Archive for May, 2008

Accessories and the City

Only two days to go…I’ve been watching the trailers with great anticipation, and I’m glad that we had a NYC premiere yesterday–it was about time for some more red carpet action! Metallics are still huge, so I was happy to see SJP in both silver and gold. I think she was actually channeling the Statue of Liberty, no? 

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind accessory that will match with either metallic, I highly recommend this Christian Dior Newspaper Pochette. Besides being something that your friends will talk about, it will also bridge the gap between silver and gold. (Plus, how Carrie is this bag? It represents her profession perfectly.)
Celebrate the movie by checking out Portero’s selections for each character. Whether you’re a Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte or Samantha, we’ve got you covered. 
PS–This week I’ll be blogging live from Las Vegas at the biggest jewelry show of the year, so stay tuned for the newest collections and best trends. 

Bag Ladies

If May 30 is circled in red on your calendar and you have pre-ordered popcorn and Twizzlers, I’m sure you’ll be one of the many people especially interested in today’s new homepage theme celebrating our favorite four ladies from NYC. I’ve been watching the recent red carpet movie premieres along with everyone else, and I’m happy to see that Kristin, Cynthia, Kim and Sarah Jessica aren’t skimping on the fashionable frocks for the red carpet. 
Above, in London, SJP goes all out in a pale green Alexander McQueen dress topped with an over-the-top hat bearing flowers, feathers and, who knows–there could even be some fruit mixed in there. Kim Cattrall (in Vivienne Westwood) and Kristin Davis went for red-hued dresses, while Cynthia Nixon scored my favorite of the day in a black pleated Calvin Klein gown (love!). 
So who were you most like? I was always a Carrie. Besides the obvious similarity of being a freelance writer here in Manhattan, I’m also petite and have a quirky sense of style. Let’s just say I’m not afraid of the newest trends. Luckily, this week Portero has decided to spotlight some of the accessories that Carrie Bradshaw herself would have loved, making shopping simple. I’m particularly fond of this Valentino snakeskin and floral beaded evening bag–a total stunner, and perfect to go with fun summer cocktail dresses. 
But if you’re feeling more Miranda, Charlotte or Samantha, have no fear–we’ve also scoped out the pieces that would have been scooped up by each of those ladies. Here are some of my favorites:
Miranda: Work doesn’t get more chic than this black Hermes Chamonix Kelly Depeches briefcase. Besides lasting forever, it makes both a serious and a fashionable statement. 
Charlotte: I am ridiculously enamored with this taupe Chanel Caviar Ligne Hobo bag. I love the neutral color (that isn’t brown or black) and the classic quilted pattern. 
Samantha: This Valentino zebra print pony hair tote is really the best of two worlds: Very va va va voom but also practical–it could fit all of your daily needs. I love the sexy red and gold accents, too. Samantha would definitely approve. 

Spotlight: FP Journe

Since it’s the last day of our Highly Collectible Watch Event, I thought I’d spend this time profiling the most little-known brands (to the general public) represented. FP Journe is François-Paul Journe, a designer born into a watchmaking family. Before creating his own eponymous brand, Journe worked as an apprentice for nearly two decades, in which time he restored historical pieces as well as created works on commission. 

His watches are meticulously hand-crafted, and are made in batches of usually less than 1,000 per year. The most important aspect of the company is found in the Latin words written under his name on the face: Invenit et Fecit, which means Invented and Made. Owning a FP Journe means supporting watchmakers that break from the traditional mold and create unique timepieces heralded for love, not money.
If you’d like to read a great interview with the watchmaker himself, click right here to hear a breakdown of Journe’s career and interests. You can also check out some of the gorgeous pocket watches and clocks that made up Journe’s early career. 
The watch up for auction on Portero (above) is Journee’s Octa in rose gold–one of the most highly sought after models. In fact, you can click right here to read a very thorough review of the timepiece by a wearer (scroll down a bit until you see an image of the Octa). 
Portrait via thepurists.com

Christie's "Important Watches"

It was another big event as Christie’s in Geneva made some amazing sales at their Important Watches auction last week, bringing in $25 million total. The absolute star of the show was Patek Philippe as the brand brought in the 13 of the top 15 bids. 

Here’s a little insight on the top lot of the day (above): A stainless steel model from 1949, the watch features a perpetual calendar with phases of the moon, amagnetic balance, and applied painted Arabic numerals. According to the backstory, the exceptional piece was owned by Briggs Cunningham II (1907-2003), a noted American sportsman known for his America’s Cup victory and motor racing. The price for this piece of history? A cool $3.95 million. 
This just goes to show you that owning a little bit of Swiss watch magic can really pay off down the line. That’s why I wholeheartedly suggest checking out our Highly Collectible Watch Event going on right now through Wednesday over at Portero. If you take a look at this perpetual calendar model, available right now for purchase, you’ll see that the Patek look remains consistent and classic even over the last 60 years. 
To see a full list of the Christie’s auction results, click right here. To shop Portero’s Highly Collectible Watch Event, click right here
Image courtesy Christie’s

The Real Deal


When you purchase a watch from Portero, you thankfully know that you’re getting something that’s 100% guaranteed authentic. Every single piece is verified through Tourneau and even comes with a one-year limited warranty. But, as I’m sure you’re aware, there’s a huge market for fakes out there, and some manufacturers have become so adept at recreating high-end timepieces that the differences are hardly noticeable, even to experts. 

It’s actually very of interesting to look at this vast market and find out just how experts spot the fakes from the real deal. There are entire books, like the Replica Watch Report, pictured above, that tackle this subject, and tons of blogs and websites track new models and how to decide on their authenticity. 
Just to give you an idea of how intricate the detailing on high-end watches is, here are some ways to spot fake Rolexes and Breitlings, two of the hottest fakes on the black market today. 
Five Ways to Identify a Real Rolex:
1. Rolex has never made a watch with rubber. If you see even a little bit, move on. 
2. Rolex has never made a watch with a see-through case, so if the back is clear and you can see the movement, it’s not real. 
3. Only men’s full-size Rolexes have the day and date feature. 
4. Gold plating is not an option. Look for stamps for either 14-karat or 18-karat gold. 
5. Every Rolex made after 2002 comes complete with a micro-etched crystal. Right below 6 o’clock, the brand’s logo is etched directly into the crystal. It’s not always easy to see with the naked eye, but it’s easily identified under magnification. 
Five Ways to Identify a Real Breitling:
1. If the model has an applied logo on the dial, it should be thick, substantial, and “filled-in”. Fake wing logos often have negative space between the ‘B’ and the wings. 
2. Breitlings never have calendar functions on the subdials–always chronograph functions. 
3. Check for laser engravings, not stamps, on the back of the case. This will give the print a much more refined look. 
4. There are manufacturer engravings on the underside of the links on Breitling’s metal watch bands. 
5. Fakes usually don’t have the signature anti-reflective coating on the crystal, which gives it a bluish tint. 
For an excellent visual comparison of two Breitling models (and to see just how good some of these fakes in fact are), click right here. And don’t forget to start shopping our Highly Collectible Watch event right here–there are some fantastic models that you won’t want to miss. All, without a doubt, totally real. 

Pretty in Platinum

I’m late to blogging today because I was busy perusing some beautiful platinum jewels this afternoon (tough life, I know). Today was Platinum Guild International‘s spring editor day, so I was lucky enough to get to stop by and view brand new pieces from a huge variety of fine jewelry designers. 
Even though platinum prices are high, there are still tons of artisans who wouldn’t dream of giving up the rare, naturally-white metal. Besides the standard bridal, many are creating “everyday” pieces (like small earrings, pendants and rings) set in platinum that are affordable and will truly never go out of style. But if you’re looking for bang for your buck, let me suggest New York-based designer Ashok Sancheti, who I just discovered at the event this afternoon. His gorgeous one-of-a-kind designs, posted here, are all about maximum glamour and drama. I was really taken with the earrings above that feature 26.22 carats of green tourmalines and over 5 carats of diamonds. 
The necklace above is also spectacular: The collar features platinum falling tendrils with pastel sapphires (68.05 carats), diamonds (14.62 carats) and 3 carats of aquamarine on the clasp. It’s a steep $150,000, but the entrance you would make wearing it makes the price tag seem worthwhile. 
Sorry for the small picture on this one, but I absolutely adored this amazing Art Deco inspired necklace containing a spectacular 17.37 carat aquamarine centerpiece. The necklace, which also features onyx, rubies and diamonds, is utterly unique. 
If you’re a fan of white metal and really understand platinum’s benefits (it’s hypoallergenic, won’t fade, and is far more rare than gold), I wouldn’t hesitate to invest in some pieces for your jewelry wardrobe. Click right here to see Portero’s great selection of beautiful platinum jewels. 
Images courtesy Platinum Guild International

Aurora Butterfly of Peace


Over the last few years, people have been getting more and more interested in colored diamonds. The intrigue actually shot up when Ben Affleck proposed to Jennifer Lopez in 2002 with a 6 carat pink diamond from Harry Winston, and now consumers are really starting to see the appeal of natural colored diamonds as accents or as centerpieces of major pieces of jewelry. I actually have a personal connection with colored diamonds–my boyfriend recently proposed with an amazing 2.5 carat oval champagne diamond set in rose gold. 

If you’re interested in learning more about colored diamonds, one organization to check out is NCDIA, the Natural Color Diamond Association. Or, if you just want to gaze at a beautiful collection, I highly recommend clicking over to Aurora Gems, headed by industry expert Alan Bronstein. Bronstein has put together two amazing collections of natural colored diamonds, one of which, the Aurora Butterfly of Peace, was recently displayed at the Smithsonian and is now moving to the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). 
This collection of 240 stones that took over 12 years to collect is put together in the shape of a butterfly. Comprised of 176 carats, the diamonds represent a huge range of colors, shapes and sizes. If you’d like to see it in person, the Butterfly will be displayed at the GIA in Carlsbad, California, through April 2010. The exhibit, called “Facets of GIA”, also features 30 other important gemstone pieces. 
If you’re interested in colored diamonds, here are some great Portero pieces to take a look at:
Gregg Ruth cognac diamond platinum three-stone ring. This gorgeous ring has a vintage quality but with a modern twist. I love the three ovals and the contrast of the deep cognac with the white diamonds. 
GIA certified fancy brown greenish-yellow diamond engagement ring. Bronstein himself once told me that the beauty of colored diamonds are truly in the eye of the beholder–one should always choose based on beauty rather than on stats. An unconventional bride would love this unique piece. 
Gregg Ruth platinum and gold diamond ring. This fashion ring uses yellow and white diamonds set in different colors of gold to create a striking balance. 
Image courtesy Aurora Gems. 

Friday Eye Candy: Anna Ruth Henriques

Since it’s a rainy Friday here in NYC, I thought I’d bring you something really beautiful that lifted my spirits on this dreary day. Jamaican designer Anna Ruth Henriques is an artist in every sense of the word–besides designs of the bejeweled variety, she is also a successful author, painter and videographer. These extremely nature-inspired pieces reflect her upbringing in the wilds of the Jamaican countryside, and I love their deft organic touch. All of the pieces here are in 18-karat gold with gemstone accents (and an emphasis on rock crystal). 

I’ll be meeting with Henriques in person at the upcoming Las Vegas jewelry shows, so I’ll be sure to bring you a complete rundown. To see more of her work, click right here to view her website. Enjoy!


Images via Studio PR and Anna Ruth Henriques

Buying Time

I’ve always had a thing for watches, and that’s why I’m so excited about Portero‘s just launched two week watch event that starts today. Not only does it feature some highly sought-after timepieces, but it assembles them all in one place where the simple act of pointing and clicking could score you a gorgeous, coveted Patek, Rolex or Jaeger. 

And while I’m all for shopping from the privacy of your home, sometimes it’s good to get out and really get up close and personal with the object of your affection. WatchTime magazine has put together a six-city tour led by noted watch journalist Jeff Kingston that will make you feel as though you attended Basel and SIHH–the largest watch shows in the world that just took place last month in Switzerland. This series was sold out in each stop last year, so it’s best to register now if you want to score a seat. 
Click right here to see the schedule and get all of the information you need to register. 
Option two: For history buffs, a just-opened exhibit is taking place in Pennsylvania at the National Watch and Clock Museum through the end of the year. “Time in Office” is an exhibition of Presidential timepieces created to celebrate this election year. Many presidential libraries, museums and historic sites have loaned pieces that have never been grouped together–apparently, there is even a collection of pocket watches owned by George Washington, Harry Truman and Rutherford B. Hayes. I’m a certified history nerd, so this sounds fascinating to me. 
Click right here to get more information on the exhibit and the National Watch and Clock Museum. 
And don’t forget to click right here to view Portero’s Highly Collectible Watch Event. 

At the Met!

If there is one event each year that I dream about attending, it’s the Costume Institute Gala held at the Met in NYC. Yes, the Oscars would be fun, but if you’re ravenous for fashion like I am, this is really the party where the most fabulous outfits are unveiled. As I said yesterday, this year’s theme was Superheroes, and while I see a bit of that in some of the outfits, what I really look for is a little risk and a lot of drama in the gowns. 

Since designers get into the studio right away to create similar dresses for lower prices, you might already be thinking about how to achieve the same look. With each of my favorite gowns, I’ve noted a perfect evening bag from Portero that will finish the outfit. 
Eva Longoria, above, brought risk and drama to the party and she wins my best dressed of the night. Her ruffled and tiered mauve Marchesa gown is not only stunning on its own, but it’s the perfect hue for Longoria’s dark features. With such a detailed confection, Longoria did the right thing and kept the accessories to a minimum, just showcasing a beautiful pair of vintage-looking diamond ear clips. Perfection! 
Without a doubt, a dress this special deserves an equally special bag. I would head straight for this Gucci Gold Enamel Dragonfly Minaudiere. The detailing is exquisite, and it feels so one-of-a-kind. 
Christina Ricci definitely gets my Avant Garde award. This party is really about innovation in fashion, and I’m bored to tears with all of the basic black gowns that showed up on the red carpet. Not only does her Givenchy creation evoke a Wonder Woman-esque feel, it also stands out in the crowd without feeling like a costume. This just screams high fashion, and it fits Ricci’s petite frame flawlessly. 
If you don’t opt for a red bag like Ricci, let me suggest this Judith Leiber gold, silver and crystal clutch. The crystal placement is unexpected and very bold, just like this gown. 
Kate Moss, in Stella McCartney, earns the Most Flattering award with this belted, scoop neck gown. For a supermodel known for creating the ‘heroin chic’ look, this dress makes Mosslook voluptuous and glamorous without too much effort. McCartney really created a shape here that would look good on most women and won’t easily go out of style. 
I would pair it with this Nancy Gonzales gold metallic Caiman crocodile clutch, which isn’t too structured or prissy and will pair well with lots of things in your closet. 
I’m bestowing the Dynamic Duo award upon Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen in Versace. How dapper does the New England Patriots’ QB look with that slicked back hair and classic tuxedo? And it’s not hard for someone with Gisele’s body to take risks, but I love how this gown feels at once kind of futuristic but also like a bit of a throwback. Somehow I can imagine them as characters in either an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel or something set 50 years from now. 
A dress with such bold lines needs something structured and geometric, and this Devi Kroell Wood & Crystal Clutch is a match. Very cutting-edge. 
Photos via JustJared.
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