Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Classic Watches: Still Chic!

OK you've got the chic dress, the sexy shoes and the designer handbag but still your outfit is not quite complete as you now need the finishing touch, some jewelry. One piece that goes with every occasion is a watch and over the past 50 years watches have grown in popularity, especially among women. Once thought of as merely a functional piece of equipment, in recent years the watch has turned into a full-fledged fashion accessory; it's the perfect accessory to dress up on any occasion.

As with any piece of jewelry, when it comes to watches it's not just the look as quality does matter. That is why brands such as Movado, Cartier, Rolex and Tag Heuer have stood the test of time. They are not just great looking pieces of jewelry, they are also functional. They are iconic and often get passed from generation to generation. Below are some of the Cartier, Rolex and Movado watches that have stood the test of time and remain relevant today.

ShopNBC | Cartier | Women's | Luxury | Watches | Jewelry
The Classy Women's Cartier Tank Watch

The Cartier Tank was built in 1917 by Louis Cartier and was inspired by the tanks found on the battlefield of World War I. The design has many versions, but is viewed by many as one of the classiest watches created.

The Rolex Datejust has gone through many iterations since it was first introduced in 1945, as the “Jubilee Datejust” to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Wilsdorf & Davis Company (now Rolex Watch Company). It remains to this day, one of the most iconic watches produced. Shown in the picture below is the amazing Rolex Ladies Stainless Steel Datejust with Diamond Dial and Oyster Band, clearly designed to be much more than a watch. The Rolex Ladies Oyster Perpetual Datejust is Rolex’s bestselling ladies model to date.

Rolex | Luxury | Watches
The Luxe Women's Rolex Datejust Watch

The Movado Museum, released in 1947, stands alone in its simplicity in aesthetic. It was also the first watch to ever be displayed at the Museum of Modern Art. Renowned for its design, this watch can truly compliment any style due to its simplicity and quality.

ShopNBC | Movado | Luxury | Watches | Jewelry
The Stylish Movado Museum Watch

Each of these women’s watches is truly unique and has been created with highly precise craftsmanship and design aesthetic in mind. You will find these on the wrists of women all over the world.

When it comes to watches, one tip we do make, is that as with any piece of jewelry or expensive purchase, make sure you purchase from a reputable and authorized dealer. The Rolex watch can be found at places like Melrose Jewelers and Time and Gems, and the Cartier and Movado watches can both be found at ShopNBC, offering luxury within reach.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Miss Gustto Designer Handbags

Greetings fashionistas! I hope you’re enjoying a stylish and spectacular summer! It’s hard to believe that in a few weeks we’ll be getting ready to trade our beachwear for boots. However, we can’t be too sad about the cooler temps to come. After all, the super-thick September issues of our fave fashion magazines are all hitting the shelves, and boy, do we have some fabulous Fall fashion to look forward to! At Chic Alert, we’re always excited to share the latest style news, and one of the big stories for Fall is the new line of budget-friendly designer handbags from Gustto, a line by French fashion designer, Agathe Planchon.

AnnaLynne McCord | Gustto | Women's | Chic | Designer | Handbags | Shoes
AnnaLynne McCord sporting a Gustto "Malia" designer handbag.

Hollywood Celebrities Love Gustto Handbags

If you’ve picked up a fashion mag during the past five years (and who hasn’t?), you’ve no doubt seen some of the exquisite pieces from Gustto, Planchon’s super chic and sophisticated line of designer handbags. Her buttery soft creations have earned a loyal following among high-fashion celebrities and style-setters around the world. And it really is no wonder so many celebrities have been spotted carrying these beautiful designer bags. They are classy and chic and easily transform from day into night!

Fans include Hollywood A-listers Eva Longoria Parker (Eva has quite a collection of Gussto bags including a Purple "Brescia" bag, a Red "Rosa" clutch and a Taupe "Bonba" clutch), Kim Kardashian (has the "hot" "Andrea" Gustto handbag in Black), Paris Hilton (Paris has been seen carrying a Fushia "Brescia" Gustto handbag) and Cameron Diaz (spotted recently with the lovely Yellow "Ciosa" Clutch) as well as up-and-coming starlets Emmy Rossum, Dancing With the Stars champion turned actress, Julianne Hough, and 90210’s reigning “It Girl,” AnnaLynne McCord.

Earlier in May this year, AnnaLyne McCord was spotted out and about in Los Angeles wearing Black Orchid's "Black Jewel" skinny jeans in Snow White wash (available on Singer22.com for $105) and keeping her outfit neutral, the 90210 star carried a Tan "Malia" Gustto handbag (see image above). With lace up detailing in ultra soft tan Italian leather, the "Malia" Gussto handbag features a removable strap that effortlessly transforms the bag and allowing it to be worn a variety of ways. Paired with bright peep toe pumps, don't you just love the super-chic look. An avid fan of both lines, AnnaLynne has been seen sporting Black Orchid and Gustto handbags on numerous occasions. She also loves her Black Andrea Gussto handbag as does Kim Kardashian. Miley Cyrus also loves the Camel "Malia" bag.

Enjoying the warm summer weather, dressed casually in shorts, t-shirt and sandals, as well as cap and sunnies Hollywood A-lister Halle Berry was recently spotted out and about in West Hollywood wearing the "Falcha" Gustto handbag. The ultra soft Italian leather shoulder bag features a removable strap that effortlessly transforms it into a messenger. With exposed zippers and a bright purple suede interior, the "Falcha" Gustto designer handbag is the perfect accessory to edge up Halle's laid back look. Halle is definitely a big fan of the luxurious handbag line having also been spotted on a number occasions wearing the "Milano" Gustto messenger.

Halle Berry | Gustto | Women's | Chic | Designer | Handbags | Shoes
Halle Berry carrying the Gussto "Falcha" Designer Handbag

Miss Gustto Handbags

It’s no surprise that Agathe Planchon’s superbly crafted Gustto handbags can retail for more than four figures. However, for those of us who crave the cutting-edge cool of the Gustto brand without the eye-popping price tag, Planchon has created a fab new line, Miss Gustto. Inspired by a group of young girlfriends on a budget, and timely so given the tough economic climate we have found ourselves in, a Miss Gustto handbag will set us back a mere $40 to $130 – an affordable price point for such high-end designer style! Let's take a quick look at the new Miss Gustto handbags! Here are my top picks.

"Bonnie" - Miss Gustto Handbag

First on my must-have list is the uber-chic "Bonnie" bag as shown in the image below. This sumptuous designer handbag meets all of the criteria on my “fantasy bag” checklist: Contemporary, Versatile, Fashionable and Affordable! Made of luxe, glazed faux leather, the "Bonnie" bag is the picture of urban chic. Studded detailing, along with side zippers and leather rope tassels, give this designer handbag plenty of attitude without going too over-the-top. I absolutely love the expandable shape and claw closure. As someone who has a tendency toward overstuffing her handbags (I’d love to be one of those ladies who can get through the day with just a lipstick and a wallet in her purse, but I’m so not! ), the roomy interior is a huge plus. Equally awesome is the top zip closure. In addition to keeping your items secure, it allows you to keep your personal items from prying eyes in a way that one-button or snap closures don’t. (The cute guy next to me on the subway doesn’t need to know that I’ve got a Hello Kitty makeup mirror and enough old receipts to fill a small warehouse in there!).

Miss Gustto | Women's | Chic | Designer | Handbags | Shoes
The uber-chic Miss Gustto, "Bonnie" Designer Handbag

Available in Dark Brown, Black, Charcoal and Stone, the "Bonnie" Miss Gustto handbag features dual shoulder straps with a 7” drop. It has a flat bottom and measures 9 ½” deep x 12 ½” high, expanding to a maximum 18” width. The fabric interior lining contains both a back wall zip pocket and front wall, multifunctional slip pockets – perfect for everything from your cell phone to your hairbrush. Available at Zappos.com at $98, this of-the-moment designer handbag is a stylish steal!

"Elena" - Miss Gustto Handbag

My next pick is the stunning "Elena" bag as shown in the image directly below. Where the "Bonnie" handbag exudes a hint of motorcycle chic, the Miss Gussto "Elena" bag has a classic feel that makes it the perfect addition to any fashionista’s wardrobe. This lustworthy designer handbag has been spotted on Shay Mitchell of Pretty Little Liars (my guilty pleasure). It is made of shiny faux leather and features dual chain Silver shoulder straps with an 8” drop. But it’s the attachable cross body strap that brings this designer handbag from my want list to my “absolutely, positively, have-to-have it” list. If you’ve caught any of celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe’s appearances on the talk show circuit this month, you already know that the Messenger Bag is on her list of top 10 items for Fall. With its attachable 24” dropcross body strap, the "Elena" Miss Gustto handbag lets us work the more daytime Messenger Bag style when we want to, but leaves us free to wear the classic dual strap look at night. The best of both worlds – I love it! This gorgeous designer handbag comes in Black and Blue, and measures 6” deep x 13” high, expanding to a maximum width of 17 ½”. Like the "Bonnie" Miss Gustto handbag, it features a rear exterior zip pocket, top zip closure and an interior lining with a back wall zip pocket and front wall multifunctional slip pockets. The "Elena" bag, however, features an interior zip divider in addition to a flat bottom with feet to protect it when set down. This statement designer handbag retails for just $99. At that price, can I afford not to get it? LOL!

Miss Gustto | Women's | Chic | Designer | Handbags | Shoes
The stunning "Elena" Miss Gustto Designer Handbag

"Clarice" - Miss Gustto Handbag

Last but definitely not least, the "Clarice" bag as shown in the image below is a bagonista’s dream. This phenomenally chic Miss Gustto designer handbag is crafted from subtly glazed, crinkled faux leather and features dual shoulder straps with an 8” drop. Not to be outdone in the versatility department, it also has an attachable shoulder strap with a 14” drop. I just love the way these Miss Gustto designer purses allow for different looks! At 6” deep x 9” high and expandable to a maximum 16” width, it’s slightly smaller than the "Bonnie" and "Elena" bags, but still roomy enough to hold your designer wallet, designer sunglasses, BlackBerry and a small makeup case. It has a top zip closure along with front and exterior side pockets. The lined interior includes a back wall zip pocket and front wall slip pockets that always come in handy for those loose items that would otherwise get lost at the bottom of your purse. At $112, the Miss Gussto "Clarice" designer handbag is available in Black, Charcoal and Stone. It’s definitely on my Fall shopping list!

Miss Gustto | Women's | Chic | Designer | Handbags | Shoes
The super chic "Clarice" Miss Gustto, Designer Handbag

Where to Buy Miss Gustto Handbags

These are just a few of more than ten fashion-forward Miss Gustto designs, available online at Macys.com, Nordstrom.com, Zappos.com, and Amazon.com, as well as in-store at Macy’s, Nordstrom and Von Maur. Internationally, Miss Gustto handbags are available at the popular Brown’s in Canada and at Seibu in Hong Kong. The gorgeous budget-friendly line will also be featured in upcoming Macy’s and Von Maur catalogues. I’m so excited about this collection! Combining Planchon’s sophisticated designer aesthetics with affordable price points, it’s sure to appeal to today’s smart, fashion-savvy shopper! What do you think, are you ready to embrace the Miss Gustto girl style? Do you have a favorite? Let us know!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Luxury Fashion Sales Are Up

Is the global financial crisis over? Are we now all buying luxury designer handbags like never before? Well the 2010 profit reports of fashion houses like LVMH Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton, the world's largest maker of luxury goods (see Summary 2010 Half Year figures LVMH) and that of French luxury goods giant PPR, the owner of Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Puma (see: Champagne popping again in luxury business) suggest that we are.

Louis Vuitton | Chrissie MM | Luxury | Women's | Designer | Handbag
Louis Vuitton Chrissie MM, a Luxury Designer Handbag in a dazzling Monogram Multicolor canvas.

Earlier this week LVMH Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton, announced a 53 per cent jump in profits in the six months to the end of June, from €687m in 2009 to €1.05b ($1.36b) in 2010, with its flagship brand Louis Vuitton posting a 28% growth to €1.2b of total operating profit and today PPR reported that its net profit in the six months to the end of June jumped 113.3 per cent to €403m ($444.9m) with the company's Gucci brand sales increasing by 17.7% and now accounting for slightly more than 40% of its sales.

Gucci | Medium Hobo | Luxury | Designer | Women's | Handbag
Gucci medium hobo, a Luxury Designer Handbag with leather belt and running GG detail.

Other high-end fashion houses such as the UK fashion group, Burberry, and France’s Hermès have also reported increased results. For example, last week Hermès reported a 22.8% increase in sales (LVMH results signal luxury revival).

So what does all this mean? Has the demand for designer fashion bounced back strongly this year such that we're now seeing a revival in luxury shopping? Have us fashionistas returned to buying "it" bags? Or is it more that retailers are replenishing their designer clothing and accessories such as designer shoes and designer handbags after the recession (Bloomberg Businessweek, LVMH Profit Beats Estimates on Rising Fashion Sales)? It will be interesting to see how the year-end profits turn out.

Louis Vuitton and Gucci Designer Handbags

Just a brief description of the lovely Louis Vuitton and Gucci Designer Handbags shown in the images above. The first image is of the Louis Vuitton Chrissie MM in a dazzling Monogram Multicolor canvas. It features rich Gold brass studs giving both a sophisticated and edgy rock chic look and is available in both Blanc and Noir. This super chic Louis Vuitton designer handbag is priced at $2,720.

Gucci | Medium Hobo | Luxury | Women's | Designer | Handbags

The second image above shows the gorgeous Gucci medium hobo with leather belt and running GG detail. This designer handbag features antique brass hardware and detachable identification tag with embossed Gucci crest trademark and is priced at $1,850.