Showing posts with label handbags. Show all posts
Showing posts with label handbags. Show all posts


How to Spot a Fake Handbag: Texas Living- KTXD TV Dallas

I had the most amazing day visiting the set of KTXD TV, Texas Living! The co-host team of Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Hilary Kennedy were even more stylish and multifaceted in person than on the screen.
Kimberly's accolades include TV Host, Author, Radio Personality, Lifestyle Expert, Speaker, Blogger, RSVP calendar Publisher, Party Planner and Social Media Aficionado.  Hilary is a native Texan and graduate of Texas Christian University who enjoys all things lifestyle and entertainment.

The ladies and I spent the morning discussing key factors in buying authentic bags and learning the key points to look for in spotting a fake.

First and foremost, I strongly suggest you only buy from a trusted seller that guarantees authenticity or your money back. For example on eBay, look for sellers with a history and good feedback. When buying on the web, only consider those companies who guarantee authenticity or your money back.

  1. Each luxury handbag brand has different markings to consider, however, the fact remains that each bag have a serial number or stamp should be prevalent. On a Hermes Birkin it is on the flap, on a Louis Vuitton it is on the interior of the bag, on Chanel it is on a sticker inside the bag.
  2. The stitching should be consistent. It might be pulled in an area, but it won't be uneven.
  3. The patena on a Louis Vuitton bag will be prevalent on the handles. The patena is created from oils on your hands. If the bag shows wear on the bottom but doesn't show a patena, the bag is a fake.
  4. There are certainly limited edition bags, however, if the style, color and proportion of the handles aren't constant, the bag is a fake.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but these guidelines can get you started. Just remember if the price of a bag is "too good to be true", it probably is.

At The Vintage Contessa we guarantee the authenticity of every bag or we'll give you your money back. We buy every bag in our stock. We are not a consignment store. So, we in essence put our money where our mouth is.

My husband and partner, Rob Chramosta, is an estate jeweler, numismatist, vintage watch dealer and diamond dealer.  He has been in the industry for over 30 years. Our reputation means everything in our business. It would be counterproductive to sell anything fake. Therefore, we go through a multistep processes authenticating everything we buy and, in turn, sell.

On a side note, look who I ran into at the Texas Living Shoot, Interior Designer Janet Rice. 

And my best friend from college, Kathleen Plagens Evans.


Chasing Hermès Around St. Germaine

Did you know that Hermès was the first brand to introduce zippers on ladies handbags? Let's all take a minute to thank Hermès for developing a way to keep our valuables secure and safe within our fashionable accessories.

Now that we have established one of the many cool fun facts that surround this luxury brand, let's delve in to the important stuff, a.k.a the handbags themselves.
The famous Birkin bag debuted in 1984 on the arm of Actress Jane Birkin. It became all the rage then and now! This handbag holds the record for the longest waiting list of any luxury accessory. Talk about crazy!

For a handbag with that long of a waiting list I was surprised that I saw so many on my trip to Paris Fashion Week. Take a look at some of the varieties I saw. 

Of course, Hermès doesn't just make luxury handbags. They've perfected the art of luxury accessories, also. 


Italian Luxury

When I think of Italy, I think of Heaven. Some of my favorite designers are Italian. Some of my favorite food is Italian. Some of my favorite people are Italian. You could say I'm partial to all things Italian, but who wouldn't be? Italy is luxurious!

From the cliffs of Capri to the runways of Milano to the ruins of Rome, this boot shaped country is pure bliss. 

Gucci Factory - Florence, Italy  - Image from Bag Snob

Flowers from an Italian Vendor 

Ciao Bella!


Vail, Co: High Fashion & Pop Art

Vail is undoubtedly unrivaled when it comes to skiing the back bowls. However when it comes to fashion and art, many perceive Vail to take a back seat to it uber wealthy and chic neighbor, Aspen. After a bit of hands on investigating, I beg to differ.
Visiting Luca Bruno Due, and Luca Bruno in Vail, Co , I found exceptional international brands that rival what I find when traveling big cities throughout the world. However, I felt like I was shopping in my own town with a personal friend; in the business. Both of their fashion houses offer exclusive brands hand selected by owners Luca and Jen Bruno for their growing international client list.

I've been shopping at Luca Bruno for almost a decade, adding pieces annually that I still wear today. Luca is so personable and warm with his authentic Italian accent and zealous Italian hand jesters, you cant help but find him fabulously endearing. In fact, I still remember the first day we met him. I walked in with my very Italian father, Vito Cangelosi, and was offered hard parmesan cheese cut off a huge block in the front of the store. His wife Jen, raised in Manhatten, has such a great eye for hip and cool pieces in luxe brands that are modern yet wearable in the casual yet chic ski town of Vail, Co or a big city like Houston, Dallas, or Austin.

When walking thru the store, I as instantly drawn to an amazing modern yet timeless designed suit jacket by Les Copains. It became even more coveted when Jen told me it was worn recently by the stylish and beautiful Catherine Zeta Jones.

I had the honor of meeting the sophisticated CEO of Les Copains, Paolo Torello-Viera, in town with an amazing array of pieces from the Fall ready to wear line, joining the Brunos for a private style show at the nearby exclusive Sonnenalp Hotel. The Italian brand surprisingly named after French talk show, Les Copains, is 100 % Italian, designed and manufactured in Italy.

Coming from my background of an Italian owned family business with a focus on craftsmanship and quality, I was impressed to learn from Paolo that the owner himself, Mario Bandiera who founded the company in 1959, still walks the factory in Bologna daily, overseeing every detail of the line personally.

Knitwear is the primary element of the line, with cashmere as Les Copains first love, even as the brand has evolved throughout the years. Currently designed by Alessandro Dell Acqua, there is an elegance mixed with a sensuality that is very glamorous and luxurious without being stuffy.

The headliner piece was a fabulous cable knit cashmere sweater that was surprising lightweight due to its genius design of a base sheer layer of cashmere. The reality is that Les Copains created a uber stylish sweater that can be worn and belted by real women who aren't necessarily 6 foot tall and 100 pounds. For myself and my amazingly talented yet equally short friend, Tricia Swenson, there was a shorter version that was a better proportion for petite girls who are better suited with pieces that synch at the waist.

The even more practical yet equally sporty chic equestrian line is Les Copains Blue. I found a pair of irresistible suede like jodhpurs that will be fab with riding boots and a tailored jacket. My favorite look was a vintage styled Gucci or Versace turtleneck that took me back to my early days in Vail with big hair and deglo ski jackets. Thank goodness we aren't revisiting those trends.

The timeless sporty aristocratic vibe that dates back to the brands inception comes through loud and clear with the tundra and military accents. The menswear houndstooth, mini checks and prince of whales patterns are offset by a form fitting feminine silhouette of the 21st century woman.

What would be the ultimate piece of outerwear for a ski town and a Texas woman? The amazingly stylish and über luxe fur brand, Dennis Basso. I had the pleasure of meeting the stylish and debonaire New Yorker Mitchell Adelman, International Director of Sales for Dennis Basso. I was utterly delighted to see, feel and try the beautiful pieces made from exotic sable, chinchilla, mink, and lynx.

Dennis Basso is the leading American furrier, at the top of the style chain with a combination of modern styling reminiscent of times past. The Fall 2012 collection trunk show showcased the deep rich tones of chocolate and caramels mixed with brilliant hues of cayenne orange, amethyst purple and navy blue.

I was most drawn to the fab luxe cape in caramel tone of woven sable that felt as soft on the inside of the cashmere lining as the outside. The interior lining detailing of each coat and wrap was so spectacular that each piece seemed couture in styling and certainly worthy of glamorous divas Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren.

The dress that immediately caught my eye consisted of a full detailed skirt in a palette of pastel pink so lovely I dreamed of twirling in it just as If I were a 4 year old girl showing off her Easter dress. However it was so beautifully styled I could see Carrie Bradshaw running across a bridge in Paris dawning the dreamy style.

Being a lover of vintage handbags and train cases, I must mention the femme fatale style of the Russian broadtail retro styled train jewelry and cosmetic case. Again, the leather interior was so magnificently designed, I would want to leave it open in my closet so I could see the stunning craftsmanship.

When speaking of luxury furs and femme fetals, one often conjures an image of Marilyn Monroe with her sultry pin up style. With a short walk down the cobblestone streets of Vail Village toMasterGallery you will find DeVon Stanfeld's version of Cozy Marilyn popping off the wall. Wearing a fur and diamonds, the prexy glass image of Marilyn is stuffed with feathers, almost bringing the icon to life.

When asked about his Marilyn pieces DeVon stated, " I believe in magic still, it's a little bit of magic." In choosing style icons Marilyn and Audrey Hepburn as the focus of his pieces, he hits a cord in all women.

Luxury fashion brands and artists alike are blurring the lines between art and fashion. When watching Breakfast at Tiffany's for the umpteenth time, I was mesmerized by Audrey's timeless style. DeVon captured that indelible image on plexiglass with alternating Tiffany and white boxes creating a backdrop.

Using Swarovski crystals as Marilyn's diamonds and Audrey's rose; he captures a moment in time and a moment of the subject not seen in a flat image. DeVon wants to uplift, make people think and become aware of their environment and surroundings. By layering images, his pieces are constantly evolving.

Director of Masters Gallery, Rayla Kundolf, caters to an international clientele, understanding their love of pop art in Vail. DeVon, who ironically resides in his own ski country, Park City, Utah is a unabashed artist pushing the envelope in his pieces focusing on heroes.

He said he believes there is a hero in all of us that needs to come out, so his art is a call to be a hero. I suspect he is referencing his art showcasing images of Superman and Spiderman but as a fashion lover, I can inequitably state that Audrey is my hero.