Highly Valued: Back In Style

A bag is a bag is a bag. Unless, of course, it is a vintage Chanel, Louise Vuitton, Celine or Hermes. Judging from press and paparazzi coverage as well our own experience at Tres Mariposas, demand for vintage handbags has skyrocketed.

Vintage luxury has become equally or more desirable than new. Vintage as in “used,” you say? Is that crazy? Not when you think of luxury classics in other categories.

For instance, my husband loves his recent model Porsche, but, boy, would he kill for a 1959 Speedster.roadster

A fine reserve wine, aged to perfection, is way more coveted than current season yields. A vintage Rolex has an appeal and heritage that today’s watches can’t match. An antique table has a certain charm and a mid-century chair can be a classic. Age lends a unique style to goods in many different categories.WGACA

Some of today’s vintage handbag collectors have similar goals as art collectors. They love owning beautiful pieces, but they also consider the item as an investment with an eye to an ever-increasing resale value.

At Tres Mariposas we recently began carrying vintage luxury bags. I was skeptical at first – but my gracious, they are flying out our doors. We buy from a source who travels the world hand selecting the finest items from Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and others. An important aspect of buying vintage is checking the authenticity. Our buyer is highly knowledgeable and guarantees the authenticity of the handbags.WGACA6

Some of the handbags have never been used at all – they were purchased by collectors who might have displayed them, but never took them out of their homes. Other bags are in outstanding condition, but they have been enjoyed by their previous owners. These purses have a kind of mysterious history to me, a secret past we’ll never know. That’s just part of the charm of vintage accessories!WGACA2

Kaftans Are Back for Summer

Kaftans, sometimes spelled caftans, those comfortable robe-like dresses often made of flowy soft fabrics, take many shapes and silhouettes, so it’s hard to generalize about them.However, it’s easy to say that this old style is reaching new heights on runways, at markets and in women’s hearts this season. Designers have reinvented this classic garment and it’s winning fans everywhere.

“I will never forget the first time I went to St. Tropez with my parents and the most glamorous women all wore caftans,” says stylist and designer Rachel Zoe on www.harpersbazaar.com.

Supposedly, designer Diana Vreeland once called the caftan “fashionable for the beautiful people,” but we don’t have to be jet-setters to enjoy the flattering, flowing lines.

“A caftan is always chic and effortless,” adds Zoe. “It’s a trend that began in the 1960s and has transcended time.”

This season we have had kaftans by a young Australian designer flying off our racks. Our contemporary buyer at Tres Mariposas, Gesuina Legaspy, wrote about the design house in a recent fashion posting on her Tres Gal blog. I’m happy to share it with you here, from

Gesuina:Gesuina Legaspy color headshot

“Every so often, I become so inspired and excited by a designer that I find myself wanting to tell their story, beyond a single photo or a line in a blog about multiple trends.

“I’ve mentioned Camilla here before, but the Australian-based line warrants its very own post, perpetually stealing the show with its vibrant hues, luxe fabrics and inventive style. They are inspired prints from all over the world, and come in a variety of bold colors and graphic patterns.

Designer Camilla Franks

Designer Camilla Franks

“Founded a decade ago by designer Camilla Frank, this luxury brand first caught my eye a couple of months ago, when I scooped up a few colorful kaftans for Tres Mariposas and we sold out within three days. I was infatuated with Camilla at first sight.

“The line is brimming with ‘forever’ pieces – precious silk and Swarovski crystals that can be worn through countless summer events, each garment unique and distinctive.

“I can see these pieces on women of every age, since the kaftans, maxis, kimonos and flowing blouses are flattering on all figures. You’d be in good company in Camilla, since everyone from Beyonce to Kate Hudson to Miranda Kerr are fans.

“My very favorite thing about the brand is that the Camilla dress can be worn half a dozen ways. That’s right – one dress is really six gorgeous styles: one shoulder, high, low, bra tuck, short and mini.

“I had so much fun experimenting with this dress in particular. I’ve learned that when you look good, you really do feel good.

“We’ve got a new batch of Camilla goodies at Tres, and I invite you to come by and try the line for yourself. Nothing says summer quite like Camilla.”

Flowy kaftans by Camilla can be worn in so many ways.

Flowy kaftans by Camilla can be worn in so many ways.

Escada’s Fall 2015 Collection Comes to El Paso

We had an unusually fun and amazing event take place at Tres Mariposas last week.Let me start by sharing some insights into the apparel buying cycle. Like other fashion retailers, we go to different markets for different lines. Normally, we buy high-end and European lines the furthest in advance and in New York.

These designers do not take their lines to the regional markets like Dallas or Los Angeles. And the more premium the fabrics and construction, the longer lead time is needed. The high level of quality means these are not fast-fashion productions.Escada dress

Every February, we shop Escada, the famous German luxury collection. This February, however, the collection was not in their New York showroom due to unusual circumstances.

Helen Mirren in Escada

Happily, Escada offered to bring the entire fall 2015 collection to El Paso so we could see it all here, right in our own store. “We will just bring the showroom to you,” declared Rebecca Evans of Escada. What a fabulous idea!

And what an unforgettable sight it was to see all the beautiful dresses, tops, jackets, skirts and pants in all their glory, right here in El Paso. Unlike our typical New York showroom experience, we had the luxury of more time to get to know the collection – and we got to hear reactions and recommendations from all our staff and even a few customers.

I have a special affinity for Escada. The brand was founded in 1978, the same year I came to Tres Mariposas. A few years later, an Escada outfit – a peasant-influenced skirt and blouse – was my first-ever luxury apparel purchase.

I felt on top of the world when I wore it. The fabric was divine. The fit was perfect. The workmanship was flawless. There really is a significant difference in luxury apparel; I felt elevated and special.

Escada had interesting beginnings. Margaretha Ley, a model and designer, and her husband, Wolfgang Ley, were on holiday in Spain when they bet on a winning Irish racehorse named Escada. The winnings became the seed money for Escada the brand.

Miranda Kerr in Escada

Miranda Kerr in Escada

Margaretha’s distinctive creations with their unusual combinations of colors and patterns soon stood out in the fashion world. Escada became Germany’s leading luxury fashion brand and a leading player in the global luxury clothing market. North America became a strong market, in part because of American women’s love of color. Today Escada is a go-to brand for celebrities and many of America’s best-dressed, most stylish women.

Rebecca Evans (Escada) and Bobbie Baldridge (Tres Mariposas)

Rebecca Evans (Escada) and Bobbie Baldridge (Tres Mariposas)

Having the complete Escada line at Tres Mariposas for our buyers to make their selections was such a treat. We had a great time – too bad we can’t always get a major fashion design house to come to us!