Consumer Nation


  Saturday, 20 Apr 2013 | 11:44 AM ET

Soros to Trump: most outrageous weddings

Posted ByKatie Little

Most Outrageous Weddings

Outrageous Weddings
Erik Isakson | Rubberball | Getty Images

Something lavish, something diamond, something Hollywood—and many things new.

Such is the refrain of today's outrageous weddings, where celebrities and heirs to vast fortunes marry in over-the-top nuptials with price tags in the millions.

"This is definitely something that could be perceived as a publicity stunt," said Anja Winikka, site director at the wedding website "There's celebrity spending on nuptials as compared to average couple spending, and then there's these outrageous weddings that spend over the top amounts of money. You have to ask yourself why spend that much?"

Many times couples will rent out an entire property for their venue to ensure privacy and find a creative space.

Others spend big bucks to pull off elaborate multi-day affairs, such as the planned three-day New York celebration for 83-year old billionaire investor George Soros starting Friday that will be attended by more than 500 guests, including hedge fund titans and prominent political leaders.

These pricey celebrations stand in stark contrast to the average U.S. wedding, whose budget was $28,427, according to the latest survey last year.

Winikka listed several of the top trends at these extravagant weddings, including "lots of expensive flowers covering every surface," gold, diamonds, and brides that "tend to have very pricey dresses and many of them, as well as jewelry dripping in diamonds and the like."

Click ahead to see some of the more outrageous and over-the-top weddings.

Learn more about the #SuperRich during CNBC's new primetime series "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" premiering Wednesday, September 25 at 9 PM/ET. To see a preview of the series and a celebrity party planner's race to complete a mega-wedding, click here.

—By CNBC's Katie Little. Follow her on Twitter @Katie_Little_

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  Friday, 4 Mar 2016 | 1:52 PM ET

Subway to Chipotle: Secret menus decoded

The secret's out...and on your plate!

Mama Fu's Ma La Stir Fry
Source: Mama Fu's

Ever do a double take when you hear the person standing in front of you ask for the Pizza Sub at Subway or a Quesarito at Chipotle?

Many of these "secret" menu items began as items concocted by restaurant employees or customers. Others are discontinued former menu items that are still available for those in the know.

Restaurants sell these off-menu items and use them as marketing tools that make customers who feel like insiders want to share the information with their friends.

But in a contradictory move, many of these companies are showcasing these secret menus on their own websites. Mama Fu's "Black Market Menu" is one example. (The company's Ma La Stir Fry is shown here.)

The trend is being driven by restaurants that want to speed up the process for filling complicated orders and to cater to dietary preferences.

Click ahead to see some of the most interesting secret menu items we could find.

By CNBC's Katie Little and Sarah Whitten
Updated 4 March 2016
Posted 8 April 2013

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  Sunday, 24 Feb 2013 | 4:23 PM ET

Scenes From the Inaugural Lingerie Fashion Week

'Barely There' Biz

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Showcasing the latest in the big business of skimpy, several designers hit the runway on Friday and Saturday during the inaugural Lingerie Fashion Week.

In what is billed as the first fashion week devoted exclusively to the industry, six designers presented their fall/winter collections in New York, shelling out anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000 apiece to participate. The event marks a departure from relying solely on the trade-show-centric model that many brands are used to, where new product is unveiled at twice-yearly gatherings that occur in February and August.

"In the past, the intimate apparel industry has had trade shows," said Lauren Rich, the event's founder. "Just like Fashion Week happens twice a year, the trade shows happen twice a year. They're the path to buyers and getting into stores."

This year's show comes just as intimate apparel sales are beginning to come back following a slowdown during the recession, said Marshal Cohen, retail industry analyst with NPD Group.

Although intimate apparel didn't see its typical post-recession jump start, it is now experiencing slight growth again after regaining momentum in the second half of 2012, he added. Sales rose 0.8 percent to $10.6 billion in the 12 months ended November 2012 compared to the same period in the prior year, according to the latest information from NPD.

Click ahead for scenes from this year's inaugural Lingerie Fashion Week.

By Katie Little
Posted 24 Feb 2013

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  Wednesday, 13 Feb 2013 | 2:03 PM ET

Behind Closed Doors: Inside Fashion Week Fall 2013

Posted ByKatie Little

Inside Mara Hoffman's Fall 2013 Show

MBFW 2013 Mara Hoffman
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

The average fashion show lasts just 12 minutes, but planning for it begins months early — almost as soon as the previous season's presentation ends.

To give you an idea of the time, energy and coordination that goes into a show, we decided to take you behind the scenes and profile a designer at this season's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. (Read more: Highlights From New York Fashion Week Fall 2013)

Known for pieces with bohemian flair and tribal prints, Mara Hoffman has been designing her own label since 2000 and was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2011.

We sat down with Hoffman to hear more about the steps she takes to create a collection and went backstage at Lincoln Center to see her nearly half-a-year-long project come to fruition.

Click ahead to see what it takes to make it to Fashion Week's runway.

— By CNBC's Katie Little

Published 13 February 2013

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  Monday, 11 Feb 2013 | 4:54 PM ET

Tech, Leather Hit Catwalk: Scenes From Fashion Week

Posted ByKatie Little

Highlights From Fashion Week

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Although many buyers and editors arrived late due to inclement weather, not even a blizzard could stop Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week this year. This season marks the event's sixth time at Lincoln Center, where models dressed in looks fresh from the drawing board are hitting the catwalk.

Thousands of fashion editors, buyers, and industry insiders are visiting the Big Apple to see more than 90 of fashion's most respected and emerging designers present their collections for the fall season. Fashion trend forecaster WGSN expects velvet, leather, ultra wide-leg trousers, and deep-V cuts to be especially popular in designers' collections this season.

In addition to critiquing the newest looks, fashion insiders paid close attention to New York's biggest winter storm of the season so far as many swapped stilettos for snow boots. To prepare, IMG arranged for additional crew to help with snow and ice removal, and salt maintenance, along with increasing interior heating and adding an extra layer of tent for protection.

Fashion Week attendees Drew and Lauren Zalkind originally planned to drive all the way from Boston, but had to switch to traveling by train once the roads became dangerous on Friday. The couple came down for the latter's surprise 50th birthday celebration.

"We were worried that we weren't even going to make it and have to change all of our plans, and this is a special birthday for me," she said. "We were running away from the weather this morning to get down here as fast as we could."

This season marked the first time that event organizer IMG Fashion has live-streamed all of the shows online, reflecting the increasing focus on technology during Fashion Week. Several designers also incorporated social media prominently, such as Vivienne Tam's placement of QR codes on clothing or Kenneth Cole's tweeting runway models.

Click ahead for some highlights from the New York Fall 2013 fashion show.

By Katie Little
Updated 12 February 2013

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  Monday, 7 Jan 2013 | 12:53 PM ET

Highlights From the 2013 New York Boat Show

Posted By Katie Little, News Associate

The Spring 2013 Boat Show

Azimut Atlantis 38
Source: Atlantis Yachts

Although new boat sales had a hard landing during the recession, the boating industry has begun to recover. In 2012, sales recorded their first significant increase since the recession, rising an estimated 10 percent, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

As the winter boat show season began in New York City on Jan. 3, manufacturers and dealers have reason to be optimistic because the NMMA forecasts that sales will rise another 5 percent to 10 percent in the current year. Dealers in the Northeast have also reported an increase in traffic in the aftermath of super storm Sandy's destruction as consumers begin their search for replacement boats.

Click ahead for highlights from this year's New York boat show.

By CNBC's Katie Little
Posted 7 January 2013

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  Thursday, 8 Nov 2012 | 3:57 PM ET

The Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner 2012

The Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner, 2012

The Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner, 2012
Photo: Grace Clemente | Stone | Getty Images

Shoppers often fret about what they perceive is the ever-rising costs for the goods they need to buy each day. This year, however, they have at least one holiday blessing to be thankful for: the cost of a turkey dinner and all the trimmings has risen only slightly from last year.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation's survey, turkey dinner and all the fixings will cost about $49.48, or just 28 cents more than it did last year.

Last year, consumers were hit with one of the biggest price increases for traditional Thanksgiving trimmings in years, after poor weather shrank the size of U.S. crops.

This year, the star of the Thanksgiving feast—the turkey—is the main reason for the marginally higher cost. Had it not been for increases in the price of the turkey, the cost of the dinner may actually have been lower.

"Most Americans will pay about the same as last year at the grocery store for a turkey and all the trimmings," said John Anderson, the deputy chief economist at the AFBF. "A slight increase in demand for turkey is responsible for the moderate price increase our shoppers reported for the bird."

Please click ahead to see how the costs break down per item. All costs are based on prices collected by 155 volunteer shoppers in 35 states, who are asked to hunt for the least expensive prices, but not take advantage of any promotional coupons or other purchase deals.

By Christina Cheddar-Berk,
Posted 08 November 2012

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  Friday, 9 Nov 2012 | 3:52 PM ET

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

Scenes from Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2012
Photo: Adam Jeffery |

Sporting diamonds, Swarovski crystals and barely there outfits, Victoria's Secret angels strutted down the runway in the company's annual runway event. Each year, the women's lingerie chain kicks off its holiday selling season with a star-studded show to generate excitement about its products.

This year's show started with a circus theme, complete with acrobats and sword-swallowers. Other themes were: Dangerous Liaisons, Calendar Girls, PINK Is Us, Silver Screen Angels, and Angels in Bloom.

Singers Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars performed at the New York City event, which was held at the National Guard's 69th Infantry Regiment's headquarters. Just one week before the show, Hurricane Sandy wiped out the venue's electricity, and Victoria's Secret came to the rescue by lending generators to the National Guard.

The show will air on CBS on Dec. 4 at 10 p.m. EST. Click ahead to see scenes from this year's event.

By Katie Little
Updated 9 Nov. 2012

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  Thursday, 8 Nov 2012 | 8:31 AM ET

10 Must-Have Videogames This Holiday Season

Posted ByChris Morris

10 Must-Have Games for 2012

10 Must-Have Videogames This Holiday Season, 2012
Photo: Renee Keith | Getty Images

If you've got a gamer on your holiday list, there are plenty of good choices this year.

The final years of a console generation typically bring some of the best titles, since videogame developers have gotten to know the ins and outs of the systems. Unfortunately, it often brings a flood of sequels, since publishers are less willing to take risks at this stage.

That makes it all the more surprising, then, that amidst the sequel sprawl of 2012, there are so many outstanding original games. Even better, some of the sequels that did show up were surprisingly innovative.

Please click ahead to see some titles sure to delight your favorite gamer.

By Chris Morris, Special to
Posted 8 Nov. 2012

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