is eternal."

Image via

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hermes 1, eBay 0

I don't know if you follow the world of corporate lawsuits, but luxury giant Hermes just won a big victory against eBay this morning. The brand, along with Louis Vuitton and Dior Couture, are seeking damages for the sale of counterfeit goods. While this first victory is relatively small ($32,497), Vuitton and Dior are seeking more than $30 million each in their individual suits.

"Every luxury brand has an obligation to protect consumers against counterfeits of its merchandise, and consumers should make every effort to ensure that the branded luxury goods they purchase online or through any other distribution channel are legitimate," says Milton Pedraza of the Luxury Institute. "Portero's authentication model is a necessity in order to protect both consumers and manufacturers from being victimized by counterfeit merchandise."

As you know, everything on Portero is 100% authentic, so you never have to worry about purchasing a fake. In fact, you can click right here to see a wide variety of Hermes items, from coveted Birkins to gorgeous gloves and scarves.

And if you already own or want to own a prized Hermes scarf, I found a fun little how-to at Chic Street. They have posted the complete set of instructions called "Playtime with your Scarf" that comes with each purchase. From how to make an ascot to how to turn your scarf into a halter top, it's all right here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Time for Dad

With Father's Day just over two weeks away, there's no time like the present to find a present for the Dad in your life. Luckily, Portero has you covered with an incredible selection of timepieces guaranteed to make shopping easy, no matter what kind of father you are buying for. While the homepage is highlighting seven, let's take a look at four types of men you may be looking for this gift-giving holiday.

First up, the Sporty Dad. I immediately conjured up David Beckham (above). So maybe your Dad doesn't have the figure for an underwear ad, but he could probably appreciate the beauty of a Bell & Ross BR01-92 Carbon/Steel watch . If your man won't spend Sundays far from ESPN or hits the gym regularly, these may be the perfect timepieces for him. Also great for a guy who likes to dress up and dress down based on the occasion.

Some dads, like mine, are all about the gadgets. That's why we've highlighted a "For the Gadget Guru" section complete with a selection that allows for the tech-geek in your life. My Dad always had the newest camcorder, the most up-to-date TV and the best stereo system available, and he would absolutely love this Tag Heuer Kirium Chronograph. These complicated watches feature beautiful chronographs or dual time zones perfect for the James Bond (above) in your family.

When picturing the epitome of a well-dressed, perfectly coiffed man, I couldn't help but think of Sean Combs (AKA Diddy, Puffy, etc.) Here is a guy that shows up dressed to the nines for every occasion, and who certainly isn't afraid of a bit of flair in his ensembles. Whether it's a bold square face, like in this Franck Muller Cortez Conquistador, or another detail that is slightly out-of-the-box, this Dad is not afraid to embrace his inner fashionista. Got a guy like this? Check out our Dapper Dad section for the goods.

Lastly, I just had to sneak a picture of George Clooney onto this post. Sigh. If you're after Elegant and Refined, look no further than this grouping of watches that would look perfect on the ultimate movie star's wrist. You could never go wrong with this 18-karat yellow gold Patek Philippe Ellipse, or with Clooney.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Vegas, Part 2

Hopefully you enjoyed yesterday's post--there's nothing I enjoy more than hearing about designers that I haven't yet been exposed to. In that same vein, I'm bringing you four more today. Some are new on the scene, while others have quite a bit of longevity. Either way, they are all certainly worthy of a little attention. 

Let's begin with veteran designer Paula Crevoshay (above), whose work really blends the arts of goldsmithing, gemology and sculpture. She has an eye for very vivid colored gems, including stunners like the bi-colored tourmaline ring above. I especially love her work with opals and intricately carved stones. Her pieces have been featured at museums like the Carnegie and the Smithsonian, and are destined to be classics. 

Next up we have rising star Amali Jewelry, just launched in 2007 by Sara Freedenfeld after catching the jewelry bug while backpacking in South America. She learned her technique along the way: In Chile, she learned to combine natural elements with knotted strings, and in Venezuela, she was taught how to link and mold metal. Her designs, such as the ruby rondelle and 18-karat gold earrings above, exude a chic 1970s vibe while still feeling very modern.
While the cuff above isn't brand new, I still feel like I must bring a little Yossi Harari into your life. This Israeli-born, Istanbul-based designer manages to merge ancient techniques and sensibilities into incredibly fashion-forward jewelry. Hallmarks of his line include 24-karat yellow gold, rose-cut and black diamonds, and oxidized metals with a black tone. 

Lastly, we have Yael Sonia, another rising star. After her graduation from Parsons School of Design in 1998, she began building a name for herself as an innovative designer using color for both reasons of beauty and function. She loves both interactive jewelry and pieces based on movement in children's toys, like her new Kite line above. She splits her time between Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Manhattan. 

Monday, June 2, 2008

Live from Vegas!

So I first must apologize for the light posting last week--I've been in Las Vegas for the year's biggest U.S. jewelry shows, and I've been working hard to find the latest and greatest designers. Today is my last day here at the Couture and JCK shows, and I've gotten to see some beautiful jewels and some fantastic new creations. As a Monday treat, I thought I'd bring you some pieces I love from a few designers that you may not be familiar with. 

First, above, is Colorado-based Todd Reed. Designing under his own name since 1992, Reed's signature work marries raw diamonds and recycled gold to create earthy, subtle beauty. Everything is hand-fabricated, and really has that one-of-a-kind feel. I just love the cuff above--it really shows you how gorgeous diamonds are in their raw state, and how many shades of colors are available. 

Next up is Deborah Pagani, a New York-based fashion maven with a flair for the dramatic. Many of her pieces, just like the oversized earrings above, play with graphics and geometrics in a way that is both smart and sophisticated. According to the designer herself, her collection is inspired by a modern-day Cleopatra--the busy woman (with exceptional style) who needs to easily transition from day to night. 

I love Shamballa Jewels because the concept plays beautifully with the contradictions between fine jewelry and accessories. The company's signature bracelets (above), dreamed up by designer Mads Kornerup, are made of braided macrame and 18-karat gold balls dressed up with precious stones. These bracelets, which are easily adjustable, look fantastic on men or women. 

Lastly, we have the oddly-named but beautifully designed Lucifer Vir Honestus based out of Milan. Created by Luna Francesca Scamuzzi, the line is named after the first medieval Milan jeweler. The real draw for me, though, is her amazing eye for unusual colored gemstones and sculptural gold. This rose gold ring, above, has an organic texture and an oval blue tourmaline featuring natural inclusions. 

Stay tuned for more designs from the front lines!