Traditionally, Dolce & Gabbana is not a go-to source of ultra-formal, ultra-expensive clutches; the brand has generally focused on day bags in the past, with a few evening options here and there. The Dolce woman is one with a lot of events to attend, though, and now the brand is turning out party bags to go along with its party clothes.
The line, centered on the frame-top Vanda Clutch, is ultra-embellished, incredibly detailed and just as expensive as those descriptors often indicate. Right now, prices top out at seven grand for a lattice version covered in enamel flowers, and the piece actually feels special enough to command that price tag. That’s no easy feat, but if you don’t believe me, check out the evidence below.
By now, everyone knows it’s totally acceptable to wear white any time of year, no matter the date’s position relative to Labor Day. Today, I’m here to tell you why you should and offer some handbags in support of my point of view.
A woman with a white bag looks innately luxurious in the same way that a woman carrying a clutch looks luxurious; because it’s a less practical choice than some of the other available options, that woman’s life must have an ease to it that’s not available to everyone. That impression isn’t always in sync with reality, of course, but it’s an undeniably elegant look to those who put in a little extra effort to pull it off.
Below, we’ve picked more than a dozen of our favorites, from functional totes to fuzzy fur clutches. They’re worth the slight inconvenience, especially in the doldrums of winter greys and navys. Remember, though–never rub your white bag against blue denim.
When the first version of the Fendi Buggie Peekaboo made its debut last season, it sold out in a matter of hours and wasn’t replenished after it was gone. If you’ve been irritated with yourself for not snagging one ever since, you’re in luck: a Fall 2014 version of the bag is now available!
For the low, low, value price of $5,300, you can now intimidate men at your office and random passersby with a bag that looks like it contains a bird waiting to peck their eyes out, which is as hearty an endorsement of a bag as I can imagine myself ever giving. Peekaboos can be wildly expensive, but not all of them makes people think twice before bothering you. This one provides that extra bang for your buck.
In case you were wondering how deep fashion people’s capacity for purchasing branded novelties is, yesterday morning’s quick sell-through of a thousand Karl Lagerfeld-designed and -branded Barbies at Net-a-Porter should tell you all you need to know, thanks to a little digging by Tyler McCall at Fashionista. The Barbies went for $200 a pop, and they were gone before I got to work in the morning.
McCall confirmed with Net-a-Porter that they originally had 999 of the dolls, which were an NAP exclusive, in stock, and the math from there is self-evident. Not only does Lagerfeld have a singular sway over fashion industry dollars, but special edition Barbies have a fervent collector’s market all their own, whether they’re fashion-related or not. Put the two together and you get a lot of sales, very quickly.
The collaboration also comes at a particularly opportune moment; novelty and irreverence in fashion are seriously trendy, and consumers are more willing than every to spend significant money on things that are funny or cool rather than traditionally luxurious. Would you spend $200 on a Barbie from your favorite brand?
Many of you loved Anya Hindmarch’s fun, ultra-embellished Spring 2015 bags, but opinions were mixed over whether you could justify the expense for something with such a specific look. If you’re on the fence, Hindmarch has found a way to extend the look to you, too–leather stickers of some of the motifs are now available at Net-a-Porter, which means you can add them to any of your bags or small accessories.
The product descriptions are very careful to stipulate that once you place the $70 stickers, they’re going to be stuck for good, but they’re a great option if you want to revive a bag you’ve had for a while or make small leather goods, like an agenda or cosmetic case, a little bit more fun. Because the stickers are made of leather, they’ll blend right in. Check out all the currently available options below.
This London Fashion Week I teamed up with Net a Porter and they provided me with a ride on this super cool London cab to make it on time to all the shows I was attending. These are my picks for the AW collections, wearing a Isabel Marant jumper, Tamara Mellon shorts and Isabel Marant boots. All available now at Net a Porter. Bear in mind that with Net a Porter you can have your picks delivered to you on the same day if you are based in London, New York or Hong Kong and next day delivery in the rest of the UK. #ordertodayweartonight
Esta Semana de la Moda de Londres he colaborado con Net a Porter con el que tenía un taxi londinense a mi entera disposición para que llegara a los desfiles que asistía a tiempo. Estas son las piezas de la colección O/I que he escogido. Llevo jersey de Isabel Marant, shorts de Tamara Mellon y botas de Isabel Marant. Todo lo tenéis disponible ahora mismo enNet a Porter . Tened en cuenta que con Net a Porter podéis disfrutar de vuestras prenda el mismo día si vivís en Londres, Nueva York o Hong Kong. Y al día siguiente en el resto del Reino Unido.
Why It’s the Bag of the Week: So far, Karl Lagerfeld’s eponymous line has tended toward the irreverent and sporty, but this bag packs a serious style punch at a very attractive price point. The multi-textured grey construction and statement chain make it a perfect fall piece.
If you’re like me, you don’t buy a new wardrobe every season; not only does that require a limitless budget, but it’s kind of a waste when you have things from last year that you’ve been dying to return to your regular rotation. It’s always fun to buy something new, though; it marks the beginning of a new season and helps make your existing wardrobe feel a little bit fresher.
In those situations, the best thing you can do is choose a piece that straddles the line between something that can be worn regularly and something that feels more like a “statement” piece. Below, check out five of our favorites from fall’s new crop that make an impact without feeling overtly trendy–these are the pieces that you’ll be excited to pull out again when next fall rolls around.
Although the full complement of goods from Scott’s first collection for the brand has yet to arrive in stores, it’s already a commercial success; the exceedingly commercial, aggressively referential bags, accessories and clothes largely disappear from retailers shortly after they become available, and celebrities (especially musicians, who tend to be the splashiest dressers on the star spectrum) have taken to the clothes like ducks to water.
This hoodie plays with the bag-as-status-symbol trope by attaching it front-and-center to a relatively average, oversized black hoodie; the bag’s gleaming gold nameplate is exposed for all to see, no side view required.
Because the bag is probably heavy on its own (let alone with stuff inside it), the wearer can detach it and carry it like a normal shoulder bag once the visual gag has been noticed and appreciated by onlookers. If you lack the three grand to drop on a gag piece, you’re in luck: you can wear virtually any handbag around your neck and get exactly the same is-this-person-okay look from those around you.
Today’s career interview is with Alison Loehnis, President of Net-A-Porter.
How does a person get to such a powerful position? What sacrifices do you have to make along the way? What does it mean, exactly, to direct a company with 250 employees?
Alison answers all of our questions below…
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in New York City, Manhattan, on the West Side. And I went to Rhode Island for college–I went to Brown.
What did you study at Brown?
I studied art history and I was really art mad, I always thought I would go work in the art business. The year that I graduated, the market was completely dead, so I thought I would always keep art as a hobby, but I should look at other things from a career standpoint. I came back to New York and was here up until 13 years ago.
And what did your parents do?
My mom was in advertising, forever. She actually influenced my early career.
She was on the account management side. Her last role, which she was in for many years, was running this prestige beauty division for Procter and Gamble advertising at Grey.
My father was always in the fragrance business. When I was growing up, he was running the North American Yves Saint Laurent fragrance business. I have photos of him on the beach with long sideburns shooting for Rive Guache, it’s pretty amazing.
He also ran the fragrance business for Mary McFadden, he worked in skincare, then went to Escada, and then he set out on his own, really helping brands diversify into beauty business and creating licensing and all sorts of things. Very entrepreneurial, and all around the beauty business.
Do you have siblings as well?
Yes, I have a younger sister, who now lives in San Francisco as a teacher.
Do you get to see her often?
It’s so hard, especially with the 8-hour time difference, and because she’s a teacher she can’t speak on the phone during the day. So we have to make appointments to speak, but we’re very close and we try to have a reunion during the summer with our kids.
When you were growing up what was your dream job?
It’s funny. When I was really young, really really young, my favorite thing was to go into my grandmother’s bedroom and pull open the top drawer of her dresser and she had this mountain of costume jewelry and it was like a girl’s dream.
And I had this purse that I loved, it was this red and yellow with a yellow pearl on it and I would put that on and wear thousands of necklaces. That was my favorite pastime.
But my dad who was in the fragrance business, was running this business for Mary McFadden who was a designer, and I used to think that that was the most glamorous job. I was like 8. I used to have pictures of her on my desk and I would do drawings. And he was going to a meeting with her and I asked him if he could give her some of these drawings. So I would do sketches, I did a cover of Vogue Magazine for her, spelled Vuge.
I wanted to spend time with the people with the magic markers, and they were on another floor. I wanted to be part of their world.
So what was your first job?
The theme that runs throughout my whole career is looking for this perfect balance of business and creativity. So I knew when I was in school, I studied art history, but my summers — whereas I had lots of friends who worked in investment banking — I thought this is my only chance to explore what I want to do and I could take some chances.
So every summer of college, I worked at the Ralph Lauren store in East Hampton. And I loved it. It was a store that got a lot of attention, it was the “country” store. I was on commission. I loved selling. It was funny because at that point it never occurred to me that I would have a career in retail. I just thought that it was this thing that I loved to do on the side.
Did you jump into fashion then after school?
When I graduated, I looked at all different industries. I looked at magazine publishing, and I did a Condé Nast interview along with so many other people. I looked into the Bloomingdales training program and I tried advertising. I think for me I always had this exposure to advertising, so it probably seemed like a great idea. You are creating this balance because you have to come up with a creative concept or creative execution of a strategic idea to sell products.
So I went to work for Saatchi & Saatchi here in New York, as an Assistant Account Executive in 1992, which was terrific. I worked on General Mills cereals and General Mills at that time was one of the biggest billing accounts, so it was a really spoiled job. I had an office, a secretary; it was really great. And it taught me a lot.
Did you feel prepared for that world after having studied art?
Brown was phenomenal but I didn’t come out with a pre-professional training so at Saatchi & Saatchi I learned how to conduct a meeting, how to deal with clients, how to do conference call reports and all these things.
I spent a year at Saatchi, and while I loved it and was so appreciative and worked with really smart people, I wanted to spend time with the people with the magic markers, and they were on another floor. I wanted to be part of their world.
So from there I started exploring again so many options that I had looked at previously, and I went to work for Hachette Filipacchi [magazine publishers] in corporate communications and that was a great experience.
There were about 33 titles at the time, the business was also launching its custom publishing unit, which was such a new concept. They had this sort of AOL early social media strategy. It was great. I was also responsible for trying to get press on the various titles. So working with the editors to pitching stories, getting publishing coverage, newspaper coverage, etc.
But you ended up working in film for a bit. How did that come about?
So on the side, I also was really interested, extra curricularly, in the film business, and I had a couple friends who were working for agents in LA. I wondered what was that role like, it seemed so interesting to me.
So I started working on the side, for free, for different kinds of production companies writing coverage–basically writing up synopsis of scripts that you would give to the development executives. [They typically read these to get a feel for the project] I felt really honored that they were letting me do this. It was only later in my life that I realized that you could get paid for it. But at the time, it was a symbiotic relationship.
One of the magazines that was in the Hachette portfolio was Premiere Magazine, and the woman who was the editor there was hired by Disney to set up a motion picture office in New York. I had worked with her and she asked me if I wanted to come along with her as her assistant. And I did. It was great because I don’t think she knew that I had this film interest base on the side.
I went to Disney, I started as her assistant and then became the creative executive within a year. Our task was really mining the New York East Coast creative community and coming up with projects and developing them into features. So we met with journalists, playwrights, authors, and we developed a few films [including The Insider and Coyote Ugly] which was great.
It was super, it was a very fun job, and again it meant coming up with a concept that you have to sell in to the studio. And my boss had a straight line in the Disney business so we actually could get things through really quickly.
What came next?
So after about three and a half years, I started to think about what was next. The logical next step would be to move to Los Angeles. I just started thinking about what was going on and meanwhile the Internet bubble was heaving in the background.
I had a call from a guy who started a digital agency working with entertainment, lifestyle and fashion businesses, working on the web build and digital strategy. And he was really eager to have someone come on board with studio experience. So I made the jump into dot-com.
At that stage, the bubble was at its peak. The company was called KPE; it doesn’t exist anymore. I worked on business development and account management. I was working with clients and developing their web strategies. Hearst International was a client here, the UK counterpart was then called National Magazines—they were clients. We did a big project with Unilever and iVillage; we did a pitch for the Ralph Lauren business.
It was really fun and I found myself finding an increasing number of UK based clients. And again it was coming up with strategies, creative concepts to then execute.
How would you explain what a business development job really is?
In that role, it’s getting new clients. So I was working with existing stable clients and then I was also working on pitches to bringing new business. So business growth.
When did you transition over to London from New York?
While I was in college I had spent 6 months living in Florence, and loved the experience living abroad and always thought that someday if I could live abroad again it would amazing.
At that time, KPE had that tiny London office with some clients, and after three years I put my hand up and said, “Okay do you think I can go over and help the London office?”. My boss at the time was great and said, “Okay you can go for 6 months, that’s it. You’re coming back.”
I was a diehard New Yorker, and none of my friends believed that I was actually going until I had my going away party. I got on the airplane literally 13 years ago, stuck my stuff in storage, and moved.
I kept working with magazine companies and did some pitches for the fashion businesses, and after about 2 months I got the call saying, “We’re going to close the London office, will you come back?” and I said, “Thank you so much but no, I’m going to stay.”
The guy running the London office said he would buy up the business and that I should stay.
So I stayed on for a few months, and then I had the realization that I would really like to go work brand side, and working with clients was terrific and it diversified my experience but I really wanted to work for a brand.
Then I went to work for LVMH on Thomas Pink [a men’s shirting company] specifically, originally running sales and then running sales and marketing globally. It was a great experience, tons of international experience: opening stores in China Turkey, Thailand, US, working on branding, going to a dot-com business. And it was lovely to be part of the group.
I had been a customer, and I loved all my jobs; I love selling, I love focusing on the customer, I love focusing on the brand and the whole consumer proposition. And my dream was one day, if I could also work across all of these disciplines on a product that I was seriously passionate about, that would be amazing.
So how did your job at Net-A-Porter come about?
I spent 5 years and a bit at Thomas Pink. I was on maternity leave, getting ready to get back to work, and I had a call from a headhunter who I knew and said, “Alison what are you doing?” and I said, “I just had a baby, just doing that.” She said why don’t you, you know, come in and have a coffee. And we had a meeting and asked if anything opened up at Net-A-Porter what would I think. I basically bit her hand off with excitement, I was like “yes!”
I had been a customer, and I loved all my jobs; I love selling, I love focusing on the customer, I love focusing on the brand and the whole consumer proposition. And my dream was one day, if I could also work across all of these disciplines on a product that I was seriously passionate about, that would be amazing.
She very kindly arranged a meeting with Natalie and me, and they created a role for me, which was Vice-President of sales and marketing. That was 7 years ago.
So what did you do in that role?
I was overseeing all the customer touch-points other than the buy. So it was marketing and PR and brand and content, and the sales teams and customer care, and the creative. And two and a half years ago I became President.
I would always joke when I first joined that when I had my first child, Net-A-Porter was my window to the outside fashion world. During naptime, the first thing I would do was go to Net-A-Porter, without fail. I had memories of working at KPE and having the Daily Candy email announcing Net-A-Porter. I remember it and being so incredibly excited.
And what is your responsibility as President of the company?
So, beyond the Profit & Loss [financial] responsibility for the business, I’m responsible for the strategic direction of the business, and our growth. Strategic Direction is the best way to sum it up.
How do you go about working on that?
It’s really a combination of things. We are blessed with a lot of data, which is vital to decision making, but a lot of fantastic idea generation is the result of amazing teamwork and brainstorming. We look at the market and trends and we always go to our customers – they are a great source of information and inspiration and everything we do is for them.
How has the company changed since you started?
There’s been so much change. We turned 14 yesterday, but the business has really retained quite a bit of its entrepreneurial spirit.
The Manhattan office is now three and a half years old. We opened in Hong Kong. We introduced beauty. We translated our sites, and of course we launched our print magazine. There’s been so much happening.
For me, it’s such a joy to come to the US too, because it’s coming home. But if you go to any of our offices around the world, they look identical; so if you were on a videoconference you actually wouldn’t even know where the person is you’re talking to. They have the same chandeliers, chairs, everything.
Why is that?
Natalie Massenet has always had a clear and wonderful vision of what a fantastic company should look like. The open floor plan and clear glass walled meeting rooms allow for transparency amongst the teams. We don’t like to distinguish ourselves as six different offices but rather one global team – you could be video conferencing between London and New York or Hong Kong and the backgrounds are almost indistinguishable.
It seems like throughout your career a lot of your work has been in more corporate environments. Is that something you enjoy and feel you thrive in?
Net-A-Porter when I joined, when I compare the business 7 years ago to the size we are now, it actually didn’t feel very big. And I would never describe our business as very corporate.
I feel I’m pretty adaptable, so I’m quite happy. What’s great about my work now is I can work in very small teams and we have small teams around the business so you can feel like you’re in a small organization within something that’s a bit larger.
Do you wish that you had gone to business school?
I don’t. I’m sure I would have had a great time, but I don’t regret not going. For me the best experience I’ve had is working across a number of different industries and in couple different countries now, getting great international exposure, and that has been my business school. I would never nearly suggest that I know everything, and I’m still growing and still learning and as long as you’re in your career and you still feel stretched in the right ways, that’s so gratifying. I’ve had great mentors as well.
Is there someone in particular that you feel has been a really strong influence on your career?
In my Net-A-Porter history, Natalie has been incredibly inspiring and motivating and such a super role model, not just for me but also for women everywhere.
Prior to Net-A-Porter, my mentor at LVMH was the man that hired me called Francois Steiner. He was a great boss and has become a good friend. He really took a chance on me, hiring me for a sales director role within a brand coming from this digital agency, coming from magazines, coming from advertising. It wasn’t obvious. He is the one who really saw this certain narrative in my CV as it was then and thought, I’m going to take a chance on you.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten?
I think the advice goes back from even earlier. I went a girls school in New York for 12 years, it was a small school called Chapin. We had this phenomenal headmistress and the one thing that she said in first grade was, “Women and girls you can do anything. One day there will be a woman president. You can do anything.”
If you set your mind to it, you can do anything. It’s embodying so much confidence and so much belief.
We definitely have the parents who put the kids to bed and have a glass of wine and are shopping, around 8:30-9pm.
What’s an average day for you?
Lots of team, brand and budget meetings, creative concepts, bringing new things to market.
We [recently] launched this section on the site called Net-A-Sporter. We’ve identified that there’s a sort of a gap in the athletic wear market. And for our women and our customers who spend so much time looking at beauty and fashion and want to look terrific and style is important, they want an opportunity to look stylish while they’re working out.
So for example, a typical day would be sitting talking about what is this concept, what is it going to look like, having the buyers share with me what their vision is, the editorial team coming to the table and saying this is what we’re going to do. We spend a lot of time talking about content, talking about technology and social. So I think the short answer is no two days are the same. The constant is we’re always thinking about the customer. We’re always technology focused, always product-focused and content-focused. We’re always trying to figure out how we can get better.
Everything moves so quickly now, has strategy and planning become more difficult when trying to keep up with the pace of fashion & technology?
I think that you can have an overall arch ambition and you just have to be nimble. Technology is amazing but it also can be onerous and as soon as something new launches we don’t always jump on board. With all these new platforms launching we have to think what’s the right and what’s wrong for our customer, where is she going go?
So yes, you can do a certain amount of planning, you can do financial forecasting, the potential that you see for the business, but the execution certainly evolves.
Who makes up the members of your team?
So within Net-A-Porter world we’re just under about 250 people. Our group has the three brands: us, The Outnet and Mr Porter, and we do share some resources like HR and IT.
On my team, I have our editor-in-chief, Lucy Yeomans, who is terrific. She is responsible for Porter Magazine and The Edit, and she has Jenny Dickinson, the Senior Editor of The Edit. On the marketing side, I have Lisa Bridgett who is overseeing all the sales and marketing functions globally. I have on the buying side, Ben Matthews and Sasha Sorkin, who are overseeing the buying team. And I have the head of e-commerce Agnieszka Kij who is responsible for the site and accessing new technology and what can we be doing better. Then I have David Olsen, based here in the US, who runs our beauty business.
Within the team, they’re all incredibly talented. They work very well together. It all starts with the product, but the question is really how do you bring that product to the customer. How do we make her fall in love with it through content? How do we make sure that we’re showing her the product in the clearest way possible through the site, and what kind of technology can make that happen, and what kind of brands are we bringing on board, what kind of platforms are we using?
It’s a lot to be thinking about constantly…
Yeah, but it’s great. The business is so energizing. I usually describe myself as pretty energetic but the business I think is infused with [the same energy.]
How closely are you involved with working with the other brands?
Day-to-day not very often. I was involved with the launch of The Outnet in terms of branding; I was very involved with launching Mr Porter, which was definitely a career highlight.
I have a very close working relationship with Ian Tansley, who runs Mr Porter and with Stephanie Phair who runs The Outnet. We make sure the teams are collaborating in the right way. I’m Net-A-Porter focused but I always have this group in mind.
Can you explain your relationship to Natalie and how you work together? What are the differences in your roles and how it influences the work that you do?
I have a great working relationship with Natalie. She is so inspiring and if you ever get stuck on an idea, she is a fountain of ideas, a fountain of energy. She is the perfect person to brainstorm at all times.
Natalie is responsible for the whole group and is working across all three of the brands and looking at other opportunities for us as well, whereas I’m tasked with Net-A-Porter.
What do you think the biggest challenge of your job is?
I’d say the challenge, which is an addressable challenge, is focus. As a business, we love opportunity and tend to go for it. And there is so much opportunity out there and the notion of knowing that you can’t do everything at once can be super frustrating. And also wanting to bring these things to market quickly enough.
What do you enjoy the most?
I’d say the people: my team and the people I get to work with. One, it’s the team that makes it all happen. And two, it’s just a delight to spend time with them, and I feel like the idea generation is phenomenal.
As your role has changed within the company and become a bit more of a public one, how has that impacted the way that you work?
I think in terms of the way I work, it’s enabled me, it’s forced me to take a step away from the detail, which certainly was a challenge at the beginning because I love the detail, and anyone who works with me would smile if they heard me say that.
You’ve worked in the UK and in New York. What are the biggest differences between working between the two?
It’s funny, I think the differences are fewer that they were when I moved originally.
I think the pace. New York always felt a bit more hectic. I think that being in London there’s much more of an international lens. You looked at things on a more global scale. But I think that’s changed too.
Do you think that there are systems within the fashion industry that feel not up to speed with the way everything is moving?
I think one of the things we’ve been pretty vocal about is that the fashion cycle doesn’t always make sense. There’s this idea, coming back to the customer, that it’s really hard in most places for women. If you wanted to buy a summer dress right now you would have a problem.
This is why for us, in our proposition, we want to give women a buy now, wear now option. Of course you’re going to have a customer who’s interested in a coat right now and that’s terrific because we have that for her, but equally we also have vacation stuff all year round. It’s also speaking to a global customer base
Have you seen any really interesting patterns in the way that people are shopping?
The things that I always find fascinating are the hours to which people are shopping. We have screens in our office with Google Earth, and every time there’s an order it shows up. We don’t see who is purchasing but we see the city and the product.
It’s great because I get in the office in the morning and I will see earrings being sold in California and I work out the time that it was purchased and I’m thinking wow, and I’m wondering why, and what was she doing. We definitely have the parents who put the kids to bed and have a glass of wine and are shopping, around 8:30-9pm.
Has working in e-commerce changed the way you shop for yourself?
Absolutely. I do almost all of my shopping online and working at NET-A-PORTER has raised my expectations of service; now that I know what it takes to offer world class service I don’t take it for granted but it’s something I expect every time I shop.
How do you balance work and family?
I think that balance is essential. For me, it’s essential to my being happy and performing and everything else. I am very very close to my family.
I do travel, but I think I travel smart in that I have very intense trips to get a huge amount done. Then when I get home, I have two small children, the important thing is that I’m there for them and that we get quality time together. And I’m here for all the important things. I’m very lucky because I live right near my office, so that certainly helps.
I get so much satisfaction out of my work and I’m so energized, I think that also has a really nice effect on me as a mother. And I think that I am so satisfied as a mother that that also helps me tremendously in my work.
How do you disconnect from work?
I think turning off is very important, during vacations, at night, on the weekends. I do exercise, I love running and I do Pilates when I can. For me the number one way to turn off is spending time with my kids, so if we’re building Lego, playing scrabble, and we go to the country a lot which is great. It’s an instant way to disconnect.
What would your advice be to people who want to be running great businesses one day?
I’d say make sure you love what you’re doing. I’m always floored when I meet young women who know exactly what they want to do. So if you do know exactly what you want to do, it’s important to think about at what your trajectory is going be.
But also looking at different experiences and trying different things. The one piece of advice that I always give people is if you know what you want to do and it’s not what you’re doing right now, go for it. Just because your CV might say one thing, there’s no reason why you can’t go for something else. I think sometimes taking a path that isn’t a straight path but a windy path where you get your experience in a few different places, is great.
And don’t be afraid to ask questions – just going out there and just absorbing lots and lots of experiences and trying to get as much under your belt as possible.
What do you look for in someone that you’re hiring or someone you want to work with? What are the key qualities that you’re searching for?
Beyond the disciplinary skills, which go without saying, they don’t necessarily need to come from a fashion or luxury background. In terms of personal qualities, it’s energy, people who are idea generators, people who love the customer, who are fanatical about the business, and who are lovely to work with. We are surrounded by people who work really hard but also have a sense of humor, and it’s a delight to be around.
What is your dream for your career?
I’d say continue to be really happy and fulfilled.
There’s been some noticeable crispness in the morning air lately, and now that the calendar has turned to August, we can no longer avoid the fact that fall is coming at us. While it’s too warm during the days for fall clothes, there are little ways that you can start your seasonal transition without producing any excess sweat; one of the best is with a new nail polish.
Below, we’ve selected a number of shades that are still colorful enough to be summer-appropriate but dark enough to feel like the first element of your personal, sartorial transition into the coming season. Almost any color is appropriate for this time of year; the key is finding just the right shade.
Why It’s the Bag of the Week: After the departure of creative director Tamara Mellon, Jimmy Choo has been on the road to a more modern, refined look. Handbags were always a spot that could have used improvement under Mellon, and this little bag embraces the detail-laden Choo aesthetic without spilling over into ridiculous territory.
Why It’s the Bag of the Week: Marc by Marc Jacobs is in the middle of an image revamp, and as a result, the bags are starting to skew noticeably more sleek and sophisticated than they have in recent seasons. Luckily, they’re still just as affordable as ever.
Whether you’re spending a little time inside this weekend because of Hurricane Arthur or just because you prefer air conditioning at all times, you’re in luck – the July 4th Sales are pretty great, and online shopping is among our favorite indoor activities. Below, check out some of our favorite deals from around the web, and for the full listing, check out the PurseBlog Deals Page.
Personally, I’m not even sure how to write a review of something so nakedly obvious. Either you think fashioning handbags after different articles of clothing is clever, you’re probably into these bags, and if you think it’s silly or juvenile, you probably want to set them on fire. There’s not much nuance to dissect, which has always been creative director Jeremy Scott’s MO, and that tactic’s success generally succeeds or fails depending on any particular individual’s feelings about the joke he’s trying to crack with a particular piece.
These bags don’t do anything for me, even in a conceptual way, but they seem to be interesting to at least some shoppers – a $3,400 tote made in the image of a Chanel jacket has already sold out at Net-a-Porter. Check out what’s not sold out below and let us know in the comments if you’d ever carry one of these bags.
Why It’s the Bag of the Week: Although this design isn’t new, its feels fresh in this totally gorgeous shade of ultra-pale blush, with just enough black edgepaint to define its lines. I much prefer this version of the Heroine to the original tote – the closure is much more functional and intuitive on this shoulder bag.
This weekend, I’m set to make my first beach pilgrimage of the season, and with almost all schools out for the summer and July 4 quickly approaching, I likely won’t be the only one seeing sand for the first time in a year. Naturally, that kind of outing presents a few very specific accessories challenges, and we’re here to solve them with a bevy of beautiful beach bags.
Whether you’re planning to hop a bus from Manhattan to the Far Rockaways or board a yacht in Saint-Tropez, we have a beach bag that will fit your budget just as well as it fits your towel, sunscreen and beach book. Check out well over a dozen of our favorites below.
When I look back on my own history of sale purchases, one very clear pattern emerges: I usually buy on the second wave. Once a sale has been going on for a little while, stores will add new, often covetable pieces to it to reignite customer interest, and that’s where you can snap up a lot of things that rarely go on sale. The Net-a-Porter Spring Sale just hit its second wave, and that includes lots of Givenchy bags and shoes in particular, plus some awesome pieces from designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Rick Owens and Saint Laurent.
Why It’s the Bag of the Week: One of the things that gives Givenchy’s bags their intense appeal is how the brand manages to find new ways to adorn the traditional shapes each season. While some get florals or pop-culture prints, this one has cartoonishly bold snake-like stripes, except without the delicate, pricey skin itself.
One of my favorite ways to end a week is to stop for a manicure and pedicure on the way home from work. Something about spending half an hour in a chair, thinking and doing absolutely nothing, just feels like the right way to transition into a weekend. (Actually, it might not be such a mystery exactly what that “something” is.) Summer means that all of your nails are exposed far more often than the other nine months of the year, and it also means that everything is a little more bright and cheery.
I’m already anticipating getting my nails done on the way home this afternoon, and if that sounds like a custom you’d like to adopt for yourself, here are five shades you might want to consider.
Usually fur bags and accessories are released for fall and winter and then go into hiding until the next cold weather season approaches. But much to my surprise I saw a newer designer, Shrimps, release a couple of faux fur clutches just in time for spring and summer.
These bags are colorful and different, but still took me off guard. There’s a green and yellow version along with an orange and black. Price is $310 via Net-A-Porter. I want to know what you think about it too.
Fill in the blank: The Shrimps Faux Fur Clutch is _______________.
As you might have noticed, we have our mothers on our minds this week, and in advance of Mother’s Day, we’ve decided to dedicate this week’s Want It Wednesday to the things we’d buy for our moms if our budgets were open-ended. Check out our picks below!
For many fashion lovers, and especially bag lovers, our obsessions are learned in one very specific place: from our mothers. Not only did we catch the bag bug from them, but most of us learned a lot of subtle (or, depending on your mom, not-so-subtle) things about how to choose bags, what makes them beautiful and what our choices signal to others by watching our mothers go shopping and get dressed.
Fashion is a social language, after all, and now it’s time for your mom’s bags to talk back. Below, take a peak inside what your mom’s Mother’s Day gift wishes say about her.
When I think of warm weather, I think of pink. Some people gravitate toward yellow or orange, but I prefer pink’s diversity and versatility; blush is delicate enough for the first timid days of springs, and hot pink will serve you well through the hottest days of summer. And then there’s rose gold, which is an argument for the shade unto itself. For this week’s Want It Wednesday, the PurseBlog team compiled its favorite pink picks from around the web.
The Row has made bold accessory moves one of its brand signatures; the brand debuted its handbag line with a $34,000 alligator backpack at a time when no one in the industry thought backpacks could be a luxury draw, after all. Even though The Row Sling Shoulder Bag might not be quite that jaw-dropping (or expensive), it’s still well worth noting that they disappeared from Net-a-Porter’s stock almost immediately upon arrival.
When we first covered this design’s runway debut, many of you spoke positively of the possible return of the hobo, and it seems as though a number of shoppers have put their money where their mouths are. Both the $1,600 silk-twill bag and its $4,600 leather counterpart were slapped with “sold out” markers within hours of their arrival at Net-a-Porter on Monday, and they’ve yet to come back in stock, as sometimes happens with new products that quickly go out of stock on the site.
It’s impossible to tell at this point whether this bag’s nascent popularity is indicative of a coming shift in luxury bag preferences, but The Row did do a pretty good job calling that whole backpack thing several seasons before the rest of us.
If you’d like to get on the list to buy one of these bags when they’re restocked, you can do so below.
Generally, stars vary their day-to-day handbag choices quite a lot. Not only does the average celebrity have plenty of money to buy whichever bag she might desire, but most are also regularly sent the Next Big Thing by brands with which they have existing relationships. Not only does it help the brands subtly promote their products, but it gives stars new things to be photographed with every time they leave their houses. Sometimes, though, a star loves a bag so much that it becomes a constant companion, and that appears to be the case with Taylor Swift and her Dolce & Gabbana Sara Bag.
Taylor’s clothing choices are always very measured and precise, probably out of consideration for her traditionally young fanbase and her carefully crafted image as on of pop music’s girls next door. As Taylor has gotten older, though, she’s embraced pieces that are more expensive and luxurious, and this bag is a great example of how her stylists are attempting to bridge the gap between the new and old Taylor. The Sara is from an enormously well-known luxury brand, but it’s not flashy or particularly obvious. Taylor’s preferred versions of the bag are neutral and mid-sized, which makes the look seem accessible to her admirers, despite the fact that it retails for two grand. Those leather versions are currently a bit scarce, but you can pick up the bag in black lace for $1,896 via MATCHESFASHION.COM or gold brocade for $1,945 via Net-a-Porter.
For all the ways that Taylor has worn her Sara bags, check out the gallery below.
The first thing that it’s important for you to know about this post is that I have really, really dry skin. I’m 28, and people always say that skin gets drier as you age, so I shudder to think where I’m headed from here. The second thing you need to know is that I have successfully conquered my dry skin, and I’ve done it with the daily use of the five products below.
Winter is generally credited with being the time of year that’s toughest on dry skin, but in my experience, seasonal transitions like the one we’re experiencing right now can cause some wacky skincare problems. If your years of skincare trial-and-error haven’t been as fruitful as mine, maybe I can point you and your dry skin in the correct direction.
Karl Lagerfeld is, to put it lightly, an interesting dude. Not only does the Kaiser have a knack for the utterly luxurious (as seen at Chanel, Fendi and beyond), but he seems to have a parallel appreciation for low culture as well; his designs often feature inventive spins on the kinds of objects that regular people interact with everyday, recast as fashion pieces that are purposefully fantastical and ripe for discussion in the fashion press. Lagerfeld does the same at a more accessible price point in his eponymous contemporary line, where the inclusion of the Karl Lagerfeld Printed Canvas Belt Bag shouldn’t feel all that shocking.
When I laid eyes on this bag, the initial surprise I felt was not that Lagerfeld had put his name (and indeed, his visage – the tonal print is Uncle Karl in profile) on a fanny pack, but instead that his Fall 2014 send-up of the American supermarket didn’t feature one of the brand’s iconic flap bags repurposed as a belt bag. What bag is more typical of suburban superstore culture, after all, than that hands-free wonder of 80s tourism? Maybe that’s something we can look forward (“look forward”) to in the next collection; for now, Lagerfeld superfans will have to settle for this little bag. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $125.
I get a sense that a lot of women feel weird about being pale when the weather outside starts to get warm. I don’t ever feel weird about being pale, mostly because I have no idea what it’s like to be not-pale, but, you know, I’m a good listener. I hear things. Lately, most of those things have to do with the impending need to bear limbs in public that have previously been shielded from the winter cold, and in my mind, the best way to do that is via a good sunless tanner.
My mother has been drilling the anti-tanning gospel into my head since I was a child, and as a result, I’ve rarely laid out and never been to a fake tanning bed, even in my early-2000s high school days. The only color I’ve ever had is from a bottle, more or less, and you can find a couple of my favorites below, as well as a couple I’ve heard on glowing recommendation from friends. A word to the wise, though: be careful about handling light-colored bags or clothing until you’re sure how they wear. (May we suggest the chicest beach bag ever? After all, skipping the sun will save you some money on skincare down the line.)
We’ve once again reached midweek, and that means it’s time for another round of Want It Wednesday. This week, the members of the PurseBlog team have carefully cataloged our most-wanted accessories, but here’s the catch: we excluded handbags. There are so many other little details that go into a look that we don’t get to talk about all that often around here, so from caps to kaftans, we’re doing it today.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you, but over the next month or two, something confusing is going to happen: your favorite brand is going to try to sell you a backpack. Even if you’re not a student. Even, in some cases, if you haven’t been a student in several decades and you thought the designers you prefer knew you wouldn’t ever need one again. Whether or not you’re receptive to their pitch is up to you, but it’s coming. If you’re a contemporary customer, it’s already here.
When we’ve written about backpacks in the past, readers have seemed split in the idea, at best. Now that the trend has reached critical mass, with backpacks (or the euphemistically termed “sling bags”) appearing in Spring 2014 accessories lineups at virtually every level of the price spectrum, we want to hear if your opinions have changed or softened at all. Before you answer, take a look at the nearly two dozen backpacks below; some are brand new designs from brands who have gone all-in on the trend, others are familiar bags with double straps added by designers who seem to be hedging to see if backpacks are nothing more than a passing fad. (I’m betting on “fad.”)
I walk through Grand Central Terminal twice a day, five days a week, and during that portion of my commute, I have a weird little opportunity to take stock of what an enormous swath of New York City is wearing. No matter what the weather, almost everyone’s wearing something dark, year-round. New Yorkers are famously more prone to black attire than some other locales, but nearly everyone has an oversupply of his or her preferred dark neutral in the closet. That means that spring’s trend for pastels is going to be a little bit difficult for most of us, but the best way to ease into the look is with a light nail polish.
Pastel nail polish has a way of making nails look neat and hands look tan, and even if the idea of a pale pink polish seems a little too traditional for you, a blue or green might feel more natural. My favorite manicure has been pale blue for most of the past year, and I’m the furthest thing you could imagine from a lover of pastels. A polish is a good way to dip your toes, both literally and figuratively, into any kind of color trend because of the limited real estate and expense you’re investing. To get you started, we’ve included some of our favorite pastel nail colors below. (Plus a few coordinating cosmetic bags, because you need something to carry it all, right?)
Spring’s official beginning is just a couple days away, and although New York likely won’t feel all that spring-like until sometime in April, we’re feeling a little bit eager to season-push at the PurseBlog offices. For this week’s Want It Wednesday, we’ve rounded up the team’s favorite pieces for starting the new season.
Why it’s the Bag of the Week: Rarely do we find a bag like the Albion that’s not already hanging from the arms of every in-the-know fashion person on Earth. It’s a modern, exquisitely edited day bag that’s perfectly suited to the season’s trend for minimalism and pastels, but without looking trendy. Everyone will want to know what this bag is and where you got it.
For all the writing I do about style, color and accessorizing, I’m not particularly good at adding anything to my personal wardrobe but black, grey and silver. One notable exception to that rule, though, is lipstick; I rarely buy any lip color that wouldn’t be accurately described as “aggressive,” and I’m a big advocate for pushing outside of one’s makeup comfort zone. While we still wait for spring weather to land permanently on New York City, lipstick is also a great way to invigorate your wardrobe with a little color even while the chill remains.
If you’ve never worn bright makeup and are worried it won’t look right on your, fret not. Try to think of the tones of red, pink and purple that look good on you in clothing and seek them out in lipstick. Your friends or coworkers might be a little surprised the first time they see you in a neon pink lipstick, but you’d be surprised at how quickly people adapt. Plus, lipsticks are relatively inexpensive, so they’re a great way to dip your toes into the water of spring dressing without putting out a lot of cash. To get started, check out some of our favorites below!
Luggage is ugly, almost without exception. I’ve spent two days of the last week traipsing through four separate airports on six distinct occasions, so I’ve had a lot of time to stare at people’s suitcases, and they don’t vary a whole lot. And, you know, I get it. They’re durable, they’re functional, they get thrown into cargo holds. The Charlotte Olympia Excess Baggage Perspex Clutch, on the other hand, is basically the exact opposite of a real suitcase – it’s beautiful, but please don’t hand it over to a member of TSA.
Charlotte Olympia’s relentless literalism has started to wear on me over the past six months, but this clutch is one that I love without reservation. Instead of taking a random object and splitting it open to fit an iPhone and a few sticks of gum, designer Charlotte Dellal did something similar to what she did with her beautiful Trunk Clutch – she took an archetypal storage object and turned it into something cheeky and unexpected. Dellal’s at her best when she’s riffing on fashion tropes, and this clutch ranks among her most beautiful creations. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $2,995.
Huddle up, you guys. It’s March. I know that it doesn’t feel like it in about half of the United States, but it is, and we’re going to forge ahead into spring even if the weather has decided that it doesn’t want to join us for a few weeks. That’s why we’ve chose to pick only floral clothes, bags and shoes for this edition of Want It Wednesday – perhaps a sunny outfit can help Mother Nature along a little bit. At the very least, it’s worth a shot.
24 hours from now, Bea and I will be off to warm, sunny Austin for a long weekend of learning about all things Internet-y at the 2014 South By Southwest Interactive Festival. (We’ll also be eating a lot of tacos, but that’s both irrelevant to this particular post and implied in any statements I ever make about going to Texas.) Unfortunately for all involved, going to SXSW requires both suitcase-packing and air travel, two of the most pernicious and hateful activities known to modern man. We’ve had some time to think about it, though, and in case you’re going on a trip in the near future, we’d like to present you with our travel essentials for SXSW and beyond.
As you may or may not have picked up on (but probably, because you guys have two eyes and an Internet connection), New York Fashion Week ended a few days ago and we all need a rest. The long weekend helped, of course, but we’ve scoured the Internet to find the best beauty products, balms and potions for reinvigorating and rehydrating our winter-bitten skin, right down to our chapped lips.
As many of you know, today marks the first day of New York Fashion Week, and that means that for the next month, self-dubbed fashionistas around the globe are going to put on their most attention-seeking outfits and fling themselves in front of photographers in hopes of having their 15 seconds of fame on Vogue or Style.com. The vast majority of them will fail, for two reasons, usually happening in tandem: their clothes are cheap and they’re not famous. We can’t help you with the fame part, but street style photographers can, as long as you’re willing to shell out thousands upon thousands of dollars up front so you can wear some a whole bunch of “statement pieces” all at the same time.
That may sound like a ridiculous proposition, but there are Italian heiresses and Chinese socialites and the wives of Russian oligarchs (not to mention the children of 80s American and British rockstars) who are more than willing to pay what is, to them, a relatively paltry price for the prospect of fashion fame. If you’d like to be among those people, you’re going to have to put your money where your mouth is, and that means layering pink fur over a coordinating floral crop-top-and-shorts set (contrasted with another floral elsewhere in the outfit, natch), complete with bare legs and open-toe sandals in frigid February weather and in a city full of slush puddles of indeterminate depth and composition. Oh, and put something dumb on your head. Go hard or go home.
Finding a premium designer bag under $1,000 isn’t as easy as it used to be even a few years ago. Not only are leather and labor prices ever on the increase, but designers keep prices high in order to keep an air of exclusivity around their products and prevent lower-market customers from snagging their most recognizable (and bankable) goods. That’s what makes the Givenchy Easy Tote pretty unique.
At $990, the bag is not exactly inexpensive, and it’s about as close to $1,000 as a bag can be without actually hitting four digits. What’s surprising about it, though, is that the bag is both real leather and fairly distinctive. Some brands will turn out PVC totes or simple, sack-like bags to give customers something that seems attainable without giving them something overly recognizable, but this angular bag is pretty much classic Givenchy. (Riccard Tisci-era Givenchy, at least.) It’s simple without being basic or anonymous, and it’s big enough to comfortably carry to work while being tailored enough to look like it belongs there. For the price, it’s the bets deal on the top-tier market that we’ve seen in a while. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $990.
Awards season always puts clutches on our mind, and when it comes to selecting a little evening bag, we always have the same problem: wedging a phone into a box clutch in a way that also accommodates our keys, wallet and lipstick. Getting my phone in there at all is difficult, especially when it has a case on it (naked iPhones make me nervous), but accessing it throughout the evening without upsetting the delicate balance of my bag’s contents is well nigh impossible. The Kotur #Getsmartbag Elaphe Minaudiere has come up with at least one way to solve that problem: clip the phone to the outside of the bag. Ok then.
At first I was nervous that this placement would encourage screen-scratching, but let’s face it: my phone is out all the time, colliding with tabletops and bars and the edges of dinner plates and all kinds of other things, not to mention the contents of my bag that it has to contend with on the regular. Especially when flipped around, this doesn’t seem any riskier, and checking Twitter or answering a text would be pretty easy. For photos, the case part of the bag flips away from the body (it’s generally secured with a magnet), allowing you to expose the lens. I’ve thought through it a couple of times, and I haven’t been able to ascertain any obvious design flaws, which is fairly impressive when you consider that the designers were trying to find a way to solve a persistent handbag functionality problem that few others have tackled.
The most noticeable limitation, of course, is that the bag will only fit an iPhone 5, 5C or 5S, but if you’re in the market for an expensive clutch, then you’re probably more likely than average to have the most updated version of the world’s most fashionable phone. Android users are out of luck, but y’all are probably used to that feeling, right? (I say that in commiseration as a former Android user. Back in my day, we didn’t even have Instagram.) Buy through Net-a-Porter for $400.
It is deliriously cold outside right now. So cold that you want to punch yourself in the face. (Why? I dunno. Maybe because the ER is warm and then you also probably don’t have to go to work.) The snow has mostly cleared from the streets and sidewalks of New York City, but right now, Mother Nature, who is kind of a jerk lately, insists that we won’t see a temperature above freezing for at least a week, and mostly they’re going to be really, really far below that. Like a degree. One single, solitary degree. That is a temperature that can happen, apparently. This is all new to me.
As you can probably tell, I’m getting pretty sick of all of this, and it’s only January. There are precious few ways that I can protest the Earth’s global climate processes, but my favorite one is to refuse to dress like a professional adult for the duration of the season. It’s going to be all sweats-masquerading-as-clothes and sneakers-masquerading-as-designer-shoes from here on out, or at least until we get back to, like, a balmy 35 degrees. For this weekend, and maybe all of the weekends, I have selected the outfit of the week below.
As January draws to a close, so does the traditional luxury sale season, but that won’t stop us from scouring the Internet each Friday for our weekly dose of bag deals. This week, we searched the best sales that are still ongoing and found some treasures, from calf hair, to exotics, to the perfect Marchesa spring wedding clutch for 60% off. Check them all out below.
It’s been a weird week, man. Last time we got together to discuss our ideal Outfit of the Week, the windchill outside was below zero and I couldn’t feel my face. On the other hand, I broke a sweat walking in to work in a heavy sweater. As a result, this week’s ideal outfit is my official white flag to the concept of dressing for the weather, since the weather seems hell bent on reminding me that it is in charge at all times. So here’s some spring stuff I’d like to put on my body and/or head, all at once, in the near future.
We’ve covered the ever-growing Fendi Bag Bug phenomenon a couple times before, but if you ever doubted how much luxury consumers absolutely love the weird, cartoonish, absolutely adorable little accessory monster that Fendi introduced a season ago, consider this: Net-a-Porter got a $1,500 pair of double-monster Fendi Bag Bug Earmuffs in stock over the holiday, and as quick as they showed up, they were completely sold out.
If you thought $700 was a mind-boggling price tag for Fendi’s perpetually sold out bag charms, then you’re probably somewhat dazed right now. I know I am, and I’ve been staring at the product page for these earmuffs for like a week. The rich, they’re different from you and me. They can spend north of a G on novelty earmuffs. For comparison, a pair of Gucci fur earmuffs costs about $400. (Does anyone actually wear earmuffs?)
Maybe they’re not so different, though; the Fendi bag bugs (both the charms and the bags that look like monsters themselves) have sold well because they have a sense of fun to them. Fashion can be an endlessly self-serious interest to have, but these cute accessories value irreverence as much as they do luxury. That combination, when done well, can be endlessly enticing, and Fendi seems to have hit the nail on the head. If you’d like a pair of these muffs reserved for you when they come back into stock, you can add them to your wishlist at Net-a-Porter.
A couple of you have been asking about the Net-a-Porter Fall 2013 International Sale and when it would start, and we had to stay mum at the time, but now the secret (and the sale) is out! Starting this morning, you can shop up to 50% off Net-a-Porter’s huge selection of designer clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories. You guys know the drill, though: the best stuff disappears quickly, so shop like you mean it.
In most areas of my life (although, for some reason, not at work?), I’m an unrepentant procrastinator. Why do today what I can put off until tomorrow, especially when the tasks I’m putting off are stressful or tedious and my other options (Netflix, brunch, napping) are fun and relaxing? Based on the crowds at the mall the week before the holiday, a lot of you feel the same about last-minute Christmas shopping.
The rise of online retail has made last-minute shopping both easier and harder. You don’t have to brave the lines and parking lots of America’s crowded shopping dens, but you do put yourself at the mercy of retailers and shipping companies in hopes that their delivery guarantees actually mean something. Below, some gift options from retailers who claim that you have a few days left to order before your Christmas shopping mission must be undertaken in person.