Iconic Handbags

Iconic handbags; how a handbag becomes iconic

There are certain handbags that are immediately recognizable, and coveted by many. Handbags that express status and signify good taste; but what makes these handbags so iconic? PORTERO’s Senior Director of Handbags and Accessories, Elizabeth Bernstein, explains.

How does a handbag become iconic?

An iconic handbag is a bag that anyone can recognize, even if they don’t know a lot about handbags in general. A handbag becomes iconic by being classic, chic, highly functional, of great quality, and timeless. It is a bag that speaks volumes. Created by one of the top luxury brands, an iconic bag has a classic, recognizable style, and can be worn any year, any season, and any occasion. It takes this special combination of attributes and a top tier luxury brand for a bag to be considered at an iconic level. Bags that are difficult to carry, open, close, etc. generally never become iconic because they are too impractical to be carried regularly. I would say over 15 years of stability would be the shortest duration before you can call a handbag iconic.

What are some of the most iconic handbags?

Some of the most iconic handbags today include the Chanel Classic Flap, the Hermès Birkin Bag, and the Hermès Kelly Bag. These are bags that have been wardrobe staples and recognized as iconic for more than 20 years.

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Bag Authentication; what you need to know to spot fake designer handbags

Elizabeth Bernstein

At PORTERO, we are dedicated to offering the finest in pre-owned luxury handbags, jewelry, watches, and accessories. We have our very own team of seasoned authenticity experts to help us bring you nothing but authentic, pre-owned luxury bags and accessories.

We sat down with our Senior Director of Handbags and Accessories, Elizabeth Bernstein, who happens to be one of the leading industry experts in authentication in the secondary marketplace for luxury handbags, to learn more about how she began her career and to get deeper insight into the authentication process.

When did you start authenticating bags?

I have always had a strong passion for luxury goods and accessories, since I was a child. I would say it came from my mother’s influence, as she was always dressed impeccably. I have been interested in authenticity and have been studying it independently since I was a teenager, but my expertise in understanding the counterfeit market grew when I was studying in Italy.

What is the counterfeit market like in Italy?

Italy has one of the most sophisticated counterfeit luxury marketplaces in the world, as they actually make bags and accessories with the same high quality materials stolen from the factories in cities outside of Florence. It is very hard to tell the difference between these fake and real items, as they are often sold in warehouses in Italy as authentic bags, and eventually circulate into the streets, shops and online.  Anyone who says a luxury bag, scarf or belt is “directly from the manufacturer” is generally selling counterfeit merchandise, since it has not been created by the brand itself.

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Bug out! Fashion Bug Jewelry

Fashion Bug Jewelry

While most people are not fans of spiders, beetles, caterpillars or roaches, fashion bug jewelry is making quite a statement this season. The fashion of adorning oneself with bugs can be traced back to the Egyptians who wore scarab beetles amulets into battle, as they believed they were a source of supernatural powers of protection against their enemies.

For many centuries, various cultures, like the Mayans, wore live insects and bugs as accessories. Today, the idea of wearing a live bedazzled cockroach may not appeal to many, but fortunately, here at PORTERO we have fine jewelry inspired by bugs, but made with much finer materials.

1. Vintage 14K gold and enamel beetle brooch $595. A great way to add pizzazz to an outfit is with a pin. This beetle brooch will definitely be a conversation starter, and you can always tell them about the Egyptians (see below).

2. Vintage 14K gold Egyptian scarab beetle pendant $495. For the Egyptians, the scarab beetles were a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. The Egyptian god, Khepri, was often depicted as a scarab beetle.

3. Vintage 18K gold and enamel Double Bumblebee  Cocktail Ring $1,595. The bumble bee is a lot less aggressive than the more common honey bee, and it is a symbol of joy, harmony, and the inspiration for Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Flight of the Bumblebee.

4. Vintage 14K gold and diamond bumblebee brooch $895. Spring is the perfect time of year to wear this bumblebee pin, as bees help pollinate the beautiful blooming flowers of the season.

5. Vintage 14K gold and enamel ladybug beetle bug charm bracelet $479. Another member of the beetle family, the lady bug brings love and abundance wherever she goes. This charm bracelet will no doubt have you smiling and feeling lucky every time you look at it.

An Interview with Creative Director Nick Marmol: His Love for Watches

Nick Marmol Creative Director of PORTERO

When did you first start admiring vintage watches?

I started admiring watches while visiting antique auctions in England at the age of seven. My father used to be an antiques dealer. I often stopped to check out the vitrines of jewelry and watches and was fascinated by pocket watches.

How has your knowledge of antiques influenced your passion for vintage watches?

I like design and how things are made. Same as with antiques, watches are made by skilled craftsmen.


What qualities should buyers look for when purchasing a vintage timepiece?

Buy something with a good quality movement. If it’s your first, or one of your first watches- an entry level watch, as we’d say- go for a vintage Omega. Or if you can spend a bit more, go for a nice vintage Rolex Oyster.  Try to get something with its original papers and box. And lastly, buy something you love.

What are some of the brands that hold their value over time? In other words, what watch makes for a great investment?

Rolex always seems to hold some value, as does Patek Philippe. Both brands are highly collectible.

Why should one buy a vintage watch?

My reasons for buying a vintage watch are that I love the history attached to it. I always wonder who wore it before me and what that watch has seen! A vintage watch can also make  you stand out from the crowd, as it adds just a little je ne sais quoi to a business suit or casual outfit.

Vintage Rolex Oyster

What is your most treasured watch in your collection?

I just love my 1966 Rolex Oyster, and I have all its original paperwork. It was purchased at the Raffles hotel in Singapore, and had one previous owner before me. Everything, including the metal strap, are original. You can check this by matching the serial numbers on the strap to the ones on the back of the case.

What is your favorite watch on PORTERO.com?

My favorite watch currently on PORTERO is a Vintage Rolex Cosmography Daytona, found here. I love that is a pretty rare Daytona model from 1962. I love the large face, and the whole style of it. You’d be a fool not to buy it!

vintage Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

Chanel Flowers

Flowers in Spring; the Coco Chanel Flower

Chanel lovers are familiar with the camellia, the Coco Chanel Flower; a motif we see over and over again in the maison’s design – an emblem of House Chanel. Camellias originate in eastern and southeast Asia and are most revered in that region. For instance, in Korea, they are a symbol of longevity and faithfulness, making them a popular choice at weddings. In the West, they have come to symbolize desire, passion, and refinement. The camellia has inspired many artists, like author Alexandre Dumas, who wrote La Dame aux Camélias, or The Lady of the Camellias, which in turn inspired Italian composer to create his famous opera, La Traviata.

Madame Chanel was also inspired by the flower’s beautiful simplicity and round symmetry. It is said the camellia was Coco Chanel’s favorite flower. Her love for it originated thanks to her lover, Boy Capel (the origin of the Coco Chanel flower).

A sophisticated addition to your spring wardrobe would be one of these Chanel flower brooches. You can pin them to your lapel to spruce up your outfit, or to your bag to give it some authentic Chanel flair.

Coco Chanel Flower

White Chanel Camellia Flower Brooch Pin $229. The perfect way to tell someone they’re cared for is with a white camellia.

Beige Chanel Camellia Flower Brooch Pin $185. Camellias come in various shade of white, from cotton white, to having a bit of a cream tint. This beige camellia, though not found in nature, will add a touch of sophistication to any outfit.

Vintage Velvet Chanel Camellia Flower Brooch Pin $180. Brown is one of the colors we find most in nature, and according to color psychology, is a color that grounds us and makes us feel safe. The color of Mother Earth, this Chanel Flower brooch makes for a great neutral accessory.

Black Velvet Chanel Camellia Flower Brooch Pin $229. Black was a highly favored color of Madame Chanel, after all, she’s responsible for inventing the Little Black Dress.

Black and Gray Chanel Camellia Flower Brooch Pin $189. A pin with a print, for those days you need a neutral, yet exciting addition to your look.

Green Chanel Camellia Flower Brooch Pin $170. Though there is a genus of camellia that’s green, the camellia sinensis. It produces a white flower, and its oil is used for tea.

Large Chanel Multicolor Large Vinyl Flower Brooch Pin $139. This large vinyl flower will give the most conservative of outfits a fun and touch.

Light Blue Large Chanel Camellia Flower Brooch Pin $160. A nice color for summer, this large pin will certainly be a conversation starter.

The best colors for spring 2015

Follow Portero.com’s board Pantone Spring 2015 Colors on Pinterest.

The best colors for Spring are “eclectic, ethereal…pale pastel and nature-like neutrals,”  according to Pantone, the authority of color for all stylish things. Here at Portero we have curated a beautiful Pinterest board, featuring all 16 colors for this Spring/Summer 2015 season. Wear them individually, or have fun mixing and matching one with the other.

“This season, cooler and softer color choices with subtle warm tones follow a minimalistic en plein air theme, taking a cue from nature.” Pantone.com


The Perfect Gifts for Mom

Give your mom something to smile about this Mother’s Day by getting her something she’ll always treasure. Here at PORTERO we have great options for that special woman you love so much. Louis Vuitton… Hermès… Classic timepieces… See them all in our in our complete Mother’s Day Gift guide.

Get your mom: Anything Louis Vuitton

A Louis Vuitton handbag is a classic staple every woman should own. It’s a piece that will never go out of style, and that can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on the occasion. The most classic shapes are the Speedy and the Neverfull. At PORTERO you can find all types of Louis Vuitton handbags in monogram and Damier patterns, as well as  different materials, including their classic canvas and Epi leather.

Louis Vuitton

Get your mom: Hermès Accessories

Hermès is the epitome of esteemed craftsmanship. This maison is widely known for leather goods and fine silk scarves. Each scarf is like wearing a piece of art around your neck.  Moms will also love a bracelet, a belt, or an enamel bangle.


Get your mom: Designer Jewelry

This Mother’s Day, surprise your mom with something shiny and classic. At Portero we have many choices to fit your needs – whether your mom loves vintage jewelry, the classics, (think Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels), or contemporary pieces.

Shine bright, like a diamond

Get your mom: A Timepiece

Thank your mom this Mother’s Day with the gift of time. The timepieces on PORTERO are classic collector pieces that are wonderful for both first-time watch buyers and watch enthusiasts with large collections.

Forever is composed of nows
Forever is composed of nows by portero featuring a diamond bracelet

Jewelry from Chanel to Liven up Your Wardrobe

When it’s time to put your money where your mouth is, you want to go to the brand that never goes out of fashion. Who wouldn’t want a little more Chanel on their arm?  In honor of the legendary French fashion designer, a roundup of our five favorite Coco Chanel quotes that are full of stylish wisdom and wit, while spotlighting some of the chicest Chanel jewelry.

Luxury Must be Comfortable, Otherwise it is Not Luxury
A Chanel charm bracelet is a fun way to make a statement. When you mix some yellow gold with a smattering of rhinestones, the overall look is modern and sleek, which goes with absolutely everything.

In Order to be Irreplaceable, You Must Always Be Different
Coupled with the fact that we’re obsessed with the Chanel C’s, it’s common knowledge that you can’t go wrong with a classic Chanel logo with enough rhinestones to go with your rock and roll mini or your vintage denim and heels.

I Don’t Do Fashion, I am Fashion
No matter what your personal earring style is: studs, drops, or dangling – these Chanel logo clip on earrings are major eye candy. We would wear these with a cropped tuxedo jacket, a flirty cocktail dress or a power suit.

A Girl Should be Two Things: Classy and Fabulous
How incredible is this Chanel choker? It is a little bit tough girl, a little bit chic, and versatile enough to enhance a maxi dress, biker jacket or an evening gown to highlight its unique hardware.

Fashion Fades, only Style Remains the Same
This vintage Chanel necklace can seriously step up your style, whether you’re wearing it with a structured jacket or with your Sunday-Brunch outfit. It’s a sartorial marriage between whimsical and chic.

Straw bags- the new IT bags for the summer?

Straw Bags

Sure, Hermès has a bag named after Jane Birkin, but for much of the 70′s her bag of choice was a modest straw bag; a wicker basket, to be more precise. Here at PORTERO we are adoring the 70′s chic feel have less humble options with the same boho feel. Inspired by our recent mention on phillymag.com, we’ve complied a collection of straw bags to give you that same Jane Birkin boho feel for summer.

1. Rare Chanel Basket Case Crossbody Bag $4,680 (as seen on Philadelphia Magazine). Picture this: a sunny summer day, a flowy dress, wedges, and good company. This is the perfect bag for the most carefree woman.

2. Valentino Natural Straw with Floral Trim Tote Bag $1,200. The straw material is the perfect casual accessory for your weekend outings, but the leather trim makes it formal enough for the office. Besides, this tote is big enough for you to bring your laptop and a couple of books to work. Be sure to make your coworkers jealous because 1. it’s Valentino, and 2. the price is a steal!

3. Gucci Natural Straw with Gold Leather Positano Scarf Tote Bag $745. Doesn’t matter if you live on a big city far from the beach, sporting this tote bag will make you feel like you’re on the Amalfi Coast.

4. Hermès Limited Edition Picnic Garden Party Straw and Leather Tote Bag $14,999. We’re sure you have seen many straw bags, but we know you haven’t seen a straw bag quite like this one. This bag is for the woman who lives in a constant summer state of mind; a woman who enjoys the outdoors, and the finer things in life. Whether a walk on the beach, a picnic in the park, or a stroll down a quaint street on the French Riviera; this Hermès Garden Party is the perfect companion.

5. Chanel Straw Canvas Laptop Bag $3,180. Want to bring a little bit of the beach to the office? Then you need a Chanel straw bag that fits your laptop and other office essentials. This is a rare find, that will definitely give you a sunny disposition at the office.

Do you think straw bags will be this summer’s “It”  bag, or will it be the bucket bag?

The Work Bag, Done Right

Whether you’re an assistant, a VP, or a VIP you’re going to need a statement bag for toting your work essentials. Finding a stylish accessory that is practical enough for your MacBook Air and work folders, but still has room for makeup essentials isn’t always easy.


1. Separate with Style
This Prada Saffiano bag boasts two compartments to keep your sunglasses separate from your spreadsheets. We love the classic Saffiano leather look. It’s not just chic, but highly functional with a removable strap and protective feet for wherever you’re sitting it down. We also love that it comes in such a bold hue perfect to take from the boardroom to the bar.

2. Don’t Stick to Black
Ideally you want summers off, but for those of us who work all year round, the black in winter vs. white in summer may mean that you need many sets of bags, unless you opt for something that can do double duty like this Hermès Birkin Etoupe which wouldn’t look out of place when you’re wining and dining clients on a ski slope or on a golf course. The Birkin doesn’t get more classic than this and it’s wide enough for a tablet or to ensure that an important contract doesn’t get wrinkled.

3. Stylish Shopper
This is a versatile good bag to go with anything. Whether you’re changing outfits at fashion week, jetting around the globe or just headed to the office, you can’t go wrong with a Louis Vuitton Sac Plat  big enough for all of your paperwork. As per all Louis Vuitton, its gorgeousness is in the small details. Plus, canvas is a safe bet if you’re headed to client meetings in any weather.

4. Crossbody and Carryall
This vintage Celine Luggage Tote  is a shining example of what Celine does best: a feminine silhouette with just enough edge, and of course, that identifiable winged side we’ve come to adore. Not only do we love the rolled top handles, but that it also has every element for work with open pockets and zippers. This bag is perfect when you’re negotiating a raise or just dividing the brunch bill.

5. Don’t be Afraid to Tote
Just because it’s a tote bag doesn’t mean it can’t be edgy. This textured leather is neutral enough to blend in but edgy enough for a play date. It’s even large enough for a short business trip. This Chanel tote bag can do triple duty while still keeping you chic.

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