Every once in awhile, your kids read your mind! Though I adore my Ralph Lauren “Ricky” bag, I was secretly dying for an update. Some readers may remember an old blog, telling the story that the best Mother’s Day gift I ever received came from my mother—well now there’s Part II to the tale! To refresh your memory, ten years ago, my mother was in the last stages of her battle with breast cancer when my dad read an article in The New York Times Style Section about the Hermes “Birkin” bag, explaining how customers often stay on a list for years, waiting for the coveted handbag.
THE BEAUTIFUL & BELOVED BIRKIN: In red ostrich & iconic orange, at Hermes stores
“Have you ever heard of this Birkin bag?” my father asked. “Of course,” I laughed. “Mom always promised she’d buy me one for my 50th birthday.” Sadly, he knew my mom would never see my 50th birthday and set out to buy one for Mother’s Day, a few weeks away. Calling Hermes in both Manhattan and King of Prussia, despite empathy for his story, my dad was told he’d have to get on the waiting list.
BEST MOTHER’S DAY SURPRISE: The Ricky Bag in black crocodile and mine, in cognac, at Ralph Lauren stores
The next Sunday a huge ad appeared in the Style Section for the then-new Ralph Lauren “Ricky” bag. Knowing I am major “Ralph girl,” my dad (now on a quest) called my darling friend Richard Schinto, who is the Collection director in the Madison Avenue flagship store. You really have to hear Richard tell the story, but my father, who is colorblind, called asking, “Do you have one of these “Ricky” bags?” Richard answered, “We certainly do!” Dad replied, “Well pick out whatever color you think Ellyn will like, and send it right out to her from my wife.” Richard knew the situation with my mom and was literally smiling and crying at once.
The next day a box arrived at my front door. Surprised and thrilled, I opened it to find the most magnificent cognac “Ricky” bag with a card that simply read, “Happy Mother’s Day! Love, Mom.” Besides the obvious sentimental value, my handbag has truly gotten more beautiful with age. Softer and worn in, it has traveled the world me—as my mother sits on my shoulder, smiling down no doubt.
BEST GIFT 2.0: My new navy Ricky Bag with red interior, a wonderful surprise for my birthday & Mother’s Day
Now, the sequel: Though my cognac bag is indeed still stunning—and I carry it all the time—it’s time for a newer version. Knowing the history, my kids surprised me with a navy “Soft Ricky” bag for my birthday and Mother’s Day, equally gorgeous, equally sentimental. Again, I am thrilled—it’s my new favorite thing! (The interior is red, how fabulous is that?)
Though surely an over-the-top Mother’s Day present—and story—I knew my readers would like it, as well as want a few gift ideas for themselves. Keeping the theme in mind, I asked several friends to complete the following sentence, “The best Mother’s Day gift I ever got was…” Lots of good answers, all available at every price point:
NEVER WEAR JUST ONE: Stacks of Hermes & Ippolita bangles at hermes.com (no wait list for bangles!) & ippolita.com; Shinola watch at shinola.com
“Fun, contemporary jewelry. An Hermes bangle. A cool watch.” Something turquoise. Something to layer with pieces you already own.
WHAT WOMEN WANT: Tickets to shows, concerts, and restaurants; “New York Brunch” overnighted from russ&daughters.com
“Breakfast in bed.” And gift cards to great restaurants, concerts, or shows.
TOTALLY ENTERTAINING: Elsa Peretti crystal candlesticks at tiffany.com; Michael Aram “Ocean Coral” glass tray at bloomingdales.com
“Beautiful candlesticks and tableware. Homemade cookies on a pretty cake plate.”
GIFTS GALORE: Women love a “get-ready-for-summer mani/pedi,” I get mine from Serena Lee at La Beaute Nails in Rosemont; my dear friend Lynn’s grandchildren on a make-up bag, from bagettes.com
“Gift certificates for personal trainers, spa and beauty treatments, massages, blow-outs and mani/pedis.” Love this: “A make-up bag with my grandchildren’s pictures on it.” Also available as a tote. Cannot imagine a more fitting present.
COOLEST MOM: Roberto Cavalli floral embroidered jeans & jacket; Manolo Blahnik mules, available in an array of colors, both at neimanmarcus.com
“A vintage jean jacket to wear in air conditioning all summer. A beautiful wrap. A fabulous pair of shoes I’d been drooling over.” A great jacket, wrap, or the latest shoe is always a perfect gift.
ARRANGE IT: Exquisite arrangements from longstems.com
“Gorgeous flowers. A photo of my children in a magnificent antique frame. Cards with beautiful notes and sentiments.” Words to treasure forever.
THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL: My kids, Lauren & Jonathan
Like all holidays, the best part of Mother’s Day is being surrounded by cherished family—even if the celebration is on Skype or your iphone. Every warm wish to my readers for a Wonderful, Happy Mother’s Day! Enjoy every special moment~ Ellyn Golder Saft
ps. In honor of Monday’s Met Gala, I must recommend watching or re-watching “The First Monday in May,” a documentary about the making of the renowned night, the “Oscars of Fashion.” Besides the tale behind the 2015 Gala tribute to China, the story relates the countless hours of effort, energy, fashion intrigue & gossip, as well as Vogue doyenne Anna Wintour’s comments, which are are beyond hilarious (particularly about Rihanna). A must-see for every fashionista, streaming “On Demand” and on DVD at amazon.com. Do not miss it!