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Hermès, Chanel, Rolex: Stunning Luxury Finds at The Vintage Contessa

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Everything old becomes new again.

This Golden Rule of style is a testament to the value of luxury goods, those exquisite bags, accessories, and timepieces that transcend the test of time. These days, the most coveted pieces are on the vintage market—just ask the queen of pre-loved luxury, Houston’s own Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, co-owner of The Vintage Contessa & Times Past.

To stay abreast of the hottest trends in the luxury market, Donae and her husband, Rob Chramosta (an expert in luxury watches and rare coins), travel the world in search of the finest pieces for their discerning clients.

“We are on the pulse of what’s happening around the world, and we put that expertise into what we buy,” she explains. “Most of our clients travel, and they want to have things that are unique to different places. We know what our clients want, and we’re always on the hunt.”

The Vintage Contessa & Times Past Showroom
Photo by Two Cats Communications

What are they hunting for? Depending on the desired vintage fashion du jour, it could be anything from the perfect Hermès scarf to—you’ll never believe it—fanny packs.

“The biggest trend for the season is backpacks and fanny packs. I thought fanny packs would never be back, but now they’re the hottest thing out! One of my blogger friends wore one of our fanny packs in New York, and she was featured on Vogue magazine’s website.”

The trend is so coveted, Donae frequently sells out, with new pieces she’s hand-selected always en route.

We are on the pulse of what’s happening around the world, and we put that expertise into what we buy.
-Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, The Vintage Contessa

“Another huge trend is the Chanel 2.55,” Donae adds. “It was designed in February of 1955, and it has been the same ever since. I see women in their 20s carrying it, and I see women in their 80s carrying it. There aren’t many pieces that transcend age and still offer a hip, yet elegant and stylish look.”

That’s the magic of Chanel—and the magic of luxury.

In addition to handbags, jewelry, and accessories, The Vintage Contessa & Times Past sources a glittering selection of wristwatches. The main brands they carry are Rolex, Cartier, and Patek Philippe. These days, Rolex is at the apex of trendiness. “We’ve got our pulse on what’s hot, and right now it’s the Rolex Daytona, the Hulk, and the Batman watches.”

Rolex trio
Photo by CKO Digital

Paul Newman’s 1968 Rolex Daytona is the most expensive watch ever sold, ringing in at $15.5 million—and that’s not accounting for the buyer’s premium, which elevated the sale to $17.8MM. The Rolex Submariner “Hulk” is so named for its striking green motif, while the Rolex GMT Master II “Batman” is a study in black and blue. Both are timeless, trendy, and highly coveted.

“People are buying pieces that last for generations,” says Donae. “I bought my first Hermès scarf on a trip to Paris in the ‘90s, and I still have that scarf. That’s the testament of the purchase of a true luxury item.”

As the holidays descend, visitors to Houston should take note of The Vintage Contessa & Times Past. With principals who know the business (and where to find the most coveted pieces), you’re guaranteed to discover a unique, timeless gift that will enchant your loved one—and you may even find a few things for yourself.


6222 Richmond Ave. #540  |  (713) 977-7296  |

Cover photo by CKO Digital

Mary Cate is a Houston-based writer, photographer, and reading fiend, recently returned to her native city after time in Austin and New York City. She loves sharing the best of Houston with the world — margaritas, anyone? She and her husband serve local businesses through their digital content company, Two Cats Communications.

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