Monday, April 28, 2008

Rodeo Drive - New Neighbors

WWD has reported today on my new neighbors on Rodeo Drive.

A quote from owner Haig Avakian refering to jewerly from VCA, Harry Winston and Tiffany.
"I think that L.A. as a market is quite underdeveloped," he said. "A lot of our clientele have already bought these classic pieces. They want something different."

The LA market underdeveloped? Is he high?

I think that Mr. Avakian is going to be dependent on tourist business from his Beverly Wilshire Hotel location. He's already been given a wonderful opportunity to donate a small item for an auction for a major Beverly Hills based charity and he couldn't donate or even be bothered to even meet with one of the board members. Mr Avakian's attitude may work in Switzerland but it isn't going to to bring in a loyal Beverly Hills clientele.

"Beverly Hills is a key location to purchase luxury goods in the United States; we wanted to find a West Coast home where women appreciate Italian luxury goods," said Giorgia Caovilla, company vice president and daughter of founder Rene Caovilla. "The celebrity scene in Los Angeles is second to none and it was a natural place to open our second U.S. store. L.A. style has come a long way and we want a customer who appreciates how to wear a shoe from day to night."
My prediction, Caovilla, which has a ten year lease for the space next to Jimmy Choo will outlast Avakian.
We'll see....
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LA Times Rock Report

So the Sunday LA Times has finally gotten around to reporting on jewelry in multiple articles in their Image section.

NOW that the patina of the "it" bag has worn off, along with the appeal of the red sole of a Christian Louboutin pump, jewelry -- both fine and faux -- is having its moment.We're not talking about a single strand of pearls, a subtle lariat or a few stacking rings. We're talking statement jewelry, the kind of pieces that are so colorful, intricate or just plain enormous, they demand to be noticed.

I wonder, have those LA Times writers been reading BH Branchee. I wrote here about the demise of the "it" bag and the new focus on jewelry.

For spring, jewelry is alive with birds, butterflies, blossoms and blooms echoing the garden of delights on the fashion runways. The details are so lifelike on these fantasy pieces, they look as if they could have been plucked from the wild. Leviev's 60-carat fern frond, dazzling with green garnets and yellow diamonds, is as realistic as a sketch from a botany book. Chanel's Camellia Feuille aquamarine and blue sapphire ring may be small, but the intense color of the stones makes it look like the prize bloom in a garden. Chopard took the trend and turned it into one major cuff clustered with "blossoms" of pink sapphires and diamonds, and priced at $650,000. Talk about flower power.

Well, if you are looking for some garden themed jewelry and you don't want to spend $16,000 on this green winged dragonfly brooch from Van Cleef and Arpels, here's a diamond dragonfly brooch for $2150 from

Well anyway, lots in the LA Times....some useful, some not.

The Jagger Dagger, a $250,000 ice pick
A coming-out party unveils a bejeweled ice pick designed by Jade Jagger. It's got diamonds, sapphires and lapis lazuli. Too pricey? There's a "cheaper" version for $10,000.

An Ice Pick! Doesn't everone need one of those? (I don't know about you but I find myself breaking up large chunks of ice on a daily basis.)

Men can wear jewelry too
Flashy male bling has reached a level of acceptance not seen since the 1970s.

Uh, not really. Sorry but anything more for men that a watch, cufflinks and a wedding ring is tasteless...unless of course the gentleman is a titled royal and only then is a signet ring acceptable.

How do you broach the brooch?
Wear it high on your shoulder. It gives you height, and it's a younger way to wear it. In other words, don't wear it like your grandmother did, like a third bosom.

Let's talk about bracelets.
The more the merrier. That rule about taking a piece of jewelry off before you walk out the door is dead. Bracelet-length sleeves are very in, but I also don't mind seeing a bracelet on top of a long sleeve either. And every now and then, I'll see a woman in matching cuffs, and there's nothing chicer than that.

Do you wear the cuffs on the same hand or different?
Both or one. Ken Downing at Neiman Marcus is such an amazing stylist and man of taste. And he recently did a showing of my jewelry and the models, their wrists were stacked with five or six bracelets on each arm. All different colors. And then the backs of their dresses -- these low cut dresses -- jewels pinned to them.

All great fashion advice from Hutton Wilkinson the stylistic heir to Tony Duquette.

"Costume was never made to last," Romero says. "The metals are much softer and are usually alloys, which are much harder to work with. People take much better care of fine jewelry than they do costume and actually, fine jewelry is sturdier. Precious metals and real stones can take a lot more abuse."
A great article on jewelry upkeep and repair with 4 recommended repair shops.
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

How High for How Long

The fashion blogosphere is all over this article from the Guardian.
Gwenyth Paltrow, fashion icon, yuppie mom, is heeding the hooker heel trend while promoting her new film. Is this the beginning of the end for the super high 5, 6 and 7 inch heels?
The consensus is yes. And my opinion is that it's not just due to the height of the heels but to the heady prices as well. When a pair of unwearable shoes equals a mortgage payment there's a problem.
Personally, I love a high-ish heel with a reasonable platform but 5 inches is my limit.
Here's the bloggers on the topic.
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

This Week's Good News

I don't want to dwell on bad news this week so from the Australian, here's the news we've finally been waiting for.

We can finally stop worrying about global warming because sun spot activity is showing that we are in a trend of global cooling.

Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.
All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead.
It will be difficult for people to face the truth when their reputations, careers, government grants or hopes for social change depend on global warming, but the fate of civilisation may be at stake.

Meanwhile the Daily Mail reports on the Mea Culpa from Green Goddess, Trudy Styler and husband Sting about their not so Green lifestyle resulting in a huge carbon footprint. Not to worry Trudy. Just keep flying back and forth between your 6 mansions on your private jet, including flying your Italian Chef from your Tuscany villa up to London to deliver food.

However, Miss Styler clearly feels she is doing her bit for the planet - and managed to offer some advice on the subject, too.
She said: "I think within the next year we have a period of huge responsibility for this country to keep GM at bay.
"We spend a lot of time in America and you often don't know when you are eating GM food. I say keep GM out of Britain."

And thank God Trudy, in a time of food shortages you are doing you best to keep GM at bay!

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Fashion Factory Fallout

Rising shortages...this week it's definitely all panic all the time....even from WWD.

Labor unrest over soaring food and energy prices could soon trigger a spike in global apparel sourcing costs, forcing companies to raise wages to stave off starvation and rioting.

U.S. importers that rely on countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and Pakistan for their product are trying to navigate in volatile and politically unstable environments. Their decisions are being played out as U.S. and international organizations scramble to provide emergency relief to millions of people who are struggling to feed themselves because food prices have surged an estimated 40 percent since mid-2007.

Meanwhile, in the Fashion industry, executive compensation keeps increasing. Here's just one example.

At J. Crew, CEO Mickey Drexler's compensation increased 22%, President of Retail, Tracy Gardner's compensation increased $1 million for a total of $2.6 million in base salary, stock options and an $875,000 bonus and EVP, Libby Wadle's total compensation increased by $420,000. Granted, J.Crew had a good year.

(I should add that this is the same Mickey Drexler who as the head of GAP took their revenues from $400 million to $14 million.)

But when I look at executive compensation all the way from the LVMH and PPR with their stables of luxe brands down to the single brand J. Crew, I can't help but wonder if the top 10% of Fashion Industry executives took just 5% less in compensation, would there be enough cash to give the average factory workers in Vietnam, Pakistan and Bangladesh and elsewhere enough or a raise to cover their increased cost of food.
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Rio to the Rescue?

Uh Oh, more bad news about oil prices from

The report basically states that the rising demand for transportation fuel due to the growing number of cars in countries such as Brazil, China, India and Russia will cause prices to double in the next 4 years.

Rubin cites, for example, the recent launch of Tata's 2,500-dollar car that will allow millions of households in India to soon own automobiles.
He also notes that car sales last year were up 60 percent in Russia, up 30 percent in Brazil and up 20 percent in China.

Meanwhile has positive oil news.

Brazil's discoveries of what may be two of the world's three biggest oil finds in the past 30 years could help end the Western Hemisphere's reliance on Middle East crude, Strategic Forecasting Inc. said.

``The finds they've got so far are just the tip of the iceberg,'' Zeihan said. ``Brazil is going to change the balance of the global oil markets, and Petrobras will become a geopolitical supermajor.''
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Savvy Shopping - Sleek and Chic

Fashion dilemma.

Your boyfriend wants to introduce you to his boss at a corporate dinner. He wants you to look classy...but hot...but not so hot that after one (or four) cocktails his boss makes a pass at you causing an awkward situation.

Well, here's the perfect outfit. From, a simple black dress with a gorgeous V back from for $138 with some strappy Lauren sandals (on sale!) for $61!!!

All this outfit needs is a little sparkle from with the diamond cascade dangle earrings.

Sleek, Chic and Sparkling.

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Something Old - Something New in New York

If you're going to be in New York this weekend you can check out the best of what's old and new.

Mary Kinkaid of has posted that the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show will be held at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th.

Opening today at the Forbes Gallery on 5th Avenue, the Fashion Jewelry Institute will be exhibiting new jewelry by contemporary designers.

Although demand for estate jewelry remains high, contemporary jewelers — including Lorenz Bäumer, Adria de Haume and Stephen Webster — are rocking the market with edgy designs and craftsmanship.

Ralph Esmerian, the jewelry and antiques collector and owner of Fred Leighton, curated the exhibit along with guest curators Beth Rudin DeWoody, Saks Fifth Avenue and World Gold Council. Among the 40 brands are Cinta by John Hardy, Mia Fonssagrives-Solow, Graff and Cartier.

Well, Ralph Esmerian has certainly been keeping busy between curating this exhibit and filing Chapter 11 last week.

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Lots of Luxe

Lots of Luxe News from WWD today.

Cash rich LVMH is adding another luxe brand to their portfolio with the purchase of Hublot. Why? Because they can.

Companie Financiere Richemont, whose luxe brands include Cartier, Van Cleef, Montblanc, Dunhill, IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre has had another strong year.
Goldman Sachs in London called the sale figures "a particularly reassuring set of results," in a research note Wednesday. "[They reaffirm] the resilience of the high end and watch segment in particular," the company added.

PPR, owner of Gucci, YSL, Bottega Veneta and other luxe brands had 20% growth in Q1 sales.
Even with the daily news full of reports about rising oil and food prices, sales of the most expensive clothes and accessories are increasing. Things just can't be that bad.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Savvy Shopping - Saving at the Pump

As if gasoline prices weren't high enough already, now we've got lowered production out of Mexico, the threat of a strike at a refinery in Scotland, a force majeure declared by Royal Dutch Shell due to the attack on their pipeline in Nigeria last week, the seasonal change to lighter grade fuel and continued speculation by traders pushing the prices up. Add to this up and we've got $4.00 plus gas prices. This good news comes to us thanks to Yahoo News.

Maybe it's time to find a more practical vehicle for my daily commute to my office. Right now I'm loving the idea of a Vespa scooter or a Smart car. And clever me, I can find the outfit to match from Juicy Couture at
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Savvy Shopping - Finds for Fall Now

If you're a savvy shopper you know that buying out of season is one way to get the best deals. The sun is shinning, the flowers are blooming, it's Spring. And what's on my mind? A few more months and it will be Fall and I'm going to need boots!

I know that you are lusting for your Jimmy Choo's and Manolo's, but I love Nordstom's boots, comfortable and priced right.

Here's a few that are on sale now. They will be perfect for next Fall and Winter.

On sale now at
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Savvy Shopping - Pink and Green for Spring

's spring and young love is in the air. There's really nothing like seeing a gorgeous and brilliant young couple on their way to getting married. And, I'm so looking forward to the wedding this summer in Napa Valley.

So...I have an engagement party to go to this weekend at a beautiful estate in Bel Air with a charming gentleman. Perfect.

It's going to be an early evening affair in a lovely garden filled with flowers so I'm going to wear something bright in pink and green.
Sometimes I just have to let my inner preppy out.

This gorgeous bright green dress (on sale!) and sexy fuchsia shoes are from Add something vintage with this hot pink satin bag from Unique Boutique NYC.

Of course, let's not forget the bling. This pink "Lola" pendant and "Lola" ring both by Judith Ripka from will be perfect.
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Glenn Reynolds - Green and Smart

Glenn Reynolds in the NY Post makes the argument for concentrating on the development of new technology rather than on the limitation of hydrocarbon emissions.

But what if we could reduce greenhouse gases without impoverishing the world? That would be worth doing anyway, because along with those greenhouse gases come all sorts of other nasty substances we're better off without.

And, he makes the green argument for more research and development in nanotechnology.

Nanotech offers dramatic improvements on the side of energy consumption, too: As computing and other devices become smaller, they become more efficient - and nanotech will allow drastic improvements in both size and efficiency.
Nanotech is starting to yield super-strong, super-light materials, too. Imagine how much more efficient a family car could be if you cut the weight in half, even if you kept burning gas. But nanotech is also likely to produce better batteries and better motors, meaning that your lighter car may also be electric, powered ultimately by those nanodot solar panels.
All of these things are in the works now to greater and lesser degrees, but they could happen faster if there were more research and development support.

A Friend of mine has written on the need to create a 21st Century Manhattan Project to develop cleaner and cheaper energy sources that will stop our dependence on imported oil. Yeah, it can't happen too fast.
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Monday, April 21, 2008

Going Green for Earth Day 2008

Since tomorrow is Earth Day I thought that I would go Green.

An important part of going green is recycling and that's why I'm all about buying vintage, especially estate jewelry like this pendant and ring by Grima from

Add to that this wonderful snake bag from vintage skins. God knows that when a snake, alligator or crocodile has given its life for fashion, it should be appreciated for a long, long time.
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Hammer Happenings - Kara Walker Exhibit

Wondering what to do this weekend? Why not check out the Kara Walker exhibit at the Hammer Museum. In an interesting political season Ms. Walker's silhouette works comment on race and gender.
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Heidi Klum - Cover Girl Clover

Let's face it, few of us are blessed with the superlative attributes of Heidi Klum. But now that she has her eponymous jewelry line, we can wear a little bit of Heidi bling. has a one of kind diamond clover pendant from the Heidi Klum Collection. This piece is unique because it is the only one made with diamonds on both sides. If you are looking for 16 plus carats on a sexy black silk cord with supermodel provenance, here's just the piece.

Mrs. Seal used some familiar motifs in her designs for Mouawad including the famous Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Clover. Unfortunately for the glamazon, she was sued for copyright infringement. I don't know whether or not VCA has much of a case especially since the the clover has been a common motif in jewelry ever since the Victorian Age. We'll see.
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Savvy Shopping - Billionairess Style

Here's the perfect shoe for the Russian Billionairess.'s on sale! Prada gold crocodile shoe from Bergdorf Goodman marked down from $4800 to $2160. What a steal!

And, for the woman who can pay over $2000 for a pair of shoes, I suggest this diamond necklace from price available upon request.
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Financial Times Reports on the Rising Ranks of the Rich

The really rich have been on my mind since last week when I read that David Geffen's yacht is virtually the same size as an Aegis Destroyer, and bigger than any vessel in the US Coast Guard.

Then the Financial Times reports in World's Rich Shrug Off Credit Crunch that around the world, the number of super rich is growing.

There was particularly strong growth of wealthy populations in the emerging economies of China and India, as well as those countries that have access to ­natural resources such as Kazakhstan.
Countries such as Brazil, Canada, Australia and ­Russia also each added more than 8,500 wealthy residents in 2007 on the back of the commodity boom.

The US is still home to most of the world’s truly rich. High net worth individuals make up 1 per cent of the US population, with 3.1m people claiming to be dollar millionaires, and 460 to be billionaires.

“but there is an indication here that the ­plutonomy model retained its strength through 2007"
Well, I for one am glad to read that the market for luxe products is growing and... I've looked up plutonomy so you don't have to.
Plutonomy: The branch of knowledge that deals with the production and distribution of wealth. (from the Greek ploutos wealth and nomos law)

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Kristopher Dukes - She Rocks The Fashion Blogosphere

Talk about getting a little love. The prettiest and I should add most talented writer in the fashion blogoshpere has added the Belle to her most coveted blog links.
Kristopher rock!
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Anti Anorexia Push in Paris

The I Prefer Paris blog has posted on the new legislation in France to punish websites that promote anorexia.

In an attempt to crack down on anorexia, French lawmakers are looking to punish websites that encourage and advise anorexics on how to starve. (One tells you how to survive on literally an apple a day). Recommending fines of up to 45,000 euros and three-year prison sentences for offenders who encourage “extreme thinness”(what the hell does that mean? Talk about vague. Or maybe Vogue), the French government is serious about promoting healthy body images of women. The bill would make it illegal to "provoke a person to seek excessive weight loss by encouraging prolonged nutritional deprivation that would have the effect of exposing them to risk of death or directly compromise health."

While I'm in general against over regulation by government I think that this is a good thing. I've already posted on the preference for anorexic models for the Paris runway shows, not only for women but for men as well.

Will this new legislation make any difference? Probably not. But, at least there is some recognition that this isn't a healthy trend.
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Friday, April 18, 2008

Edward Lorenz the Father of Chaos Theory

Chaos...that to some degree what my life is all about. Yours too?

Well Edward Lorenz, the man who taught us all about Chaos Theory has just died.

His studies led him to develop what became known as the "butterfly effect." The term stemmed from his 1972 academic paper "Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Set off a Tornado in Texas?"
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What A Girl Wants

Some girls are looking for love...and some girls are looking for a launch.
Linda Grant
Kristopher Dukes
Glenn Reynolds (yeah, in my dreams)
Where are you?

OK, maybe not a launch but a link would do.

(shamless self promotion I admit)
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High End Hooker Heels

The Daily Mail today has a report on how high heels can go. Apparently up to 7 inches...with some serious platforms.

Can somebody please tell me when it became acceptable to wear stripper shoes.

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Cyber Mall Shopping

Americana Manhassat has followed in the path of some many high end brands and started an online store as reported by WWD. They have added items from selected retailers such as this bag.

The e-commerce component of launched with 12 items that consumers “won’t see everywhere else,” she said.

“It will grow organically,” Sanders said. “We’ll see what kinds of things customers are interested in. We expect more vendors to get on board once they see how nicely we present the products....We want to maintain quality control over fulfillment.”

If you aren't so fortunate as to live near Manhassat in one of the amazing Glenn Cove or Westbury mansions of the Long Island Gold Coast you can still shop at this small but exquisite mall online.

When will South Coast Plaza do the same?

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Los Angeles Antiques Show

I love antiques and have a particular appreciation for jewelry, furniture and objets d'art that were made before the machine age. And let's face it, Los Angeles is not exactly a mecca for Antiquaires. So...If you are like me and wishing to spend a day at the Marche des Puces, but you don't have time to catch a plane to Paris, (nor the extra euros), you've got the next best thing. The Los Angeles Antiques Show at Barker Hanger...coming up next weekend.
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Savvy Shopping - Ruby Red

Spice it up for spring with ruby red.

This hot Norma Kamali dress is on sale at

And then go for a little estate jewelry extraordinaire in high karat gold with these 22k ruby chandelier earrings and 20k ruby bracelet, both of course, from
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LVMH Q1 Earrings - Beaucoup Billions

As reported by Idex, the Q108 earrings of LVMH were greater than 4 billion Euros with organic revenue up by 12% over the Q107. I'd like to see the figures on the percent of sales from the US, China and Europe. With the US in recession, I wonder who is buying these products.
All business groups in the company, which include wines and spirits; fashion and leather goods; perfumes and cosmetics; watches and jewelry and selective retailing (a consortium of specialty brands) recorded double-digit organic revenue growth in the period, with the exception of the wines and spirits sector.

Watches and jewelry revenues rose 19 percent overall to €211 million in the first quarter. The reported increase was 12 percent. Watch and jewelry revenues were €189 million in the first quarter of 2007

The watches and jewelry division comprises TAG Heuer, Chaumet, Christian Dior Watches, Zenith, Fred and De Beers Diamond Jewellers, a joint venture with the diamond company.

Maintenant, un coup de Moet pour Monsieur Arnault
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Savvy Shopping - Going Green For Spring

Yesterday I had lunch in Newport Beach, the land of the perpetually tan, trim, trendy and trust-funded. What a spectacular place.

I don't know what I was thinking wearing my usual Beverly Hills black when I could have been gorgeous in green.

From Bergdorf Goodman online this Tory Burch outfit paired with this emerald and diamond ring from is perfect for Newport Beach babes.
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