Siesta Key Village is dress-down casual, barefoot beach kitsch. Though in-your-face tourist gift shops and watering holes dominate the scene, you’ll also find world-class destination stores, under-the-radar boutiques and bistros that give St. Armands Circle a run for its money. For an egalitarian and playful shopping experience, check out Ocean Boulevard’s hodgepodge of unpretentious little shops in strip malls that curve along the bay.
Tennis Gods Nike, the goddess of victory (and the brand), graces Total Tennis with an astonishing assortment and first dibs on its newest Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer gear; fans of “King of Clay” Rafael Nadal will find his hot new racket ($185) from Babolat here. Total Tennis, 240 Avenida Madera, (941) 349-7742.
Tea Total Shop owner Michael Duranko and his tea master have created a menu of 22 healthy loose-leaf varieties from renowned Dethlefsen & Balk. All are additive-free, many with no caffeine and no sugar. Take your favorites home in two-ounce packets ($7). Local Coffee + Tea, 5138 Ocean Blvd., (941) 870-2671.
English Breakfast At Patisserie Café Continental, you can order British bangers (sausage) or bubble and squeak (fried mashed potatoes, peas and grilled onion), then pretend you’ve crossed the Channel for pastries that are decidedly Parisian. Patisserie Café Continental, 5221 Ocean Blvd., (941) 346-3171.
Happy Feet Why are your feet smiling? Because after 200-plus years, Birkenstocks now look as good as they feel. Check out the new Florida model in folklore blue ($70), Sydney in black patent or the hip new Tabora in gold swirl ($120). Rick’s Birkenstock Footwear, 5128 Ocean Blvd., (945) 346-7425.
Green Growers The new Siesta Key Organic and Natural Farmer’s Market is upscale and healthy, with locally grown produce, Japanese green tea, elixirs and oils from Colorado and L.A. Every Sunday morning in the Davidson Drugs parking lot.
Bay Watch This lifeguard comes in bottles and tubes: Ahava just introduced anti-aging Mineral Suncare (ranging from $23-$26) with ingredients straight from the Dead Sea. Prices for all Ahava skincare products are said to be cheaper here than in Israel. Davidson Drugs, 5124 Ocean Blvd., (941) 349-1111.
Iron Chef The TV show may hail from Japan, but the star chefs at JoTo (ancient Japanese for “the best”) create Emmy-quality sushi, say Village shop owners, who rave about the fresh fare. JoTo Japanese Steakhouse, 5218 Ocean Blvd., (941) 346-8366.
Local Treasure Designer Dalia Koss creates extraordinary jewelry in gemstones, shells and pearls, even luring treasure hunters like Renee Zellweger with custom pieces. Everything, including this pearl necklace ($329), is one of a kind. Dalia Koss Unique Jewelry, 5125 Ocean Ave., (941) 349-9895.
Foxy Fashion Fox-clever Brian Eible’s picks run from the chic (Nicole Miller) to the subversive (New Zealand’s Stolen Girlfriends Club). When snowbirds call for a Foxy Lady fix, personal shoppers send out goodie boxes filled with items to try on, keep or return. Foxy Lady, 209 Beach Road, (941) 349-6644.
Don’t Forget to…
Check out the preppy new styles from Lilly Pulitzer, Cape Madras and Vera Bradley at Conrad Egan, 5116 Ocean Blvd., (941) 349-8777.
Brave the ear-bursting music and try at least one of the 13 yummy daiquiri flavors at Daiquiri Deck, 5250 Ocean Blvd., (941) 349- 8697.
Redesign your jewelry wardrobe with Mike Morton’s amazing selection of loose gemstones at wholesale prices. Michael & Co. Jewelers, 5221 Ocean Blvd., (941) 349-2748.
Chill out with Zen gifts from incense to music at Bliss, where you’ll also find intriguing exhibitions by local artists upstairs. Bliss Gallery, 5214 Ocean Blvd., (941) 312-9790.
Who’s In Store?
Theresa Guest and Robert Seth Ward have created a 21st-century retail marriage made in heaven. The husband-and-wife team’s new Westfield Southgate kiosk is called Chic Chateaux, an innovative “click and mortar” furniture-buying experience.
It’s the perfect blend of high-tech and high touch. Guest is a software and Web marketing guru with major credentials at Circuit City and Arthur Andersen. Ward is an antiques expert and former owner of the sorely missed Churchill’s furniture gallery on Fruitville Road.
Together, they design and produce first-rate French Country solid wood furniture in Asia. Their secret: They finish each piece in their Sarasota facility with uncannily authentic-looking distressing and cottage colors. Chic Chateaux sells across the country online, but Sarasota’s prototype kiosk is such a hit, 18 more will debut in the next three years. Next up: Brandon Town Center and Orlando’s Florida Mall. – Carol Tisch
Click and Mortar: Customers can touch and feel the product in a cozy kiosk environment, then purchase on site or shop the expanded Web collection at home.
What Women Want: “Warm, comfortable homes and solid wood furniture at affordable prices,” says Guest, who has been monitoring consumer preferences through Web site hits and online purchases.
Can’t Live Without: “Furniture that looks like it’s been in the family for years,” say Guest and Ward. “We use reclaimed pine for our furniture; some of the timber still has the original nail holes.”
Bold design in dreamy little doses.
Hot Pocket All wrapped up and ready to go, this clever envelope-style pillow ($99.99) is inspired by the boudoir but spiffed up for the living room in glamorous two-toned silk. Home Resource Contemporary Furniture, 741 Central Ave., Sarasota (941) 366-6690.
Animal Magnetism Exotic skin-patterned pillows by Jaime Alexander are irresistibly chic in bold fashion colors, hot new shapes and the softest Argentine patent leather (from $75). Sarasota Collection Home Store, 622 Central Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-8313.
Fire Coral Lifelike silk and velvet coral floats across this pillow ($235) from Michael Ragan’s new tropical collection for Rags, a California brand with celebrity following. Square on the Circle, 25 N. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands (941) 388-1322.
Jungle Fever This embroidered linen zebra pillow ($340) is runway hot; it’s from Ankasa, a new home collection by the couture fabric designers who supply Oscar de la Renta, Escada and Vera Wang. Box Furniture Boutique, 1417 First St., Sarasota (941) 366-8164.
Natural Wonder From exotic flowers to seashell motifs, the cotton tapestry pillows here ($135) are so photo-realistic, it’s no wonder they’re snapped up the instant new styles arrive. Yves Delorme, 28A S. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands Circle (941) 388-4494.
Retro Fever Seventies patterns are the rage, and this upbeat geometric design ($119.95) in multi-colors spiked with bronze is past-perfect. Home Resource Contemporary Furniture, 741 Central Ave., Sarasota (941) 366-6690.
Buy the Sea Owner Elizabeth Rice has a cache of artists around the country specializing in shell art and accessories like this silk shantung pillow (from $150) with beadwork simulating coral branches. FantaSea, 345 St. Armands Circle (941) 388-3031.
Jewel Box That’s what Van Cleef & Arpels’ new gem of a boutique looks like, set off in its own 300-square-foot shop within Mayors’ Westfield Southgate store. The first Van Cleef boutique on Florida’s west coast (and Mayors’ first-ever), the space was specially designed in Paris to showcase the French icon’s exquisite treasures. Mayors Jewelers, 119 Southgate Plaza, (941) 952-1945.
Pillow Talk Heard the buzz? Jaime Alexander is a new pillow brand that’s about to be launched nationally by Jaime Anast of Sarasota Home Collection. His dazzling colored designs in faux croc, alligator, snake and more (think Versace meets South Beach) will wear the label you’re seeing here first. Sarasota Collection Home Store, 622 Central Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-8313.
Haute Green From the start, Box Furniture designs were conscientiously made only from plantation-grown teak. Now eco-sensitive owner Vanessa Opstel is scouring the planet for high-end green design and testing items from organic bath products to zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints to chic flooring made from recycled wine-bottle corks. Box Furniture Boutique, 1417 First St., Sarasota (941) 366-8164.
By Jill Obrochta Dambro
Find yours at this season’s Wine, Women & Shoes.
Sexy shoes from the fashion world’s top designers, served up on a silver platter at the Wine, Women & Shoes event to benefit Forty Carrots Family Center at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, Nov. 1-3—who could ask for anything more? Featured are some of our favorites, available at the event or at these exclusive event sponsors.
Puttin’ On the Ritz
Who could resist this glamorous Old Hollywood revival? Delicate gold-leather straps hug the toes in peek-a-boo fashion. Framed in beautiful black patent leather with complementary gold piping and a statuesque bullion heel. Dress up like a million dollar trooper—super duper! Emilio Pucci, $540. Addison Craig, 28 S. Boulevard of the Presidents, St. Armands Circle (941) 388-3400.
A Great Red
Is hard to come by—savor this one. Bergamot and cabernet python, dripping with Swarovski crystals. Sexy metallic criss-cross front straps; sleek gold spike heel. Rich in taste. Sacco, $485. T. Georgiano Shoes, 1409-B First St., Sarasota, (941) 870-3727.
The Gucci shoe for you! Exudes class with every step. Go ahead, baby yourself. Original Margaux—GG insignia. Taupe and copper metallic sling-back, peep-toe with gold metal bow. $550. Saks Fifth Avenue, Westfield Southgate, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 364-5300.
A Royal Gem
Fit for a queen. Delicate tapestry joins genuine python in neutral tones. Gold spindle-heel is a real treasure. The crowning touch: a gemstone side-buckle. Sacco, $365. T. Georgiano Shoes, 1409-B First St., Sarasota (941) 870-3727.
A Sweet, Delicate Rosé
So savory—only Marc Jacobs could blend this zippy cuvée. Lovely cognac- colored patent leather adorned with a zipper-entwined rose and diminutive heel. A tasteful bouquet with a great finish. Marc Jacobs, $350. Addison Craig, 28 S. Boulevard of the Presidents, St. Armands Circle (941) 388-3400.