The Swish List

Photography by Matt McCourtney August 1, 2009

What’s Haute

Whether a celebrated piece of modern furniture, a travel adventure orthe latest designs from legendary names like Van Cleef and Arpels or Lamborghini, these aren’t just today’s top trends.Consider them investments that will hold their value and enrich your life for years to come.

The Art of Lighting

Bold and brilliant, this is not your grandmother’s chandelier. But for all its contemporary pizzazz, the Amore Eclipse by Oggetti Luce (literally, “light objects”) features a healthy dose of tradition: The mouth-blown glass—a 3,500-year-old technique—comes straight from a single artist in Venice, Italy (he even signs his work). The shades, available in amber, red or white, are suspended by glass arms that enhance the chandelier’s sparkle. And because they’re handmade, no two Amore Eclipses are the same. La luce é bella—light is beautiful! $4,328, including shipping. Available through Light Up Your Life, 1620 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 330-0422.

String of pearls

Simple and stunning, there is nothing more iconic than a strand of perfect pearls. Women the world over—from Coco Chanel to Jackie O to the Queen of England—have worn them for years, and they are perhaps the piece of jewelry most associated with the word “classic.” Queens’ Wreath Jewels has a stunner: a strand of 35 light greenish silver South Sea pearls, 12.8 mm. by 10.6 mm., with an 18K white gold diamond ball clasp that boasts 1.35 cts. of round brilliant-cut diamonds. Made by Piranesi, a 164-year-old Italian jewelry house, the necklace retails for $16,200 at Queens’ Wreath Jewels, 1310 Main St., Sarasota (941) 365-2027.

The big screen

Finally, you can watch the classics the way they were meant to be seen—thanks to the latest, state-of-the-art 21st-century home theater technology. The Marantz DLP projector (from $15,000) shows your favorite movies with more than double the standard pixel count, for the highest resolution available today. (Does Cary Grant deserve any less?) Plus when you pair the projector’s anamorphic lens system with a 16:9 to 2.35:1 masking screen from Da-Lite, you can go from standard formatting to full, undistorted widescreen up to six feet high and 16 feet wide ($5,042)—like having the Hollywood 20 right there in your home. Silver screen buffs, you’ve struck gold. Kimark Audio, 4625 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 922-7900.

Crocodile Rock

If you’re looking for an iconic, investment-quality menswear piece, don’t think shoes, tie or even suit.

Instead, think crocodile belt—a piece that can easily go from blue jeans to black tie, and one that will last for years. “I’ve had [the same] crocodile belt since I was 22 years old,” says Geoffrey Michel, owner of The Met in Sarasota. “Without a doubt, it’s a timeless piece.” The Met offers crocodile belts by designers Bill Lavin and Martin Dingman; both designers’ belts feature premium-quality hide and classic buckles, and are hand-constructed. The Met Fashion House Day Spa & Salon, 35 S. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-1772.


An icon of modernism, the Barcelona chair has remained virtually unchanged since its debut at the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition in Seville, Spain.

And it still looks a step ahead of the trend. (Current manufacturer Knoll purchased the rights to the chair in 1953.) But the aesthetics aren’t the only enduring qualities: The Barcelona’s hand-upholstered leather cushions and welded, stainless steel frame (also available in chrome) are renowned for durability that outlasts generations. You’ll be able to hand it down to your grandkids—that is, if you can make yourself give it up. From $4,300 to $5,300, depending on the grade of the leather, at Home Resource, 741 Central Ave., Sarasota. (941) 366-6690.

Just in Time

Cartier. Really, is there a sexier word out there­—or a sexier men's watch—than the Cartier Roadster XL Chronograph? 

This stunner of a watch, made by the iconic French jewelry house, retails for $8,575 and features a rhodium-plated sunray dial and stainless steel bracelet, as well as a tortue face, dual-time zone functions and an adjustable steel deployant buckle. It’s water resistant up to 330 feet, too, for the man who likes his Cartier with a side of adventure. Sophisticated but not ostentatious, the Roadster XL Chronograph is an investment in the 162-year-old Cartier legacy and will retain its value for decades. Available to purchase through Saks Fifth Avenue, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 364-5300.

Watch Out

Looking for the ultimate women’s watch—one by a renowned watchmaker that will never go out of style?

Then Baume & Mercier’s Ilea Diamond Bezel watch, $5,490, is just right. With .59 cts. of diamonds in the bezel and crown and a mother-of-pearl dial, this stainless steel watch is perfect wrist couture. Baume & Mercier, which was founded in the Swiss mountains in 1830, has one simple slogan: “Accept only perfection.” With a history—and a motto—like that, and with celebrity ambassadors like Evangeline Lilly and David Duchovny, you know that this is a brand that’s both relevant and timeless, all wrapped up in one timepiece. Available at McCarver & Moser, 482 John Ringling Blvd., St. Armands Circle (941) 388-3666.


Sure, the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 is fast­—640 horsepower V12, 0 to 60 in 3.6 seconds. And yes, it’s flashy—the Murcielago reflects the unmistakable Italian design of its predecessor, the classic Diablo (even the engine’s aesthetics are shown off through a Plexiglas covering). But can a $300,000 exotic car be comfortable? In fact, yes. A surprisingly roomy interior, hand-stitched leather seats and optional creature comforts like navigation system and rear camera make the Murcielago as comfy as a minivan—but a whole lot more fun to drive. Experts even say you could use the famously reliable Lamborghini as your everyday car (or just add it to your collection, where it’ll hold its value like a bank vault). Lamborghini Sarasota, 5145 Clark Road, Sarasota (941) 556-2980.

Vintage classic

Mayors Jewelers in Sarasota is the only shop in the country to house a Van Cleef & Arpels boutique, which means that lucky Sarasota shoppers have easy access to Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alhambra collection. The Alhambra line features a variety of styles, but it’s the Vintage Alhambra necklace that’s a real standout—one that buyers will pass down to their children and grandchildren. A 10-motif, 18K gold necklace in mother-of-pearl that’s sold for $4,900, the piece is investment-quality and instantly recognizable, yet classic and understated. Pair it with a little black dress or a T-shirt and jeans; however you choose to wear it, the Vintage Alhambra is a classic showpiece—not one you’ll relegate to your jewelry box. Van Cleef & Arpels at Mayors Jewelers, 119 Southgate Plaza, Sarasota (941) 952-1945.

Sparkling Standout

Nothing says celebration like a bottle of bubbly,

and the Krug Brut Champagne 1996 is reason enough to celebrate. Considered royalty among champagne aficionados, the Krug family has been making France’s signature sparkling beverage since 1843. In 1996, Krug’s 150-plus years of experience combined with ideal conditions in the French Champagne region to create a champagne so good some oenophiles have called it “hallucinatory.” But don’t get ahead of yourself: The 1996 won’t be ready to pop and pour for another five years. In fact, it’ll be good until at least 2019, so collectors of classic wines can have their champagne for another decade before drinking it, too. Yours for $400 at The Bottle Shop, 29 N. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands (941) 388-2675.

All Hail St. John

Is there anything more iconic than a St. John suit?

Women all over the world, from society matrons to Angelina Jolie, have been fans of the line’s classic tailoring and construction for years, and it’s easy to see why. Founded in 1962 by Marie and John Gray, the line is known for its trademark Santana knit, a blend of wool and rayon. Never flashy but still fashion-forward, St. John suits can be worn by women of all ages to anything from a luncheon to an evening benefit. Saks Fifth Avenue in Sarasota offers an array of St. John suits, from herringbone to that classic knit. A St. John suit is a piece of fashion history to be worn for years. Saks Fifth Avenue, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 364-5300.

Eyes in the sky

With their instantly recognizable shape and their built-in cool factor—James Bond, anyone?—aviator sunglasses are a fashion classic. And Sarasota’s Sunglass Express Optical, with locations on St. Armands Circle and in Lakewood Ranch, has a wide variety of aviators from top luxury brands: Cartier, David Yurman, Chrome Hearts and Tiffany & Co. David Yurman’s version, in particular, features that classic aviator frame and minimalist design, but also comes with 20K gold electroplating and brown double-gradient lenses. And because they’re sunglasses, after all, they also have 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. Whether you wear them with a bathing suit on the beach or to a fabulous party, you’ll have these sunglasses for a long time to come. Available at Sunglass Express & Optical, 343 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-5115 and 8130 Lakewood Main St., #101, Lakewood Ranch (941) 907-9900. 

Travel That Matters

Philanthropic tourism is the latest travel trend, as privileged travelers donate time, money and energyto the developing communities they visit. Altruistic globe trekking doesn’t require a sacrifice in creature comforts; today’s philanthropic travel excursions are both uplifting and upscale. On excursions planned by Go Philanthropic, a boutique travel company founded by a 30-something couple, Lydia and John Dean, guests enjoy five-star accommodations, gourmet dining and life-changing experiences. Go Philanthropic’s customized expeditions include a 10-day guided journey through Vietnam and Cambodia. Guests explore the region’s landscapes, cityscapes and cultural treasures, and also bring educational tools to needy rural schools, visit with local nonprofit leaders and see humanitarian projects in action. Cost starts at $4,500 per person. (800) 655-3403;


Bucking the trend of over-the-top showers for on-the-go lifestyles, the Fountainhead VibrAcoustic bath from Kohler encourages you to kick up your feet and stay a while. As you soak, VibrAcoustic sends sound waves through the water—coordinated with your choice of music, of course—for a submerged massage like no other. Starting at $9,900, the system even offers chromatherapy in sync with both the music and the vibrations, to soothe three senses at once. Still prefer standing? Kohler’s DTV shower ($3,600) lets you customize everything—water pressure and temperature, multiple shower heads, steam generators and yes, pretty colors—from one little iPod-like controller. Talk about making bath time oh so fun. Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, 2451 17th St., Sarasota. (941) 951-0110.

Filed under
Show Comments