The economy may rise or fall, but Palm Avenue remains Sarasota’s bastion of arts and luxury. The owners of the galleries and boutiques lining the historic avenue have created their own stimulus packages with plenty of affordable jewelry, art, and home décor rounding out high-end collections. Just one day of shopping these beautiful stores will cure any doldrums that ail you.
The economy may have tanked, but weddings are way up in Sarasota, says La Mariée manager Lana Lagivne, who reports that brides want young, fresh, upbeat dresses like Cymbeline’s silk organza confection (price on request). La Mariée, 56 S. Palm Ave., (941) 955-1600.
Search no more. Everyone is a winner with gorgeous hand-painted South African ostrich eggs in spring pastels ($88) set on carved wood “stands” that do double duty as bangle bracelets ($8.50). Gallery 53, 53 S. Palm Ave., (941) 365-4442.
What to do with that antique Louis XVI bed? Convert the headboard to settees, and footboards to ottomans. The set of four pieces is $9,500, replete with lush silk velvet and bouillon fringe. Marianne E, 60 S. Palm Ave., (941) 373-1260.
Potter Nina Walz creates hand-painted ceramics like this salad set ($625), in which a platter, salad bowl, individual bowls and condiment dishes hook together to form a stylized head of lettuce. M.L Gosling, 43 S. Palm Ave., (941) 366-2500.
This glorious array of raw abalone, Iolite, tourmaline and blue topaz ($3,850) is part of Nikki Sedacca’s just-introduced Oceania Collection, a new look for the designer who's inspired by Sarasota and the sea. Nikki Sedacca, 49 S. Palm Ave., (941) 957-1957.
Café Epicure’s chic new martini bar stays open ’til 2 a.m. on weekends, packing in wide-awake night owls whose cocktail of choice is the espresso martini with Gray Goose vodka ($9). Café Epicure, 1298 N. Palm Ave., (941) 366-5648.
Florida Floorcast Local designers are setting a trend with unique Florida-friendly Nepalese rugs with wave, fan shell or scallop motifs customizable in a choice of 1,200 colors ($5,400 for 6-by-9 foot). Art to Walk On, 64 S. Palm Ave., (941) 951-5454.
Deco Aficionado Bob Tucker’s authentic art deco sconces, posters and furniture (one-of-a-kind chair, $3,750) are interspersed with equally stunning decorative objects from classic to modern in his must-see new store, Design 75, 75 S. Palm Ave., (941) 366-8099.
Don’t Forget to...
Stop by William Hartman Gallery for a history lesson. His collection of digitalized photos of old Sarasota is breathtaking (from $30). William Hartman Gallery, 48 S. Palm Ave., (941) 955-4785.
Save the planet and its people when you purchase green home décor and gifts that provide fair trade income to artisan groups in impoverished countries at Ten Thousand Villages, 45 S. Palm Ave., (941) 316-0120.
East Meets West Check out the handbags that resulted when American Pauline Lewis met Vietnamese designer Hong Tu three years ago. Their oovoo handbags now make fashion headlines while supporting 600 Vietnamese women who hand-craft bags like the Moda ($275). Mariposa Designs, 51 S. Palm Ave., (941) 366-9510.