Imagine buying so many outfits at Neiman Marcus that you need a moving truck to get them all home. Or ringing up 20 pairs of Christian Louboutin stilettos at a clip. The only catch? None of it is for you. Thats just another day at the office for luxury lifestyle consultant Raven Kauffman. The former wardrobe stylist and fashion publicist came by the job accidentally in 2001 when a hotel concierge asked if she could take a guest shopping. That turned into a permanent personal shopping gig, and other clients soon came calling. For the last few years, Kauffman has spent millions on art, cars and gifts for a handful of Southern Californias wealthiest people, who did not have the time (or sometimes the taste) to spend it themselves. Spending for a living has showed her the pleasures that money can bring, as well as the pain. And now that the economy is forcing everyone to rethink, she is shopping less and dreaming more. Not that she is renouncing fashion exactly, but rather designing it herself. Because if there is anything Kauffman has learned from having her finger on the pulse of the luxury lifestyle, its what makes something desirable. She recently launched her own line of evening bags. Less it accessories than timeless objets dart, theyre so striking you dont know whether to carry them or to display them on your mantle. They are made with exquisite materials, including beetle wings, pheasant feathers, semi-precious stones and Art Nouveau laser-cut metal plates depicting flowers and birds. Raven Kauffman in her home office.
Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times
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