Chic Holiday Gifts 2011
This year, our holiday gift guide includes some wonderful surprises: there are items both large and small, and from all over the globe (Argentina to France to Turkey and beyond). Whenever we compile these special holiday lists, we naturally consider what we would like to receive–after all, things that appeal to us are likely to appeal to our families and friends. Some of the items we’ve chosen are meant for women, some are for men–but most would bring joy to almost anyone. And while the list is short–10 perfect suggestions–everything we’ve included is special, exclusive or just plain chic. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Christmas comes but once a year, so go for the crème de la crème. Assuming you’ve been nice this year, Santa will follow suit!
For example, these gorgeous tarot cards are part of Contemporary Magic: A Tarot Deck Art Project, sponsored by the KLÜP Foundation and recently mounted as a show at The Andy Warhol Museum. Designed by 78 different “creative icons” (including fashion legends Christian Louboutin and Karl Lagerfeld, as well as contemporary artists such as John Currin and Terry Richardson), the deck of cards is packaged and billed as a “do-it-yourself performance art project.” Any fashionista in your life will want to own a set!
We first saw an Analeena bag at Harrods a few years ago, and immediately fell in love with the entire line. Her handbags, totes and wallets are not only gorgeous (made with superb craftsmanship from exotic skins), they’re also functional, with a place for your lipstick, perhaps; a pocket for an umbrella; or a tiny interior light to help you see what you’re looking for! A perfect gift.
Arabian horses are almost impossibly chic, built like supermodels with big eyes, swan-like necks and great bone structure. Al Hawajer Stud is a farm based in the United Arab Emirates that breeds, shows, buys and sells some of the world’s most beautiful Arabians–including Kwesturas Juell V (above, left), a daughter of Jullyen el Jamaal out of Kashmir NA (above, right).
Sevan Biçakci is a Turkish jewelry designer whose work we’ve adored for years. Using unusual stones and techniques suggestive of another time and place (Byzantium, perhaps, or the later Constantinople, under the Ottoman Empire), Biçakci creates one-of-a-kind pieces that always make a statement. This gold ring has a bold Maltese cross picked out in large black and white diamonds–other pieces feature carved crystal, tiny icons or colorful mosaic effects. We often stop into Barneys New York to see his new designs (and are currently eyeing a few). Let’s hope Santa thinks we were good this year!
For the wine enthusiast on your list, check out the Bespoke Collection. This interesting consortium offers everything from bottles of wine (and all sorts of wine-related products) to wine experiences (on-site tastings, food-and-wine pairings, etc). For true oenophiles, there’s even the grand-and-extravagant option of owning vineyards in Napa Valley or Argentina. How chic is that?
Every well-dressed man needs a polishing case for his shoes, and it ought to be as handsome as he is. This gorgeous box from John Lobb holds brushes, shoe cream, soft cloths and, of course, polish–and it’s so good-looking, its happy new owner will probably want to show it off rather than tuck it away.
What can we say about a fur jacket from Fendi (designed by Karl Lagerfeld) except to insist it’s among The Very Best? This Italian design house produces furs unlike any others, using extraordinary materials, innovative techniques and bold shapes that tend to make other efforts look just this side of dowdy!
The holiday season is always hectic and exhausting, so why not give that special someone the perfect remedy? With the touch of a single button, the Impressa Z7 “coffee center” by Jura will grind, tamp, brew, froth and then self-clean in under 60 seconds. (Not even your best neighborhood barista can do that!) The happy recipient will be able to make anything from an espresso or a ristretto to more complicated cappuccinos and latte macchiatos. It’s a super-sleek, super-chic kitchen luxury that offers a perfect cup every time.
With the first snowfall looming right around the corner, someone on your gift list is probably thinking about winter sports. Carradan offers what must be the ultimate in custom-made skis (which, by the way, are only available to those with a referral from a “winter sports professional” or to those lucky few with a private invitation from Simon Carradan himself). Each pair is made to order, taking into account a skier’s anatomy and individual preferences for powder, cruising on groomers or dashing down Black Diamonds. So chic!
Audemars Piguet has been making extraordinary mechanical watches for 136 years (since 1875), and the company’s small Swiss factory still turns out handsome, understated timepieces that somehow manage to appear both innovative and classic at the same time. Almost any man would love to find this pink gold Dual Time watch under the tree: it’s beautifully-designed, well-made and quite rare, and built to last longer than one person’s lifetime.
Of course, we’ve all heard it’s better to give than to receive–but after putting together our list, we hope you get as well as you give this holiday season!