Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Farewell to Summer

Spring-summer 2010 is unofficially coming to a close. Why not grab some great bargains between soaking up those last rays of sun and ducking from the path of Earl?

Labor Day weekend is a great time to find last minute deals. From the coast of Maine to the shores of New Jersey, independent stores are all trying too eek out a bit more register tape before tourists go back to their daily grind. So, if you happen to spot an item not on sale, a quick and subtle discount hint can turn into surprising savings.

For those of you on the hunt for serious deals, a ride to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets can save you an additional 70% off the summer 2009 collection at the Etro Outlet. (That's about 85% off retail.) Bottega Veneta has similar deals with an extra 75% off RTW outlet prices and an extra 30% off select bags.

Remember, fall collections may be in stores, but if it still has tags... It's new!

We are taking the rest of the week off from posting but urge you to leave any great sale hints in the comments section of this post. See you next week and please remember your SPF/umbrella!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Devi Kroell Friends & Family

Devi Kreoll is hosting a friends and family sale where the left-over spring and summer merchandise is 50% off. The sale includes a full variety of ready-to-wear and shoes. There are also a few bags included in the markdown.

A hand painted black and white hobo is $1425 from $3000 and a larger size is $1745 from $3600. There is also a scattering of envelope bags, totes and evening bags. The sale runs through September 5th and it's a reasonably good opportunity to pick up an exotic bag at a discount. It's just that we can't help remembering the Devi Kroell sample sale, when similar bags were just $800!


Devi Kroell
717 Madison Avenue @ 63rd Street
Contact: Eric 212-644-4499

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Retail Therapy: Amy Odell

Everyone who lives in New York or dreams of living in New York, reads New York Magazine. Everyone that works in fashion or aspires to work in fashion reads New York Magazine's fashion blog, The Cut. As founding editor, Amy Odell has successfully created a voice that is straight-shooting, informative, sometimes ironic but always hilarious-- very New York.

Sitting at the helm of New York Magazine's fashion blog, you know Amy has all the dirt on the who, what and wear. (Yes, I know that was corny.) Forget about full price shoes, she won't even spend full price on Strawberries. Now, this is a woman we can shop with!

What's your most prized deal?
I buy practically all of my clothes on sale, so I don't even know if I can narrow it down. I once got a pair of Elizabeth and James cropped trousers on Gilt Groupe for under $40, marked down from around an original price of $200. I also have gotten amazing stuff at the Alexander Wang and Prada sample sales. At Wang if you go on the last day they mark things down even more -- pretty much steadily on the hour -- so you're likely to get, say, three great items you'll wear again and again and AGAIN for around $200. At Prada I once got a crop top for under $50, which is a steal for any item of Prada apparel, and a sick pair of red heels for a ridiculous amount off at a sale before that.

Biggest regret that you didn't purchase?
The one-shoulder Alexander Wang white shirt dress from fall 2009. It was on Gilt Groupe a while ago--IN MY SIZE--and I didn't buy it. I would Google around for it every now and then shorty thereafter and never found one at as good a price in my size. After that I really learned that if I know I'm going to love and wear a designer item forever and it's staring me in the face on sale to just go for it and look at it as an investment.

This season you are looking for...
I kind of love the furry boot thing, but I'm not over-the-top enough, day-to-day, to go for the crazier styles. So maybe I'll actually buy boot with just a dash of nice plush fur (or FAUX fur). I also LOVE that the collegiate schoolgirl look is back! I think every girl wanted to be Cher in Clueless when it came out and I am by no means an exception. So a funky schoolgirl skirt and some over-the-knee socks, perhaps paired with a very cool Prada-esque high-heeled loafer and a blouse or white shirt. If only someone had made a Cher pen with a nice feathery tip for me to bring to my meetings when I actually maybe source and wear this fantasy look.

What's your number one shopping tip?
SALES. Sales, sales, and more sales. And did I mention sales? SALES. I only buy things on sale. Even at Uniqlo where most things are practically cheap I think I've only bought things on sale. And I never feel like my wardrobe is lacking because I'm too cheap to pay full price. It's so easy to find great things on sale in pretty much every store, especially between seasons. And websites like Gilt and even Bluefly have great finds year-round. When I find an item I really want I Google around until I find the best deal, and then I go for it. But I'm the kind of person who won't buy strawberries if they're $4.99 instead of $3.99 so this is a way of thinking that's quite ingrained in my psyche.

What's your biggest weakness?
Things by certain designers. Namely Alexander Wang, Vena Cava, Rick Owens, and many more labels at Oak and Opening Ceremony (but I have only bought things full-price at those stores maybe one time in my life between the two of them).

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?
Good makeup. My must-have that I will always pay full price for is good mascara. I'm lucky because we often have samples of wonderful new makeup collections in the office that I can try or check out before committing. But great designer makeup is always cheaper than designer clothes, and it can have just as or almost as big an impact than, say, a great blazer. And a great mascara, for example, adds that subtle touch of drama that people might not be able to put their finger on when they see you and notice how great you look.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gap Stores Give and Get

For four days you can use the below coupon to save 30% at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and their corresponding outlet stores. The promotion can be used in stores from August 26 to August 29. What's even nicer? 5% of what you spend will be donated to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

We are totally addicted to Gap jeans, so you know we will be picking up an extra pair along with the new cropped zipper style. Can you think of a better way to show off great peep-toe heels? We have been hearing some great reviews about the men's khakis? Back to school shopping? You get the picture...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Discounted Cathy Waterman Jewelry

There is something magical about Barney’s jewelry department. If you have ever admired the artfully composted jewelry collection you have certainly cast your eyes on Cathy Waterman’s nature inspired hand-made jewelry.

It can be said that her collection has a cult following. Her fans don’t think twice about spending 5-figures on her jewelry designs. Finding Cathy’s creations on sale is nearly impossible. Not even eBay has a good selection.

For this reason, we almost fell over when we were told that
Divorce Your Jewels was selling a huge assortment of Cathy Waterman jewelry. Everything is priced at least half of retail. We are completely in love with the diamond coral flower drop earrings set in 18k gold ($2400), a pink kunzite and diamond necklace ($9800) and don’t miss the floral pave diamond necklace ($9800).

We know these pieces will not last long as they are collectable and are rarely seen on the discounted market. While you’re at it, check out your own jewel collection and turn your unused treasures into realized dreams.

Missy Schorr

Sponsored Post

Following Fall Markdowns

We are still taking suggestions for our Following Markdowns column. Just email us the items you want most this fall and we will follow ten of our favorites and track their prices throughout the season.

It's almost like having a personal shopper with an economic conscience.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Three Fashionistas Clean Their Closets

What happens when three fashion-industry girls with an admitted shopping addiction need to find room in their shrinking apartments? They hold a public sale of their brand new and gently but lovely belongings, of course!!!

Included in this "Confessions of Three Shopaholics" sale is a considerable collection of mid to high-end designer clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories, along with some more casual brands all up to 95% retail. The sale includes more than 700 items and 150 pairs of designer shoes ranging from a size 5 to size 10. Designer clothes range in size from 0 to 10.

Some of the higher end brands include Louis Vuitton, Manolo Blahnik, Chanel, Gucci, Giuseppe Zanotti, Fendi, Christian Louboutin and Prada. Some of the less fussy brands include Seven jeans, DVF and Theory.

When interviewed about the sale, the girls admitted that it was hard to get rid of some of their valuable belongs. At first they considered holding the sale just for their friends: "But it would have been really hard to see someone you know wearing something that was yours," admitted one girl who is planning on renovating her apartment with the money raised from the sale.

Between you and me, I think the idea is genius. I could imagine this becoming a trend. What do you think? How hard would it be for you to give up some of your prized belongings?

Confessions of Three Shopaholics Sale
Tuesday, August 24th
5pm to 9pm
545 West 25th Street (b/t Tenth and Eleventh Ave), 8th Floor.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Matthew Williamson Friends & Family

Matthew Williamson fans listen closely: The Matthew Williamson boutique, in the Meatpacking District, is hosting a friends and family sale where the discount on spring/summer merchandise is 80% off! Yes, you read right, 80% off! You know this is major.

We took a spin through the store to survey the merch and there's still a great selection of wonderful dresses, tops, skirts, scarves, belts and bags. Do you feel your heart pounding yet? Did we mention, it's all 80% off!?

Plan your strategy and browse online now because the friends and family discount is only available from 8:00am to 11am Thursday and Friday. After 11am the discount goes back to just 60% off. We suggest you get there no later than 8:01am. Good luck!

Contact: Stephanie 212-255-9881

Temperley London Sample Sale

The Temperley London boutique will be holding a huge sample sale over the weekend. Past season merchandise and press samples will be up to 70% off. In addition, Facebook fans of Temperley London will get an extra 10% off. Fan them now!

We are told that there is HUGE assortment of inventory and that shoppers will be welcome with amazing finds throughout the weekend sale. As much as you may be tempted to peak over at that Fall 2010 collection, remember to keep your eyes on the sale!!!

Temperley London Sample Sale
Friday, August 20th through Sunday, August 22nd
Fri 9:30am-7pm, Sat. 10am-7pm, Sun 12pm-6pm
453 Broome Street, 2nd Floor (at Mercer)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Retail Therapy: Lauren Sherman

Being able to understand and translate financial reports and a designer's manifesto is the ultimate combination of style and brains. Lauren Sherman is one of those rare fashion writers who possesses both super-powers.

Lauren is the editor of Fashionista, where she reports, writes and edits fashion industry news, gossip and analysis. Previously, she was a reporter at Forbes, where she covered luxury goods, fashion and consumerism.

We love how Lauren can flawlessly explain the intricacies of a fashion company merger and sit front row at the European Couture shows-- without any pretense. Oh, did we mention she can shop bargains too? We think Lauren is in need of a super-hero-fashion award. Do you agree?

What's your most prized deal?
I'd say this Celine monogrammed clutch from the 1970s that I just picked up on eBay--$36. And the Proenza Schouler pumps I paid $80 for.

Biggest regret that you didn't purchase?
There is this plaid hunting jacket from Phillip Lim Fall 2007 that I tried on a million times but never got the guts to buy. I still think about it.

This season you are looking for...
A camel skirt, a pair of red suede kitten heels, and some leopard loafers.

What's your number one shopping tip?
Buy one good thing instead of ten affordable things. I end up spending less money in the long run because I'm more satisfied with my purchases. Good things at discount are best, of course!

What's your biggest weakness?
Foreign magazines and the store COS in Europe--I can't leave there without buying several things.

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?
A good bag. I paid full price for my Chanel bag, and I'm happy I did, because it was exactly what I wanted. If I would have done second hand, I wouldn't have been fully satisfied. I wear it every day, so I feel like it'll eventually pay for itself!

DSW's Gucci Sale Strikes Again

It appears as if DSW's Gucci sale is becoming an annual tradition. According to Racked, DSW is slated to receive a healthy shipment of Gucci merchandise starting Thursday.

If you're not interested in waiting until Thursday or navigating through Gucci hungry crowds, you might want to click over to DSW.com right now. There is already a nice selection of shoes priced at just $199. And while you are clicking through the Gucci assortment, don't miss the Sergio Rossi selection. We actually like the Rossi's better than the Gucci's and they are less expansive.

Serious DSW shoppers should be on the look-out for coupons an promotions. Earlier this month, the store offered $50 off purchases of $199. If you're wavering on a particular purchase, buy it anyway. DSW has a very accommodating return policy and is quite lenient on price adjustments.

Click here to see past DSW stories.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Christie's Auctions 28-Designer Handbags

A very wily reader directed our attention to a Christie's home interiors auction, which contains various home furnishings. Buried between hundreds of tapestries and antique vases is lot #318, "A Group of 28 Assorted Leather Handbags.!

The purse collection includes, Chanel, Hermes, Bottega Veneta, Salvatore Ferragamo and various other designer bags. The estimate value is between $1000 and $1500 but we all know that even one Hermes Kelly is worth more than that even if the condition is questionable.

The handbag loot appears to be from a woman's estate and she obviously had amazing taste. The following lot, #812 is from the same estate and consists of 43 Judith Lieber bags. It's a wonder that that this woman's daughters or daughters-in-law didn't pounce on this pile.

The auction, Sale 2335, is scheduled to take place from August 31st to September 1st, in New York. (Just keep in mind that there is a 25% buyer's premium plus tax.) You can be sure we will be watching the gavel closely!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Coming Soon: Vacheron Constantin

Luxury Swiss watch maker, Vacheron Constantine has signed a deal to take over David Yurman's old space at 729 Madison Avenue. The store will be approximately 1500-square-feet and will likely include a private viewing room upstairs.This will be the company's first boutique in the United States.

Founded in 1755, Vacheron Constantin is the world's oldest manufacturer of fine watches. Prices start at about $8000 and go up to $1.5 million for a Tour de l'Ile, which is considered the world's most expensive and complicated watch movement. Needless to say, a VC is a serious watch at any price.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Following Fall Markdowns

Stores are practically fully stocked with fall merchandise, September issues are hitting news stands and there are more than a couple of items that have caught our eye. We're dying to snatch the perfect pair of high boots, a great fall bag and key wardrobe pieces but all these items are likely to sit in our closet until the weather gets cool. By then, there's likely to be a markdown... or two.

So, this is what you are going to do: email us the item you want most this fall and we will follow ten of our favorites and track their prices throughout the season.

Before you start flooding our email box , please don't suggest items that are unlikely to be found discounted, like a Louis Vuitton trunk, an Hermes Kelly bag or that Miu Miu dress, which was used on at least four Magazine covers this month.

Be bold, be chic, be stylish, be trendy, be unique and be in LOVE!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Retail Therapy: Alexandra Wilkis Wilson

Once upon a time you needed to live in the New York area to be able to get great prices one top designer items. But then came the Internet and online discount stores.

The most famous, of course, is Gilt Groupe. The site offers access to some of the most coveted designer fashion and lifestyle brands at up to 70% off retail. You've got to be quick because each sale only lasts 36-hours.

Today, Gilt founder, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson shares some of her shopping secrets. And you better read carefully because Alexandra is the queen of shopping for online deals. After all, she practically invented them.

What's your most prized deal?
I bought a fabulous black Valentino suede and fur coat with a Swarovski crystal belt on Gilt for $500, original retail $10,000! (Editorial note: How did we miss that?)

Biggest regret that you didn't purchase?
Like Edith Piaf, je ne regrette rien.

This season you are looking for...
Platform heels that are elegant, versatile and yet comfortable.

What's your number one shopping tip?
Ask yourself honestly if you will truly wear something before you buy it!

What's your biggest weakness?
Shoes and handbags

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ShopBop 70% Off Sale

ShopBop.com is hosting an end-of-season sale where many items are 70% off.

A Rachel Roy cocktail dress was $595 and is now $178, a Thakoon romper is $597 from $1,990, Dannijo earrings are $74 from $282. Mrs. Obama wore a similar Thakoon dress at to a White House event. It's now $387 from $1290.

Poke around. It's fun, even if you don't find anything. Just keep in mind that there are no backsies-- all sales are final.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The New IT Bag: The Manbag

As we look to Fall you can expect to see a new it bag emerge. This year, however, the Givenchy nightingale, the Proenza Schouler PS11 and Gaga personalized Birkins are going to have to share the spotlight with the strongest growing segment of the accessory market: The Manbag.

According to Euromonitor, men’s luxury bags in the U.S. are projected to grow 23% through 2013. Retailers like Saks and Barneys are said to be adding a full range of competitively priced private-label men’s satchels, purses and messenger bags for spring 2011. A general manager for a local Neiman Marcus said, "We do not call them man bags, however, there is a focus on more messenger and backpack styles as seen on the runway this season."

Okay, so your man isn't going to be carrying a jeweled clutch any time soon, but you can count on him needing to load his iPad and gadgets into something other than a geek bag. Murses are more likely to come in the shape of a messenger bag, duffel or briefcase, according to Pete Lafferty, one of the founders of Libero Ferrero, a line of artisan men's accessories that will be available in stores starting in Spring 2011 and range in price from $700 to $2,500.

Men seem to shy away from logos more than a woman in recession-mode, according to Pete. Understated bags from Ferragamo, Zenga, Prada and Gucci are current favorites, but Pete says we should keep an eye on companies like Billy Kirk and London-based Jas M.B.

Oh, you know, we are just dreaming of the day when we can handoff our keys and wallet so that we can downsize our bags.

Lila Dishes for NY Times Sunday Business

Of all the purchases you have made in the past year, what really makes you happy? In the New York Times Sunday Business section, Stephanie Rosenbloom argues that maybe all the stuff we have isn't what makes us happy but rather it's the experiences.

New studies of consumption and happiness show, for instance, that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material objects, when they relish what they plan to buy long before they buy it, and when they stop trying to outdo the Joneses...

One major finding is that spending money for an experience — concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff.

That may be but we're going to think twice before trading in our penthouse for a studio or forgoing a Cartier Watch for a trip to St. Tropez.

Of course, some fashion lovers beg to differ. For many people, clothes will never be more than utilitarian. But for a certain segment of the population, clothes are an art form, a means of self-expression, a way for families to pass down memories through generations. For them, studies concluding that people eventually stop deriving pleasure from material things don’t ring true.

“No way,” says Lila Delilah, who writes the popular fashion blog Madison Avenue Spy. “I could pull out things from my closet that I bought when I was 17 that I still love.”

She rejects the idea that happiness has to be an either-or proposition. Some days, you want a trip, she says; other days, you want a Tom Ford handbag.

So, fashion sista, what items do you have that make you happy?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Retail Therapy: Elizabeth Grinspan

When it comes to shopping there are professionals and then there are those who are professionally obsessed. Yes, that would be us bloggers. For the remainder of the Summer we are turning the spotlight on our own and clawing our way into the shopping psychology of our favorite bloggers.

Elizabeth Grinspan is editor of Racked NY, which is a daily "must read" for every passionate shopper. The blog focuses on New York City shopping and retail news. Elizabeth has also written for Salon, the Village Voice and Time Out New York. Below are her shopping secrets and expert advice. What do you think?

What's your most prized deal?
A vintage DVF dress I bought at Beacon's Closet for $40. I love the dress, but the best part was finding it. You know how Babe Ruth is famous for being able to point to the exact place where he could hit the ball? I managed to do that with this dress: I walked in, announced to my friend that I was going to find a DVF wrap dress and that I wasn't going to pay over $40 for it, and made it happen within half an hour. No idea how, but I'm still proud.

Biggest regret that you didn't purchase?
In 2004, I went to Japan to visit a friend who was teaching English in a suburb of Tokyo. We were at a random flea market in his neighborhood one day when I came across a cropped yellow Chanel blazer going for the equivalent of about $70. It fit me perfectly, but I just had no idea whether it was actually Chanel, plus at the time I was totally intimidated by the shape and the color. Now I wish I'd just grabbed it; even if it wasn't real, it looked good, and I finally feel like I could wear such a thing without looking ridiculous.

This season you are looking for...
Really classic black boots. Every fall I buy either cheapo trendy boots or vintage boots, and they always disintegrate by February. This time I'm finally going to do it right.

What's your number one shopping tip?
Pick an upper limit for your spending on any one item. It doesn't matter what the limit is -- it can be $100 or $1000 -- but promise yourself that you won't spend more than that number. Here's why this rule works: Because you're going to break it. You might in fact break it quite often. But because the number now rings alarm bells for you, it forces you to put some thought into your more expensive purchases, which forces you to research them, which forces you to make better choices. It's kind of the shopping equivalent of setting your clock fifteen minute fast; you know you're lying to yourself, but it totally works, at least for me.

What's your biggest weakness?
Shoes. I know that's a cliche, but it's just so easy to justify them, especially if you live in New York and walk everywhere.

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?
I spend all day immersed in sale news, so I tend to think there's always some way around paying full price. Then again, I also wind up talking to a lot of boutique owners, and I sympathize with them -- it's so hard to run a small business in this city. So I'm not sure if I can answer the question by naming one specific item, but I do think that if you love an independent store in your neighborhood, you shouldn't mind helping to keep them in business.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Alexander Wang Sale

We have full details about the Alexander Wang sale, which opens to the public on Thursday. Here's what you can expect:

The epic Alexander Wang sample sale is upon us and there are handbags and ready-to-wear galore. The sale is well stocked with a variety of handbags.

There is back-stock on clothing and they will be replenishing throughout the sale days. The entire inventory consists of 8000 to 9000 units, that's a lot! The selection is primarily composed of spring '10 but there's also Resort '10 and a good assortment from previous seasons.

The price for clothing starts at only $60. There are also samples, prototypes and damaged goods being sold for less. The T by Alexander Wang line is also being carried, which includes a selection for men.

Pieces are color coded with stickers matching up to a price chart. There will be a coat check and you can only have a wallet and phone on the floor. Cash & Visa/Mastercard/Amex will be accepted. There are NO HOLDS, NO RETURNS and there is an OPEN fitting room. (I know how much you love those!).

I suggest you get there as early as possible. The sale was quite madness last year and this one has been getting way more press! Enjoy up to 80% off on fabulous Alexander Wang pieces.

Alexander Wang Sample Sale
Thursday, Aug. 5th to Sunday, Aug. 8th
Thurs. 2pm-7pm, Fri. & Sat. 10am to 7pm, Sun. 10am to 4pm
93 Mercer Street btw Spring & Broome
Credit cards accepted on purchases above $200

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sigerson Morrison Sale

Update: The Madison Avenue Sigerson Morrison boutique has ended the sale. Don't fret too much. You can still grab some discounted shoe booty in Amagansett. The sale merchandise will be there for the weekend and then it's off to ... the land of last season's shoes.

Sigerson Morrison @ Amagansette Boathouse
208 Main Street (Corner of 27 & Hedges Lane)

Sigerson Morrison is hosting an amazing sale where the spring 2010 collection is 70% off. What's even better is that there is a great selection of sizes and styles, which is kind of amazing at this time of year.

A low-heel thong sandal, ballet flats and gold gladiators are all $128 from $495. Bright red high-heel thong sandals are $209 from $695 and python heels are $407 from $1355.

The sale is also online if you want to do some pre-shopping browsing. Just be careful with your credit card because all sales are final.

Sigerson Morrison
19 East 71st Street

Chanel Comments

It appears that I may have insulted and offended some of our readers yesterday in my post about Chanel's price increase. In hindsight I probably should have substantiated my statements a bit better.

Here are a few more facts: China's luxury market is growing by 50% to 60% a year and already represents 12% of world demand for luxury goods. Goldman Sachs predicts that by 2015 China will reach a 29% share of all luxury goods sold worldwide, which will surpass Japan as the world's top consumer luxury market.

According to LVMH's 2010 interim financial report, revenue stayed the same or decreased in every part of the world besides China where revenue grew by 2%.

Interestingly enough, China is the world's number one producer of counterfeit products. Chinese women are very proud of buying authentic merchandise and will pay a 40% to 50% premium (over NYC prices) to assure they have the real thing. Of course, there are no conspiracies and I apologise for my sarcasm and hyperbole.

Furthermore, no country or culture should be reduced to a food-- even if it is excellent.

One more thing: Nordstrom isn't raising prices until August 5th so hit Paramus asap for 30% savings???

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Confirmed: Chanel Raises Prices 20% to 30%

It's August 1st and that Chanel bag you've been saving up for may cost you 30% more than yesterday.

Medium Classic $2600 to $3400
Jumbo Classic $2995 to $3795
Jumbo Reissue $3600 to $4200

Saks, Bergodorfs, Bloomingdales and Chanel have already changed tickets and updated computer price information. It appears as if Nordstrom may be the only store that is holding prices steady for the next few day.

Handbags are not the only items that are soaring. An average Chanel flat usually ranges from $575 to $650. For Fall, many flats are priced at $895. Even a basic ballerina flat has gone from $585 to $685.

In such uncertain economic times one can only wonder why the prices of luxury items are skyrocketing. Last week, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton surprised analysts when it reported that second-quarter sales increased 22%. Nobody saw it coming. Hermes also said that revenue may grow as much as 12% this year.

What's driving this growth? One word: China. The Chinese middle class is growing exponentially and already represents 25% of the world's population. The country has gone from being the 20th largest oil consuming country to number two and is on track to becoming number one. Besides oil, the Chinese are consuming LOTS of luxury. The nouveau middle class has an insatiable thirst for European brands, which is diving up revenue and, you guessed it-- prices.

So China, we love dim sum but you've got to give us a break on Chanel and Hermes. We just can't keep up with this. Or, maybe, this is a grand plot to drive up the desire for Chinese-made counterfeits. We don't know but we're just throwing out the idea.

Photo Credit: LIBN