Monday, December 14, 2009

Bringing Old-Fashioned Luxury Back

The Karilaid Karry-All from the Victoire Focx collection also comes in black. Photo courtesy of Victoire Focx.

“FRUGAL fatigue.” You have it? You know what it is, right? The condition – as defined by one of the commentators on CNBC's “Fast Money” – characterized by a weariness of being frugal and thus wanting to spend money. Of a great desire to pony up for something a bit more substantial than toothpaste and toilet paper. According to the “Fast Money” guy, many Americans are tired of T&T and crave SONY&DKNY&BMW&I-PHONE & the like. This being December, FF is probably taking a huge toll on lots of folk.

Yours Truly, on a strict money diet for many moons now, is not suffering from FF. But I would be remiss if I did not do my patriotic duty and lend a hand to my fellow Americans who are agitating to furiously and, no doubt, responsibly spend for the holidays. Over the next several days I will introduce a product (or brand) a day that I would buy for myself or someone else if I were spending (and could afford to, of course).

Let’s see, Gift No। 1:

One of the highlights of a Vogue party to benefit Free Arts NYC at the Ralph Lauren Blue Label salon at Saks Fifth Avenue was meeting the effervescent Constance Victory who reminded me of Holly Golightly. Read about the other highlight later in the week.

While my time with CV at Saks was brief, I had a longer audience a few days later when the young Gotham-based Renaissance woman (model, celebrity stylist, p.r., maven) and RISD grad introduced Victoire Focx, her semi-eponymous handbag and accessories line at Soho House, its U.S. debut.

Constance Victory (below right) and Leslie Jensen show off pieces from CV's handbag and accessories collection. Photo courtesy of Victoire Focx.

The collection, which had its world premiere earlier this year during Milan Fashion Week and is titled “Bag to the Basics; a Return to Luxury,” is an assortment of bespoke pieces (made to order) inspired by the mosaics on the stained-glass windows of Florence’s cathedrals. A CV signature touch is to pair rare hand-painted exotic skins — caiman crocodile, python and lizard— with rich nappa leathers to create unique affairs that embody what she terms old-world charm.

A favorite of mine is a handbag she's christened the Karilaid Karry-All. It's a little number (shown in rust above and featured in black on the Web site homepage) in the shape of an old-school doctor’s bag. It is fabricated from nappa leather, python and lambskin and has tulip-shaped detailing, python handle and detachable python strap. Like all of the handbags, it is lined with “Victoire-ian” purple suede, reminiscent of the hue favored by Roman emperors and Florentine aristocrats. The gladiator-esque boot cuffs turned my head, too.

No doubt, CV is bringing to bear on her brand some lessons she learned during her time at Baby Phat, Michael Kors, Moschino, Valentino et al.

Learn more about the Victoire Focx collection at

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