Accustomed to Customs

Episode 9:'s Associate Editor imagines what she wouldn't claim at customs.

The STA crew nearly impaled each other on a pair of vintage Louboutins this week, going to show you that fashion is the most dangerous game (or is that Yahtzee). Thankfully everyone made it out alive -- heels and hair intact. Let's see what they walked away from the fray with.

A Tough Russian Cookie
Our first consignor of the episode is Yulia. Yulia is what I would call "hella intimidating." She has a fierce Russian accent, a stone cold pokerface, and a number in mind for her Marc Jacobs dress --  making her exactly the sort of client that could banish you back to the tundra. However, the only thing that matters is that Marc Jacobs gown (purple and red, more of this please!) that was designed for Liv Tyler (even if it wasn't worn by "the" Liv Tyler -- what was?).

Tara keeps herself together and manages to make that cookie crumble, or at least break into a smaller more sellable number. Score.

Throwing Louboutins
Let me introduce you to Katherine. Katherine's nobody really. She just lived in Paris and while she was there just rang up everyone's favorite good buddy Christian Louboutin. "Oh hey Loubs. Can you custom make me a pair of shoes? Neat!" So her and her mother just popped over for tea and to pick up some shoes that were never actually produced. NBD!


You can't blame Wilson and Karina for literally foaming at the mouth at this point. A custom pair of black patent flats and some fierce silk pumps seem like the score of the century. Price them to the moon! How can this back up on them.

But, those flats are a little tattered, like "I've worn them a hundred times on the streets of Paris while picking up baguettes to put in my bicycle basket" tattered. And the green pair, though never worn, isn't going to net a ridonkulous $500. And so the STA staff gets into a fight of epic proportions. Wilson gets attitude, par usual, and Tara is not having it. I really don't understand his lack of respect. Even when blinded with a love for a pair of shoes you have to respect your boss, honey. Take it down a notch or you're going to be cosigning your vest on the street corner.

Magically enough, the green satin pumps sell at a more modest $300 to a tall lady who rocks them with cuffed jeans. I'm jealous of both your height and your footwear now stranger.

Lily of the Valley Girl
I have to commend Maya for being a woman that loves all prints. She loves bold patterned frocks (the one she wore to cosign was delightful, while obvs the vintage Valentino was a treasure), and she also loves print print -- like magazines. You know magazines, people read them before Kindles were invented. Maya was flipping through a Harper's Bazaar and stumbled her dress on a model next to Valentino and thusly she no longer saw pages, but just dollar signs.

And so our good buddy from last week. Mr. Keni Valenti arrives to evaluate Maya's gown. As it turns out, the lack of a label is because ladies would travel abroad and rip them out. That way they wouldn't have to declare their designer goods coming back to the USA. What sneaky, brilliant travelers you were! And I thought I was a great packer because I roll my socks!

Unfortunately the poor stitiching means it is not a Valentino exactly. Most likely it was sewn from Valentino overrun fabric, meaning it is worth the $150 she paid for it. But our boy Keni recommends she keep it (why!) and the dress trots back home to Maya's, where she can read magazines in it and imagine i's more amazing than she initially thought.

Check Yourself Before You Dweck Yourself
Let me make one thing clear -- I'm not normally a person who would wear chokers. I associate chokers with junior high dances and Kristin Cavallari on Season 1 of Laguna Beach. But this Dweck jewelry has me feeling feelings I have not had in eons. The necklace was chunky and bold and so sparkly. Most of all, if I take it off Shelly's hand she has the money she needs for her hair! And then she can pick up her younger gentleman, so why not? I'll be buy to pick it up later ladies.


Next week one of my all-time favorite humans Kelly Killoren Bensimon is on sharing some of her dresses for the good of the world. Of course you are sweet Kelly! Of course you are.


What The Water Gave Me

Ambria discusses the team's work with Generosity Water and how proud she is of Tara's progress.

I loved going to Kelly Killoren Bensimon's closet. Aside from Keni Valenti and Eva Lorenzotti's closets, Kelly's was my definite favorite. Handbags, shoes, dresses, suits, an entire Missoni shelf. . .seriously? I aspire to have that closet. On top of the clothing, the bags, the ridiculous apartment and Kelly's down-to-earth friendliness was her charitable demeanor. She knows she has been fortunate, and she makes it a point to give back in her life, which is such an admirable quality. Generosity Water is her pet charity, and I see why. You see the direct results of the funds you send, which is not always the case with charities.

I have always wanted to get involved with charities but I've never been in a position to do so. Working at Second Time Around gives me opportunities to be around clientele who have plenty of clothing and plenty of money. Linking Generosity Water with our clients to build a well in Haiti was finally my opportunity to be a hands-on part of something extremely beneficial. I knew being the one to auction everything would be a challenge -- I've never done that before in my life! I figured because I knew a lot of the women, and we had those amazing items from Peter Som, Kelly Bensimon, Rachel Roy, and Alexa Ray Joel it would be a walk in the park. I was secretly hoping to raise enough money for two or three wells. I was totally wrong. These women did not come ready to give their money away. . It was a real fight to even get a paddle raised. Luckily Wilson came to my rescue with that deep, masculine voice that commanded those women a bit more than mine. Wilson has such positive energy and he definitely added a richer dimension to the party.

Persistence pays off, though, and after a few glasses of champagne the women began bidding. It wasn't the triumphant, over-the-top success I had wanted, but that one well does give water to a thousand people. So I guess I'll just give us four a congratulations for getting that far. Water is something that we take for granted; I can't imagine taking a sip of water and worrying that it's contaminated. This was by far the most rewarding thing I've done in a long time.

I was soooo hoping that Colin's bracelet actually belonged to Coco Chanel. Obviously Coco was one of the most influential women in fashion, so I got really excited. It was a let down to find out it wasn't. Visiting the Elle accessories closet was a nice little band-aid. You didn't even really get to see how much stuff was actually in there! I only wished Karina could have been there to fulfill her fantasy of accessories.

I am proud of Tara for sharing about her alcoholism. Everyone has different past experiences which leads them into certain circumstances they would rather not have to deal with it; I definitely have my own. It hasn't always been easy to watch her go through the motions at work. It's the type of situation that there is nothing you can do but be supportive. She has handled herself with dignity and grace, and I believe her sharing is quite inspirational for others who have similar demons.