Thursday, September 25, 2008
If you're going to spend your hard-earned money on jewelry, it's always nice to know that you are supporting companies that are giving back in some way. Take Tiffany & Co., who just today announced that it's giving grants to three urban parks programs in Chicago, Houston and Miami. As part of the company's Tiffany & Co. Foundation, these grants are aiming to preserve the natural heritage that sits inside large urban communities.
The largest sum--$1.25 million--went to the Parkways Foundation in Chicago to create the Celebration Garden in Grant Park (pictured above). Scheduled to open late summer 2009, the former garden will be transformed into a formal garden and event space.
Other projects include the Hermann Park Conservancy in Houston ($1 million) and the Vizcayans, on behalf of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami ($500,000). Tiffany has already partnered with New York City's Battery Conservancy and Friends of the High Line as well.
To learn more about the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, click right here.
To see our extensive selection of Tiffany & Co. jewelry, watches and accessories, click right here.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
It's nice to know that some investments are a sure bet. With financial markets reeling, it's hard to know where to put your money these days. While luxury watches might not seem as obvious as stocks or bonds, they are pieces of machinery that usually see appreciation, and regardless, they can be passed down to future generations for years to come. Let's take a look at how certain brands sell at auction and why Portero's timepieces may just be a smart purchase in these uncertain times.
Pictured above we have the swoon-worthy Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control 1000 Hours Memovox 18k Rose Gold Automatic 141.2.97 Watch. Currently up for auction at Portero, similar styles have done very well at auction. When Christie's offered up a c.2000 Jaeger-LeCoultre, "Master Control-1000 Hours Geographie", in 2007, it sold for $3,000 over the high estimate.
We should also definitely look at Patek Philippe, the top seller at most fine timepiece auctions. In the May 2008 Christie's Important Watches sale in Geneva, nine of the top 10 lots were Pateks. Click right here to read all about exactly what watches sold and why.
Even without going through every brand Portero offers, serious buyers know why timepieces are such collectors items: They are usually limited in number, made of precious metals and materials, and are handcrafted by master watchmakers. To see all of our exceptional watches, click on the links below.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Let's take a minute to think about what makes certain jewelry choices right and wrong. There were certainly a lot of asymmetrical and strapless looks on the Emmy red carpet this past Sunday, and most women made the logical choice and went with showstopping earrings rather than distracting necklaces. This can't be shown better than with Christina Applegate, above, in a Reem Acra gown and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry. She wisely went for a wow factor near her face, and went subtle with the rest of her accessories.
Mariska Hargitay also chose a one-shoulder gown, hers in bright yellow by Carolina Herrera. Her Fred Leighton earrings and bracelet were just the right pops of sparkle to offset the bold color choice.
Unfortunately, not everyone was quite so smart in accessorizing. Jennifer Love Hewitt picked a beautiful Carolina Herrera gown with a busy pattern, and that should have been her clue to back off on everything else. Instead she went with a fussy hairdo and a Y-necklace that broke up her lovely neckline.
Similarly, Elizabeth Mitchell should have known that her metallic gown with a sweetheart neckline provided all the flash she needed. By adding the multi-strand beaded necklace, the beautiful design on the dress just looks overdone.
Necklaces certainly can work with strapless dresses (See America Ferrera yesterday), but it's tricky. To avoid a fashion misstep, the easiest thing to do is to play it safe by choosing attention-grabbing earrings. Here are some of my favorites:
SeidenGang 18k Yellow Gold Pale Citrine Diamond Teardrop Earrings
Gurhan 24k Yellow Gold Blue Chalcedony Limited Edition Candy Splash Drop Earrings
Lauren K 18k White Gold Diamond Green Sapphire Drop Earrings
Images via people.com
Monday, September 22, 2008
So, I sat through the Emmys last night in the name of fashion. Although I was thrilled to see two of my favorite shows, Mad Men and 30 Rock, win in their respective categories, I was really there to report on the red carpet. I'm going to start today with a big jewelry trend: blackened metal. America Ferrera pulled it off beautifully, above, with a suite from Fred Leighton that included a gorgeous 19th-century flower necklace.
I adored Brooke Sheilds' choice of dress color, and she also chose Fred Leighton to accessorize. She wore a 19th Century diamond bow brooch on her waistline (a favorite trick of mine), and went bold with old-mine cut diamond leaf and vine earrings.
Heidi Klum also went bold, but decided to use a modern design. Her enormous blackened platinum and diamond and lavender jade butterfly earrings by Lorraine Schwartz certainly made a red carpet statement.
Interestingly, blackened metal can take on two entirely different looks: very antique or edgy and modern. Click right here to see a selection of jewels on Portero that incorporate blackened metal.
I am personally taken with these little Chopard Happy Diamond emerald stud earrings--I love how the black metal makes the bright green stand out so much. Certainly a modern twist on a pair of everyday studs.
Images courtesy the Diamond Information Center
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I'm really thrilled to announce that Portero is relaunching the Art section of the site, complete with a huge selection of new pieces. It's really no surprise I'm such a fan of art: My father was an art major, and several of his paintings hang in my apartment. My father-in-law is also a talented artist (one of his many hobbies), and his work graces nearly every room of their house in Los Angeles.
Just like I adore accessories, I need art in my life for the same reason. It dresses up a room and really brings it to life. Everyone has their unique preferences for artwork. I, personally, love the work of Mel Ramos (above). His pin-up pop art uses saturated colors and has a fantastic sense of humor, which probably reflects a bit about my quirky style.
Surprisingly, it can be easy to gift loved ones artwork. As an example, if I was buying for my fiance, I would probably go for this signed Alan Herr photograph of Jimi Hendrix in concert. He's a musician and a photographer, so this live action shot of the star on stage would be a perfect pick.
If I was purchasing for my parents, I would head straight to this signed Charles Levier watercolor painting. The artwork already hanging in their house often uses a similar palette of rich, bright colors like turquoises and oranges. They also often gravitate towards images of people, but not in a overly realistic style.
Click right here to browse our newly robust Art category and see if you can't just pick out what your friends and family would love to hang in their homes.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
No one loves a good deal more than yours truly, so I had to make sure to post our fabulous Portero 500 going from now until Tuesday, September 30. This special event gives you the opportunity to bid on beautiful pieces of signed jewelry for a mere fraction of their retail cost.
There's a couple of pieces that I'm particularly enamored with, including a pair of sweet little stud earrings from Katy Briscoe. The floral motif isn't too cutesy, and I love the unexpected pairing of yellow gold with white diamonds.
This ring by Van Cleef & Arpels is another surprise. I am a huge fan of cabochon-cut stones, so this gorgeous amethyst is right up my alley. This piece is perfect for a fan of clean lines and understated style.
Click right here to browse and bid on the Portero 500.
Monday, September 15, 2008
One of my favorite trends found in this past New York Fashion Week had to be the beautiful gray, yellow and white palette used by many designers. Gray is my absolute must-have for this fall: it really is the new black. And mixed with pale yellows, it feels just right and very fresh for next spring. Above is an ensemble by Monique Lhuillier, my personal #1 bridal designer, who is slowly branching out into more and more daywear. I love the fitted pencil skirt with the balloon-sleeved blouse and subtle pattern.
Above is another perfect little day dress from Doo.Ri in a similar colorway. I love the print: I could wear it or cover my couch with it, either way, I want it in my life. The same color combo can also work for evening, as evidenced by this showstopping number (below) by Project Runway's Christian Siriano. In his first solo show, the young designer really clarified his signature look, and I love the restrained drama of this gown.
There's no better way to accessorize a pretty dress than with a pair of chic earrings. Here are my three picks for yellow done right:
Elizabeth Showers 18-karat yellow gold and lemon quartz earrings. I love the round stones set off by a subtle heart motif in the drop.
Gabriella De La Vega 18-karat yellow gold citrine teardrop earrings. The little briolettes will move and sparkle in the light.
SeidenGang 18-karat yellow gold smoky topaz drop earrings. Simple and sweet with a lovely leaf design.
Images via style.com and Brad Walsh
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
So far during this New York Fashion Week, the designers have been really concentrating on the clothes. Most runways haven't featured too much yet in the way of handbags, but the ones who have made it obvious that the more unique, the better. These aren't your run-of-the-mill clutches or plain leather satchels, but distinct purses with a sense of style that show us a little about the designer and his/her newest collection.
Take Marc by Marc Jacobs, above, which is offering this seemingly simple little canvas bag with leather straps. What makes it special? The cartoon of a girl in heart-shaped sunglasses and suspenders will be the dead giveaway of the brand.
Below, a very ornate handbag from Matthew Williamson really stood out for its gorgeous flower embroidery mixed with leather and chain details. This combination of tough and feminine really works for me, and it's in direct relation to the designer's showing at this Fashion Week.
Even socialite-turned-designer Tory Burch got into the act by transforming her beautiful ikat and batik fabrics into eye-catching totes. While I wouldn't personally wear the shirt and the bag together, I do appreciate her eye for color and pattern and the bag's distinct aesthetic.
To celebrate the beauty of standout bags, our homepage leads you to a great selection of one-of-a-kind and unique limited edition carryalls. These special styles are rare and hard to find, so you'll not only make a great investment, but will also stand out on the street.
Click right here to shop our selection of unique and one-of-a-kind bags up for auction.
Images via Style.com
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Fashion Week officially started here in NYC last Friday, so it's about time that I got to posting a little bit about the most anticipated shows. Marc Jacobs unleashed a bold presentation last night that had Style.com calling it "Mary Poppins goes to Dubai. The King and I meets The Postman Always Rings Twice. Yves Saint Laurent's Ballets Russes collection redux."
If you're not sure exactly what that means, the pictures above and below should give you a better idea. Layers upon layers of pattern and texture were shown, and random old school touches like flattened hats, aprons and shoulder-padded blouses somehow seemed totally au courant.
I was particularly taken with the generous addition of accessories, especially oversized stacking bangle bracelets, chunky colored necklaces and brooches. Their aesthetic was somewhat trippy: like regular jewels hopped up on enhancers. I don't think we've seen this much bold mix-and-match jewelry since the '80s, and since this is Marc Jacobs, be sure that the look will take hold.
Here are a few key words to shop if you're feeling inspired by his collection:
Click right here to search Portero's selection of cuff and bangle bracelets. I think the enamel pieces by SOHO are particularly well-suited to matching this look.
This Marni Runway blue, brown, black & grey resin & horn necklace is another good bet, as is this Lalique Onyx Resin Frosted Clear Crystal Woman Relief Brooch. The resin feels a bit '80s, but also very now.
Click here to search all Marc Jacobs on Portero.
Images via style.com
Monday, September 8, 2008
Portero's own Stephanie Phair (above) appeared on Good Day New York last week to talk about a huge issue: counterfeiting in the luxury industry. When reporter Lisa Murphy wanted to find an online retailer that customers can trust, she chose Portero. Check out the video footage right here to see why Portero is the place to go for authentic goods online.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I spent Labor Day weekend in Seattle, and then took a road trip to Montana. The plane ride back to New York City was the perfect time to get ready for fashion week by reading through a bundle of magazines. I particularly kept my eye on the biggest and boldest jewelry trends, and there is no doubt in my mind that statement necklaces are the thing for the upcoming season. I grabbed some examples from this month's Bazaar, including this futuristic Arts & Crafts version by Lanvin (above). Combining ribbon, lucite and crystal, I love how the mix-and-match aesthetic still feels cohesive.
Another bold necklace was found at Balenciaga by Nicola Ghesquiere (above). I like how the white, natural pearls are juxtaposed with the harsh makeup and dark fabric. Below, Dries Van Noten basically stacked armfuls of bangles on a long string, resulting in a three-dimensional necklace full of color and life.
Our spotlight this week is "Jewelry takes a Front Row"--an homage to fashion week and an ode to the upcoming season. This is the perfect year to supplement your wardrobe with eye-catching accessories, so here's a great place to get started:
Images via harpersbazaar.com
For me, it's a marriage made in heaven: Fashion and the movies. This new documentary by Vanity Fair scribe Matt Tyrnauer follows couturier Valentino Garavini (above, center) and his business partner/life partner Giancarlo Giammetti (above, left) in their final two years at the helm of Valentino. Just premiering at the Venice Film Festival this past weekend, the feature-length film captures the time leading up to the men's retirement last January and offers a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the Valentino Couture show in Paris and the lavish brand retrospective in Rome.
Valentino's legendary temper is captured, as are tender moments between the longtime couple. The filmmakers were allowed extraordinary and unprecedented access to the subjects, and viewers are treated to an insiders view of how high fashion really runs. According to Tyrnauer: "Valentino was one of the first designers to make himself the inspirational figure at the center of the story he was telling. He is a born dreamer and the last true couturier, who let us in on his creative process and also let us in on the life he built around him to sustain this process. He lives as lavishly as his clients and sets the standard for the industry."
To browse Portero's selection of Valentino accessories, click right here.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
It's rare that a possible First Lady stirs up much attention around her fashion choices. Usually, these women want to project an image of security, sensibility and classic conservatism. While I think Michelle Obama achieves all of these qualities, I'm impressed at her ability to look fashion-forward and unique at the same time. Most intriguing? Her use of the brooch in ways that are more Carrie Bradshaw than Laura Bush.
Eschewing the pantsuits so favored by Hillary Clinton and embracing form-fitting dresses and even sleeveless (!) tops, Michelle brings a little bit of Breakfast at Tiffanys to the campaign trail. As the election draws nearer, I've been admiring the risks that she takes and the way she's embracing her inner fashionista more now than ever before.
Proof certainly lies in her ensemble for the Democratic National Convention, a fitted turquoise sheath dress by Chicago-based designer Maria Pinto. The addition of a large brooch (her own) placed boldly at the 'v' in her decolletage shows that she's not afraid to take a risk. Below, she wears a black-and-white patterned dress on The View earlier this year, and places another brooch high on her shoulder, a la Sex and the City.
If you want to get back in on the brooch bandwagon, look no further than Portero's stock. Here are three of my favorite options:
Stephen Dweck Rock Crystal and Topaz brooch. The grays and taupes of this piece are neutral enough to last a lifetime.
Gregg Ruth diamond and pearl brooch. Although the design is classic, it can be used in unusual ways (try in your hair or on a handbag).
Kwiat diamond Solaris pin. This minimalist, geometric design still provides serious sparkle.