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The DBS drives Aston Martin into a new era. Plus, the year's most creative forces, Icons & Innovators, including Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces, exclusive resort getaways, Sunseeker yachts and Embraer jets.

From This Issue

From The Editors: Heartbreaks and Five-Star Hotels

The King is dead; long live the King’s earning power. Elvis Presley’s estate grossed $49 million last year, the 30th anniversary of his death, enabling him to reclaim his status as the world’s top-earning deceased celebrity. I have been to Graceland, the headquarters of Elvis, Inc. More than 15 years ago, I toured the jungle […]

Contributors: Where to Go and How to Get There

Exclusive resorts, one of the companies featured in this month’s Icons & Innovators special section, has emerged as the leader of the nascent destination-club industry. Contributing writers Patricia Harris and David Lyon, who chronicle the company’s rise and its plans for the future in “Club Rules”, suggest that good timing has played a pivotal role […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Starry, Starry Night

“Is there anything more inspiring to man than the sky?” asks Louis de Meckenheim, who manages the development of Van Cleef & Arpels’ (212.644.9500, watch collection. He poses the question—rhetorically—in reference to Midnight in Paris, the $61,000 men’s watch shown here, which represents a collaboration between the Paris jewelry house and Geneva complication specialist […]

FrontRunners: Liquid Gold

Veuve Clicquot ( has filled 3,600 jeroboams with its Brut Champagne. Each of the 3-liter bottles, christened Yellow-boams, is affixed with the brand’s yellow label—crafted in alligator, ostrich, or stingray hide—and topped with a 24-karat-gold-plated muzzle cap. The caps are engraved with the signature of Madame Clicquot, whose successor, Edouard Werlé, introduced the yellow label […]

FrontRunners: Triple Play

The three-wheeled Piaggio MP3 400 ( might look odd, but you will appreciate its design on a wet or twisty road. The two 12-inch front wheels can tilt 40 degrees, providing a stronger grip than that of a conventional, single front wheel. And, according to the company, on slippery surfaces the bike requires up to […]

FrontRunners: Fine Catch

Beachfront restaurants in Los Angeles are better known for their views than for their cuisine, which makes the new Catch Restaurant & Sushi Bar at Casa del Mar ( a welcome arrival on the shores of Santa Monica. In addition to raw fish, executive chef Michael Reardon serves eclectic entrées—Kurobuto pork loin with apple gnocchi, […]

FrontRunners: Apple Slice

Gloria Books’ New York (, a 26-pound, 700-page, Italian-silk-bound volume enclosed in a crystal Lucite case, may not cover every feature of the city it honors, but it surely tries. The book’s 200,000 words and 1,500 images celebrate Gotham’s architecture, art, fashion, music, dance, sport, industry, and celebrated denizens and visitors. (The images, both from […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

While the house of Taittinger dates to 1734, it did not acquire that name until after the First World War. Known in prior centuries as Fourneaux-Forest, the company was established by Jacques Fourneaux, a wine merchant who finessed agreements to represent abbeys that owned some of the best Chardonnay vineyards. In the 20th century, the […]

FrontRunners: Select Smoke

The Joya de Nicaragua Serie C was created to entice smokers who felt overwhelmed by the powerful flavor of the Nicaraguan puros for which the brand is known. An Ecuador-grown, Connecticut-seed wrapper is the distinguishing ingredient in a cigar that is far milder and more accessible than any other from Joya de Nicaragua. To our […]

FrontRunners: Mocha Gracias

The new mocha coffee from Sanani (—which the Plano, Texas, company offers through its web site only, at a price of $24 for an 8.8-ounce packet—comes from a mountainous region of Yemen that, at 7,000 feet above sea level, is nearly too cold for cultivating the plant. However, as winemakers well know, an inhospitable growing […]

Antiques: A Study in Taste

Contrary to the name by which the sale is best known, books have been rarities at Bonhams’ annual Gentleman’s Library auction. But oddities have been commonplace. Bidders at last year’s sale could have purchased wooden snuffboxes shaped like shoes, a pocket barometer, a taxidermic buzzard in a display case, a firehouse bell that is a […]

Golf: Highs and Lows

On its path through central Scotland, the Highland Fault skirts the southern end of Loch Lomond in the shape of a shepherd’s staff. The ancient geological feature divides the country’s Highlands and Lowlands—and the front nine and back nine of the new Carrick golf course at the loch-side De Vere Cameron House resort. Canadian golf […]

Travel: Empire Building

Shortly after the end of World War II, while leading the occupation forces in Japan, General Douglas MacArthur rebuffed U.S. government officials’ requests for him to summon Emperor Hirohito from the Imperial Palace. MacArthur understood that if the emperor heeded such an order, he would be humiliated in front of his people. “In this case,” […]

Aviation: Growth Spurt

Mike Van Staagen is a big man; he stands 6-foot-4, with broad shoulders and long legs. Not surprisingly, Van Staagen, vice president of design for the Advanced Development Group at Cirrus Design, has never been particularly fond of flying in his company’s four-seat, SR22 piston-driven plane. The SR22 might be the best aircraft in its […]

Feature: Rolling Over and Onward

The birth of Aston Martin’s expressive and explosive DBS was an interesting, maybe even high-risk, delivery. Well into the production process of the DBS, Ford Motor Co. began trying to shed those brands that it no longer could afford. Its intriguing attempt to knead Aston, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, and Lincoln into a single unit, […]

FrontRunners: Quality Time

One of the latest creations from German clock maker Matthias Naeschke is a $70,000, 10-pound table clock called L’amour ( The gold- and silver-plated, opulently engraved clock features elements made of ruby, gold, and sterling silver. No doubt L’amour notes the hours and minutes with precision, but while gazing at the timepiece, you could lose […]

FrontRunners: Small Wonders

The personal minijet now is on the arrival screen. Just as deliveries of very light jets (VLJs) are commencing, some of their makers are turning their attention to even smaller craft. Among them is Epic Aircraft. The Oregon company, which plans to begin delivering an FAA-certified version of its $2.3 million, twin-engine Elite VLJ in […]

FrontRunners: Auto Show

TMB Art Metal ( —a London company that produces sculpture and jewelry incorporating metal from vintage cars, airplanes, and boats—has fashioned cuff links from components of Bentley’s Old No. 2, a vehicle that competed at Le Mans in 1930. The car, valued at about $10 million, recently was restored, and TMB acquired some pieces that […]

FrontRunners: Massimo Perotti

Massimo Perotti was a happy man during this past fall’s Monaco Yacht Show. The chairman and CEO of Italian boatbuilder Sanlorenzo ( was at the event to unveil two additions to the firm’s line of semicustom yachts. Sanlorenzo recently opened a division in Viareggio, Italy, and that yard’s first model is the 91-foot Sanlorenzo SD92. […]

Autos: Sky Driving

It has been more than 10 years since the first time I jumped out of an airplane, but I still recall every detail of the 60-second free fall that preceded my pulling the rip cord. So with some degree of authority, I can compare skydiving with driving the new topless version of Mercedes-Benz’s SLR McLaren […]

Boating: It’s All Relative

On the deck of a gigayacht, two bikini-clad young women point at themselves, then at the driver of the powerboat that is racing toward them across Monaco’s harbor: They want a ride. The driver, Simon Powell, offers a carefree wave and then, to their dismay, shoots past them at 45 mph. He is here for […]

Art: Art on the Greens

For four months each year, an errant shot at the Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Windemere, Fla., could land in the rough, in the water, in a sand trap, or behind a million-dollar work of art. Five years ago, Stephane Connery, Sotheby’s worldwide director of private sales, followed his hunch that huge sculptures and […]

Wine: Peak Performance

Anthony Terlato’s tasseled leather loafers crunch gently on the gravel path overlooking Angels’ Peak Vineyard. His shoes—and navy slacks, tailored pin-striped button-up, and yellow silk vest—appear out of place in Napa Valley, where hiking boots and fleece pullovers are the norms. The Chicago-area resident’s accent likewise seems incongruous, as if he should be commenting on […]

Spirits: Driving 55

The Macallan 55 swirls in a whisky tumbler, carefully, gently. Sunlight pours through the windows of the tasting room at the 183-year-old Macallan estate in Craigellachie, Scotland, suffusing the rosewood-colored liquid in the glass. Whisky maker Bob Dalgarno, whose youthful Scottish countenance indicates an age much younger than that of the malt in his hand, […]

Collectibles: Capturing the Spirit

The words of God have dominated Donald Jackson’s life for the last seven years. The British calligrapher is in the latter stages of rendering the first entirely hand-lettered and hand-illustrated Bible since Gutenberg invented the printing press more than 500 years ago. Jackson, whom Queen Elizabeth II employs as her personal calligrapher,  estimates that he […]

Wardrobe: Hides and Seek

Chuck Vodicka describes himself as “very fussy.” When Vodicka, who lives in Miami and is a partner in an independent insurance company, needed a new briefcase, he knew exactly what he wanted but had no idea how difficult it would be to find it. Vodicka contacted several retailers and makers of premium leather goods in […]

Jewelry: Indian Passages

Jacques Cartier, the grandson of the Paris jewelry house’s founder, Louis-François Cartier, returned from his first journey to India, in 1911, with a cache of colorful gemstones and some new ideas about jewelry design. Indeed, the Indian aesthetic—which Jacques interpreted with cabochon gems and stones carved in the shapes of fruits, leaves, and flowers—influenced Cartier’s […]

Home: Wearstler’s Bizarre

Kelly Wearstler describes the items in her new home accessories line—the interior designer’s first—as “special”; unusual might be an equally apt descriptor. Her most eclectic decorative objects from the collection include a white marble Greek foot sculpture influenced by a 19th-century antique, elegant chrome and brass hands based on a pair the designer found in […]

Icons & Innovators

Four companies that have taken the risks and are enjoying the rewards of redefining luxury. Among the past year’s best examples of ingenuity and innovation are a mechanical watch that may never require servicing and a line of Brazilian business jets that will always come in the right size. In this special section, we tell […]

Icons & Innovators: The Boys from Brazil

In 1995, Maurício Botelho embarked on a suicide mission. The engineer had been tapped to save Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica, a small, dying aircraft manufacturer in São Paulo, Brazil. The company—which went by the acronym Embraer—had lost $330 million the previous year, and the causes of its imminent death were numerous: The aerospace industry as […]

Icons & Innovators: Inside Coup

The master compressor Extreme Lab is not only a ground-breaker; it is a scene-stealer. When Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced the lubricant-free watch last spring, it upstaged all the advances with high-tech materials that other watch manufacturers had been touting. The watch created a sensation because it could render obsolete the regular, expensive, and vexing servicing needed to […]

Icons & Innovators: Power and Glory

Eddie Jordan knows a thing or two about fast, technically advanced, and elegantly designed vehicles. He began racing cars professionally in 1974 and won the Irish Formula Atlantic championship in 1978. A year later he founded Eddie Jordan Racing, which took top honors in the British Formula Three circuit in 1987. And Jordan Grand Prix, […]

Icons & Innovators: Club Rules

The four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath residences at the Carnegie Abbey Club outside Newport, R.I., could never be mistaken for hotel rooms. Downstairs, dual-hearth stone fireplaces separate dining areas from formal living rooms. On the upper levels, expansive media rooms serve as hubs for family life. Furnishings throughout the homes are stylish but not precious—no need to hesitate […]

Style: Cashmere and Compassion

The sounds of rapping hammers and buzzing saws echo through Solomeo, Italy, as they have for much of the past two decades. On this summer day, construction crews are on schedule to complete the hilltop village’s first public theater, the Foro delle Arti, for its September 2008 opening performance. Some of these craftsmen have been […]

Wings & Water: Ghost Story

The origin of the phrase “have your ass in a sling” is a matter of debate. In his Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, Robert Hendrickson suggests that the expression derives from “have your arm in a sling,” although how the wording shifted from one’s arm to one’s buttocks remains unclear. Nor is it clear […]

One Last Thing…

The Item The Green Brenham was part of a 35-pound meteorite that landed on earth at least 5,000 years ago. After Geoffrey Notkin and his treasure-hunting partner, Steve Arnold, discovered the stone in 2005 in rural Kansas, Notkin had it sliced into 12 pieces. He kept this 12.5-pound chunk, the largest one, for himself and […]