Calling Clutches

Calling Clutches

Ambria explains how to spot a real designer bag and why the Birkin Bash was such as success.

This episode was definitely interesting. Wilson consigning that gold dress was cute to watch; he has such a sweet way of being a diva! He negotiated well for his first time. It's hard to know how much to sell items that are not from a popular label. If you go too low, you can lose the consignor and if you price too high, no one will buy it. I am working with him now and think he will learn a lot working with all the different people that come in to the store and also all of the different labels he will get to see.

Tara's a far better sport than I am. She handled that girl who brought in that leather Gucci like an absolute pro. I can get a little hot under the collar when someone brings in something like that, I fall in love, envision a huge sale for the store and then the girl says, "You know what, I wanna take this home!" Soooo annoying. I was in love with the luxurious leather and the custom cut which is the reason Gucci has the reputation it has. I hope that girl is really wearing it and loving it and it's not just sitting in her closet!

I have always loved Hermes, the brand itself. The quality and craftsmanship of the leather goods are really unparalleled. The Birkin is the crown jewel of any socialite's wardrobe. The story of how it was created based on Jane Birkin's infamous plane flight is definitely one to look up if you don't know it (Editor's note: Jane was seated next to an Hermes executive on a plane, and bemoaned her inability to find the perfect leather weekend bag). The brand's luxurious leathers, luscious colors, sexy hardware and then of course, an exquisite price tag, keeps the Birkins extremely exclusive. Only a small group of women in the world get to enjoy them. What happens though, is that they get sick of the same one after time. So what better way to switch up their Birkin collection than over champagne, and with a super-chic, best-selling book author and bag authenticator?

My Birkin party was the success it was because of Michael Tonnello and Karina. Between an expert in Hermes Birkin bags and an expert on the Upper East Side ladies, it went smoother than I could have hoped for. Usually I do a gathering of no more than three or four ladies, but this time we had about nine women and about five of them brought more than two bags. It doesn't sound like that many, but when you deal with all of the drama that surrounds sales and swaps of these thousand dollar bags, it can be tense. I was sweating while we were setting up, but you didn't get to see that. Karina was the calming factor, and that involved her making me down a few glasses of champagne. Ursula is my absolute favorite consignor (the lady who sold her sandstone Birkin to Jennifer). She always brings in the best ready-to-wear from current collections. When I asked her if she had a Birkin or two to sell, she asked where, when and what time.

I was nervous that Jane would be mad when I told her that her bag was faux, but it turns out she had spent $1,000 on it because it was an excellent fake bag. I was relieved it wouldn't cause a scene, but I have to admit, I was a little upset that she brought the fake on purpose. I would never want to sell a fake bag to a client of mine! Something similar happened once before to a client I care very much about and I felt absolutely horrible. That's precisely why I needed Michael there.

The great thing about this show is how much you all will learn about handbag authentication. Once you see more than three or four professional fakes, you will know exactly what to look for. I hope everyone who watches this show becomes knowledgeable about how to determine what is real. How a bag stands (unlike Jane's, which was falling over), the hardware, the label, the stitching and construction -- all of these are key ingredients to authenticating bags. It is important because handbags are our calling cards as women. Maybe not a Birkin (yet!) -– but any designer bag you are shelling out more than $300 for, you want to know it's authentic. Buying resale creates skepticism, as well it should. But at Second Time Around, we do our absolute best to protect our customers from the fake market.

Maybe on Season 2 we will go to Paris for a MAJOR Birkin Bash. Are you guys down?

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