You wouldn't run your business with a Commodore 64. And you needn't settle for anything less than state-of-the-art gear outside the office. We've assembled a toolbox of 31 items that transcend the ordinary, bearing elegant witness to the fact that "good enough" is never good enough.
(FORTUNE Magazine) – STYLE•CULTURE•TECH•TRAVEL•SPORTS•EPICURE
SVP, Fashion Director,
Barneys New York
What is the ultimate clothing investment for fall?
"A black leather coat made by Azzedine Alaïa is timeless. Wearing this piece is a status symbol for the highest quality, design, and style. Mr. Alaïa is a pure couture craftsman with a modern way of thinking. Beginning with making the pattern himself and ending with the master's eye inspecting each item that leaves the atelier, he delivers the ultimate in fashion to the chicest women in the world."
Giorgio Armani's personal cologne--Armani Privé--is now available to the public in four unisex scents. $185, Saks Fifth Avenue or Armani Boutiques
● Let your watch whisper "luxury" instead of shouting it. The Calatrava 5296 from Patek Philippe is inspired by one of the watchmaker's most famous designs from the 1930s (and not by the architect Santiago Calatrava on the next page!). The case is white gold; the band blue crocodile. $17,400, www.patek.com
● Alexander McQueen's first signature purse, the Novak bag, fits perfectly into his Hitchcock-themed fall collection--razor-sharp style that still feels perfectly proper. $13,270, www.alexandermcqueen.com
● Few luxuries compare to custom-made shoes from John Lobb Ltd., a London firm with a triple-whammy title: bootmaker to Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince of Wales. Lobb's artisans will craft your perfect pair, whether your taste runs to the modern or the classic. About $3,700 for U.S. orders, www.johnlobbltd.co.uk
Santiago Calatrava Architect
What is the ultimate building?
"The Hagia Sophia [in Istanbul] is an achievement virtually without precedent: a great building that is introverted, as if you were entering a body, so that the experience is all about discovering the unbelievable space within. The sequence of your entrance, the articulation of the different volumes, and the vaulting create a single space of richness and complexity that no other building has achieved. It is a tremendously moving experience, which I thought about very much in working on the World Trade Center Transportation Hub."
● The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai, by John Tayman (Scribners, December). A stirring account of the notorious leprosy settlement on the Hawaiian island and the brave but luckless souls who were cast away there.
● The Beatles: The Biography, by Bob Spitz (Little Brown, November).
This definitive, compulsively readable biography cuts through the mythology of the world's most beloved rock & roll band. Spitz reported the book for six years, and delivered an epic.
● Memories of My Melancholy Whore, by Gabriel García Márquez (Knopf, October). Published in Spanish in 2004, this is the tale of a man who gives himself the gift of a virgin prostitute for his 90th birthday, only to find himself desperately in love.
SHOW OF POWER
● Four years after their ridiculously successful turn in The Producers, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick return this fall in a revival of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple. The show is virtually sold out for its six-month run, but the box office has just a handful of matinee tickets for February and March. Determined to score seats? Get thee to a ticket broker. $250 and up, 212-719-4099
● For the first time in nearly 30 years, the treasures of King Tut are in the U.S. Residents of Los Angeles have another month to check out the exhibit Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs before it moves on to the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale in December. More than 50 objects from Tut's tomb are included, plus 70 more artifacts from other nearby royal tombs, including those of the famous Pharaoh's great-grandparents Yuya and Tuyu. $25--$30, www.kingtut.org
Closed since 1986, Rockefeller Center's Top of the Rock observation deck reopens Nov. 1, giving visitors a dizzying new way to see the city. $14, www.rockefellercenter.com
What would be in your ultimate media room?
"A top-of-the-line screening room is a prerequisite in my line of work. And because it's in my home, it also needs to work for viewing digital photos or playing computer games with my kids. A great receiver, like the Pioneer Elite VSX-59TXi, is needed to process sound. Add the Pioneer's Elite DV-59AVi DVD player, which uses a scanning format that matches each frame of film so that the picture faithfully reproduces what the director had in mind. The display is, of course, your centerpiece. I selected a Pioneer 61-inch Pro-1410HD plasma TV because it gives the most lifelike images onscreen. And everyone in the room gets a great view, because plasma has the widest viewing angle."
● Vertu has made a business of selling mind-bogglingly expensive mobile phones to busy executives with cash to spare. But if you need a concierge at the touch of a button, worldwide service, and handsets you won't see in your corner store, they can't be beat. Here, the Signature Stainless Steel model with 18-karat yellow-gold buttons. $11,700, www.vertu.com
● The Casio Exilim EX-Z750 looks much like an average, sleek little point-and-shoot digital camera--but with a whopping 7.2 megapixels of memory packed inside, you can take stunningly high-resolution photos and still stash it in a coat pocket. $369.95, www.bhphotovideo.com
● Ultimate Ears UE-10 Pro custom headphones were created for professional musicians, but they'll perk up your iPod too. An audiologist takes a cast of your ear, then the company produces headphones to fit you--and only you--perfectly.
Cobra Electronics' new NAV ONE 4500 is the only GPS system that warns you of delays on your route and helps you find a detour. $1,099.95, www.amazon.com
André Balazs Hotelier
What's your ultimate vacation?
"To me travel is not only about a place but about how you experience that place. Right now my ultimate trip would be to sail around the Fiji Islands aboard Dennis Kozlowski's sailboat Endeavour, which can be chartered for $22,000 a day. It's a stunning, sensual, 130-foot J Class sloop built for the America's Cup in 1934. The boat is extremely sleek, with luxurious cherry and locust-wood interiors. It looks like an Edwardian men's club. Sailing it, they say, is like steering a 747. I would also want my friend, the superb chef Eric Ripert [of New York City's Le Bernardin], aboard. There is no ultimate destination without ultimate cuisine--especially on the high seas."
● Sure, it takes some time to arrive at the kingdom of Bhutan--plan to measure the trip in days, not hours--but that's part of the allure of the world's last surviving Buddhist stronghold. And given that the place is often described as a variation on paradise--where instead of gross national product, they measure gross national happiness (seriously)--it seems churlish to quibble over logistics. Visitors can expect a mix of rusticity, serenity, adventure, and extreme pampering at Uma Paro (above) and Amankora, two new five-star resorts that have recently opened their doors in this 7,000-foot-high perch in the Himalayas. Uma Paro is part of the Como Hotels Group, which also runs the sybaritic Parrot Cay Resort in the Turks and Caicos; Amankora is part of the equally swanky Amanresorts Group. Rooms at both start at around $500 during high season; www.uma.como.bz; www.amanresorts.com.
● Valextra's small Costa Suitcase exemplifies minimalist luxury--made of pristine white leather, this is a bag that screams private jet. $5,900, 212-940-2047
Getting there is only half the equation. For what to eat, do, and see abroad, nothing tops jet-set bible Nota Bene. About $450 for ten issues, www.nbreview.com
Swimmer, Olympic Gold Medalist
What's the ultimate way to transport all your gear?
"Well, we don't use a lot of equipment in swimming, but a hybrid SUV would be the perfect toy for any active person. I've had my eye on the Toyota Highlander. I could throw anything in the back, from my dog to my surfboard to a big pile of camping gear. You could get out into the mountains or cruise to the beach. With gas prices being out of control the way they are, having the hybrid would be a guilt-free way to own an SUV."
● Ducati has unleashed the Multistrada 1000S DS, a powerful but playful sports bike that's comfortable enough for cruising or commuting and turns heads while you're doing either. $13,495, www.ducati.com for dealers
POWER POOL TOY
● Not aerodynamic enough in the pool? Nike's new Swift Strapless goggles adhere to the face with disposable adhesive strips rather than rubber straps. $25, available at selected Niketowns
● The love child of a driver and an iron, hybrid clubs will take your ball five to ten yards farther than a long iron and are easier to hit too. Cleveland's versatile new Halo is designed to be used on the tee, from the fairway, and in the rough. $150 (steel); $180 (graphite); www.clevelandgolf.com
Lärabar is the tastiest energy bar ever, and it's actually good for you. Made entirely from whole fruits and nuts; no added sugars or preservatives. $2, www.larabar.com
Chef, Per Se, (New York City); The French Laundry, (Napa Valley, Calif.)
What would you recommend for the ultimate power lunch?
"For the executive who has time to sit down and eat a meal, I would offer a fresh French green-lentil salad with grated carrots, minced red onions, grilled chicken, and a light vinaigrette made from Armando Manni extra-virgin olive oil and aged red-wine vinegar. The legumes in the salad offer a complete carb and protein combo, essential for keeping you going during late-afternoon power meetings. For the executive who doesn't have time to sit down and eat, I would offer a yogurt fruit smoothie, because it gives you energy while also helping to burn fat."
● Kyocera's Kyotop knives, which are made of superhard ceramic fired twice for extra durability, stay razor-sharp for years. The sleek black blades and handles make average knives look downright frumpy. $129.95 to $799.95, www.ming.com
● So simple yet so delicious. Truffle & Salt is exactly what it sounds like, and it makes anything from popcorn to scrambled eggs feel haute.
$22 for 3.25 ounces, www.ritrovo.com
● A new breed of American chicken similar to the famed French Poulet de Bresse, the Blue Foot Chicken is milk-fed, superflavorful, and recently made its restaurant debut at Alain Ducasse at Essex House. $29 for a 3.25- to 4-pound chicken, www.dartagnan.com
Aged for over a year and packaged in an über-cool bottle designed by Fabien Baron, Corzo Anejo tequila is made for sipping. $70, 888-378-4528