Naked Power


Lamborchini's topless V-12 Murcielago Roadster.  Celebrate in style, the host's essential guide for the holidays.  Also, flawless timepieces and equisite jewelry.

From This Issue

Robb Design Portfolio: Amazing Vases

Porcelain earned the nickname “white gold” from the European aristocracy who treasured it during the 18th and 19th centuries, a time when lavishly decorated objects such as this pair of 1829 palace vases denoted the wealth and power of their owners. The Russian Imperial Porcelain Factory, founded in 1744 to supply wares to the royal […]

FrontRunners: Ahead of the Curve

The delicate curvature of Bang & Olufsen’s BeoCom 2 ( facilitates easy gripping and cradles the cheek and chin for comfortable conversation. But the $1,050 cordless phone, whose shapely handset consists of a single piece of aluminum, is more than just a pretty face accessory. Enter a name and number into one handset of the […]

Collectibles: Dialed In

In a sunlit studio in rural Oxfordshire, England, Joanna Migdal, dental drill in hand, kneels beside a large bronze sundial base as she engraves into its surface the words, “The Lord make his face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee and give thee peace.” Like the mottoes she includes on all of the […]

Furnishings: Learning Curve

In the summer of 1996, while volunteering on the restoration of 12th- and 13th-century stone buildings in a French village, Ted Boerner ended each day seated at a long, narrow picnic table, breaking bread with his coworkers. While everyone else focused on the fresh-baked baguettes and bottles of Côtes du Rhône, Boerner was preoccupied with […]

Appliances: Icon Makes Waves

While omnipresent in homes throughout Europe, Electrolux, the Swedish brand responsible for the tank vacuum that was sold door-to-door to millions of American households following its introduction in 1924, has maintained a low profile on this side of the Atlantic in recent decades. However, AB Electrolux—now an appliance conglomerate that includes AEG in Germany, Frigidaire […]

Home Electronics: Radio Renaissance

Those who lament the dearth of great music and varied philosophical viewpoints on the radio can take heart. Digital radio technology has arrived, bringing diversity to our listening in much the same way that digital cable and satellite TV brought variety to our viewing. And digital radio is now available for the home, with some […]

FrontRunners: True Colors

London’s leading hotels generally fall into one of two categories: the hip establishments and the grand old palaces. The newly renovated Berkeley (+44.20.7235.6000, treads the delicate path between the two.   During a six-month span last year, the Berkeley unveiled two restaurants—Gordon Ramsay’s Boxwood Café and Marcus Wareing’s Pétrus—as well as 45 new bedrooms, […]

FrontRunners: One and Ole

Ole Henriksen’s botanical fragrances waft through low-ceilinged hallways and nautically themed treatment rooms at the Shutters One spa (310.458.0030, in Santa Monica, Calif. The Los Angeles–based, Danish-born skin-care specialist designed all of the treatments and oversees operations at the new facility, which opened at the beachfront Shutters hotel earlier this year. “For me, to […]

FrontRunners: Lure to the Cote D’Azur

Revo250 (+33.492.28.70.41,, a new private club operating on the Côte d’Azur, is offering its 250 members access to 15 different models of exotic autos—including an Aston Martin Vanquish and a Lamborghini Murciélago—during their stays in the south of France. With a month’s notice, members can reserve any Revo250 car, which will be delivered to […]

FrontRunners: Back to the Wall

Once known for its intimate château hotel in the residential Grunewald district of Berlin, Ritz-Carlton has reemerged in the ultimate urban location in Germany’s capital. The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin (+49.3033.7777, debuted in January in the Art Deco–styled Beisheim Center on Potsdamer Platz, an exclusive, contemporary square located next to a section of the former Berlin […]

Travel: Reserves and Reservations

Like a proud parent, Tom LaTour, the chairman and CEO of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, has photos at the ready for when the conversation turns to his baby, the 25-acre vineyard on Mount Veeder, overlooking Napa Valley, that he purchased five years ago. Passing the 8-by-10s across the coffee table in a suite at the […]

At the Edge of the World

Not until i have finished the meal’s second course, a combination of sugar-cured trout and wasabi ice cream that jolts the mind as well as the palate, do I pause to gather my geographic bearings. I consider the outcome of sailing directly west from my location on the barely tamed northwest coast of Tasmania, out […]

Journeys: Altitude Adjustment: Aspen Eateries

Just a decade ago, the now-defunct, celebrity-owned Planet Hollywood was Aspen’s foremost culinary establishment. Today, with more than 100 restaurants, the mountain resort town counts gourmet cuisine among its many allures. Following are a few of Aspen’s finer dining options.    CARIBOU CLUB: This world-famous private club is arguably Aspen’s most coveted reservation. (970.925.2929). CLOUD […]

Journeys: Altitude Adjustment

The salt-encrusted sea bass arrives at our table with head and tail intact, sizzling amid a spectrum of tomato confit, French green beans, black risotto, and preserved lemon slices. Accented by flavors of sweet tomatoes, citrus, and brine, the entrée punctuates another decadent meal in Aspen, this one prepared by the Little Nell hotel’s Paul […]

From the Editor: Crimes of Passion

Shakespeare declared in A Midsummer Night’s Dream that “The lunatic, the lover, and the poet are of imagination all compact.” The same should be said of the collector, the artist, and the criminal. The true collector’s relationship to the object of his delight—whether a watch, an automobile, or a piece of fine art—begins innocently enough; […]

FrontRunners: Thai Surprise

As the executive chef at the Four Seasons in his hometown of Bangkok and the host of The Golden Hand Chef, a weekly TV show that was broadcast in 45 countries, Ian Chalermkittichai became renowned for weaving international flavors into classic Thai dishes. Now he has moved to Manhattan to helm Kittichai (212.219.2000), a new […]

FrontRunners: Big Red

Guests sampled wine and hors d’oeuvres in the presence of a giant at the Beverly Hills Arnie Morton’s (, when the restaurant and Beringer Vineyards ( presented Maximus, the world’s largest wine bottle, at a recent stop on its cross-country tour. Created to mark Morton’s 25th anniversary, the nearly 5-foot-tall, Bordeaux-style wine bottle (and its […]

FrontRunners: 50 Proof

Sometime around 1905, American artist Mary Cassatt began experimenting with counterproofing, a printing technique in which a wet piece of paper is pressed against a pastel drawing or a fresh print, causing a reversed image of the artwork to appear on the damp sheet. Art in a Mirror: The Counterproofs of Mary Cassatt, the first-ever […]

Art: Swiss Hit

Despite an inauspicious beginning that involved canceling its 2001 debut following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Art Basel Miami Beach has become, in just two years, the premier contemporary art fair in the United States. The third edition, scheduled for December 2 through 5 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, will feature at least 190 […]

Dining: Top-Flight Fare

Chef John Besh knows what diners expect from a private meal in the penthouse above Restaurant August in New Orleans: “They want to be wowed,” he says. Since the fourth-floor aerie opened in 2002, it has thrived solely on word-of-mouth references from dazzled patrons. Romantics have staged proposals, intimate weddings, and anniversaries there. VIPs favor […]

Health & Grooming: Intoxicating and Detoxifying

What a friend to man, the grape. For millennia it has gladdened the soul and fired romance, fueled sociability and ennobled our rituals. But the humble grape seed, so often overlooked, has greater sway than even the finest Pétrus, for it can make us appear more vital, more youthful, even more appealing. This power should […]

Holiday Survival Guide: Potable Perfection: Spirits

Drinks. Whether in the more formal form of a cocktail, or simply poured straight up, one is born (and borne to a parched guest) nearly every second of this well-festooned season, which spans the weeks separating Thanksgiving’s pickled cranberry relish from the blessed combination of Alka-Seltzer and aspirin that delivers so much welcome relief on […]

Holiday Survival Guide: 101 Gifts of the Vine: Wine

It is odd that the father of classical tragedy should have penned what may be the truest truism concerning the happy issue of the vine when he compared this liquid art form to sculpture: “Bronze is the mirror of the form,” wrote Aeschylus, “wine of the heart.” While a surfeit of wine will sometimes induce […]

Holiday Survival Guide: Uncommon Comestibles: Delicacies

Knowing that the food served can make or break a party, a wise host chooses his menu carefully or hires a choice caterer to address the culinary concerns, while the gracious guest recognizes that a gift-wrapped delicacy always is a welcome expression of gratitude.   Holiday Treats Because merriment involves eating as well as drinking, […]

Holiday Survival Guide: There’s Always a Morning After

Hangovers, like hurricanes, have their season. Experts identify this chaotic interlude as extending roughly from the Thanksgiving holiday to the end of the first week of the New Year. Each victim suffers during this period according to his or her particular indulgence. The most fortunate can classify their bouts according to the year in which […]

Holiday Survival Guide: Hit or Miss Manners

It can be the most uplifting of occasions, the sort of thing that gladdens the heart, brightens the calendar, and provides moments that everyone present will remember fondly. Or it can be cause for dread, an event to be approached with misgivings and endured under duress. Recalling it will prompt even the most hardened among […]

Golf: Dye Another Day

P.B. Dye’s english labradors are trained to remain in the golf cart while their owner tees off. But on the third hole at Teeth of the Dog, the landmark Dominican Republic course designed by Dye’s father, Pete, the canines bolt from their positions toward an irresistible sight: Lewis, the Dye family’s house manager, has emerged […]

Sport: Ski Patrol

Skis once served the single, simple purpose of sliding on snow. Now the best skis are designed for specific conditions and particular performance levels, giving you much to consider when equipping yourself for the slopes but also offering a more customized skiing experience.   To aid in the ski-selection process and ensure a harmonious union […]

Symposium: French Made

The scent of scandal hung over New York City’s MacDougal Street, where the 14th annual Veuve Clicquot Bastille Day Pétanque Tournament was under way.The team that won the tournament each of the last three years, thereby rendering itself ineligible for this year’s contest, had tried to sneak into the event under another name, only to […]

FrontRunners: Brooches in Bloom

More than a century after Tiffany & Co. designer Paulding Farnham earned the gold medal at the 1889 Paris Exposition for his 25 enamel orchid brooches, the jewelry house is reinterpreting the groundbreaking collection of exotic blooms.   Tiffany (800.526.0649, embarked on the project after a chance encounter between a company executive and enamel […]

FrontRunners: Clutch Play

While the new PanoMatic Chrono ($37,250 in rose gold; $44,500 for the 200-piece platinum version) from Glashütte Original (866.458.7488, maintains the company’s utilitarian aesthetic, it exceeds accuracy expectations for a watch in its class. All mechanical watches suffer from a decline in precision when their mainsprings expend power beyond a certain point. To address […]

FrontRunners: Air Apparent

When danish optometrist Poul-Jørn Lindberg (800.386.9196, discovered in the early 1980s that he needed glasses himself, the last thing he wanted to do was draw attention to his problem with chunky, metal-framed spectacles. He decided that the best glasses “should neither be seen nor felt,” an idea that led to a partnership with Danish […]

FrontRunners: Boys to Men

Ian Leslie (212.679.5337, believes that most men are boys at heart. The New York jewelry designer frequently incorporates whimsical motifs—insects, sailboats, miniature cars, tin soldiers—in her collection of cuff links, but this fall she set aside the playthings to concentrate on more sophisticated designs. Her latest line includes a group of sterling silver cuff […]

FrontRunners: Art in Motion

Primavera Boman (212.966.5386) is a renaissance woman who juggles careers in dance, art, and jewelry, which may explain why her cuff links and stud sets are in such short supply. Born in India and raised in London, Boman, who now resides in New York, utilizes sterling silver, 18-karat white and yellow gold, and platinum to […]

FrontRunners: Nurturing Nature

David Lee Holland (, 212.925.1944) expresses his love of nature through a botanically inspired jewelry collection of sculpted 18-karat gold laurel leaves, pinecones, and oak branches. “I try to re-create the delicate beauty of nature in gold,” explains the second-generation jeweler, who recently opened his first boutique on Sullivan Street in New York’s SoHo district. […]

Watches: A Novel Approach

The last thing you want to learn after spending $30,000 for a timepiece is that corners were cut in its creation. De Bethune, a newly established company, believes its no-compromise approach to watchmaking will be refreshing to connoisseurs disappointed by the offerings of large brands beholden to the exigencies of production.   De Bethune founders […]

Jewelry: Moonstruck

Jeweler Henry Dunay is convinced that his ancestors were jewelers for an Egyptian pharaoh. While the designer has no proof of this lineage, his passion for gems and jewelry runs so deep, he is sure it is part of his genetic constitution. Dunay lately has been fascinated with moonstones in particular, as evidenced by his […]

Wardrobe: English as a Second Language

Tremors continue to be felt throughout the fashion world as the Brits seek to reclaim their positioning as sartorial leaders, and 8 Savile Row is the movement’s epicenter. This is the address of the former Kilgour, French & Stanbury, the 122-year-old classic suitmaker, which—after a $2.5 million buyout earlier this year by partners Hugh Holland, […]

Natural Wonders

Jewelry emanates from nature: Gemstones and metals form deep within the earth, while pearls grow in the bellies of oysters at the bottom of the sea. Beyond this intrinsic link, the natural world can serve as a jeweler’s muse, inspiring bold pieces that take the form of brilliant wildflowers, a captivating caterpillar, fresh fruits, or […]

Artful Hand: Michael Zobel

Michael Zobel, in striving to create harmony between metal and stones, continues to pioneer innovative techniques and explore new media, even after 35 years of crafting jewelry. One of the 62-year-old designer’s recent creations is a pendant made of a slab of bright Mexican fire opal; diamonds set underneath the stone add an element of […]

Artful Hands: Scott Gauthier

Scott Gauthiér enjoys relaying an ancient legend about how the Ming Dynasty traded two cities for a single cat’s-eye chrysoberyl, a captivating yellowish-green gemstone that reflects a band of light across its center. He believes the Ming family got the better of the exchange. “If I want a beautiful blue sapphire or ruby, I have […]

Artful Hand: Zoltan David

  Zoltan David frequently offers a piece of advice to his clients: “If you want the best from an artist, set him free.” For the 53-year-old metalsmith, freedom means spending as many as 70 hours hand-forging one ring rather than casting his designs in multiples. David’s specialty is the laborious “cold-forged” technique that involves using […]

Feminine Intuition

What does a woman want? Everything—quality, practicality, eye-catching design, even a little glitz—and preferably all at once. Women’s collections previously fell into two camps: simple, everyday timepieces and extravagant jewelry watches for evening. But in recent years, manufacturers have blurred the line between the two by splashing diamonds on just about any bezel, case, or […]

Jet Set

Ever since 1884, when the world accepted a system of 24 official time zones, travelers have battled the clock with increasing consternation. In today’s jet age, the struggle to keep track of time both at home and on the road has only accelerated—along with our itineraries—providing an impetus for watchmakers to offer an old-fashioned mechanical […]

Back Page: Forging a Niche

The jewelry designers featured in this issue’s “Artful Hands” story—Michael Zobel, Scott Gauthier, and Zoltan David—are masters of their craft, possessing superior metalworking skills and enough patience to spend years gathering rare and beautiful gemstones. Two longtime leaders in the field, Henry Dunay and Michael Bondanza, who were profiled in “Designers Extraordinaire” in our November […]

Time: Laid Bare

The skeleton watch is a prime example of how fine Swiss mechanical watchmaking is driven more by an appreciation for art and craftsmanship than a practical need to tell the time. These timepieces embody the most extreme exercise in horological aesthetics: movement finishing and decoration. In fact, skeletons celebrate this discipline to such a degree […]

Style: Spinning Gold

In the fable The Emperor’s New Clothes, a pair of con artists posing as tailors dupe his royal majesty into believing that his new wardrobe is made from cloth so refined that it appears invisible to all but the noblest of gentlemen. Donning the world’s most extravagant materials still holds the same allure, but we […]

Presto Presto

The airliner touches down in Bologna, a group of Italian teenagers on board cheers and applauds and then breaks into a beautiful operatic aria. This is the introduction to Italy for a visitor arriving to test-drive Lamborghini’s new Murciélago Roadster, the 580 hp, 198.8 mph topless version of the carmaker’s flagship coupe. However, such a […]

Wheels: Cars Tuned: Cat Fight

What can become of a competent base-model luxury sedan when an in-house performance division gets its hands on it? To find out, we test-drove Jaguar’s XJ8 and its factory-tuned XJR and compared the results.   Jaguar XJ8 Engine: 4.2-liter V-8 Horsepower: 294 hp at 6,000 rpm Torque: 303 ft lbs at 4,100 rpm Zero to […]

Wheels: Cars Tuned

A side from several understated features—aluminum side mirrors and a slightly modified spoiler, for example—the Audi S4 resembles a standard-issue $28,000 A4 sedan. A punch on the gas, however, awakens the car’s 340 hp V-8 engine, propelling the German rocket to 60 mph in 5 seconds flat. Equally impressive, the four-wheel-drive four-door corners with supreme […]

Boating: High Class in Fiberglass

When sales representatives for the German boatbuilder KaiserWerft introduce prospective clients to the 102-foot Ocean of Love, a recent entry to the company’s semicustom Baron line of fiberglass megayachts, they note the boat’s twin 2,000 hp MTU engines, 22-foot-wide beam, and teardrop-shaped windows. However, the most appealing characteristic of the sporty vessel, which the company […]

Aircraft: More Options

Executives at flight options say that JetPass, the fractional ownership provider’s new 25-hour private flight program, has been in the works since 2003. However, the event that served as the impetus for JetPass’ launch took place two years earlier, when Marquis Jet partnered with NetJets, introduced the 25-hour concept, and turned business aviation on its […]

Wings & Water: Expediency versus Expeditions: House Rules

A glimpse of Noble House, a recently launched 174-foot motor yacht built by New Zealand’s Sensation shipyard for an American owner, would not lead one to classify the vessel as a member of the explorers’ club. Noble House’s appearance, however, belies its abilities. The steel-hulled boat, which is fitted with a bulbous bow engineered to […]

Wings & Water: Expediency versus Expeditions

From its summertime berth on the Italian coastline, Giant, a 247-foot IHC Holland behemoth with a bright red hull designed to clear waterways through the Arctic ice, stands out like a warning flag among the sleek, white speedsters that speckle the Mediterranean. The expedition yacht, which offers passengers willing to pay its $300,000-per-week charter fee […]