Monday, November 7, 2011

Steal only the Best - rescued blog #3!

Steal only the best

There’s a story I ran across in the New York Post the other day. I don’t normally read the Post, and I especially don’t read the fashion section, where I saw this story. But I spent some time living in the AOL Time Warner Building, as well as Trump Tower, so every once in a while I take a peek at the Post to find out what’s happening in the Big Apple. It seems that a trendy jewelry designer, name of Alexis Bittar, has refused to lend any more jewelry to Kim Kardashian, claiming that Kardashian is ripping off the designs for her own design label, Belle Noel, and producing look-alike jewelry. For the record, Belle Noel denies the charge. But the story is interesting, in that Kardashian has sued Old Navy for using a model who looked like her in its advertising. You know, a look-alike.
Now there are a few things that jump out when you think about the story. The first one, of course, is this: Kardashian has to borrow jewelry? Is she maxed out on her credit cards, a bit low on the mad money? Should we pass the hat and take up a collection, or maybe hold a benefit concert for her? If she’s going to rip the designs off, the least she could do is buy a piece or two, she doesn’t have to do an intellectual Lindsay Lohan. Now I know it’s common for designers to lend items out to stars to get the publicity of a star wearing their designs. But really, a nice set of earrings from Bittar is only going to set her back about $300.  I’m sure Kim could come up with it.
Now the second thought that came to me when I read the piece (Iced Out) is how it reminded me of the woman I was married to for a number of years, and how incredibly cheap she was. Her name was Sandie Tillotson, and she is one of the founders of NuSkin and worth well north of a billion dollars. Yes, capital B, billion. Nine zeros.
Sandie and I were in New York City at our apartment at the Trump Tower after spending a couple of weeks in Italy, and we decided to get out and do some shopping. Even though we’d only been back for a day or two I was feeling claustrophobic, and I could see from our picture window that is was a beautiful New York Day, bright and sunny with just enough of breeze to keep the air crisp and clean. I grabbed my camera on the way out so I could take some snapshots.  We walked along Fifth Avenue, enjoying the day, and as we passed Tiffany’s, I said to Sandie that we should go in, since I was looking for a watch. She hooked her arm in mine and pulled me away from the window, and said she had a better idea.
We walked down the street to Van Cleef & Arpels, the luxury French jewelry house, and went in. Sandie went right for the diamond rings, and had the salesman take a few from the case so she could try them on.  She did the same with a couple of necklaces, and each time she tried one on, she’d coo and ask me if it looked good on her. I thought they looked great, as well they should for their five and six figure prices.
“I can’t decide” she said. “Take a picture, of me with them on, then I’ll look at it later, okay?”
Well it sounded like a reasonable idea, and the salesman didn’t object. So I took some shots, and we left, promising to be back in a week or so. Over lunch we looked at the shots on the digital camera’s screen, and I saw a necklace that I liked for her, it was pear shaped, with lots of diamonds, and cost a small fortune. But she had the bucks, after all.
“I’ll get it.” she told me. “I’ll just have my guy copy it from the picture, and he can do make it for a couple of thousand dollars. You didn’t think I was going to pay them for it did you? Besides, who can tell the difference between cubic zirconium and diamonds anyway?”