Lady Charlotte Magazine

A lifestyle magazine for stylish and intelligent women.

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Lauren Craft Collection Jewelry

“It is a business I will continue doing until the day I die. It is my passion and I cannot imagine doing anything else!”
-Lauren Craft

Baroque pearls and champagne diamond ring with 14k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Baroque pearls and champagne diamond ring with 14k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

I’ve been on a total jewelry kick this summer and no one does unique and (relatively) affordable diamond and gemstone jewels like Lauren Craft. I first stumbled upon her delicious baubles on Farfetch where I purchased a triple-pearl and champagne diamond ring with 14k gold, silver, and black-rhodium finish.

Lauren Craft is a native Texan with an editorial background. She was an English major at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and started her career as a fashion and social editor at the top magazine in Houston. In New York City, she took a job at Alexis Bittar and discovered her passion for jewelry design. Though Craft was only at Alexis Bittar for six months, she speaks fondly of her time there and of Alexis Bittar’s business savvy: “I saw how Alexis built his brand. I was only there a very short time but I loved how involved he was with his team. From the design aspect to the PR aspect to the marketing aspect. He is a very smart man…”

Craft left Alexis Bittar to attend the Gemological Institute of America for certification in Computer Aided Design (CAD) and then travelled to India before returning to Texas to start her own collection. Her inspiration comes from her travels: “Traveling to India, Italy, Sardinia and the Carribean…Lots of my pieces have an Indian vibe that’s why I use champagne diamonds in the majority of my collection!”

Stylish celebrities including Charlize Theron, Jennifer Anniston, Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow, Rose Byrne, and Nicole Richie are among her biggest fans. Recently, the Lauren Craft Collection was given the fashion stamp of approval from style icon, Lauren Santo Domingo, when she featured the designer on her website, Moda Operandi.

Emerald ring with champagne diamonds, 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Emerald ring with champagne diamonds, 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Chalcedony and champagne diamond earrings with 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Chalcedony and champagne diamond earrings with 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Colored sapphires and champagne diamond bracelet with 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Colored sapphires and champagne diamond bracelet with 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Kyanite and champagne diamond bangle with silver and black-rhodium finish

Kyanite and champagne diamond bangle with silver and black-rhodium finish

Purple amethyst necklace with silver chain and 18k gold clasp

Purple amethyst necklace with silver chain and 18k gold clasp

Rubies, quartz, and champagne diamonds, 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Rubies, quartz, and champagne diamonds, 18k gold, silver and black-rhodium finish

Check out the complete Lauren Craft Collection on her website.

The Beautiful Emilia

The artist poses with his newly installed painting.

The artist poses with his newly installed painting.

Last week, my friend Ronco Ortiz had a painting installed at the Nicklaus Children’s West Kendall Outpatient Center in Miami, Florida. The piece, titled “Emilia Standing Tall” is “dedicated to all the children of this beautiful world.” Ronco’s message with this piece: “It’s important to protect and love our future generations. Children are angels and we have to love them and protect them.” Congratulations Ronco Ortiz on this beautiful and inspirational piece!

 

 

Pre-Fall Insanity

Bergdorf Goodman's Pre-Fall catalog goes out at the beginning of June

Bergdorf Goodman’s Pre-Fall catalog goes out at the beginning of June

We’re not even a week into June and the major department stores are pushing fur coats and cashmere sweaters, and it’s pretty difficult to think about winter clothing in the ninety degree heat. Retail stores refer to the summer season as “Pre-Fall,” and if you don’t buy or reserve the best pieces now, they will be long gone by the time the real fall rolls around. The Burberry Prorsum shearling jacket I’ve been coveting since it went down the Fall/Winter runway already sold out in my size at multiple department stores! Time to purchase your winter wardrobe and let it rot in your closet for several months.

Or is it…

Tamara Mellon, former designer and founder of Jimmy Choo, is taking a stand against this ridiculousness with her new namesake brand. All the pieces in her contemporary line are available in stores during the proper season- this means you can actually shop for bathing suits and tank tops right now instead of sweaters and skiwear. What do you think of Mellon’s retail revolution? Will her “buy now, wear now” strategy catch on?

Rockin The Croc: The New “It Bag”

Model Chantel Manning poses with the Cylindrical bag in Leopard

Model Chantel Manning poses with the Cylindrical bag in Leopard

 

Today, I met a revolutionary in handbags and accessories. By this time next year, Rockin The Croc Cylindrical bags will be the “It Bag” in the affordable luxury market. Designer Susan Smallwood has the insight of Celine’s Phoebe Philo when it comes to designing droolworthy, functional, handmade bags for modern women. She describes her customer (and also herself) as “a unique individual that doesn’t shop where everyone else does and marches to her own beat.” A former interior designer, Smallwood draws inspiration for her bags and eclectic personal style from her travels to exotic locales, which explains her use of animal skins and prints, and her affinity for vibrant colors. A true army brat, she was born in Korea, raised in Germany and Belgium and spent significant time in Jamaica, Vegas, Miami, and San Francisco, before making her way to Baltimore.

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Rockin The Croc Cylindrical bag in black croc and finger loop handles

Rockin The Croc handbags are currently available at Jean Pool in the Cross Keys Shops in Baltimore. They range in price, depending on size and skin, from $500-$1600, and even though the price points are low for genuine exotics, Smallwood did not sacrifice quality and each bag is lined in leather. Plans for an e-commerce site at rockinthecroc.com are underway, and customers can choose their style, colors, skins, and handles (the Cylindrical bags come with regular or finger loop handles). The website will also feature men’s satchels and belts and women’s gloves, hats, and tshirts. Smallwood and her partner, Gregory Jones, have big plans for the future including “going global” and opening Rockin The Croc flagship boutiques. They’ve also begun the process of forming their own charitable foundation to give back to the community because Rockin The Croc has a “bigger purpose than just fashion.”

Plain and simple, if you’re looking for a status symbol, you carry Hermes. But if you’re looking to enhance your personal style with a showstopper bag, you carry Rockin The Croc.

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Rockin The Croc bag in red croc. Special order this bag in purple, black, or blue

 

 

Rockin the Croc refurbished antique driving gloves

Rockin the Croc refurbished antique driving gloves

 

Contact Scott at Jean Pool at (410) 466-1177 or visit Rockinthecroc.com for special orders

Who Wants to Live Underground?

Blast From the Past follows the above ground adventures of a young man who grew up in a fallout shelter during the height of the Cold War. His father, a paranoid scientist, secretly built an underground replica of his home with 35 years worth of supplies. The movie’s premise is not entirely farfetched. Not only do underground homes exist, one of them was recently on the market in Las Vegas and sold for over $1 million. Take a look at this unconventional luxury home:
http://www.examiner.com/article/underground-house-for-sale-another-cold-war-bunker-with-style

Hell Hath no Fury like a Mcqueen Scorned

Alexander Mcqueen "Hell's Knuckle Duster" ring

Alexander Mcqueen “Hell’s Knuckle Duster” ring

When the tortured genius, Alexander Mcqueen, tragically killed himself in 2010, fashion devotees were quick to grab up his final collection and own a piece of fashion history. Many people don’t know that part of the collection was actually recalled and destroyed. Accessories with the “Hell’s Knuckle Duster,” including brass rings and clutches, were the focus of a lawsuit from the Hells Angels alleging trademark infringement. The Hells Angels claimed the rings were too similar to their “winged death’s head symbol,” which they trademarked in 1948, and they sued Mcqueen, as well as Saks Fifth Avenue and Zappos, who sold the products online. Other online merchants who carried the product, including Net-a-Porter, were not named in the lawsuit. As part of the settlement terms, the defendants agreed to remove the merchandise from their respective stores and websites, and to recall and destroy the products that had already sold. To my knowledge, Saks and Zappos never disclosed to the public the amount of returned inventory. How many people held onto their “Hell’s Knuckle Duster” rings and clutches as collectables?

Net-a-Porter quickly sold out of the Mcqueen "Hell's Knuckle Duster" clutches

Net-a-Porter quickly sold out of the Mcqueen “Hell’s Knuckle Duster” clutches

House of Toi Fall 2015

Zang Toi poses next to the Fall 2015 House of Toi finale cape

Zang Toi poses next to the Fall 2015 House of Toi finale cape

Zang Toi is a Malaysian designer based in New York City who as been creating gowns for over twenty years. Anna Wintour was an early champion of his work and his gowns have been featured in numerous issues of Vogue. Toi, who dresses celebrities and royalty, made an appearance at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase on May 5th for his Fall 2015 trunk show. I was fortunate to stumble upon the master himself during an impromptu shopping trip. Mr. Toi was extremely friendly and seemed genuinely flattered when I recognized him and gushed over his career. I told him I first discovered him during an episode of The Nanny called “Shopaholic,” when Fran is on a shopping binge at a department store at the Paramus mall in New Jersey. His name is prominately displayed on the store wall and she can be seen grabbing his dresses next to the rack of Todd Oldham clothes. I’ve been a fan ever since! I also recalled seeing him on episodes of Gastineau Girls and Real Housewives of New York. 

The Fall 2015 collection is extremely wearable and the silhouettes and dark color palette are very Upper East Side New York, with a hint of downtown cool. It’s an eclectic collection, featuring everything from gowns to pantsuits and miniskirts, and a variety of textures and fabrics, including fur, lace, cashmere, tweed, suede, and pleated silks. The finale look, a black mini dress and espresso colored cape stands out from the rest of the collection as the most whimsical. The intricate hand beading on the cape of a city skyline is exquisite and like nothing I’ve seen before. A friend suggested she’d wear the cape with jeans and a plain tank top for a day of shopping in Soho. The pleated pieces, in rich shades of black and copper, are a nod to Issey Miyake but more tailored and less architectual. The pleated gowns and coats definitely belong on the red carpet this upcoming awards season. I’m personally coveting the luscious, brown fur boleros and a beaded coat!

The House of Toi Fall 2015 finale look

The House of Toi Fall 2015 finale look

Close up of the beadwork on the finale cape

Close up of the beadwork on the finale cape

Evening looks from House of Toi Fall 2015

Evening looks from House of Toi Fall 2015

House of Toi Fall 2015 ready to wear looks

House of Toi Fall 2015 ready to wear looks

To see the complete looks from House of Toi Fall 2015, visit zangtoi.com and call your local Saks Fifth Avenue for sales information.

A Modern Tiara

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“I just love finding new places to wear diamonds.” – Marilyn Monroe (as Lorelei Lee) in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 

Ok, so these aren’t exactly diamonds, but this Jennifer Behr headpiece is still fit for a princess. We simply had to feature a tiara in honor of the new royal baby, Princess Charlotte (love the name!). Purchase online via Saks.com.

Spring in NYC is Tasty!

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It’s officially Spring in New York City! Celebrate the season with raspberry cake from Laduree, colorful macarons from Vendome Patisserie, blueberry tea at Saks, and a walk up Madison Avenue.

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Alice in Wonderland Tea for Two at Saks: Drink Me and Eat Me goodies

Macarons from Vendome Patisserie served at Saks Fifth Avenue Cafe on 5: salted caramel; vanilla bean, and pistachio

Macarons from Vendome Patisserie served at Saks Fifth Avenue Cafe on 5: salted caramel; vanilla bean, and pistachio

A Saks Fifth Avenue spring window features Chloe Parfums and a floral garden

A Saks Fifth Avenue spring window features Chloe Parfums and a floral garden

The Rothschilds Take over the MFA

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The Boston Museum of Fine Arts presents Restoring a Legacy: Rothschild Family Treasures, on view through June 21, 2015. The museum is exhibiting 186 heirlooms from the Baron and Baroness Alphonse and Clarice de Rothschild of Vienna, donated by their heirs. Much of the jewelry, books, and artwork on display was stolen by the Nazis during WW2 and subsequently recovered in Austrian salt mines with the help of the “Monuments Men,” but the Baroness de Rothschild was forced to give a large portion of the works to the Austrian government. The exhibit details the Rothschild heirs’ long, frustrating fight to reclaim their treasures from the Austrian government and finally bring them to the United States in 1999.

I encourage you to read Hannah Rothschild’s article for Harpers Bazaar UK, The Art of War. Decades after the war, many families are still fighting to reclaim their Nazi looted artwork from museums in Europe