Archive for April, 2008

Celebrating Mom with the Movies

April 30, 2008

Mother’s Day is one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, but that doesn’t mean it’s always an easy one. Some moms are notoriously hard to shop for, while others try to shun gifts and opt for spending time together. In honor of the new Portero spotlight–Mother’s Day–I have rounded up some of the classic movie moms that might give you some inspiration for your own shopping. Do any of these silver screen legends remind you of your own? 
Let’s start with Anne Bancroft (above) as Mrs. Robinson in the 1967 coming-of-age story The Graduate. Instead of focusing on her choice in men, let’s look at her choice in fashion. Mrs. Robinson’s “cougar” attitude was shown in her animal print clothing and home decor, and her glam/mod look was all about a put-together facade with a bit of edge. If you have a fiesty mom:
Fendi B Pony Hair Leopard Bag. Still an “it” bag, this has the roar of animal print but has a distinct structured look. 
SOHO Urban Safari Enamel Bracelet. Perfect to stack with other, less attention-grabbing, bangles. 
Next let’s move to the ’70s and Barbara Harris’ portrayal of a mother who switches bodies with her daughter in Freaky Friday. Trading places with a sports-loving teenager means that Mrs. Harris has to learn to be a bit of a tomboy. If your mom loves the great outdoors and isn’t afraid of getting a little dirty, try these:
Bulgari Diagono Aluminum and Rubber watch. Water resistant and surrounded with black rubber, this is a watch that looks good while in any conditions, rain or shine. 
Roberto Coin Afrika ring. Brown rubber mingles with 18-karat gold and diamonds in this mix of sporty and feminine. 
Sally Field played a reserved Southern mama to the hilt in 1994’s Forrest Gump. Always nearby with a kind word or a good meal, this character was awash in florals, delicate jewelry and woven handbags. If your mom is always doting on you and your family like down-home Mrs. Gump, here are some sure-to-please gift ideas:
Richard Ginori Perugia Coffee Pot and Teapots. I love this delicate porcelain set hand painted with fruits and flora. Perfect present for the perfect hostess. 
Mikimoto White Cultured Pearl necklace. Just the thing for a cultured lady–classic and sophisticated, just like this mom. 
Julia Roberts won an oscar for her 2000 portrayal of Erin Brockovich, a tough-talking, hard-working woman who juggled a career with her young family. Many moms, like mine, worked full-time while raising a family and still did it with style. If you’re shopping for a mother who balances 9 to 5 with family time, try these options:
Chanel quilted lambskin oversized tote. I think this is the perfect all-occasion bag. It’s large enough to fit paperwork, a laptop, or snacks and toys for a new baby. 
Philip Stein Teslar Mini watch. Not only does this timepiece have dual time zones for the on-the-go mom, but its magnetic properties are known to relieve stress and calm nerves. 

This year’s Oscar darling, Ellen Page, played sassy Juno MacGuff with enough charm and grace to win over audiences and critics. If you’re gifting a new mom who is a little left-of-center and trendy, give these quirky gifts a shot:

Stephen Webster Attention Seeker 18-karat gold hoops. I love this unusual riff on classic hoops–they bridge rock-and-roll and glamour perfectly. 
Jimmy Choo watersnake Tayten bag. Functional as both a shoulder bag and a clutch, this purse has enough personality to last a lifetime. 
Images via

New and Now

April 29, 2008

If you’re like me, the vast selection of items on Portero is perfect for procrastination. I like to think of myself as a little bit of a treasure hunter, so I love clicking through page after page of items to really feel like I’m uncovering the next great find. But if you only have a few minutes to spare before your next meeting, you’ll be very excited to hear about our “newest items” feature, just launched today. 

By clicking on the link on the homepage, you’ll be redirected to a dedicated page featuring just the latest and greatest that Portero has to offer. All of the categories are merged together, so you can see the newest handbags as well as the just-launched baubles that Portero is offering. By visiting this one link every day, you’ll be up-to-date on everything the site is auctioning at a given time. 
Today’s picks (five pages worth!) are fantastic–besides the beautiful Tom Ford for Estee Lauder compact featured in the picture above, two quilted classic Chanel bags (in a beautiful springy blue and green) and three pieces of Hermes are launched and ready to buy. I would go straight for the cornflower blue Balenciaga Motorcycle City bag, though–the hue is just as versatile as a pair of jeans. 

Everything’s Coming up Roses

April 28, 2008

I am completely smitten with this Valentino Fango Rose tote bag. A must-have for Fall 2008, it fits in perfectly with a larger trend of flowers on the runway and in jewelry cases. All three jewelry trade shows I’ve been to so far this year (Vicenza, Milan and Basel) have been a showcase for rose-themed pieces, from rosette rings and earrings to enamel rose pendants. This same petal pattern has been showing up in fashion, especially on handbags and shoes, and I think it’s really the perfect look for spring. 

While florals used to feel SO Laura Ashley, the look today is more about three-dimensionality and texture than lifelike botanicals. I love leather formed into flower shapes, but I am also drawn to bold prints with a little bit of wit and whimsy. 

Here are some of my favorite flowers that will put you perfectly on trend for the upcoming season:
Valentino Black Ruched Rose handbag. The pre-cursor to the Fango, this tote will work all year long. 
Louis Vuitton discontinued Murakami Papillion Cherry Blossom bag. The log shape and bow tie detail are totally sweet, and the eagerly anticipated pink flowers signal the return of warm weather. 

Judith Leiber multicolor beaded flower clutch. Hand-set beads turn into a work of art in this eye-catching evening bag that will spice up even the most basic black dress. 
Image via

April 25, 2008

While most people choose a handbag based on its ability to match with pretty much anything, some people pass up standard brown, black and metallic shades to go with something a little outside-the-box. A trend that has been growing in recent years is using artwork as a bag’s focal point, as with Hilary Duff’s Prada Fairy Bag above. The wait-listed purse, nearly impossible to find at $2,290, is becoming the ‘it’ bag of the season. 

If you’re already covered with standard color handbags, I would totally recommend choosing something with a bold pattern like the Fairy for your next purchase. Perfect with solid colors, it really grabs attention and shows that you have a bit of spunk in your personality. 
Here are some Portero choices that will have you wanting your purse to boast great art:
Louis Vuitton Monogram Cerises Speedy. You can’t go wrong with this classic shape and the iconic LV logo, but the addition of the bright red cherries lend an air of whimsy and humor. 
Malo Multicolor Patchwork Floral bag. The colors scream summer, and the plaited straps are a perfect touch. 

Louis Vuitton Floral weekend bag. I love the oversized black, yellow and white floral pattern, which feels a little bit mod and totally fun. 
Image via

Birkin: Know the Namesake

April 23, 2008

To celebrate this week’s incredible Portero collection of exotic skin Birkins in bold colors, we’re going behind the scenes…

The story behind the Birkin bag isn’t as elaborate as you might think. In fact, it’s quite practical. According to legend, in 1981 British actress Jane Birkin was struggling with several bags while boarding a plane. Who happened to spot her in this difficult situation? The head of Hermes, of course. The design of the large carryall was then created in her honor, and has since become the most sought-after handbag in the world. 

How much do you know about Jane Birkin, though? The actress, singer and model is as much a style icon today as she was in the ’60s, and for good reason: Birkin’s effortless sense of fashion looks completely au courant and timeless. Her signature bangs, mod shift dresses and trench coats over jeans are just as chic now as they were 40 years ago.
Birkin got noticed when she landed a part in the controversial 1966 film Blowup. Soon after, she met future husband Serge Gainsbourg who would become her creative partner. One of their most famous collaborations was the 1969 song “Je t’aime…moi non plus” (I love you…me neither), which many found too sexually explicit for the time. You can click right here to see filmed vignettes of the couple accompanying the song. Today, Birkin’s career is still going strong, and her filmography is long and varied. 
To see Portero’s spectacular new collection of exotic Birkins, click right here. If you’re in the market for something more neutral, we’ve also got you covered with this selection
And, if you’re just looking for some great current French pop music, check out Nous Non Plus. Serge Gainsbourg is one of their biggest influences, and their music is fun and catchy. Based in New York City, you can’t beat their live show. 

2008 Designer Showcase

April 22, 2008

Yesterday I was invited to attend the preview luncheon for the National Jewelry Institute‘s 2008 Designer Showcase–something not to be missed if you’re in New York between now and June 28. In a nutshell, the non-profit organization teamed up with Saks Fifth Avenue and the World Gold Council to curate an exhibit of 40 international designers working in gold, precious metals and gems. 

I particularly liked the exhibition because it interspersed huge brands (Cartier, Gucci) with studio designers (Stephen Webster, Sandra Müller) and some up-and-comers (Christine Hafermalz-Wheeler, Veronica Garaycochea). The only true thread that ran throughout the pieces were that they were created in gold, so that meant that we got to see a very wide variety of jewelry. (The pieces above are by Vhernier, Elyssa Bass, Cartier, Lorenz Baumer and Leila Tai.)
If you’re in New York and want to stop by, the showcase is located at The Forbes Galleries on Fifth Avenue. It will also have a longer run in Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, from July 19, 2008 through January 18, 2009. 
Images courtesy National Jewelry Institute.

Happy Birthday, Rolex

April 21, 2008

Did you know that Rolex turns 100 this year? To celebrate the occasion, noted watch auction house Antiquorum planned “Revolution: The Evolution of the Rolex Sports Watch” that took place last Friday, April 17. Antiquorum gathered some of the brand’s most sought after and desired sports models and put them up for auction in both New York and Milan. The results? A staggering $8.5 million for 270 pieces, including nine world record buys. 

The biggest sale, lot 201, was an Oyster Perpetual Date “Comex, Sea Dweller, 2000ft/610m”, Superlative Chronometer made in 1979 (see above). It went for $248,800. Other interesting top 10 sales were a yellow gold 1979 “Paul Newman” Oyster Chronograph Daytona for $166,800 and an “Oyster Perpetual Submariner” Military Rolex issued for the British Army in 1975 also for $168,800.
Julien Schaerer, watch director of Antiquorium USA, summed up the auction by saying “Today’s outcome for our thematic auction was strong evidence of collectors’ appreciation for Rolex.” My point exactly. If you’ve ever thought about buying a Rolex for yourself or as a gift, let this auction remind you that vintage models really don’t depreciate. 
Click right here to see four pages of excellent Rolexes for sale on Portero. You know I’m a yellow gold girl, so my favorite remains this vintage 1981 Oyster Perpetual Automatic. It’s a men’s watch, but it would make the most chic oversized watch on a woman. 
Image via


April 17, 2008

I live in New York City, so it’s not a huge surprise that the only space for my office is in my living room. But whether you have a home office or a location that you go offsite to work, it’s still nice to make your space something beautiful to look at as well as functional. 

The photo above is pulled from the latest issue of Domino magazine and their cover feature on Drew Barrymore’s new offices for her production company, Flower Films. After leaving a major studio lot for an Art Deco-style standalone building, Barrymore and Co. wanted to make their work quarters feel a little bit like home. You can click right here to see some outtakes from the shoot that didn’t make the magazine. 
I think that there’s small things you can do–even in a cubicle–to upgrade your space. First, buy fresh flowers weekly. It’s amazing what a pop of color and a living organism can do for your mood. Second, don’t always think “office” when buying desk accessories. Forget boring pencil holders and standard desk drawer cubbies to hold little odds and ends. Third, dress your space with personal mementos or photos. Rather than taping your significant other to the wall, put them in a beautiful frame. 
Here are some great suggestions that would fit the three aforementioned ideas, straight from Portero:
Orrefors Squeeze Clear Crystal Vase. This reminds me of crumpled up paper–the perfect tongue-in-cheek piece for an office. Stick in fresh flowers and voila!
Thistle & Bee Poker Chip Pencil Cup. Back away from Office Depot and invest in something beautiful to hold your writing instruments. Plus, its heft means it can double as a paperweight. 
Lalique’s Ring Dish & Pin Bowls. These sweet little crystal bowls featuring a variety of wildlife would be the perfect holder for push pins, rubber bands or paper clips. 
Orrefors Oval Frame. Simple enough to go with any decor, but still perfectly dresses up photos of loved ones. 
photo via 

History Lesson: Diamond watches

April 16, 2008

I often show pictures of celebrities wearing the latest trends to give you an idea of what’s soon to be the next best thing, but sometimes the history behind a trend is where you’ll find the really juicy story. This week Portero is highlighting women’s diamond bezel watches, and while many people think that the look was invented relatively recently–say, by ‘blinged’ out rappers or sports stars, the history of the look is far more illustrious. 

To really tell the story accurately, we’ll have to go back to the late 15th Century, when the idea of portable time was born. The first pocket watch was created in Nürnburg, Germany, and had one hand that pointed toward the approximate time. Around the same time, Leonardo da Vinci sketched a clock mechanism that would later be used in watches. 
The next big impact on watchmaking would actually be religion. When the Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther took over in Geneva, the city had no watchmaking industry to speak of–only a jewelry history. But in 1541, Geneva became the center of the Reformation, causing many watchmakers to move to the center of the action. Unfortunately, leaders banned most artistic endeavors, including theater, dancing, and wearing elaborate clothing and jewelry. Luckily for the watchmakers, timepieces were considered practical, and therefore allowable. Soon, out-of-work jewelers and watchmakers were collaborating, initiating Geneva’s luxury watch supremacy. 
The first jewels to be used in watches were actually rubies–and they were part of the movement, not the design. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that jeweled wristwatches became fashionable, following other adornments like enamel designs or pocket watches shaped like animals or religious symbols. Today, most of the vintage watches found dotted with diamonds were made during the Art Deco era of the early 20th century. 
Diamond bezels are definitely a big part of today’s marketplace, and they can be dressed up or down for day or night. Many styles are in fact versatile enough to be worn to work or to a cocktail party. Click right here to see Portero’s special selection of women’s diamond bezel watches. 

Book Club: Mikimoto

April 15, 2008

Japanese pearl company Mikimoto was my first stop in Basel, and as usual, they didn’t disappoint. I loved their new Midnight collection, made with black rough tourmaline and baroque pearls–it was extremely fashion forward and another step in the right direction for a company once merely known for gorgeous strands. 

Mikimoto has definitely been pushing the envelope recently, as with its collaboration with fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto (above). Billed as a “nocturnal and subdued collection”, the organic shapes represent natural elements like the curve of the moon, the interior of a seashell or the break of a wave. 
As an added bonus, I was given an advance copy of the new book, aptly titled Mikimoto, written by noted biographer Nick Foulkes and published by Assouline. The book features the story of Kokichi Mikimoto–the creator of the cultured pearl–and his amazing ascent from lowly beginnings to founder of one of the world’s most respected gem companies. Just out this month, you can place an order right here. Besides a company history, the tome features gorgeous images of historical relevance, including the first stores and vintage jewels. 
I love pearls because they are an instant heirloom. Click right here to see Portero’s selection of Mikimoto jewelry available as instant gratification.