Archives for category: Bags

Designer Rafe Totengco

From stylish celebs to everyday glamour gals, designer Rafe Totengco’s handbags are a staple in many chic closets. Eva Longoria, a longtime fan, asked Rafe to design her bridesmaids’ clutches for her 2007 nuptials to Tony Parker. (A similar style of the one-of-a-kind minaudiere is currently available.)

“I design for a woman who likes to stand out from the crowd, a woman who appreciates fashion but isn’t obsessed with it,” Rafe tells Open Fashion. “She’s got her own sense of style: sexy, individual and confident. She’ll mix vintage pieces with high street and designer labels. She likes to have fun with clothes.”

Open Fashion snagged an interview with the popular designer and peppered him with questions. What’s the must-have bag for Fall 2010? What is the one color handbag that every woman should have in her closet? Read on…

"Orchid" clutch by Rafe

How many collections do you produce each year?

I design 3 collections a year. Fall / Winter, Spring / Summer and Resort / Holiday.

What was the inspiration for your Fall 2010 collection of handbags?

This season I was channeling the unique characteristics and lifestyle of the Brooklyn girl, her edgy, yet relaxed sense of style. Foldover totes and cross-bodies serve as stylish yet functional pieces for perusing a vintage flea market or enjoying a bite to eat at hot spot Dumont. Clutches, minaudieres, hobos and shoulder bags are updated in luxe washed leathers, marbled metallics, pleated snakeskin and crinkle patent leathers. Crystals and beads embellish Italian moiré printed suede while studded fringe adorns buttery soft leather. The Rafe girl is checking out the latest art exhibit at PS1 and moving to the sounds of LaRoux on the dance floor at Deity.

Rafe Ruched Chocolate handbag

Rafe "Ana" foldover tote in chocolate

My inspirations are as varied as the women who wear them. This season’s rich color palette evokes the brushstrokes of artist Francis Bacon with colors that include warm earth tone colors in taupe, grey and brown hues and rich Bordeaux and green shades.

Rafe Studded Grey handbag

What is the one color of handbag that every woman should have in her closet?

A grey bag! Because I consider grey a neutral and it works well whatever the season.

What is the absolute must-have handbag for this Fall?

It would be our “Ana” fold-over tote made of washed lambskin. You can wear it as a cross body or a tote. Two different ways to wear the same bag — who can say no that?!

And now, to copy a question you have posed to other designers: What are your 3 Absolute Style Do’s and Don’ts — and why?


  • Say Please, Thank you and you’re welcome. Good manners are always in style.
  • Invest in good quality shoes, they finish your sartorial sentence and your feet will thank you for them over time.
  • Take a long good look at yourself before leaving your apartment. Sometimes you catch the oddest things about your outfit upon closure inspection. “Better safe than sorry” I always say.


  • Think that just because the 80’s are back, that you should be all over it. Some trends aren’t appropriate for everybody.
  • Under dress ever! Make an effort and you’ll feel better, especially when everybody tells you how fabulous you look.
  • Bother with cheap handbags made of questionable materials, you’ll be sorry when they start peeling against your skin and on your clothes.
UPI POY 2009 - Entertainment.

If you hurry, you can own a piece of Oprah — her closet, anyway. From March 1 – 11, the talk show maven is auctioning off her previously used clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories.

Check out Oprah’s whole collection on eBay.

Each item has a starting bid of $100. Just three hours after bidding opened today, a red Carolina Herrera dress that Oprah has worn on the show was already up to $810, and there’s more than a week left in the auction!

All proceeds from the sales will go towards financing the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa.

When it comes to gifts, isn’t it better to receive than to give? (C’mon, tell the truth.) Especially when the gift is so outlandish and frivolous that you just can’t justify buying it for yourself. Take, for example, the first item on our list of 5 Quirky Fashion Finds You Should Get Someone to Buy for You:

1.  Comme des Garcons Barbie. They didn’t make Barbies like this when we were little. Designed by Rei Kawakubo, this limited edition Barbie debuted this Christmas wearing a graphic floral-patterned dress with large, bright “Jingle Flowers.” ($360)

2.  Goyard Canvas Laptop Briefcase Bag. It’s no fun carting your laptop around in a basic black, neoprene sleeve, is it? The Goyard laptop bag, with its signature chevron design and bright green color, screams technology and fashion. Best yet? You can find one for a mere $909. That’s a steep discount from the original price of $1,800.

Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ve been a fan of Bag, Borrow or Steal, now known as Avelle, since I first heard the concept behind their business.  It’s a company that rents high-end accessories like purses, jewelry and watches.

  • You join.
  • You have the option of paying a yearly fee (which will reduce your rental rates) or paying as you go.
  • You can choose from a section of bags and other high-end accessories.
  • They mail it to you.
  • You have time to use it and then return it.

Isn’t that just a clever idea? There really is no guilt or regret when you use a service like this.

Is there this great designer bag or watch that you just MUST try? With you can.

I see it as getting the use of high-end products without having to pay the high-end product price. In a time where funds are really tight, maybe test driving accessories before you buy them or even just test driving accessories instead of buying them is the better option. Also, if you’re a deal seeker, Avelle offers used accessories for sale at up to 70% off. Since the items are authenticated, you know they’re real. Since the items are used, you know you’ll be getting a cheaper price.

What can be better than that?

Well, brace yourselves because Avelle has paired with the Bryant Park Hotel in New York, NY. They’re offering concierge accessory services to Bryant Park Hotel guests.

What does this mean? In this climate of long check-ins for air travel and stricter controls on bags, it’s simply easier to pack light and leave accessories at home. However, even though I’ve done a lot of traveling, I still pack more than I need. That’s expensive to do these days.

This service can help someone who is time and cost conscious for sure.  I won’t claim it will reduce your carbon footprint, but it might. If you want options, and you want to dress up without having to go through the trouble of buying something new when you arrive, you can still have that with this service.

Here is their description of the process:

Upon making a reservation at the Bryant Park Hotel, all guests currently residing in the United States will receive an email containing information about the hotel’s partnership with Avelle, including information on redeeming 25% off their rental fees and free shipping, as well as a direct link to Once guests have browsed through the website and accessorized their trips, they can then focus on the rest of their packing, knowing that the beautiful handbags and jewelry they’ve selected will be waiting for them at The Bryant Park Hotel upon arrival. At the end of their stay, guests simply return their borrowed items to the hotel concierge – no shipping, packing or post office required – who ensures the items are returned to Avelle.

I live in NYC, so I won’t be needing this service. However, I’d seriously consider it if I were going to stay at the Bryant Park Hotel.

Maybe Avelle is working on partnerships with hotels across the country? I hope so.

To learn more about Avelle, check out their site but also follow or friend them:

So who do you think rocked the red carpet at the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards?

I’ve always been a fan of simple and sleek lines, bright colors and great accessories.  I’m all about “less is more”. That seemed to be the theme a lot of designers and celebrities liked too.

Maybe the classic lines and understated details are reaction to these tough economic times. Whatever the reason, this was a very well-dressed group!

I decided to use video instead of pictures, so I’ve linked to a bunch of TV Guide video interviews from last night’s red carpet. You can see them all on TV Guide’s YouTube channel.

Check them out.  Yes, there are some stars and great looks that are missing.

However, if your favorite isn’t here. Let me know who it is!

Chandra Wilson:

Glenn Close, Holly Hunter and Marcia Gay Harden:

Padma Lakshmi:

Seal and Heidi Klum:

Hayden Panettiere:

Christina Applegate:

Leighton Meester:

Kristin Chenoweth:

Jane Krakowski:

Julia Louis-Dreyfus:

Dana Delany:

Cobie Smulders:

Vanessa Williams:

Mariska Hargitay:

Kate Walsh:

Rose Byrne:

My favorite? Blake Lively’s Versache low cut red dress.

Pick yanked from Bonnie Fuller's Twitter Stream

Pic yanked from Bonnie Fuller's Twitter stream - click to read Bonnie's tweet!

It was simple yet just stunning.

Thanks to TV Guide for such a great YouTube channel!

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