American Classics


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From This Issue

From The Editors: An Embarrassment With Riches

A taste for cushioned opulence has never rested comfortably on the hard springs of the American conscience. It is not so much that we are less enamored of luxury than our European cousins, who accept privation and privilege as inexorable facts of existence (and are unapologetically happy to have a larger share of the latter […]

Furnishings: Grand Design

Known for designing large and lavishly appointed rooms, Illya Hendrix and Tom Allardyce, owners of the Los Angeles firm Hendrix Allardyce, have introduced a furniture collection that suits their style. Nearly all of the 140 antique reproductions are exuberant designs of rich detail and, in many instances, generous proportions.   The latter trait was more […]

A Monumental Canvas

The abstract expressionists were an extravagant bunch who lived intensely and painted on a scale that matched their egos and bravado. One of the most bombastic among them, Clyfford Still, once complained, “To be stopped by a frame’s edge is intolerable.” Not even the universe, it seemed, could contain their vision. And yet, paradoxically, the […]

FrontRunners: The High Life

The glistening Maybach 62 waiting at the airport is the first of many modern conveniences that will mark your stay at Skylofts (877.646.5638, www, a new hotel occupying the top floors of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Unlike MGM’s other upscale Vegas property—the stately, Old World–style Mansion—Skylofts is a sleek, contemporary hotel perched […]

Travel: Current Affair

James Joyce called these Shannon waves dark and mutinous, and though dark the river may be, it is the wind, not the water, that betrays my two companions and me on this late summer evening. A gust pushes our 37-foot motor yacht alarmingly close to another that already is tied to the wharf as we […]

The Baron Essentials

When William Waldorf Astor tore down his Fifth Avenue home to build the Waldorf Hotel in 1891, he was concerned less with becoming a hotelier than he was with overshadowing his aunt, Caroline Astor. William, a novelist, onetime ambassador to Italy, cultivated snob, and renowned eccentric, was vying for head-of-family status with Caroline, who owned […]

The Baron Essentials: The Eco-Tycoon

Terms such as environmentalism and ecotourism had yet to be coined when Laurance S. Rockefeller (1910–2004), grandson of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller, built Caneel Bay on St. John and the Mauna Kea on Hawaii’s Big Island. But for the visionary scion—who, as one of America’s first venture capitalists, helped fund Eastern Airlines, McDonnell […]

The Baron Essentials: Staying Power

The hotels and resorts built by America’s turn-of-the-20th-century tycoons became the new gathering places of the affluent class. Several of the properties—including the Astor cousins’ Waldorf=Astoria and the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki Beach—have retained their allure into the 21st century and remain among the country’s finest places to congregate.   The Breakers, Palm Beach, Fla.: […]

Journeys: Calls of the Wild

Place a hand close to your face, and you might glimpse the glow of your palm as it reflects the faint starlight; extend it to arm’s length, and it disappears in the inky void. The tightly clustered trees and undergrowth in the rain-soaked forests of Northern California swallow light like an acoustic chamber absorbs sound. […]

Contributors: Shifting Gears

Gregory Anderson, Robb Report’s new automotive editor, once was advised by David E. Davis Jr., the founder and editor emeritus of Automobile magazine, that he should reinvent himself every so often. Davis’ former staffer has adhered to this counsel, having transformed in the past two years from an automotive editor to a public relations representative […]

FrontRunners: Eau Beautiful

Water is an essential element at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay’s Bathhouse (877.632.9636,, a stark yet elegant spa that opened at the Las Vegas resort in March 2004. Designed by New York architectural firm Richardson Sadeki, the spa features scented steam showers, whirlpool baths, plunge pools, and textured black slate walls over which water trickles […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

SAMUEL ADAMS UTOPIAS The true king of beers is not Budweiser, nor is it best enjoyed ice-cold on a hot July day. In fact, this most regal of brews tastes best when drunk warm, and its flavor profile more closely resembles that of a sherry or Madeira than that of a lager. However, despite this […]

Wine: Unspoiled Vines

The 845 very private acres that now form Spring Mountain Vineyard have for more than 125 years remained an eye of changeless calm at the center of the Napa Valley, whose agrarian past has been all but swept away by a storm of development, economic expansion, and tourism. Within the vineyard’s serene precincts, orchards sway […]

Antiques: Eyeing Eagles

Although renowned for his wit and wisdom, founding father Benjamin Franklin was wrong about at least one thing: The turkey would have been a terrible choice for America’s national symbol. Since 1782, when the bald eagle was included in the country’s official seal, artists have depicted the bird spreading its wings, soaring alongside the American […]

Spirits: Bluegrass Country Bottled

The term terroir has served the wine world well in describing the indescribable something (climate, soil, sun exposure) that renders the unique flavor profile of a single vineyard or place. Unfortunately, the world of distilled spirits lacks convenient shorthand for expressing the complex of factors that impart to the spirits of certain locales their unique […]

Leisure: Family Crest

Every accomplished manufacturer one day must address the issue of tradition versus trend. Should the company continue the practices that have contributed to its success, or adjust its formula to cater to changing tastes? At the Danli, Honduras, factory of Caribe Imported Cigars, company president Christian Eiroa and his father, founder Julio Eiroa, are debating […]

FrontRunners: Brilliant Debut

In a statement of its dominion in diamonds, De Beers (212.906.0001, is marking the debut of its first American store by exhibiting the world’s second-largest faceted D-flawless diamond, the pear-shaped, 203-carat Millennium Star. The famous stone is on display for one week at the two-story, 6,000-square-foot boutique, which is scheduled to open at the […]

FrontRunners: Teutonic Ingenieuring

The hardworking, technically obsessed Swiss-German watchmakers rarely steal the spotlight from their decadent Swiss-French rivals, but the relaunch of the Ingenieur watch from IWC (800.432. 9330, marks one such occasion. Developed in the white-coated culture of IWC’s watchmaking facility on the banks of the Rhine in Schaffhausen, the Ingenieur is available in five models […]

FrontRunners: Scents From A Malle

Barneys in Beverly Hills is home to several of the world’s most coveted fragrances, but none occupies a more stimulating space than Frédéric Malle’s Editions de Parfums ( The collection is presented in what Malle calls “smelling columns,” which resemble a cross between an English telephone booth and a sci-fi-movie time capsule. A shopper spritzes […]

FrontRunners: Aquatic Culture

Mikimoto (888.701.2323,, the original and most celebrated producer of cultured pearls, has unveiled a limited edition collection of animal brooches ($17,000 to $48,000) adorned with its rarest South Sea specimens, some of which have been stashed away in a safe for more than a decade. “We set aside some of the most exotic pearls […]

Watches: Case in Point

The cases of Carl F. Bucherer’s watches are noteworthy for more than just their eye-catching design; they are media for flaunting the company’s jewelry and watchmaking skills. As its name suggests, the brand is a division of Bucherer, the Swiss jewelry retail giant that has been making watches for its own stores for nearly a […]

Health & Grooming: The Royal Treatment

Perry Gastis studies his subject with the intensity and concentration of a surgeon before making a determination. Only after employing his considerable experience and acumen to assess skin conditions and facial hair density does he deem which of the seven Truefitt & Hill shave formulas is most appropriate for removing this beard.   If there […]

Wardrobe: Kicking the Habit

A native of central Kentucky’s Thoroughbred country, Carl Meyers grew up in a family that had outfitted riders for decades. At the age of 6, he wandered into his father’s equestrian clothing factory and, with a little help from the tailors, fashioned his own heavy wool gabardine riding suit. Nearly 50 years later, Meyers proudly […]

Style: Back on Track

When a young inventor named Alfred Dunhill inherited his father’s saddlery business in 1893, he recognized that horses were about to become obsolete and that automobiles represented the future of transportation. Seizing the business opportunity, he created a collection of quirky car accessories, which he named Motorities, to outfit auto enthusiasts with, as he declared, […]

Autos: Wagon Mastered

Jaguar’s cheeky X-Type compact was born four years ago in a desperate and hurried attempt to sustain profits by beating the best of the little ones from Mercedes, Audi, and BMW. It failed to do so because the X-Type was too under powered for the Americas, said the Americans, and included too many underpinnings plagiarized […]

American Sport Horses

A sport horse and a sport sedan exhibit a similar set of characteristics: Each descends from a distinguished lineage; each combines everyday practicality with astonishing athleticism, and—traditionally, at least—the very best come from Germany.   German sport horses display natural balance, powerful impulsion, rhythmic canters, elegant and fluid body motions, and ground-covering gaits. Originally bred […]

Wheels: Spur of the Moment

A blemish on the aristocratic presence of the new Bentley Continental Flying Spur may well be the car’s terribly awkward, very ordinary name.   Flying Spur. It sounds like the name of a dude ranch in a Roy Rogers two-reeler. Worse, after spending millions of marketing dollars to produce a general state of amnesia about […]

Back Page: Rear Breed

It once was the American Dream, equal parts apple pie and sex appeal, prom night and Hollywood. The Cadillac was a little flashy, a little obvious, and everyone yearned to drive one. But that was before the marque began its descent down the slippery slope of expediency.   You could say the decline was a […]

Boating: Recasting A Classic

When yacht designer Tom Fexas reminisced about the halcyon days of Wheeler Yacht Co. for Sea magazine in the March 2004 article “Where Were You in ’52?” he provided pharmaceuticals executive Wesley Wheeler with the impetus to revive the business his family had shuttered four decades earlier. “I had thought about doing this for a […]

Aircraft: Strictly Business

When, in 1967, Lufthansa became the first airline to operate the Boeing 737, it was hardly a high-water mark for luxury travel. The aircraft was the product of mass-market economics; its advantage over the DC-9s and BAC 1-11s already in service lay in the prospect of squeezing six passengers abreast instead of five for short […]

Maine’s Modern Classics

Tim Hodgdon reaches into the top drawer of his desk at Hodgdon Yachts, his boat building company in East Boothbay, Maine, a village where lobster traps line dooryards, family dogs nap untethered on porches, and two grade-school-aged sisters tend the general store, which is housed in a yellow Victorian. From the drawer, Hodgdon produces a […]