Whether you are poised to indulge_ or your curiosity is simply by wuxiangyu

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									        HOW TO
     BUY
   Whether you are poised to indulge, or your curiosity is simply
          piqued, we offer you an informative, discerning
  investment guide to life’s not-so-little luxuries. Because one day,
         you just might be in the market for a helicopter . . .
              P ho t o g r a P h s b y t ob y Mc Fa r l a n P on d   styling by noeMi bonazzi




Newel vintage scarlet
velvet drapes; Clarence
House tiebacks. For
details, see Sources
                                                                         HOW TO BUY
                                                                                                                                                                                                  New Hampshire
                                                                                                                                                                                             Antique Co-op silver-
                                                                                                                                                                                               plated wine caddy




                                                 RARE WINES                       by alice Feiring



 A status wine certainly runs you less than a De Kooning, but unlike priceless art, a coveted vintage once enjoyed
     is gone forever. Unearthing these endangered jewels can be tricky, but a few choice experts light the way



A
              s one of this country’s top wine consultants, Robert Bohr often has to Becky Wasserman, the ultimate Burgundy insider, and is led by the likes of wine
              drop everything in order to schlep off to Alaska to serve as the personal critics Allen Meadows, Anthony Hanson and Clive Coates. If you’re a good guest,
              sommelier on one of his clients’ fishing trips, or helicopter off to the and Wasserman and her husband, Russell Hone, take a liking to you, you’ve found
              Hamptons to decant an extravagant host’s dinner-party choices. There’s your perfect, priceless mentors.
also the more serious stuff of prospecting for special bottles; husbanding his clients’             Another great source is a working sommelier. Find one you have a rapport with
collections; selling off their wines at the right time; and dealing with the increasing and then get him on your side. You might begin with recommendations from his list,
challenge of snapping up older vintages for them. Such was the time when the phone buying expensive and rare, and allowing him nice gulps to start. Top restaurants with
rang and it was the restaurateur Joe Bastianich on the other end.                                wine lists thick in older vintages, like The French Laundry in California and Charlie
    “Joe had a good friend with a multibillion-dollar Las Vegas casino business and a Trotter’s in Chicago, are obvious places to find influential sommeliers, but consider
bad situation,” Bohr says. “On premise was a wine whale”—a phrase adapted from the the whole wine staff. (Some of Bohr’s clients today were his customers when he was a
casino-industry term for a high roller, used for a certain kind of status-wine drinker— captain at Gramercy Tavern in New York.) They can invite you to tastings, train your
“from China who would only drink 1985 Romanée-Conti. The casino owner was in a palate better than a wine class, and educate you on new and old releases.
pickle and needed two magnums. Now, Romanée-Conti with age is not exactly some-                     Tim Kopec, who presides over the list at New York City restaurant Veritas, is gen-
thing that you go to the grocery store for, and it’s even difficult to find them at auction. erous with his suggestions. Even if you don’t buy at auction, he recommends going to
But I never say no to Joe, because he always treats me right.” Fortunately, Bohr had the pre-auction BYOB dinners. “You meet a lot of people,” Kopec says. “A lot of good
obtained some for another client and persuaded that client to relinquish the magnums wine gets passed around.” Ask the sommelier working who’s the biggest collector in
as a favor. Within 24 hours, FedEx delivered the Romanée-Conti to the whale.                     the room and send him a glass of something truly special that you’ve brought. This
    A more common and typically less complicated request is to source a birth-year is like asking the best tango dancer in the room for a spin, so don’t bring a bottle of
wine. A client appealed to Paul Wasserman, head of the wine shop The Wine Hotel in Bordeaux less than 20 years old or some brand-new California cult wine, because
Los Angeles, to find a bottle for chef Thomas Keller. “We had to dig up a birth-year you’ll be marked as an ignoramus.
wine for Keller as a gift upon the opening of Bouchon Beverly Hills. The gift giver                 Of course, some missteps are rites of passage for all collectors, but there are safe
couldn’t spend a fortune.” In the end Keller received a 1955 Certan de May, a wine havens. Specialty shops such as London’s Antique-wine.com are good for older vintages,
that currently runs about $800 for a bottle in good condition.                                   and in Paris, the posh new Bordeauxthèque is getting a lot of traffic. The 2,500-square-
    For wine buyers, a consultant can be more important than cash. Anyone with enough foot space tucked into the Galeries Lafayette flagship is the world’s largest Bordeaux
money can buy a case of 2009 Cheval Blanc (about $12,000 for one of 6,000 cases pro- boutique. A joint venture with the Duclot Group, owned by the Moueix family (of Bor-
duced) and wait for delivery in 2012. Buyers looking for stellar wines that are ready deaux wine estate Pétrus), Bordeauxthèque has become a prime target for vintage-
to drink now might need to enlist the help of some well-placed contacts as well.                 happy tourists from Asia and Russia. The store’s heart is a marble and alabaster
    The normal route for snaring rare and coveted items is auction. (Not everyone rotunda, a rainbow of verticals that they promise come directly from the cellars of
can link into a Bohr or Wasserman, someone who can make their score on the inside, the château itself. This is a key point: When you’re dealing with $27,000 for a 1945
far away from the gavel.) Some of the auction houses like Christie’s are seeing a new Mouton Rothschild, a guarantee of authenticity, in this world of faux bottles, is a nice
crop of young buyers coming in with their friends for older bottles. Meanwhile, many comfort. Another popular Paris shop is Lionel Michelin’s De Vinis Illustribus. Once the
mature collectors are shunning auction for a more intimate route. One Connecticut spot where Hemingway bought his wines, the boutique is understated and devoted
man, who has 7,000 bottles to his name, explained his aversion to auction: “Between to the charms of older wine. Michelin’s current headache is not getting futures for
hedge-fund types trying to outdo each other plus auction fees and New York taxes, Bordeaux, but finding enough good wine from the lousy vintage of 1960 to make his
I find they are bad value.” He shops internationally and won’t divulge more than customers who are turning 50 happy (1960 Château Chalon is one on his radar).
one of his most recent scores—a 1961 JJ Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese. The                        Unlike an exquisite painting or a strand of natural pearls, both of which tend to sur-
wine had surfaced only once in recent history, in 2005 at wine auctioneer Acker vive dinner parties intact, top wines are finite and ersatz bottles are rampant. Kopec,
Merrall & Condit, for $379. He paid significantly less, he said, for a bottle that came the Veritas sommelier, has begun to consult around the world, and one of his duties is
from “an English gentleman’s cellar.” He worked hard for access and he isn’t giving keeping his clients’ wine purchases authentic. “If all you want is 1982 Pétrus or 1947
over the goods. Nothing short of waterboarding would get a collector to name his Cheval Blanc, two of the most knocked-off bottles out there, you’ve got to watch out,”
contacts, and they’re equally reluctant to be identified themselves. “If it becomes Kopec says. “If you’re new, you’re an easy mark for the unscrupulous.”
known how to get great wines,” a prominent source in the New York scene says,                       In wine as in the stock market, it makes sense to diversify. One does not live by
“then others will do the same thing and what will be left over for the rest of us?”              status wines alone. Yet many clients are resistant. Paul Wasserman, for example,
    Should you choose to enter the obsessive world of wine collecting,                                           loves Château Chalon and vins jaunes, the oxidized wines from the
you’ll need to start schmoozing the right people. One great place to                    TOP THREE                Jura. “We joke in Los Angeles that it’s crack,” he says. “The wines are
                                                                                 1. Bartolo Mascarello Barolo
begin is the Bouilland Burgundy Symposia, a wine boot camp held                                                  just exciting, but getting a client to buy some—even though a bottle
                                                                                   2005, $100. 2. Puffeney
three or four times per year that can cost over $10,000 to attend.                                               of the Puffeney ’02 will be $80, cheap by most standards—it’s a hard
                                                                                     Vin Jaune 2000, $70.
This marvelously intimate indulgence was founded by wine importer                    3. Clos des Lambrays        sell. But people like what they like.”
                                                                                  Grand Cru 2006, $130.
56
                                                                       HOW TO BUY
                                                                                                                                                                                             Dunhill gloves; Halcyon
                                                                                                                                                                                             goggles; Working Class
                                                                                                                                                                                         vintage 1930s willow picnic
                                                                                                                                                                                         basket; The Evolution Store




                                         VINTAGE CARS
                                                                                                                                                                                           red squirrel; Gant blanket




                                                                                   by dan neil



                              There’s a theory that the very best vintage cars never come to auction.
                             Here’s how to circumnavigate the private cartels and get value for money



A
               t a 2005 car auction in Monterey, Calif., Marc Caveng watched coolly of websites devoted to automotive subspecies—Raymond Loewy–designed Studebak-
               from backstage as his 1938 Talbot-Lago T-150C Special Teardrop Coupe ers, big-block Chevelles. Many of these sites are self-financed and become derelict, so
               went on the block. The price was bid into the stratosphere—$2 million, check the “last updated” to make sure information is reasonably current.
               $3 million . . . sold! for $3.35 million—and Caveng, a nicely turned-out            If you’re considering a move into the higher reaches of car collecting—six to
Swiss millionaire, should have been the happiest guy in the room. And yet moments seven figures—you’ll inevitably be drawn to a big-time car auction orchestrated by
after the gavel came down, his voice cracked in a very un-Swiss way. “You’re never Gooding and Co., RM Auctions, Barrett-Jackson, Bonhams or Sotheby’s. The pres-
happy when you sell a car like that,” Caveng said, looking wounded. “Because you tige of the auction house is ranked by the quality of its inventory. Barrett-Jackson,
know you’ll never own it again.”                                                                for instance, conducts numerous three-day marathons with hundreds of cars on the
    This is the difference between vintage cars and, say, watches or paintings: Emotion block. Its niche is American postwar iron, as well as hot rods and customs: such as
inflects every transaction, whether for a museum-quality classic or a rough-trade Ford Hemi Cudas, a split-window Corvette or a 1932 Ford Highboy.
Coupe, and those transactions can be as idiosyncratic as the buyers and sellers. But               Other houses specialize in superior European classic cars—vintage racing
in the main there are three ways to find great cars: auto-enthusiast websites; auto Bugattis, Ferraris, prewar Alfa Romeos, Delahayes and the like—and for them, the
auctions bringing together distinctive, fully vetted offerings; and at the top of the biggest weekend of the year is Pebble Beach, the annual classic-car Woodstock held
mountain a few globe-trotting finders and fixers, with clients like Ralph Lauren, Jay in August on the Monterey Peninsula. In 2008, Gooding auctioned off more than
Leno and a growing cadre of new-wealth millionaires. But don’t worry about finding a dozen highly desirable Bugattis from the estate of Dr. Peter Williamson there,
these super-agents. If you’ve got the money and interest, they’ll come to you.                  bringing in around $15 million, with one car—a matching-number Type 57SC Ata-
    First the view from orbit: Prices for primo Ferraris, Delahayes, prewar racing Alfa lante Coupe—selling for $7.2 million.
Romeos and other classics saw almost no softening during the economic downturn.                    Meanwhile, auction-house principals do a fairly brisk business behind the scenes,
“The prices of the best cars go from strength to strength and continue to put more conducting private sales with a discretion that borders on paranoia. For example,
distance from the rest,” says Simon Kidston, a Geneva-based fine-auto broker whose in 2009, Rob Myers, the principal of RM Auctions, garnered $50 million in what are
business is up 20 percent this year in volume and receipts. In May 2009, the height of known as private treaty sales, while his auction business accounted for $150 million.
the global recession, RM Auctions and Sotheby’s sold a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa “The auction business is the visible tip of a very big iceberg,” Martin says. Privacy
for more than $14 million, a record for a car at auction. And, famously, the highest is the imperative here. “When a big, important car sells at auction, everybody in
price ever known to have been paid for an automobile—more than $30 million for a the hobby knows who owns it—thank you, Internet,” he adds. “If you sell privately,
Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic—came out of a private sale in March 2010.                            you don’t have to deal with the whys: Does he need money? Is he in trouble?” Also,
    Back on Planet Earth, in the category that might be called affordable classics, Martin says, “private [sales] allow people to be more creative in what they take in
prices have shallowed. But with a finite number of great cars and a growing popula- trade: three or four cars, a boat, a jet.”
tion of collectors, it won’t be long before they heat up again—especially those with               Kidston, Gooding, Myers, Gregor Fisken and a few others function like high-end
sentimental value. “Everybody wants the car they had when they were kids or that art brokers, competing for the best commissions. “The top four or five guys know
their parents had,” says Keith Martin, publisher of Sports Car Market. Nostalgia cre- who to call and get a real decision in a relatively short amount of time,” says Peter
ates a sort of demographic bubble that moves through the classic car market. For Mullin, chairman of the Mullin Automotive Museum in California. They’re more
instance, baby boomers have dramatically driven up prices of cars such as the Jag- than just bird dogs, however. With enormous sums of money involved, and often
uar E-Type, Austin Healey 3000, Sunbeam Tiger, Dodge Challenger and Aston Mar- even more enormous egos, the back-and-forth of negotiation can raise competitive,
tin DB4/5. Ten years ago, a great Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing might have sold and combative, tendencies. “With direct contact,” Kidston says, “you run the risk of
for around $250,000. Today you can’t touch that car for under $600,000 and you a seller saying, ‘What, that’s a ridiculous offer. Who does he think I am?’ etc. This is
should be prepared to pay more.                                                                 an area where a good intermediary adds value, soothing the egos.”
    Valuation of an individual car is a complex matter, says Martin, but factors include           Private sales have another, rather curious dimension that is rooted in the sen-
documentation (does the car have paperwork that attests to its authenticity?), timental nature of the object itself. While many collectibles are bought and sold
originality (has the engine been replaced?), restoration (is it faithful to the origi- purely on the basis of market value, great automobile owners regard themselves as
nal?) and provenance: A good Ferrari Lusso is worth about $800,000, but the Lusso conservators, custodians of these objects as they pass through time. Such collec-
owned by Steve McQueen sold at Pebble Beach in 2008 for $2.2 million. There is tors like to prequalify buyers not on the basis of finances but on connoisseurship.
also a kind of book-closing premium when storied old brands cease                                              In other words, buyers may not be found to be worthy, no matter the
production, providing a small and perhaps temporary uptick to the                     TOP THREE                size of their checkbook.
prices of Plymouths, Pontiacs and Mercurys.                                      1. Series 1 Jaguar E-Type        “Most of the cars I own were created before I was born and will be
                                                                               4.2-liter Coupe (1964–67),
    The Internet has transformed the collector car market. Hours of happy                                      around long after I go to the big concourse in the sky,” says Mullin, a
                                                                                      from $70,000.
browsing are in store at established sites such as Autotraderclassic                                           past president of the American Bugatti Club. “To have them end up
                                                                              2. Pontiac GTO Convertible
.com, Ebaymotors.com and the electronic front porch for the old standby,                                       in some dark garage in the lower reaches of some wealthy unknown
                                                                               (1964–67), from $50,000.
Hemmings.com. If you have particular tastes, there’s a whole ecology              3. Alfa Romeo Duetto         person’s house, well, it’s not what I had in mind.”
                                                                               (1966–67), from $25,000.
58
                                                                       HOW TO BUY                                                                                                           Most estate dealers insist that the finest pieces never go on display. In addition   JAR workshop at Place Vendôme turns out heirloom pieces that regularly earn two




                                ESTATE JEWELRY
                                                                                                                                                                                        to Deco-era Cartier, the market is perpetually starved for natural (as opposed to cul-   to three times their estimates at auction. Other designers to watch include Munich-
                                                                                                                                                                                        tured) pearls and über-rare gemstones: Kashmir sapphires, “pigeon’s blood” Burmese       based Hemmerle and New York’s Taffin, by James de Givenchy, a nephew of the cel-
                                                                                                                                                                                        rubies from the fabled tracts of Mogok, Golconda diamonds. Most of the mines that        ebrated couturier Hubert de Givenchy.
                                                                                                                                                                                        produce these treasured gems have long since closed, making estate jewelry their            Signed work consistently fetches a premium—sometimes up to three times the
                                                                                                                                                                                        only reliable source.                                                                    value of a similar but unsigned piece. Greg Kwiat, the new CEO of Fred Leighton, says
                                                                            by victoria goMelsky                                                                                            “We have about a half-dozen people we call” when something special turns up,         he recently inspected an important 1930s diamond necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels:
                                                                                                                                                                                        says Walter McTeigue, co-founder of high-end jeweler McTeigue & McClelland, citing       “On the strength of that signature, we increased our offer by 50 percent.”
               The provenance of a major piece of jewelry can often add to its allure and its retail value.                                                                             an oil-shipping magnate, a publish-
                                                                                                                                                                                        ing heiress, and a star hedge-fund
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Add a well-documented prove-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    nance to the mix, and all bets are off.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 M.S. Rau Antiques
                         But be sure you get the story straight before you hand over the cash                                                                                           manager as clients who make his                                                                                            Jacques-Charles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mongenot Louis XVI
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    “A Cartier bandeau that was once
                                                                                                                                                                                        short list. “I’d be utterly shocked if                                                                                    silver candelabra owned by [American heiress] Doris
                                                                                                                                                                                        anything really worthwhile ended                                                                                                            Duke with a stellar natural pearl in




I
         t is a matter of some debate as to whether Wallis Simpson, the American-born jewelry in an auction is what makes the difference between a regular sale and one                 up online.”                                                                                                                                 the center was sold back into the
         Duchess of Windsor, and King Edward VIII, the man who abdicated the British with sparkle,” says François Curiel, Christie’s chief jewelry specialist. “Uniqueness                  Then again, 1stDibs.com is helping                                                                                                      Cartier permanent exhibit for dra-
         throne in her honor, had the greatest love story of the 20th century. But one is the No. 1 reason.”                                                                            to rewrite the playbook. Founded by                                                                                                         matically more than it had been
         thing is certain: Nothing rivals its spectacular epilogue, the events of which           That’s certainly the draw for aficionados like Suzanne Tennenbaum. The California-    Michael Bruno in 2001 as an online                                                                                                          purchased for in auction,” says Eliz-
unfolded on a mild April evening in 1987, when 1,200 people gathered beneath a tent based collector and author of “The Jeweled Menagerie” has spent the past 25 years                   destination for 20th-century collect-                                                                                                       abeth Anne Bonanno, a New York–
overlooking Lake Geneva to peek inside the duchess’s legendary jewel box. Its rare buying period jewelry because it fulfills “a desire to be a little different.” Speaking              ibles, the site hosts 80 jewelry deal-                                                                                                      based estate-jewelry consultant.
cache of Cartier panther jewels, Van Cleef & Arpels mystery-set bracelets and Harry over the phone from Hong Kong, she says, “Here, there are brand-name boutiques                      ers, including the well-regarded Neil                                                                                                       “Provenance matched with a piece
Winston diamonds represented the ultimate convergence of history and taste.                    in multiples. You see the same merchandise everywhere—it gets repetitive. For me,        Marrs and Primavera Gallery.                                                                                                                that is the finest example of its time,
    Sotheby’s spared no expense in showcasing the collection to a black-tie crowd that fine estate jewelry is a work of art.”                                                               It’s true that, online or off, sec-                                                                                                     or maison, is worth whatever asked,
included diamond mogul Laurence Graff, Hollywood divorce lawyer Marvin Mitchel-                   Murray Mondschein, aka Fred Leighton, who started out as the owner of a Mex-          ondhand jewelry is “no longer the                                                                                                           as far as I’m concerned.”
son, 17 television crews, 200 journalists and Elizabeth Taylor, phoning from “poolside ican wedding dress shop in New York’s Greenwich Village, understood that better                  bargain it used to be,” says Tennen-                                                                                                            The jewelry trade’s somewhat
in Los Angeles” to place the winning bid on a Prince of Wales feather brooch.                  than most. From the late 1960s until his retirement in 2006, he earned a reputation      baum, but opportunities exist at all                                                                                                        dubious reputation for deception
    The sale, which earned $50.3 million (about $45 million of which went to the as the finest estate jeweler of his time. His legacy continues to influence the red car-               price levels.                                                                                                                               makes such expert guidance criti-
Pasteur Institute), six times the estimate, revolutionized the market for secondhand pet. At this year’s Oscars, 25-year-old best actress nominee Carey Mulligan wore a                     “We have 18th-century rings for                                                                                                         cal. Some additional things to keep
jewelry, a catchall term that includes antique jewelry, defined as anything more than cascading pair of Fred Leighton 19th-century diamond earrings set in silver-topped                $800,” says Simon Teakle of Better-                                                                                                         in mind: Are the diamonds cut in
100 years old; period jewelry, referring to pieces from distinct design eras; and estate gold, a Victorian signature.                                                                   idge in Greenwich, Conn. “If some-                                                                                                          the style of the period to which the
jewelry, a fancy name for pre-owned baubles of any age.                                           Jewelry bearing the hallmarks of the Art Deco movement, which emerged around          body had $10,000, they could put                                                                                                            piece belongs? Does the jewel show
    Bidding via phone that day was Calvin Klein, the most high-profile example of the mid-1920s—clean-cut lines, all-white surfaces of diamonds on platinum, and                        together a really lovely jewelry col-                                                                                                       natural signs of wear and tear? Is
the new breed of private buyer. Willing to pay for provenance, the circuitous jour- exotic, Egyptian motifs inspired by the discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in                     lection.”                                                                                                                                   the gold on the clasp different from
ney of ownership that can render an ordinary, if beautiful, jewel extraordinary, he 1922—is the perennial belle of the ball, with the auction records to prove it. If the                   That collection might include a                                                                                                         the surrounding metal?
spent $733,333 on a single-strand natural pearl and diamond necklace by Cartier pieces are signed Cartier Paris, the first and last name from the period, prices are                    $3,000 gold bracelet from the 1940s,                                                                                                            “The ultimate is when a piece
that had once belonged to Queen Mary, wife of King George V and the mother of all the more impressive. The same goes for authenticated jewelry by Belperron, who                        a $2,000 pair of Victorian gold ear-                                                                                                        comes—in French we say dans son
Edward VIII. He also bought a Cartier baroque pearl and diamond pendant, circa rarely signed her work, or anything from the atelier of her predecessor, René Boivin,                    rings and an unsigned Deco diamond                                                                                                          jus—‘in its juice,’ ” Curiel says, refer-
1950, for $300,667.                                                                            whose genre-bending jewels, designed by his wife, Jeanne, following Boivin’s death       bracelet for $6,000. “Obviously, the                                                                                                        ring to a jewel that shows no signs
    The pearl strand and pendant resurfaced at Sotheby’s in 2007, when they brought in 1917, influenced the greatest designers of the past century.                                     sky’s the limit, but you could get all                                                                                                      of tampering or, better yet, arrives
$3,625,000 and $505,000, respectively, reflecting an age-old truth about jewelry: “It’s           The auctions are a natural place to begin the hunt for their elusive work. Not        these things,” Teakle says.                                                                                                                 in its original fitted case.
the most fluid market in the world,” says Francis Norton, a director of S.J. Phillips, only do the sales offer the strongest possibility of buying vintage jewels freshly                   The received wisdom is that it                                                                                                              But how to know? The jewelry
an antiques dealer in London.                                                                  unearthed from the most sought-after estates, but the bidding process also “helps        always pays to buy quality. “You                                                                                                            learning curve is steep. Literature
    For most of history, however, jewelry doubled as currency precisely because it level the playing field,” says Gail Levine, executive director of the National Associa-              don’t buy estate jewelry to make                                                                                                            is a natural place to begin an edu-
could be dismantled and traded. Joyce Jonas, president emeritus of the American tion of Jewelry Appraisers.                                                                             money, but you or your heirs will do                                                                                                        cation—Gail Levine, the appraiser,
Society of Jewelry Historians, recalls watching dealers on New York’s 47th Street                 For buyers reluctant to pay auction premiums, which typically range from 20           all right,” Camilla Bergeron says.                                                                                                          recommends “Warman’s Jewelry,”
break apart antique merchandise. “They’d put Georgian chain on a scale,” she says. percent to 25 percent of the hammer price, the key is finding a trusted dealer. In                       While it’s tough to make a kill-                                                                                                        third edition, by Christie Romero,
“They had no respect for what they were doing.”                                                New York, the specialists are concentrated around Madison and Fifth avenues,             ing with pieces from the diamond-                                                                                                           while Jonas, the historian, sug-
    Today, secondhand jewels with holy-grail-like connotations—the avant-garde cre- chief among them Stephen Russell, Camilla Dietz Bergeron, A La Vieille Russie                       studded Art Deco era, or Art Nou-                                                                                                           gests “Understanding Jewellery,”
ations of the inimitable Parisian jeweler Suzanne Belperron, for example—fetch prices and Paul Fisher, a respected wholesaler whose period jewels are now available at                  veau, a short-lived movement known for its delicate enamel work and naturalistic         by David Bennett and Daniela Mascetti—but it’s important to experience the mar-
that, even in the aftermath of the financial crisis, far outweigh their intrinsic value. Bergdorf Goodman.                                                                              themes, the consensus is that periods known for gold—from the ornate jewels of the       ketplace in action.
    “We’re like art dealers who count carats,” says Max Faerber of Faerber, a fourth-             In Rome, the eternal choice is Carlo Eleuteri, on via dei Condotti, while Los Ange-   19th century, to the spare, machine-age designs of the wartime Retro period, to the         “Go to the auctions, go to the previews, try on the jewelry, and talk to the special-
generation jewelry firm with offices in Geneva, Antwerp and New York. “There’s les lays claim to Neil Lane, California’s answer to Fred Leighton, and the Kazanjian                     groovy, semiprecious styles of the 1960s—have room to appreciate.                        ists,” advises Levine, who also publishes a guide to past sales called “Auction Market
subjectivity in what we do.”                                                                   Bros., who operate out of an elegant Beverly Hills salon, once home to midcentury            Among designers of the late 20th century, names worth noting include David           Resource.” “Follow the market for a while and follow your specific interest.”
    That helps explain why the market for secondhand jewelry is so dif-                                       designer Bill Ruser.                                                      Webb, Jean Schlumberger, Tiffany & Co.’s Angela Cummings and Fulco di Verdura.              As with all worthwhile pursuits, there is no substitute for knowledge, persever-
ficult to quantify. Ken Gassman, an industry analyst, says it amounted                 TOP THREE                 Hong Kong is, unfortunately, a bust for secondhand pieces. The Chi-    “An awful lot of that is very affordable,” says Lisa Hubbard, chairman of the interna-   ance and luck, as history’s finest jewelers have proven.
to roughly 2 percent of the $59 billion of jewelry sold in the U.S. in        1. Art Deco suite of jewelry    nese treasure large, flawless diamonds and jadeite, but their jewelry     tional jewelry department at Sotheby’s North and South America. “And when I say             “When I came into the business 30 years ago, there was a famous estate dealer
2009, or $1.2 billion, but “one of the problems we have is getting num-           (c. 1935) by Suzanne        tastes trend toward contemporary styles.                                  affordable at auction at Sotheby’s, I mean between $5,000 and $15,000.”                  named Benny Kozuch,” says McTeigue, Harry Winston’s estate buyer in the early
bers from the pawnshops—that’s where the real action is.”                    Belperron, up to $700,000.          The polar opposite is true of London. At established firms such as         Bulgari, a 126-year-old Italian brand known for its snake-shaped bracelet watches,   1990s. “He was the son of a cattle dealer in Poland. In his teens, when the Germans
                                                                               2. Retro 1940s “gas pipe”
    By comparison, world-wide sales of new jewelry reached $145 bil-                                          Hancocks and S.J. Phillips, the assortment occasionally reaches back      antique coin jewelry and resplendent use of color, is also trending in the secondary     invaded, somebody said, ‘Can you sell this gold for me?’ and that was the beginning.
                                                                               necklace by Mauboussin,
lion in 2009, according to the Gemological Institute of America.                                              to the Middle Ages, though more often than not it begins with Geor-       market, Bergeron says.                                                                   He’d come to see me once, sometimes twice, a day and he would say, ‘Valter—what
                                                                              from $40,000. 3. Vintage
    An obsession with numbers, however, misses the point. “It may not                                         gian and Victorian jewels, which have been known to arrive in vintage         As for contemporary makers destined to figure prominently in estate sales of the     do you have to figure? What do you have to buy?’ If you’re the first guy there, you
                                                                            1970s gold and gemstone clip
be the biggest value of the jewelry market, but the inclusion of estate       earrings by Aldo Cipullo for    suitcases hauled by little old ladies.                                    coming century, first mention goes to American-in-Paris Joel Arthur Rosenthal, whose     get the first crack at things.”
                                                                                 Cartier, from $8,000.
60
                                                                         HOW TO BUY
                                                                                                                                                                                              Michigan Toy Soldier
                                                                                                                                                                                              Company Blackhawk
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Vama toys




                                             HELICOPTERS                         by tay lor a n t r iM



                   It’s a buyer’s market in the world of choppers, where financially distressed CEOs are
                  dumping their aircraft faster than their third homes. Bargains can be had. (Yes, really)




O
                ne of Tom Holden’s first flights in his 1995 Bell JetRanger was to his Koala should do the job. If you’d rather leave the flying to a pilot and have more room
                weekend home in Manhattan. It felt like magic. “I was standing in my for guests, twin-engine turbines are the town cars of the helicopter world. In the
                apartment thinking, I was in Pennsylvania 40 minutes ago, and now I’m light-twin category, Eurocopter’s 135 model with its distinctive shrouded tail rotor
                here,” Holden says. “I just couldn’t get over it.” Helicopter travel is now (or Fenestron) cuts a stylish profile (the 145 has a slightly roomier cabin and Euro-
a routine pleasure for Holden, a computer hardware entrepreneur from Doylestown, copter will introduce a Mercedes-Benz edition with an interior modeled on the car-
Penn., who takes his family either to New York or his beach house in Avalon, N.J., maker’s R-Class range in 2011). Heavier medium twins are the dominant choice in
every weekend. “I still get excited every time I fly,” he says. “I love it.”                       corporate/VIP transport, seating as many as 10 passengers. Here the Sikorsky S-76
    Nothing beats a helicopter for that sense of airborne freedom. They don’t go nearly with its irresistibly lean, low-nosed shape and the roomier, even faster Agusta 139
as fast or as far as jets (maxing out at about 180 mph cruising speed and 450 miles are the ships of choice.
range), but you can fly them as low as you want and land them pretty much anywhere.                   The interior is up to you. Since helicopters have so many different applications
Designed for short hops, they’re the ultimate traffic-beaters. In fact, Boris Gromov, (EMS, offshore, law enforcement, etc.), they are built “green,” i.e., without seats,
Moscow’s regional governor, recently offered some Marie Antoinette–like advice to upholstery, lighting or cabinetry. All interior work is done postacquisition by a dedi-
his city’s beleaguered car commuters: “Buy helicopters instead of cars,” he told a cated completion house. Paul Schreuder with Edwards and Associates, a completion
Russian news agency. “Then you will not need roads.”                                               company for Bell, has installed flat-screen avionics, calfskin captain-style chairs, and
    While it wasn’t so long ago that every hedge-fund manager worth his weight custom-sized cigar ashtrays.
in pinstripes had a jet—or at least a NetJets card—helicopter owners have always                      Expect steep operating costs—anywhere from two to five maintenance hours for
been a rarer breed. Helicopters require more maintenance than jets, but the true every hour of flight time. Add regular maintenance (from around $200 per hour for a
hurdle isn’t expense—compare $10 million for a new Sikorsky S-76 to $40 million single-engine to up to $730 an hour for a medium twin), plus a pilot’s salary, cost of
for a G500. The club is small because there simply aren’t that many aircraft to go fuel, insurance and hangarage, and “we’re talking hundreds of thousands of pounds
around. Combined, the big four manufacturers catering to the business world, Sikor- a year,” says Giorgio Bendoni, director of Sloane Helicopters in the U.K. There are
sky, Eurocopter, Bell and AgustaWestland, make only a few hundred helicopters other costs too. A simple concrete helipad in the backyard will run you $10,000 or
every year, and wait times for popular models can run up to 18 months. As recently so, says Tom Schuman of FEC Heliports. A rooftop pad with proper lighting, snow
as mid-2008, if you wanted a new Bell 407, EC135 or S-76 to park on your mansion melt and fire-suppression systems for a 12,000-pound helicopter? “That’s going to
lawn, the answer was: Get in line.                                                                 be $400,000,” Schuman says.
    Today a private helicopter is still a luxury, but market advantage has swung to the               But of course, you’ll save money if you fly the thing yourself. The FAA requires
buyer: Prices on pre-owned helicopters are down 20 to 25 percent from 2008 highs, 20 hours of instructed flight time, 10 hours of solo flight time and 10 more hours of
in-demand models such as the Bell 407 have decreased as much as 40 percent from either for a helicopter license. You’ll also likely be interested in a “starter” single-
their peaks, and JamesList, the online luxury marketplace, currently has a healthy engine turbine, such as the Bell JetRanger, priced at about $1.4 million used.
listing of helicopters from sellers all over the world. “If you are a VIP buyer, you are              Less expensive still are piston helicopters, which operate on the same principle as
in the best shape ever,” says Sharon Desfor, president of HeliValue$, a helicopter car engines, and run on avgas, not jet fuel. Frank Robinson, founder of Robinson Heli-
appraiser. “You have an enormous selection available to you.”                                      copters in Torrance, Calif., is regarded as the Steve Jobs of the helicopter world for
    Corporate spending on helicopters in the U.S. went out of style with the finan- his elegantly designed piston R22 and R44 models. “He’s cornered the market on the
cial bust (Lehman Brothers creditors offloaded the firm’s 1998 S-76 C+ for a reported wealthy private individual that wants a toy,” says Rotor & Wing editor Joy Finnegan.
bargain-basement $3 million in late 2009), but abroad, interest is perking up. Brazil Piston helicopters are less expensive to buy and operate, but with more moving parts,
has long been a big market for corporate VIP helicopters (third largest after the U.S. they also require more upkeep. So loyal Robinson fans are eagerly awaiting FAA cer-
and the U.K.), and the country is enjoying an economic boom. Ken Jacobsen, a dealer tification of Robinson’s first turbine, the five-seat R66, which the company says will
with Lloyd Helicopters, recently sold a new Eurocopter 135 to a Brazilian buyer run- be priced at $770,000. Single turbines like the Eurocopter 350 trade between $1 mil-
ning an executive charter service. “It’s going bonkers down there,” he says. India and lion and $2 million; “so the R66 could be a very big deal if that price holds,” says Ray
China will be next. “Those are the big growth markets,” says one dealer who asked Jaworowski, an industry analyst with Forecast International.
not to be named. “I’m working on a couple of deals—brand-new Sikorskys to India.                      Corporations drive the civilian rotorcraft market, and at the moment they’re
They want the trappings North Americans and Europeans have had for years.”                         lying low. But advances in design and a record number of exhibitors at the 2010 Heli-
    Finding your way into the helicopter market means having plenty of cash, since “you Expo—the closest the industry has to a showroom—suggest that the market won’t
cannot get financing,” according to dealer Shannon Bower. A good dealer (try Hills- stay quiet for long. With an experienced dealer who can survey used aircraft for
boro, Cannon, Lloyd, Sloane, Bower and HMA) can help you choose the                                               damage history and maintenance requirements, one thing’s for sure:
right class. If you’re flying yourself to your beach house, a single-engine              TOP THREE                The discerning solo buyer will get the most helicopter for his dollar
                                                                                     1. Bell 407, $2 million.
five-seater like the classic JetRanger (with its sterling safety record)                                          in years. “Why pay the extra millions for a new ship? The used mar-
                                                                                2. Sikorsky S-76 C++, $4 million.
or the somewhat sleeker (and much more expensive) AgustaWestland 3. Eurocopter 135, $3.5 million ket,” Bower says, “that’s the place to go hunting.”
                                                                              (all prices are for used models).
62
                                                                         HOW TO BUY                                                                                                          photoshopped. One disgruntled—or insanely boosterish—patient could write 20                Brazilian plastic surgeon Ivo Pitanguy. But this is not the medical tourism Lewis is




             THE SAFEST FACE-LIFT
                                                                                                                                                                                             “reviews” under different names. And competitive plastic surgeons have been known          talking about. “I tell clients of mine, ‘Do you really want a face-lift in a country that
                                                                                                                                                                                             to anonymously trash each other. “It’s the Wild West out there,” says New York plas-       could be planning a coup? You want to be in a vulnerable position where you don’t
                                                                                                                                                                                             tic surgeon Alan Matarasso. Adds Marten, “I’ve had my before-and-after photos end          know anyone and don’t speak the native tongue?’ ”
                                                                                                                                                                                             up on the websites of surgeons from other countries, and there’s very little I can             When it comes to cost, there is wiggle room. “Any plastic surgeon who tells you
                                                                                                                                                                                             do about it.” Moreover, any doctor of any repute can pay a search engine to “opti-         his business hasn’t been affected by the economy is lying,” says Matarasso, who is
                                                                                 by judith newMan                                                                                            mize” his name so it appears at the top of the list when you type in, say, “best plas-     one of the busiest surgeons in New York City. Matarasso never discusses price with
                                                                                                                                                                                             tic surgeon.” “I get solicited to                                                                                                                    his patients; he has staff for
          In the bewildering, oftentimes terrifying world of cosmetic surgery, the short list of surgeons                                                                                    buy this service a zillion times
                                                                                                                                                                                             a month,” Matarasso says.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             George N Antiques
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            neoclassical Roman
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  that. But he, and others, have
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  been known to “work with”
      who achieve natural-looking, safe and lasting results is surprisingly, well, short. Here’s how to choose                                                                                   Gastric bypass surgery had
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                terra-cotta bust
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  their patients.
                                                                                                                                                                                             left Alan Horowitz, a 61-year-                                                                                                                          This is not to say you
                                                                                                                                                                                             old high-end real-estate agent                                                                                                                       should be wrangling just for




A
              t 58, Nola Devitt runs 45 minutes a day and has biceps any 25-year- worth factoring in: the downtime, about two weeks before you can resume work,                              in Morristown, N.J., 125 pounds                                                                                                                      the sake of getting a “deal,”
              old would envy. As the president of A/R Recovery, she spends her days though it may take three months for all the swelling to go down. Many surgeons                           lighter—and much saggier. Still,                                                                                                                     because with the best doctors
              assessing the value of health-care businesses that have gone bust and recommend staying in a hotel for a night or two postsurgery, and bringing along a                        he didn’t care. He finally had his                                                                                                                   you won’t. But some surgeons
              helping bankruptcy trustees recoup value. Recently Devitt, who moved nurse, at $50 to $90 per hour. “Don’t forget to tip the nurse,” says Francesca Camp,                      diabetes under control—which,                                                                                                                        appreciate a little creativity.
from Kansas City, Mo., to Manhattan last year, looked in the mirror and saw “a dis- a psychotherapist and plastic-surgery consultant who, for about $375 an hour, will                       more than just slimming down,                                                                                                                        Sheila Weller wrote the best-
connect between the way I feel and the way I look,” she says. She’s considering a help anxious clients navigate the surgery process. Camp tells the story of one client,                     was the main point of the sur-                                                                                                                       selling “Girls Like Us,” a biog-
face-lift. But she hasn’t moved forward.                                                         a famous redheaded sex kitten from the 1960s, “who didn’t understand that the nurse         gery. But there was one thing                                                                                                                        raphy of Joni Mitchell, Carly
   “Coming from the Midwest, the people I knew in business didn’t do that sort accompanying her to the hotel needed to be paid. She thought she got the nurse as                             that bothered him: “My horrible                                                                                                                      Simon and Carole King, in
of thing—or if they did, they didn’t talk about it,” she says. “I have no frame of a perk because she was a celebrity.”                                                                      double chins. I had the money                                                                                                                        2008 and wanted a lift before
reference. I’m not worried about the money, or for that matter the pain, but then                    It’s kind of startling: Plastic surgeons train nearly as long in their specialties as   and I wanted to get rid of it.”                                                                                                                      her book tour. She knew she
there’s the downtime. And how do I know if I’ve got the right doctor? It’s odd,” heart surgeons (a board-certified plastic surgeon goes through one or more years                            He dutifully made appointments                                                                                                                       couldn’t pay New York City
Devitt adds. “I can put a valuation on complex receivables, but I can’t figure out of specialized surgical training, on top of a five-year general surgical residency). Yet                  with several plastic surgeons in                                                                                                                     prices, so through friends she
the cost/benefit ratio to this.”                                                                 anyone with an M.D. degree can call himself a cosmetic surgeon. Your dermatologist.         New Jersey. “They all had big                                                                                                                        found Theresa M. Jarmuz, a
   It’s true: Face-lifts are expensive, uncomfortable and inconvenient—though so Your gynecologist. And some sham medical “boards” can be purchased for $500.                                plans for me. Full-body lifts.                                                                                                                       young doctor in Atlanta who
are really gorgeous shoes, and we want them anyway. The American Society for Aes-                    “Credentialing is a boring subject, yet it’s incredibly important,” says Timothy        Face-lift with brow lift with                                                                                                                        was willing to reduce her
thetic Plastic Surgery reports that in 2009, 94,247 men and women (about 89 per- Marten, founder and director of the Marten Clinic in San Francisco. Marten’s widely                         eyes. No matter what I said! And                                                                                                                     usual fees in exchange for
cent women, 11 percent men) got face-lifts. That’s a 29 percent drop from the year respected practice does almost exclusively face-lifts, and he is passionate, bordering                    the thing was, I really had kind                                                                                                                     Sheila writing and editing
before—not surprising with the downturn in the economy and the rise in the num- on obsessive, on the subject: “We are artists. We’re creating beauty. It’s an elusive                        of a youthful face. I just wanted                                                                                                                    some press materials about
ber of less invasive treatments for turning back the clock (injectables like Botox to and challenging thing, and we cannot be rushed,” he says. Marten will perform only                     to lose the chin.”                                                                                                                                   her. Jarmuz got some sterling
paralyze wrinkles and facial fillers to compensate for the loss of facial volume as we one lift a day, which generally takes five hours.                                                         While Matarasso, like Sher-                                                                                                                      copy; Weller, who is “north
age). But since January, plastic surgeons say, the number of face-lift patients is ris-              What you are looking for if you’re seeking a face-lift: board certification in either   rell Aston and Manhattan Eye,                                                                                                                        of 50,” as she puts it, got a
ing again. The population is getting older. And Botox and fillers can only do so much: plastic surgery or facial plastic surgery—meaning the doctor is an ear, nose and throat               Ear and Throat Hospital’s Dan                                                                                                                        natural-looking lift. “I actu-
They can iron out wrinkles and plump up hollows, but if you’re beginning to look surgeon with specialized cosmetic training. Bonus points to those who have had aes-                         Baker, is one of those go-to face-                                                                                                                   ally think it helped with the
like a shar-pei, there is no substitute for surgery. The only way to get rid of sagging thetic surgery fellowships—highly coveted additional training. You won’t find those                  lift surgeons on every savvy                                                                                                                         success of the book,” Weller
skin? Winch it tighter and lop it off.                                                           guys in Podunk. “You’ll have to travel to a big city,” Marten says.                         Upper East Sider’s list, Horowitz                                                                                                                    says, “because I was feeling
   But the journey between thinking about a lift and having one can be fraught.                      Make sure to ask a prospective surgeon how many face-lifts he does a month. Here        had only heard of him because                                                                                                                        really good about myself,
“Face-lifts are a mysterious product,” says Joan Kron, the author of “Lift: Wanting, is the answer you don’t want to hear: one or two. Here is the answer you do: 10 or 15                   his mother and Matarasso’s                                                                                                                           and about age, and it helped
Fearing, and Having a Face-lift.” “There’s no way of judging how it will turn out and or more. While no surgeon has a face-lifts-only practice, it is unquestionably true, says              mother were neighbors in Palm                                                                                                                        me express my enthusiasm
you can’t return it if you don’t like it. So very intelligent and resourceful people are Lewis, that “a handful of people in New York and L.A. do the majority of lifts.”                    Beach. “So I made an appoint-                                                                                                                        about these three women of
completely at a loss when choosing a doctor.” The problem is exacerbated by the                      Of course, doctors exaggerate. How can you get a sense of what’s true? “When            ment. And he laid me down on                                                                                                                         my generation in an unself-
fact that most women won’t tell you they’ve had it. “Of course if it’s bad surgery, you visit the office, who is in the waiting room?” asks Sam Rizk, a New York facial                      the table and showed me what                                                                                                                         conscious way.”
you know,” Kron says. “But if it’s really good . . . you can go, ‘Hi, Julia, who did your plastic surgeon who says he does about 30 face-lifts a month. “A person with a busy                my face would be like, just with-                                                                                                                       What may be the most
surgery?’ and she’ll say, ‘What surgery?’ ”                                                      face-lift practice will generally have at least a couple of post-ops there.”                out the double chin, and said,                                                                                                                       important notion to take
   There are many variations on a theme here, but essentially a face-lift is the                     A face-lift may be painstaking, but it should also be routine. As one prominent         ‘Is this what you want?’ ”                                                                                                                           into a plastic surgeon’s office
resectioning of sagging skin and muscle from the neck to the midface. That is one surgeon put it, “There are 100 guys doing surgery in my hospital. You’d be horrified                           As it happens, for Horowitz                                                                                                                      is this: No question is too
operation. A brow lift is an entirely different operation. Eye surgery, or blepharo- to see the face-lifts of 95 of them.”                                                                   the difference between several                                                                                                                       stupid. Because it’s what you
plasty (to eradicate fat pads or fix drooping eyelids), is another. Very often these                 Check some before-and-after photos—but not for the reasons you think. Just              chins and one chin is enormous. “And you know, I could have done so much more,             don’t ask, says Camp, that gets you into trouble—particularly after you’ve had the
procedures are done in conjunction with each other—but many people don’t real- about any doctor can, and will, produce some face-lift patients with good results.                            spent so much more, and been unhappy. You need to have someone who’ll listen to            surgery. Like the editor of a major European fashion magazine, who didn’t bother to
ize they are different procedures, each with its own cost. So while ASAPS quotes (And if they won’t show you, run—they’re either bad or arrogant or both.) However,                          you. If you’re in there and you get the feeling the doctor’s not listening to a word       ask when he could fly after surgery, or when he could swim. (He flew to Rio before the
the amusingly low national average price as $6,881 for a face-lift, when all costs “You’re looking to see what their idea of beauty is,” Rizk says. “See, you can end                        you say, leave.”                                                                           swelling went down, creating a pumpkin head; then he went swimming with staples
are accounted for, the tab can easily run three to five times that amount. “You don’t up at a technically expert surgeon and be disappointed, if your version of beauty is                        “Yes, plastic surgery is a business,” Lewis says. “But a busy surgeon does not        still in his head. The staples rusted, got tangled in his hair and resulted in a nasty
have to pay $80,000 for topflight work, but 30K in New York or L.A. is pretty nor- different than his.” Also, suggests Rizk, ask, “How do you intend to get a natural-                       need to talk you into more surgery than you want.”                                         infection.) Or the banker who thought it too silly to ask, “When can I drive?” (The
mal,” says Wendy Lewis, the New York “knife coach,” a plastic-surgery consultant looking result?” A great many surgeons do a lift that tightens the skin only. You                               And then there are all the face-lift franchises, and the medical destinations adver-   answer: “When you can turn your head.”) She got into her car to pick up her chil-
and the author of “Plastic Makes Perfect.”                                                       are looking for a surgeon who tells you, specifically, that he is doing a lift of both      tising lifts in Thailand for $4,000. “There are good doctors in every country, but         dren waiting at the airport and realized she could only stare straight ahead. “Many
   A patient receives three bills: one for the surgeon’s fee (variable,                                           the skin and underlying muscle—which takes extra skill and train-          do you think the best ones are in some clinic in Thailand advertising on the Inter-        powerful people don’t relish the idea of being out of control, and they may perhaps
                                                                                      TOP THREE
depending on what’s being done), one for the operating room ($2,000 to                                            ing, but generally creates a face-lift that lasts longer and avoids the    net?” Lewis says. “I’ve seen some of the worst work you can imagine—and when               be ambivalent about the face-lift in the first place,” Camp says. “So they pretend to
                                                                                 1. Blepharoplasty, $2,717.
$5,000, depending on length of surgery) and one for the anesthesiologist                                          bad face-lift/wind-tunnel appearance.                                      you have to get bad work fixed, you are not saving money.” True, for years people of       themselves this isn’t serious. You can tell yourself anything you want, but here’s the
                                                                                     2. Face-lift, $6,881.
(about $2,000 to $3,000), none of which are covered by insurance. Also          3. Forehead lift, $3,276 (all        Be very wary of the Internet as before-and-after photos can be          means have taken a few weeks off to relax poolside in Rio after a lift with legendary      truth: This is not a ‘procedure.’ It is surgery.”
                                                                                prices are national average).
64
                                                                          HOW TO BUY
                                                                                                                                                                                               Hermès Kelly
                                                                                                                                                                                                in crocodile.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  For details,
                                                                                                                                                                                                 see Sources




      INVESTMENT HANDBAGS                                                     by alexandra Marshall



          The pocketbook is no longer the sort of statement piece you swap in and out to match your shoes.
     Buying a bag that will see you through the years calls for pragmatism, patience and an element of panache



T
              oday, if you’re going to lay out, at minimum, the equivalent of a month’s will last longer than fabric or suede,” says Elizabeth Rickard, a design consultant to
              rent for a Manhattan one-bedroom on a purse, the agenda has to be several luxury accessories firms. “And go for the highest quality you can find. Leather
              investment. You’ll want something you can carry ad infinitum, hand should be firm and buttery, with an even texture all over. Squeeze it in your hand and
              down to future generations, or even resell on the off chance you get make sure it doesn’t appear stretched, change color or crack. Linings should be in
bored. A serious bag purchase right now should be trend-proof, with craftsmanship lambskin or suede—even though nylon may be long-lasting, it doesn’t bind well to
and materials that can outlive even the woman who carries it.                                  natural materials.” Finally, Rickard adds, “If you’re buying a bag you want to carry
    According to retail market research firm NPD Group, even in a still-shaky econ- every day, metal feet will prolong its life.” That said, the less hardware on a bag,
omy, the dollar volume of the handbag market’s luxury end has grown 15 percent this notes Edward Andrade of the award-winning Cesar’s Shoe Repair in New York City,
year, and high-end bags are the second-highest-growing category after those under the less the leather will stress and sag. If metal accents are gold-plated, make sure
$15. This season, the fashion industry has provided plenty of opportunities to wisely the company will replace them, even for a fee, as most cobblers are unable to replate
expand an accessories portfolio. Houses like Céline and Chloé—both former over- and reattach parts themselves. Best of all is when the bag maker offers its own in-
the-top it-bag offenders—sent out onto the runways quietly dignified, beautifully house refurbishment. Hermès, whose bags are all fabricated by single craftsmen,
made purses that felt like worthy company for some of the all-time greats. And we’ll makes best efforts to return each bag for servicing to the same person who made it
see these bags repeat in ensuing seasons, as other fashion houses have discovered in the first place. Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci and Bottega will also spiff up an older piece
what Chanel, Hermès and Gucci have long known: If it’s working, don’t pull it off the gratis, though they will charge for more radical face-lifts.
shelves next season; offer it in another color. (Or 350, like Nancy Gonzalez, whose                 Great design itself is a little harder to pin down. It’s a combination of utility, clev-
hand-stitched crocodile totes and clutches make her Bergdorf Goodman’s second- erness and proportion. Didier Ludot, one of the leading dealers of vintage couture,
best seller.) Hermès, the maker of the boxy Birkin shoulder bag, the ladylike Kelly who does a brisk trade in vintage Kellys that can fetch up to two-thirds of their cur-
and the more minimalist, two-strap Plume bag that starts at $4,600, enjoyed solid rent retail price in his Paris boutique, insists women can get away with smaller, more
sales during the crisis; in the coming year, the company forecasts a rise in sales of elegant handbags if the interiors are kitted out with pockets and compartments—all
over 5 percent. So in demand are their five-figure crocodile models that the company of which add to the bottom line. Then again, the Birkin was famously adapted from
has started breeding its own reptiles to satisfy the seemingly endless waiting lists. Hermès’s Haut à Courroies travel bag when Birkin herself complained to company
(Though most perennial classics are usually gettable without having to reserve, Her- head Jean-Louis Dumas that she needed something open at the top that she could
mès’s just-in-time production model means there’s no getting around a wait.) Chanel’s slip over her shoulder. An accessory’s form must accommodate the function dictated
utilitarian take on prim, the 2.55, is, according to Neiman Marcus’s fashion director, by its wearer, but it should also literally fit the wearer. Says Ludot: “The real prob-
Ken Downing, “a must in a fashionable wardrobe no matter what your style.” It was lem is that too many women don’t know how to pick the right bag. Either they’re
this soft leather handbag, designed by Coco Chanel in 1955, that made mattressed small women and they carry something huge, or they’re tall and carry something too
leather and leather-laced chain straps company hallmarks, and Downing’s custom- small.” To achieve the right scale, take any bag you’re considering out for a test run
ers have bought it “both before and during the challenged economy.”                            on the shop floor. Hermès sales associates may have to don cotton gloves to show off
    Fashion is a fast business, so classics don’t always take decades to develop. True, the merch, but you are more than welcome to trot around to ensure a comfortable fit.
the 2.55; Gucci’s small-scaled, bamboo-handled Bamboo purse (1947); the Birkin In the same spirit, avoid Internet shopping for a serious investment purchase unless
(1984) and Kelly (1956); and Louis Vuitton’s cylindrical, logo-embossed Monogram you already know the bag model and quality of materials firsthand.
Speedy (1930) have had time to make their marks. But Bottega Veneta’s slouchy                       There are some external threats to a purse’s timelessness. Foremost is what we
woven napa Veneta and Nancy Gonzalez’s crocodile Leaf tote have been with us for can call the Posh Factor, after Victoria Beckham’s reported 100-strong collection of
only nine and 12 years, respectively, even if it feels like forever. In truth, purses have Birkins in every color and skin imaginable. (It should go without saying that a bag
not been considered an integral part of fashion until relatively recently. “If you look meant to stand the test of time should be in a fashion-proof color like dark brown
back, it wasn’t until the 1970s that you really started to see women carrying hand- or black.) Meaghan Mahoney Dusil, founder of Purseblog.com, whose forum attracts
bags in photographs,” says Pamela Golbin, the curator in chief of the Fashion and 80,000 unique visitors a day, says that at least half of her users “get disenchanted
Textile Collection at the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs. “Before, women of a with a bag if they see it on a celebrity too much.” (Discretion is the better part of
certain stature didn’t need to carry anything but a lipstick.” Then along came femi- style; note that Michelle Obama, the new arbiter of American chic, is rarely photo-
nism and its utilitarian spirit and looser dress code, which met up with the dawn of graphed carrying a purse.) Wearers also worry about knockoffs. Audrey Hepburn may
the paparazzi era, and we started admiring and mimicking what fashion icons like have carried a Monogram Speedy, but if every other woman who’s passed through a
Grace Kelly, Jane Birkin and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were carrying. (Although it Chinatown backstreet does too, exclusivity is dampened. This is why Louis Vuitton
is easier to keep it straight when one’s bag bears one’s name.) But how to discern a is one of the most proactive pursuers of piracy, with a staff of around 60 in-house
celebrity obsession from what will become a true asset to your closet,                                         and additional external consultants to chase counterfeiters. It’s only
                                                                                        TOP THREE
and really earn that price tag in the thousands? Look for a combina-                                           fair. If you’re going to hand over your hard-earned money to a fashion
                                                                                    1. Hermès Kelly, from
tion of craftsmanship, cultural cachet and great design.                                                       or accessories house that in every case charges a premium for design,
                                                                                $6,000. 2. Chanel 2.55, from
    First, the tangibles. Pick durable materials. “Leather or crocodile          $3,200. 3. Nancy Gonzalez     they should protect your interests too.
                                                                                     Leaf, from $3,750.
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