From the Editor

By staff March 1, 2007

Glamour is back—and it feels marvelous. That’s the message in the Zeitgeist right now and the inspiration for this issue. As style editor Carol Tisch reports (p. 116), the trend was recently celebrated in designer Jamie Drake’s bestselling book, New American Glamour, which was followed by the “All-American Glamour” premiere issue of Vogue Living. Instead of featuring a minimalist interior, the cover showed a stunning Jennifer Lopez in a shimmering white gown, and the story inside took readers through her opulent Long Island estate.

After too many dressed-down Fridays and too much 24/7 multi-tasking and abbreviated text messaging, it’s about time to luxuriate in some well-earned elegance. “We are ready for a glamorous movement,” Drake pronounces. “These are economically good times, and people want to leave the beige oatmeal behind.”

But what is glamour, 2007-style? As in someone else’s famous assessment of quite another subject, Drake says we may not be able to precisely define it—but “you know it when you see it.” And its primary component, he says, is luster.

He’s talking about the luster of satiny fabrics, gold and other materials in the glamorous interiors he creates, but it’s probably another kind of luster, that which surrounds Hollywood celebrities, those shiny, happy people Americans so idolize, that has sparked a return to glamour in fashion and lifestyle as well as interiors.

Even if you aren’t that interested in movie stars—which I keep insisting I’m not, even as I obsessively analyze their ensembles and check out their jaunts to St. Barts anytime I get near a People magazine—it’s impossible to escape the constant coverage of their glittering lives. Add in the barrage of TV makeover shows—of our bodies, our homes, and our wardrobes—and it’s easy to see why we’re convinced that glamour is within our reach, too. We know what it looks like and we can see how it’s done.

And what we’re seeing is a new kind of glamour, more relaxed and modern than the palatial rooms or elaborate fashions that once defined the term. That outrageous arbiter of our culture, TV’s Cojo, nailed it at the Golden Globe awards. The worst-dressed star at the ceremony, he told ET viewers, was Vanessa Williams, with her overwrought, over-sprayed hairdo. Best-dressed? Angelina Jolie, looking “classic but modern” in an elegant updo, a flowing gray chiffon St. John’s strapless gown—and her tattoos.

You might not think that the gentlemanly Simon Cooper, president of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, has much in common with the bitchy Cojo. But Cooper’s recent insistence that the Ritz-Carlton, even though it’s the world’s No. 1 luxury brand, must reinvent itself springs from exactly the same conviction: Glamour is not what it used to be. Today’s guests, he says, are younger, more diverse and less formal, and their idea of a glamorous hotel is one that’s luxurious and cosmopolitan, yet understated and personal. Rather than trying to emulate European chateaus, as they once did, Ritz-Carlton hotels now emphasize contemporary style, and they’re encouraging their employees to be more spontaneous (fewer “my pleasures” and scripted interactions, more genuine engagement) in serving their guests.

And isn’t that what Sarasota, with our long tradition of casual resort elegance and cosmopolitan sophistication, is all about? I can’t think of any other Florida city that’s so in tune with modern glamour. Jacksonville may be hard-working and Orlando family-friendly—but glamorous? Forget it. Miami has international flash, but it’s too frenetic; Palm Beach’s glamour is old and stuffy; and although Naples has lots of glitter and wealth, it’s still a seasonal enclave and lacks our cultural tradition.

We’ve got a glamorous setting—those miles of gorgeous waterfront, including all along our downtown—and a glamorous history, too. John and Mable Ringling set the tone of the town back in the 1920s, when they entertained glittering celebrities at their fabulous Ca d’Zan with parties that could only have happened in Sarasota—baroque splendor in a still-wild tropical setting. And even as we’ve grown, we’ve kept that sophisticated yet relaxed feeling. That’s why interesting, cosmopolitan people keep coming here, and why our artistic endeavors, from the Sarasota Film Festival to Sarasota Opera, flourish. We’re a party town that loves to dress up and entertain, but we’re also a place that embraces ideas and diversity; and all those new shops, restaurants and apartments downtown are making us more modern than ever before.

Smart but not stuffy, classy yet comfortable, elegant but not artificial—that’s what the new modern glamour, and Sarasota, are all about.

You’ll read more about that in this issue, which includes articles about glamorous Sarasota style setters, homes, design trends and even cocktails—along with a look at the not-so-glamorous reality behind producing live local TV. And to see first-hand what the “New American Glamour” looks like, join us at a free special event at Robb & Stucky on March 22 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. You’ll enjoy elegant food, wine and entertainment, informative talks (including a diamond seminar) and see some of the country’s most glamorous new furniture. We’d love to see you there.

We love hearing from our readers. You can e-mail [email protected] or send letters to Pam Daniel, SARASOTA Magazine, 330 S. Pineapple Ave., Suite 205, Sarasota FL 34236.

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