Archive for March, 2008

Trendspotter: Red Handbags

March 13, 2008

With spring on its way, I’m definitely into all things color. And there’s no better way to inject a little boost to your wardrobe than with a colorful handbag. Both Mena Suvari (left) and Paris Hilton (right) were spotted yesterday in Los Angeles carrying great red bags. I actually really like the purple and red combo chosen by Suvari, and Hilton’s red white and blue All-American look also feels fresh for the upcoming season. 
Portero has a great selection of red bags in many different styles. Whether you’re looking for something dressy or slightly sporty, we have you covered. To embrace spring, go for a purse in a brighter, lipstick shade of red rather than a crimson or wine. Here’s my top picks for red bags for all tastes:
Louis Vuitton monogram Vernis leather Houston shoulder bag. The classic logo in a bright shade will never go out of style, and the tote shape makes it easy for when you are on the go. 
Goyard Mustique Red Leather and Canvas tote. I think that the signature Goyard chevron pattern is impossibly chic–can’t you just imagine carrying this on an international flight to somewhere fabulous?
Judith Leiber red lizard embroidered clutch. This little gem is totally sexy and perfect for a night out. 
Images via JustJared.

Book Club: Cult Watches

March 12, 2008

I just came across this great title by noted timepiece journalist Michael Balfour, and wanted to share it with you. Cult Watches: The World’s Enduring Classics is a compendium of the top 30 most popular styles worldwide. There’s a real range here–from the high-end Cartier Tank and Rolex Cosmograph Daytona to Swatches and Mickey Mouse Ingersoll brands. 

I like this book because it not only provides great images, but also excellent historical context. While particularly interesting to collectors, it also appeals to watch lovers without a great deal of technical know-how. Many (including myself) find watches to be pieces of art both mechanically and aesthetically, so it’s always fun to know the backstory behind captivating styles. 
If you’re in the market for a watch that stands the test of time, you’ll be particularly pleased with a new feature launching on Portero today: Dealer Starting Prices. For a little more explanation, here’s a note straight from Portero’s CEO:
An open letter from Michael Sheldon, Founder and CEO of Portero.com:

I am very pleased that we have reached a milestone in customer activity, which allows Portero to deliver very exciting news to our membership. Over the next couple of days, most of our watch auction starting bids will be adjusted down to reflect dealer prices. We believe that the online marketplace should dictate the final value of the watch merchandise on Portero.com, through our members bidding on the site. 

What this means to you is that you will get your dream watch at the right price. Like any auction, if there are several bidders who want the same piece that you do, the price will go up. However, if you are the only bidder, you get an unbelievable deal for a purchase you can be proud of. 

When you win a watch at Portero you will receive a fully authenticated and certified timepiece that is elegant and refined, and as always, you will also receive top notch customer service every step of the way. It is our goal to be your online auction source for world-class luxury watch brands. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to bid and win the watch you have always wanted. With a growing selection of premium brands such as Cartier, Rolex, Breitling, TAG Heuer, IWC and more, I hope that you will be delighted with the selection. Portero.com is the smarter way to own luxury. 

And finally, thank you for being a member and making Portero your preferred place to shop for luxury. 

Sincerely, 

Michael Sheldon
Click right here to check out the watches listed in Dealer Starting Prices. For example, this Must de Cartier Tank Watch is not only a great deal, but it made the list in Cult Watches
Image via Amazon.com

Monday Eye Candy

March 7, 2008

As promised, I wanted to bring you some additional designs from the About J show I just attended in Milan. I was happy to actually see some companies that I wasn’t familiar with (New jewelry! Fun!), and there were some old favorites in attendance that brought pieces that were literally just completed in the days and hours leading up to the show. There are definitely some trends that seem to be building up momentum in 2008, as referenced by the jewels shown here. Let’s start with the bracelet at the top of the page, made by Rome-based designer Fabio Salini. After stints at both Cartier and Bulgari, he went solo in 1999 and has been creating handmade pieces that are mostly one-of-a-kind. The bracelet above is made of rock crystal, pearls and sapphires, and hinged together with white gold and diamonds. Although this bracelet is sapphires, the stones actually cast a nice purplish glow in person, and purple is THE color of the year thus far. 

Pearls were another hot commodity, especially golden and cognac shades. I love this bracelet from Yvel (on the left) that successfully combines baroque pearls of all shapes and sizes into a mosiac-like wide cuff. On the right, an industrial rose gold bracelet by by Fope from their “Flex It” collection juxtaposes the hard edges of the repeating squares with the sensual curves of two brown pearls. 
After visiting Vicenza in January for a jewelry show, I mentioned that twisted shapes were very popular, much like this new set from Favero. (Sorry if the picture is a bit light.) I saw this quite a bit in hoop earrings with twisted profiles, and here’s an example of a bracelet and ring combination. 

Lastly, I’m seeing a little bit of a return to enamel. Florence-based La Nouvelle Bague is a pioneer in this technique, and for me the company’s pieces really embody the look of Italian jewelry. Year after year, they manage to create jewels that are imbued with tons of personality and whimsy. 
Luckily, you’ll see lots of ways to replicate these trends in Portero’s selection of jewels under $1,000. Just as an example, here’s a piece from each category that corresponds to the above looks. At under a grand, the deals can’t be beat.
Pretty in Purple:
Talisman Unlimited 14-karat gold garnet cluster earrings
Pearl party:
JewelMak sterling silver and baroque pearl bracelet. 
Twisted metal:
H Stern diamond pave hoop earrings. 
Everyday enamel:
Soho 18-karat gold and enamel Urban Safari tiger bracelet. 

Images courtesy About J

Look of the Day: Camilla Belle

March 6, 2008

It’s starting to warm up here in New York, so I’m anticipating summer even more than usual. This photo of actress Camilla Belle just felt like the tropics to me–the tanned skin, a dress that looks perfect for a summer night, and of course her yellow gold jewelry. 

Belle is at Tuesday’s premiere for new movie 10,000 BC wearing gorgeous jewels by Amrapali of Jaipur, including 18-karat gold hoops, rings and a stunning cuff. 
Something about the combination of bronzed skin and warm yellow gold feels just perfect for the upcoming warm months. Also, Belle manages to pick up one of the biggest trends going right now: a one-shoulder dress. This hot look urges you to skip the necklace in favor of a great pair of oversized earrings. 
Steal Belle’s look with these great finds from Portero:
JewelMak 18-karat yellow gold and pearl cuff bracelet. The negative space makes it super light, just right for a hot evening. 
John Hardy hammered 22-karat yellow gold and sterling silver ring. Based in Bali, John Hardy knows his way around a sultry climate. The textured finish evokes the feel of the islands. 
 
Image courtesy D’Orazio and Associates

Chopard’s Oscar Memory Lane

March 5, 2008

In the midst of all of this post-Oscar reporting, I got a release from Chopard that makes me want to abandon my desk for Madison Avenue. Starting on Friday March 7 and for one week only, the legendary French jeweler will be displaying jewels worn by five of the most recent Academy Award winners at its U.S. flagship location. 

While some say Chopard is “paying for play,” it is true that the company has managed to bejewel this group of standout actresses over the last half-decade, including Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose), Helen Mirren (The Queen), Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardner), Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) and Charlize Theron (Monster). 
Above, you can check out Cotillard in her Jean-Paul Gaultier gown accessorized with Chopard’s 64 carat champagne briolette necklace, 106 carats of dark and light brown diamond bead necklaces, and a 15 carat yellow diamond ring. Other standout pieces include Charlize Theron’s “Shooting Star” earrings and mesh cuff bracelet, and Helen Mirren’s starburst brooch. 
If you want to visit the limited-run exhibit, swing by Chopard at 709  Madison Avenue at 63rd Street. To see Portero’s extensive collection of Chopard jewelry and watches, click right here
Images courtesy Chopard

Back from Milan!

March 4, 2008


I returned last night from a brand new high-end jewelry show called About J that took place in Milan. With only about 70 exhibitors and a handpicked list of international buyers, the show was small but packed a big punch. Extremely modern and focused on fashion (the show’s media partner was Vogue Gioiello), this trade show was not your average work convention. 

A lot of trends are still in place: rose gold, brown and black diamonds, cabochon-cut stones and purple gems, among them; but the best part of attending is really getting a first look at brand new designs. Today is all about eye candy–I’m going to give you the sneak peek on what’s to come from some of the world’s most exclusive jewelry brands. (I took these photos straight from the cases, so the quality isn’t superlative. But you can still get the idea!)

First up, we have two great Italian brands. On the left is Pianegonda, a very fashion-forward line that began using just sterling silver. Now branching out to 18-karat yellow gold and gemstones, this brand employs large scale and bold designs to create something out-of-the-box. I particularly liked this bracelet and ring–I love the huge, thick ID bracelet with a small diamond accent, and the all gold cocktail ring is made up of small pieces of chain link jumbled together. 

On the right is Florence-based Oromalia. I was smitten with their bangles created from ebony, diamonds and 18-karat gold. I have always liked the mix of natural materials and precious gems and metals, and this new collection really delivered. 
Next up is Gurhan, the Turkish designer based in New York City. I have always been a fan of his 24-karat gold creations, and this year he really mixed it up, also using a lot of sterling silver, diamonds and opals. The black metal look is becoming increasingly popular, and by using oxidized sterling instead of gold, you can get a much more accessible price point. 
Finally today, we have Utopia (above, right). Based in Milan, this company is all about pearls. I was literally taken with their stunning bracelets, created from gorgeous Peacock Tahitian pearls interspersed with gems. The two above feature honed aqua (that looked like gorgeous river rocks) and emerald cabochons. These bright hues really popped when set against the black pearls that have undertones of purple and teal. 
Don’t worry–more gorgeous jewels to come later in the week!