The Vintage Contessa – Houston
Heart of Fashion Closing Night
The Road to Marfa…
Come “Mingle” with Me on FashionMingle.net !
Heart of Fashion Opening Night
Getting “Pleaty” at River Oaks District

The Vintage Contessa – Houston

The Vintage Contessa

6222 Richmond Ave. #540
Houston, TX 77057
Mon- Thurs: 9-4:30, Fri- 9-noon…

The Vintage Contessa Houston TX

Imagine a website and showroom that sells only the best vintage and newer handbags, jewelry and accessories from the world’s most sought-after brands: Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes and Cartier. Enter- The Vintage Contessa, owned by Donae Cangelosi Chramosta and her husband Rob. Awhile back, Donae worked for her family’s marble business. She would travel to Italy and France in search of not only marble, but fashion. After marrying Rob and while on their honeymoon in Portofino, she bought her first Hermes belt. Fast forward to when she was pregnant with her now eight-year-old daughter Bella, she was strolling down Madison Avenue with friends. They ventured into Hermes and it was there that she bought her first Birkin. She had always wanted one and had aspired to have that be one of her financial goals in life. It was not long after, that her husband’s jewelry and diamond friends were offering to buy the bag from her. That concept led her to start selling other bags, such as: Gucci and Louis Vuitton; later evolving into Chanel and Hermes as well. The newly-formed business was out of her passion and love for these coveted items.

The Vintage Contessa was launched in 2011. The name of the business was derived from her strong Italian heritage (her Grandparents emigrated from Sicily on a cattle boat and came through Ellis Island. Her Grandfather was a highly-skilled shoe cobbler.) Growing up, her nephews would always call her ‘princess’ and she thought that instead of using ‘princess’ or ‘queen,’ she thought that ‘contessa’ was a better fit.

So fast-forward to the end of 2015, when I had the pleasure of visiting the showroom one afternoon and found myself immersed in Hermes Birkin and Louis Vuitton Speedy bags. The showroom is a combination of Donae and her husband’s businesses. She mainly concentrates on the bags, some jewelry and accessories, while Rob sells watches, such as: Rolex, Cartier and Patek Philippe and designer jewelry like: Bulgari and Van Cleef and Arpels. The showroom features over thirty Birkin and Kelly bags, twenty/thirty Hermes bags, around one hundred Louis Vuitton and fifty Chanel bags. The oldest pieces in the showroom are a couple Louis Vuitton trunks date back to the 1890’s.

I really enjoyed my visit, as I was able to browse and take my time. The HUGE plus for me was when Donae said that I could actually get a Birkin from the shelf and hold it, etc. I mean seriously, who does that?! I know the Hermes retail store does not. Growing up, I’ve always seen and read about these bags in magazines, but to be able to actually HOLD and study the bags…just the icing on the cake! I also know that when I decide to buy my first vintage ‘Louie’ or ahem…Birkin… I will buy from Donae and Rob, because not only are they honest, kind folks running a small/local business, but they personally buy their vintage and newer inventory themselves from all over the world and they take pride in making sure that everything is 100% authentic.

To get more information (and to do some online shopping) on the boutique, go HERE. To purchase/get information on the book her co-wrote with her daughter called The Vintage Contessa and Princessa, go HERE. Be sure to also follow Rob via Instagram under “countdumoney.”

I love the pieces that transcend time, like the Chanel 2.55 bag, that was launched February 1955 and it’s still a bag in 2015… Another true test I believe for a great design is how sought after it is. No matter if a girl is 18 years old or 80 years old, she comes in and wants to carry a Chanel classic bag.”

– Donae Cangelosi Chramosta

Heart of Fashion Closing Night

The Heart of Fashion closed on a high note, with such notable designers as Peter Cohen, Houston’s own Inclán, Abi Ferrin and Ungaro.

Peter Cohen

Zimbabwean-born and now Los Angeles-based Peter Cohen has been designing for over twenty-five years. His luxurious, yet simplistic designs are in the closets of some of Hollywood leading ladies, including Angela Bassett and Ann Heche. Cohen is known for not making a huge fuss in regards to being in spotlight, nor will you see logos or signatures in/on his clothing. He dedicates his time to sourcing the highest quality of fabrics, such as four ply silks from Korea, Italian organza and French taffeta. The looks that were highlighted on the runway were simple and timeless, with light embellishment. He chose longtime friend and the legendary supermodel Carmen Dell’ Orefice to close the runway presentation. She graced the runway in a midst of a roaring applause from the audience.

Inclán Studio

Inclán Studio’s Paola Contraras was the only Houston designer to present her S/S16 work during the Heart of Fashion festivities.The designer stuck by her signature color/fabric blocking and chose a neutral palette, with bits of yellow popping up here-and-there. Her collection seems ideal for a summery island or warm getaway, with breezy, lightweight fabrics. Anorak-style jackets, tunics, capri pants and easy dresses trended the brand’s runway showcase. Find Inclán Studio HERE.

Abi Ferrin

Dallas-based designer Abi Ferrin presented her latest collection that seemed to have a bohemian inspired vibe. The brand, who’s motto is Fashion with Freedom and Purpose showcased designs that were relaxed yet sophisticated, while also catering to women of all body types. The models were accessorized with southwestern shoulder bags, hairpieces made of bouncy pom-poms and feathers and airy printed shawls. The brand is manufactured in the USA. For more information on Abi and The Freedom Project, go HERE.

Ungaro – Presented by Sloan Hall

Ungaro’s reigning designer- Fausto Puglisi wasn’t able to attend the show, however he did make an ‘appearance’ and addressed the audience via video. His very 60’s Mod “Flower Power” (along with basket weave and plaid prints)- inspired collection also celebrated femininity and the female form. Puglisi emphasized structured collared blouses with 3-D flowers and mesh ruffled details, chic capes and jackets and flirty dresses and skirts. He used striking pinks, blues and white as his standard palette, but added black as a useful accent to make some clothing details pop. While most of the collection remained subtle for a broad range of clientele, he also incorporated hints of edginess with patent leather pieces and midsection-baring crop tops with harnesses and dresses/skirts with harness-esque leg-baring stripes running down the sides. Check out Ungaro HERE.

The Road to Marfa…

These are my favorite captures from the trip…

Road to Marfa

marfa, tx , photoshoot, travel, blogger

marfa, tx, travel, blogger

outfit, vintage, Southwest, Marfa

marfa, blogger

marfa, tx, Chianti Foundation

marfa, tx, Chianti Foundation, fashion blogger

marfa, tx, Chianti Foundation, fashion blogger

marfa, tx, Chianti Foundation, fashion blogger

marfa, tx, Chianti Foundation, fashion blogger

marfa, Prada Marfa, vintage caftan

marfa, Prada Marfa, vintage caftan

marfa, Prada Marfa, bloggers

marfa, tx, El Paisano Hotel, fashion blogger

marfa, el paisano hotel, matty m leggings

El Paisano Hotel, travel, vintage shoes, blogger, Marfa, TX , historic hotel

Marfa, TX, vintage clothing, print mixing, travel, wanderlust, journey, photo shoot, fashion blogger

Marfa, TX, vintage clothing, print mixing, travel, wanderlust, journey, photo shoot, fashion blogger

Marfa, TX, vintage clothing, print mixing, travel, wanderlust, journey, photo shoot, fashion blogger

Marfa, TX, vintage clothing, print mixing, travel, wanderlust, journey, photo shoot, fashion blogger

Marfa, TX, vintage clothing, black and white dress,  El Paisano Hotel, travel, wanderlust, journey, photo shoot, fashion blogger, Debutante Clothing

Marfa, TX, vintage clothing, black and white dress,  El Paisano Hotel, travel, wanderlust, journey, photo shoot, fashion blogger, Debutante Clothing

Marfa, TX, vintage clothing,  travel, wanderlust, journey, photo shoot, fashion blogger, cactus print maxi skirt, maxi skirt

Marfa, TX, vintage clothing,  travel, wanderlust, journey, photo shoot, fashion blogger, cactus print maxi skirt, maxi skirt

Marfa, TX, vintage clothing,  travel, wanderlust, journey, photo shoot, fashion blogger, cactus print maxi skirt, maxi skirt

Marfa, TX, vintage clothing,  travel, wanderlust, journey, photo shoot, fashion blogger, Born Again Vintage, bubble dress, Ballroom Marfa

Marfa, TX, vintage clothing,  travel, wanderlust, journey, photo shoot, fashion blogger, Born Again Vintage, bubble dress, Thunderbird Motel

Marfa, TX, vintage clothing,  travel, wanderlust, journey, photo shoot, fashion blogger, Born Again Vintage, bubble dress, mural

A few months ago, myself, along with a few friends of mine, ventured about eight hours to the west Texas town of Marfa. It was a fun mini-getaway and full of desert wanderlust and plenty of locations to do photo shoots. We stayed at the historic El Paisano Hotel, where legendary stars: Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean and Rock Hudson stayed while filming the 1956 movie Giant. I highly recommend staying there while in the area, plus they offer a great breakfast.

We spent two days exploring the area including: Chinati Foundation, the Prada Marfa installation, downtown Marfa, Tumbleweed Laundry and Frama Coffee Shop, Do Your Thing Coffee Shop, Ballroom Marfa, Rule Gallery and Marfa Book Company. We also had no shortage of kewl instagram-worthy murals.

Huge thanks to the lovely Sofia Emm for the photography. Be sure to also check out her work HERE. If you’d like to see my snaps of the trip, check out my Instagram HERE under #CaptureMarfa. Or check out the full lookbook!

Brands included in the shoot: Curated Cotton, Big Bertha’s Paradise, Marci Rosenberg Collection, Darylynn Eyewear, LA Hip Threads, Eado Vintage, Born Again Vintage, Debutante Clothing, Matty M, Melissa Velia and My Flaming Heart.

Come “Mingle” with Me on FashionMingle.net !

Over the years, I’ve felt that working in the fashion industry has been somewhat of a challenge. You are basically either volunteering your creativity and time or working for pennies and with little to no benefits. In this industry, you are considered lucky if you have an “in” or can actually find a job where you can earn a decent living. This industry can also be lonely if you don’t have a fashion community that you can connect with in your city. But that’s all about to change, as Melissa Shea- CEO of FashionMingle.net, will be launching the extensive marketing network come January 2016.

Seeing the hardships that this industry can bring, Shea was inspired to launch Fashion Mingle. “In 2009 I was introduced to the Austin fashion industry where I met so many passionate people who are driven to work in fashion and strengthen the fashion community as a whole, but they face an uphill battle. Fashion is like many creative industries, it runs on volunteer labor, with few people actually making a living to support themselves. With a background in web design and internet marketing, I started thinking about ways I could use my skills to help.”

After a move from Austin to New York in 2011, she launched a nationwide fashion directory. “I spent several years working with a programmer to build it while creating an online presence focused on promoting fashion professionals in 2012. Now, in 2015 we have an investor and I have a partner, Beth Smith, who has experience launching several startups, and we’ve been able to put together a team that is excited to see this become a reality.”

Melissa has recently opened up the site for fashion professionals for a FREE membership (a soft launch if you will). Starting in January, the exclusive social network and fashion directory will reach over 107 cities throughout the country, allowing fashion professionals to collaborate, connect and create in different cities by using Fashion Mingle’s online networking groups. “We want fashion professionals to make money doing what they love. Our mission is to create a powerful marketing platform that will fuel the growth of local fashion communities,” Shea further explains.

I just signed up and I’m definitely looking forward to further exploring Fashion Mingle once it launches. Whether you are a blogger, designer, photographer/videographer, working in marketing or social media to retail/sales or working in trade shows- this site is bound to work for you. I’m a blogger and sell vintage on the side, so I hope to connect with other bloggers and vintage shop owners all over the country. I feel that my vintage business would benefit from the site because of the various online tools that will be available, such as: Social Network, PR Platform, Freelance Marketplace and Mobile Shopping App. With these tools, I can not only reach local fellow business owners, but also have the chance to potentially sell to a broader market.

If you are a fashion professional, what are you waiting for?! Go HERE to sign up for FREE membership (before 12/31/15) and get a jump-start on an innovative fashion platform.

** NOTE- I was compensated for this post, however all opinions are my own. **

Heart of Fashion Opening Night

Heart of Fashion

Houston’s favorite pink-haired fashionista, Vivian Wise recently held Heart of Fashion– a new philanthropic fashion movement that spanned three nights and culminated eleven designers while directly supporting the community. The event is meant to be one of the only consumer-based fashion shows in the world, where attendees can have immediate access to the curated designs straight from the runways of New York and Paris.

The event supported Wise’s Texas Legacy Foundation, who in turn, gave a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales to non-profits: Butterflys & Bandages, Legacy Community Health Services and Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston.

The Million Air hangar was transformed into a New York style affair, decked out in hues of pink, white and black. Guests walked the long pink carpet from valet and were greeted by cocktail waiters and waitresses dressed as flight attendants in 60s-inspired uniforms upon entering the large venue. The pre-fashion show party provided guests with a few bars that served complimentary champagne and cocktails, cozy yet sleek lounge areas, a plantain and chip station (complete with #DoNotFeedTheModels hashtag) and mood music provided by DJ Lewis Grell.

The highlight of the pink carpet arrivals was seeing the legendary supermodel Carmen Dell’Orefice make her entrance. At 84, Dell’Orefice is the oldest working model in the industry. She was thrilled to be in Houston for the event and was especially humbled to influence Meals on Wheels- a charity she’s been involved with over the years.

The designers of opening night’s festivities were:

Cushnie Et Ochs presented by Neiman Marcus:

Cushnie Et Ochs was established in 2008 by Carlie Cushnie and Michelle Ochs and is based in New York City. The duo presented their Spring 2016 ready-to-wear collection on Heart of Fashion’s philanthropic runway. While the majority of their inspiration came from the works of NYC visual artist- Kehinde Wiley, they also took 90s hip-hop references and blended soft, feminine details for a very “Uptown Lady Meets Gangster” juxtaposition. The designers mixed hard with soft fabrics and color palettes; while showcasing minimal design, ladylike dresses, feminine ruffle trim, form-fitting silhouettes, pencil skirts, plunging necklines and tasteful peeks of skin.

Norisol Ferrari presented by Tootsies:

The Norisol Ferrari runway show opened with 80s Dallas runway icon Jan Strimple. New York based Ferrari kept the collection in a neutral black and white palette that she is known for (along with couture construction, fine tailoring, fully-functional detailing and use of exotic fabrics and skins), ideal for Fall and Winter. The collection highlighted exquisite python coats, structured suiting, fur-lined vest (in a light olive color), glamorous felt hats, minimal yet timeless dresses and hooded LBDs.

Angel Sanchez presented by Elizabeth Anthony:

The last and my personal favorite collection of the evening was Angel Sanchez‘s S/S 2016 collection, titled- Cayena. Sanchez infused references of traditional couture of the 1950s (especially in the silhouettes) with Caribbean-esque tropical bright colors. The collection was named after the Cayena (Hibiscus) flower that is prominent on the tropical islands. The shape of the flower petals also had a popular presence in the collection, as either a trim, or drape of the bodice or skirt. He stuck with a bright color palette, but also managed to sneak in white- as a reference to the shining light of the Tropics. He relied heavily on silk gauze to help create the voluptuous and dramatic shapes, while also using acrylic, plastic, leather and other rare fibers. I thought the clear acrylic bold and 60s/Mod-esque belts were just too good (and ahem, on point with my vintage style)!

The finale of the show as when New York designer Ralph Rucci (Chado Ralph Rucci) later presented Carmen Dell’Orefice with the Texas Legacy Award.

To find out more about Heart of Fashion, go HERE.

Getting “Pleaty” at River Oaks District

** Photos by Sofia T. (@dydesigner) **

(Vintage Mary McFadden Pants- Eado Vintage, Vintage Crop Blouse- Deja Vu Fashions, Vintage Shoes- thrifted, Vintage Dior Sunglasses- estate sale find, Vintage Loup Necklace- Arbor Antiques estate sale find, Vintage Tooled Clutch- Cheeky Vintage, Vintage Bracelets- thrifted)

As soon as I purchased the vintage 1980s Mary McFadden pants from one of my fave Houston vintage shops- Eado Vintage, I knew they had to be photographed. I met up with one of my photographer friends -Sofia (definitely check her out on instagram- @dydesigner) at posh River Oaks District– Houston’s newest upscale open-air shopping mecca and we “photo’d” away!

Mary McFadden was known for her signature pleating (which sort of mimics the Fortuny pleating) and Grecian-inspired gowns. Her pieces are highly sought-after by vintage collectors. So it was no surprise that the wide-legged pants have a great fit and flow beautifully. For the shoot, I wanted to let the pants make the statement, so I went minimal on accessories and opted for a vintage white cropped blouse (even though the blouse and tooled clutch have their own unique characteristics as well). The RODistrict was the perfect backdrop for the shoot that day, as it wasn’t too crowded, being a Sunday and later in the day and all.


** Photos by Sofia T. (@dydesigner) **

(#BeSomebody tee- c/o #BeSomebody , Vintage Necklace- ATRS, Skirt- c/o Choies, Heels- c/o Nine West, Headband- DIY by me, Vintage Sunglasses- thrifted, Kassidy Crossbody – c/o Elaine Turner, Earpiece c/o Debra Rapoport.)

The #BeSomebody concept was created in 2009 by Kash Shaikh- who just tweeted a simple tweet. Since then, the #BeSomebody motivational movement has grown and the hashtag has reached over 5 million people in over 180 countries. I was first introduced to the app #BeSomebody last month, when it launched in Houston. The app was first beta tested in Austin, TX and it wasn’t until October, when it launched in Houston. It is the world’s first mobile social app that connects people who share similar passions. The best and quite frankly, the most important feature of the app is the ‘Experience Marketplace,’ where users can connect with “Passionaries”- teachers and coaches who are making a living doing what they love, all while helping others to reach their highest potential. I highly recommend going HERE to get more insight into the movement and app.

To download the app, go HERE.

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