The Bespoke Issue


Custom-made autos, clothing and motorcycles. Italy's one-and-only Antas and private golf: the best clubs, courses and communities. Plus ultraluxe accessories and top personal clthiers.

From This Issue

Antiques: The King of Clubs

If, two centuries ago, a golfer believed that his equipment had to look good for him to play well, he would have wanted a set of clubs by Hugh Philp, whose talent for making wooden clubs has been likened to Antonio Stradivari’s mastery of the violin form. “The visual element is important to a golfer. […]

From The Editors: Unlucky 13-Under

Al Geiberger, who 30 years ago became the first golfer to record a sub-60 round in a PGA Tour event, agrees with the comparisons that equate his achievement with that of Roger Bannister, the British runner who, in 1954, became the first person to finish a mile in less than four minutes. “People remember him […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Spin Doctored

Andreas von Zadora-Gerlof pairs his elaborate, jeweled sculptures with timekeeping mechanisms in a manner that preserves uncluttered pedestals for the artworks. Among his new wristwatches is one adorned with a gold frog prince embedded with green tsavorites, diamonds, sapphires, and rubies and one featuring a ladybug set with black diamonds and rubies. In 1989, Zadora-Gerlof, […]

Jewelry: Star Power

At the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris, artisans competed for awards that would proclaim their creations the finest examples of their respective crafts. The fair’s most prestigious honor, the Grand Prix award, went to Paris jewelry house Boucheron for an exhibit that included a wide bracelet composed of five […]

Watches: Hidden Assets

Veteran NFL linebacker Donnie Edwards once stayed up all night changing the straps on his 20 or so Panerais. His infatuation with his watches may seem extreme, but it is not unusual among collectors of Officine Panerai timepieces. The Paneristi—the nickname for the company’s fan base—assiduously acquire the brand’s special editions and share their obsession […]

Autos: Less Is More

With the notable exceptions of hearses and London taxicabs, everything on wheels seems to travel better as an open carriage. Even ordinary, invisible coupes become noticeable when their tops are removed and their drivers’ and passengers’ senses are freed from the confines of spirit-stifling metal and glass.   The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is no […]

Aviation: Crisis Management

Three minutes after takeoff from runway 4 at Honolulu International Airport, at about 3,000 feet, the Gulfstream IV’s left engine catches fire. Seated in the copilot’s chair, I call up a checklist on the monitor before me. Following the instructions that appear on the screen, I shift the jet’s power lever to idle, shut off […]

Travel: Well-Done in Velden

Perhaps it was the Champagne that put me in the mood to go parasailing. Never in my life had I considered being pulled through the air by a motorboat, but then, never before had I drunk two glasses of Dom Pérignon Vintage 1999 at breakfast. Within half an hour of the meal, one of the […]

Spas: Preventive Measures

Like most people who are diagnosed with cancer, Oklahoma City real estate developer Warren Thomas was shocked when he received the news four years ago that he had the disease. “I work hard, I play hard, and I’m a type A personality,” he acknowledges, “but I’m also an avid runner and have always been vigilant […]

Dining: Tastes like Chicken Should

The Santa Monica, Calif., restaurant Whist occasionally hosts a bit of dinner theater; call it a fowl play. It begins with the aroma of roasted chicken filling the dining room as a server carries from the kitchen a shallow copper pan containing a whole, golden-brown bird, including its feet, which were blue before the oven […]

Wine: Monumental Syrah

When asked by his patron, Lord Carnarvon, what he saw as he thrust his lantern for the first time into the tomb of Tutankhamen, artist-turned-archaeologist Howard Carter answered, “Wonderful things.” With these two simple words, he eloquently captured the essence of the dreams that drive all adventurers.   The pursuit of wonderful things has certainly […]

Spirits: Baby Blues

Enrique De Colsa, master distiller for Tequila Don Julio, refers to the company’s 4 million blue agave plants as his niños. “Like children, they need fresh air, nutrition, and sunlight to grow healthy,” says the jovial, husky-voiced 47-year-old. “It’s a romantic way to say it, but it’s true.”   In the verdant highlands of Jalisco, […]

Feature: Fall Fashion: Clothiers Make the Man

Custom clothiers bring their tape measures, fabric swatches, and refined tastes to your door to create a complete, personalized wardrobe. They never handle a needle and thread. Their talents lie in their abilities to measure with precision and determine which fabrics, colors, and designs best suit you. And through their connections to the world’s finest […]

Smoke: Another Winning Formula

A decade ago, while recuperating from a broken neck that he had suffered a year earlier in a crash at Michigan International Speedway, racecar driver Emerson Fittipaldi was flying a small airplane over his farm in Brazil when the aircraft lost power and plummeted to the ground. Fittipaldi survived, but with back injuries that for years […]

Sport: Pockets Full of History

In the year 1900, Ada and Minna Everleigh relocated their already-flourishing enterprise from Omaha, Neb., to Chicago, a larger city that offered the sisters the prospect of even greater riches, if they could establish a clientele among the wealthiest citizens. To that end, the Everleighs spared no expense in decorating and furnishing their new place […]

Art: Bone Appetite

Creating a 4,000-pound piece of glass art was only part of the challenge for Jonathan Christie; once he completed Lyrical Light, he had to find a place to hang it. Originally, his work, a 100-foot-long sculpture of spiraling stainless steel studded with more than 500 identical glass horns, was supposed to hang from the ceiling […]

Collectibles: He’ll Fix Your Wagon

Doug Hansen did not reinvent the wagon wheel, but he has reverse-engineered it more than once. As the owner of Hansen Wheel and Wagon Shop, a business he founded 29 years ago in Letcher, S.D., Hansen has built and refurbished thousands of wheels, as well as thousands of stagecoaches, chuck wagons, and horse-drawn carriages. Along […]

Feature: Fall Fashion: Extravagant Tastes

Over the course of his 25-year career as a bespoke shoemaker in London, Jason Amesbury has crafted footwear from almost every skin imaginable: calf, ostrich, crocodile, snake. But a request from a particularly fastidious client bewildered him. The gentleman said that he did not want shoes made from any of the aforementioned hides. When asked […]

Home: Minding the Manor

The furnishings in the new Waddesdon collection from Chappell & McCullar are not imitations of the classic French period pieces at Waddesdon Manor; they are interpretations, which, in some ways, might be better than the originals. “We took good design from the 18th century and interpreted it to a 21st-century ideal by simplifying the lines,” […]

FrontRunners: Swiss Watchmakers

Swiss watchmakers are normally very boring,” observes Girard-Perregaux chief Gino Macaluso. “But sometimes we just want to have fun.” For proof, he can point to the new Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon, which combines his company’s revered tourbillon mechanism with a fully functioning one-armed bandit. The Jackpot, available at Wynn & Co. Watches in the […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

It is an affectation of some gentlemen vintners to refer to themselves as simple farmers. In the case of Jeff Gargiulo, proprietor of Gargiulo Vineyards in Napa Valley’s Oakville appellation, the descriptor is accurate: Before becoming in 2001 the president and CEO of Sunkist Growers, Gargiulo built his own company, Gargiulo Inc., into the largest […]

FrontRunners: Car Audio

Ferrari has teamed with Meridian Audio to produce the Ferrari Meridian F80 Home Entertainment Center (www­, a rare example of a compact, all-in-one audio system that delivers top quality. The $3,000 F80’s graceful shell contains the same sophisticated circuitry that makes Meridian’s full-size systems so popular among audiophiles. A DVD/CD player, AM/FM radio, and optional […]

Feature: The Artists of the Motorcycle

The 16,000-square-foot workshop that houses Matt Hotch Designs is an oasis of calm in the rough section of Fullerton, Calif., a working-class city located about 20 miles south of Los Angeles. There are no assembly lines and no clattering machines inside the wood-and-brick building, which used to be an orange-packing plant and is now listed […]

FrontRunners: Special Tea

The Cavalieri Hilton (www­, set in a 15-acre park on the Monte Mario, Rome’s highest hill, is known for its panoramic views of the city. But from September through May, guests can enjoy a vista bellissima without leaving the lobby. There, during the Rome Cavalieri Hilton Tea with Tiepolo, an English tea that takes place […]

FrontRunners: Volume Business

Bloomsbury Auctions (www­, a 24-year-old London-based auctioneer that specializes in rare books and other printed materials, will open its first U.S. branch this month, in midtown Manhattan. The 10,000-square-foot facility’s first sale, on September 26, will feature a 67-volume lot of first-edition works by economists John Stuart Mill, Adam Smith, David Hume, Thomas Robert Malthus, […]

FrontRunners: Select Smoke

Every year since 2001, Avo Cigars founder Avo Uvezian has celebrated his birthday by creating a limited-edition smoke. This year’s creation—in recognition of his 81st birthday—is the 55/8 x 48 Avo Limited Edition 07. The company will make only 7,000 boxes of 20, and it will ship only 4,000 of these to the United States. […]

FrontRunners: Rock On

Instead of simply encrusting its new $1 million laptop with diamonds, the British bespoke goods company Luvaglio has incorporated a gem into the computer’s functionality. The new Luvaglio M laptop (www­ is activated by a diamond device that the company will integrate into a ring or other type of jewelry. The PC features a 17-inch […]

FrontRunners: Military Bearing

There is a good reason why the business aircraft made by France’s Dassault Aviation resemble fighter planes: The company’s Falcon business jet evolved from its Mystère military craft, which first appeared in the 1950s. Dassault’s sleek, speedy Falcon 7X, with a range of about 6,800 miles, entered service this year, and its new 2000DX, with […]

FrontRunners: Advanced Play

Some 700 Stradivarius stringed instruments have survived since Italy’s Stradivari family crafted them about 300 years ago. On October 7, about a dozen of these will be played by members of the Tokyo String Quartet and other recording artists at a farm in Rappahannock County, Va., owned by New York Philharmonic music director Lorin Maazel. […]

Private Golf: Open Fairways

The Golf Club at the Rise When course designer Gene Bates first visited the site for the Golf Club at the Rise in 2003, wildfires were ravaging the hillsides of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. “I thought I drove into hell,” Bates recalls with a laugh. “It was burning one day, it was raining the next […]

Private Golf: Course Requirements

If it is true, as the golfing adage contends, that you “drive for show” (and “putt for dough”), then each of the clubs pictured here presents the ideal combination off the tee, promising to add not only yards to your game, but cachet to your bag. The Honma Beres MG712 4-Star driver ($1,700, www­ features […]

Wheels: Drophead Gorgeous

Nearly a decade has passed since BMW paid £40 million (about $65 million) for the rights to the Rolls-Royce name, a silver hood ornament of a gossamer-clad lady (commonly referred to as Nellie in Her Nightie), and a radiator shell shaped like the west end of the Parthenon. “Plus 100 years of history,” remembers Ian […]

Private Golf: A Burden to Bear

While strolling across a practice green at the Keowee Falls golf course in Salem, S.C., Scott Tolley ticks off the critical points in the caddie’s code of conduct. “Keep out of the way, keep quiet,” he says, before pausing to look me over from head to toe. For a moment, I feel like a racehorse […]

Journeys: Atlantis of the Sands

A river would run through Wadi Darbat, if there were any rivers in Oman. Instead, the wadi is an arid basin, where Ali, my guide, brings his bright blue SUV to a halt and invites me to step out and take in the view, such as it is. In the distance, the dun-colored hillocks appear like […]

Atlantis of the Sands: Oases in Oman

Oman’s determination to cater to the discriminating traveler suggests that the sultanate will become home to some of the Middle East’s most luxurious hotels. Here are three that already are open for business, or soon will reopen.    THE CHEDI Situated 20 miles south of Muscat, on the exclusive Boushar beachfront, the Chedi reflects the […]

One Last Thing…

  The ItemThis device is the incarnation of Charles Babbage’s plans for the Difference Engine No. 2, a calculating machine designed in the mid-19th century that is considered an ancestor of the modern computer. The machine weighs 5 tons, stands 7 feet high, contains about 8,000 parts, and is fully functional. Babbage, an English inventor, […]

Private Golf: The Front 10

Our process for selecting the top 10 golf communities in the United States was partly subjective—as all top-10 lists should be—and partly scientific. Each property offers everything one would expect of a premier private club and vacation neighborhood: well-designed golf courses, well-situated homes, and well-heeled members. But the communities featured on the following pages distinguish […]

Feature: Rare Bird

Some men build cars that display a reminiscent fender flare here, an evocative shoulder swoop there, and maybe a grille that recalls an earlier decade, because they believe there is a future in referencing the past. Others, the real freebooters of faux, are not so creative. They pillage parts bins, add perhaps a louvered hood […]

Contributors: Par and Driver

An addition to features on custom cars, clothing, and motorcyles, this issue also includes a Private Golf special section, which, among other golf-related stories, offers coverage of the best clubs, equipment, and communities. Private Golf fits this issue’s bespoke theme well, because it reinforces the notion that, when living the golfing lifestyle, you can have […]

Private Golf: The Front 10: Off the Green

FIRST IN FLIGHT Mountain Air Country Club (800.247.7791, www­ in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains is known for white-water rafting, snow sports, and its 2,875-foot private airstrip. “Unlike a commercial airport, we rarely have more than 25 or 30 planes at any one time,” says president and CEO Randy Banks. “Members probably get more disturbed […]

Private Golf: Pro-File: Al Geiberger

Thirty years ago this June, Al Geiberger became the first golfer to shoot a sub-60 round in a PGA Tour event. His score of 59, posted on the second day of the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic in Tennessee, has been matched twice (by Chip Beck in 1991 and by David Duval in 1999) but never […]