Another Disastrous Heist: 3.6 Million AED Stolen at the Cannes Film Festival

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Yesterday, I posted about the Tiffany & Co's heist at their flagship 5th Avenue store. Two diamond-laden necklaces were stolen in broad daylight and this brazen robbery spurred a national debate on jewelry store security, or lack thereof.  

I figured there wouldn't be another heist of note for at least the next few months. But, boy, was I wrong. 

3.6 Million AED (1 Million USD) worth of Chopard jewels were stolen from Novotel Hotel in Nice, France. The jewelry was meant to be worn on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival and was stolen while the a Chopard employee responsible was out to dinner.

If you haven't noticed, the Swiss luxury firm has been a staunch promoter at the French festival. A-List celebrities and the world's rich and famous have been doning their gorgeous pieces for the past 15 years. Chopard also sponsored and designed one of the most coveted awards at the festival, the Palme d’Or, a prize awarded to the best director (the winner this year: Abdellatif Kechiche, Tunisian- born French director of Blue Is the Warmest Color, a story about a passionate lesbian relationship in France).

Designing the Golden Palm (Palme d'Or)

The final product, presented to the best director

360,000 AED Heist at Tiffany's Last Week Spurs Debate on Jewelry Store Security

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tiffany & Co's Flagship Store on 5th Avenue, New York

Jewelry retailers in the US and around the world can learn a thing or two from a little-known pawnshop in Harlem, New York. Especially after the premiered jeweler Tiffany & Co.'s store on 5th avenue was heisted last week, with 360,000 AED (98,000 USD) stolen and no suspects in custody.

According to police records, a man wearing a dark suit, a tie and a riding cap (a riding cap with a suit?), carrying an umbrella (in the summer?!) came into the store to inquire about two pieces of jewelry: a diamond-laden necklace worth 250,000 AED (68,000 USD) and another for 110,000 AED (30,000 USD). When the saleswoman turned around to calculate the price, the man stole the peices an ran out. 5th avenue in the summer is swarming with people and the thief was lost in the crowd. No Comment from Tiffany's.

EZ Pawn Shop, Since 1996 in NYC
When the EZ Pawn Corp employees saw the security camera footage of the heist (below), they were quick to notice why it happened. EZ has been in business for 66 years and they've learned a thing or two about keeping their store as secure as possible. Mattie Simon, the sales clerk at EZ, explains simple ways to reduce the chances of getting robbed:
  1. Customers can only buzzed in and out, making a getaway a lot less likely
  2. Hooded sweatshirts and caps are completely forbidden by management as the security cameras will not be able to see the perpetrator's face. In fact, when EZ owner David, or his daughter, Lauren Kaminsky see a hooded person in any of their 11 retail spots on their security monitor, they automatically call the store and flag the issue.
  3. Another one of Simon's tip seems completely ridiculous: look at a person's footwear. In her experience, if the shoes are tightly laced, then someone is looking to runaway 
  4. In the heist, the security guard had his back turned to the door which allowed the thief to run out, undetected. This is a huge No-No at EZ Pawn
  5. Only one item is shown to a customer at a time and there are no exceptions to this rule. Even if the customer is adamant on comparing two items in order to decide which one to buy. Better to lose a sale for the day than to lose an item forever. 
  6. Ring trays are also a huge problem as it's easy to snag piece while pretending to look at another.
  7. And last but not least: black coffee. When you hear a saleswoman at EZ Pawn asking for some black coffee with a heightened sense of urgency, you know something isn't right. Of course, no on is really asking for coffee. It's a code and once it's heard, a designated person will block the entrance. Some other codes they used: "Can you grab me a tissue?" and "Can you lower the AC?"
You'd think a renowned store like Tiffany's would have Guantanamo-style security but apparently not. As this heist proves, crimes can happen anywhere and at anytime (this happend in broad daylight) even in Dubai,  one of the safest places to live and that almost every inch of the city is monitored with CCTV cameras. That's why it's imperative for all stores, small and large, in Dubai or out, to stay vigilant and invest in high-end surveillance technology (the footage from the camera is so grainy!) They must also adopt smart tactics, like the "black coffee" code, that are effective and, best of all, for free!

Movie Jewelry: The Internship

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Last night, I laughed so hard at the Ibn Battuta movie theater, that I am sure I embarrassed everyone around me. I was literally gasping for air and yes, a few deep snorts here and there.

The movie is called The Internship starring Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Rose Byrne. It's about two late-30's salesmen who lose their jobs only to find themselves as Google interns. Hilarity ensues as these two try to compete with young, tech-savy Ivy League-rs for a job at one of the best companies in the world. (Rotten Tomatoes Review gave it a 33% but I beg to differ!)

Aside from the great quips, I was really interested in the neck candy Rose Byrne's character was wearing. In one of the scenes, she had on a beautiful gold Wishbone pendant. I quickly researched to find it's a Jennifer Meyer creation.

Dana, Rose Byrne's Woraholic character, is Wilson's love interest in The Internship

Meyer laucnhed her collection in 2005 after working in the fashion industry for designers like Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren.

Her styles are simple and elegant made from white, yellow and rose 18-karat gold with delicate precious and semi-precious stone accents such as diamonds, black diamonds, turquoise, rubies, sapphires and emeralds.

18-karat rose gold diamond wishbone necklace. Shop the trend here.

18k Gold Diamond Stick Necklace. Shop the trend here.

Movie Jewelry: Tiffany & Co Rides The Great Gatsby Wave

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Catherine Martin, the woman behind the amazing costumes in The Great Gatsby, joined forces with Tiffany & Co. to bring you the decadent jewelry collection used in one of the most talked-about movies of 2013. The movie adaptation of F. Scot Fitzgerald's classic novel is directed by Baz Luhrmann and has already grossed over 136 million dollars since it's May release. 

Martin, an Australian costume designer, catapulted to the lime light with her double Oscar-win for Moulin Rouge back in 2001. She was also the creative mind behind Australia and William Shakespeare's Rome & Juliet.

If you are wondering why she's contributed to almost all of Baz Luhrmann's movies, it's because she's his wife -  they met in college and tied the knot in 1997.

In the build up to the release of the movie, the Tiffany & Co. flagship store on Fifth Avenue unveiled the Jazz Age Glamour collection with their roaring 20's inspired windows. The opulent pieces are available for purchase and it includes the 24 karat savoy headpiece worn by Carey Mulligan's character Daisy, for a whopping 724,000 AED (200,000 USD).

And if you think the prices are outrageously high that no one would buy in this down-trodden economy, think again! The 176 year old company saw a 9% increase in revenue, an amount analysts were not expecting. 
Window Display - Tiffany's 5th Avenue, NYC
Tiffany & Co's Window Inspired by the Movie's Opulent Parties
Pearls, Champagne and Bubbles. What's not to love about this?
More bubbles and ridiculously expensive jewels

More People Scammed by PurseValley and it's Owner, Eva Knox

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Purse Valley changes URLs to escape designer lawsuits 

I wrote a post exposing Eva Knox and her blog Spot Bags last year and got a overwhelming response from her victims. Online shoppers have trusted her as a great source of online shopping reviews and unfortunately, she's a scam!

The posts are mainly user reviews of replica handbag sites. I am sure she has a huge following as detailed images and first-hand accounts are hard to find. Especially for shoddy Chinese websites.

Even though she has a myriad of posts, she seems to give only one an A+ rating: Purse Valley (aka PV). But lawsuits against replica sites like PV show that she is, in fact, the owner! Also, her blog URL is .cn, which is the country code top-level domain for mainland China.

And although several readers have discredited her, she still gets questions from unsuspecting fans on what is the best place to shop for replica purses. Which, of course, is always PV.

The fundemental aspect of a review blog is it's impartiality and objectiveness. The information should be based on real information, not profit. 

That's why here on LavalierDubai, I always review online merchants. I have done several so far like, and to ensure the website's legitimacy.

There are also a lot of way to shop safely and securely. I've been shopping online for almost 8 years and never once was scammed or my identity stolen. (knock on wood!)

If you have used any replica bag sites, or any other sites for that matter, let me know how it went.