The world has long known about Sarasota’s blue-green waters and beautiful beaches, blue-green waters and beautiful beaches, but lately we’ve been gaining a reputation for something else: luxury shopping. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or longtime resident, you’ll discover an astonishing array of treasures and surprises in our city’s exclusive stores and boutiques. Many retailers source from their travels around the globe, and top luxury brands and design leaders are well-represented. Today, Sarasota can hold its own with major shopping destinations, and visitors are often delighted to find that prices for some custom creations and fine goods are less than they would be in cities like New York.
This list will introduce you to the city’s top 100 luxury retailers, with information about the specialties, point of view and personality of each store. Luxury is an elusive commodity, of course, but to qualify for our Platinum 100 list, stores had to offer exceptional ambience, exclusive wares, incomparable service-or a combination of all three. Sometimes the luxury lies in finding something, no matter what the price, that simply makes your heart sing. We found such havens of retail luxury all over town; unfortunately, we had to stop at 100.
THE PLATINUM 100
Addison Craig: An idiosyncratic blend of high fashion and sophisticated classics has attracted a cult following to this St. Armands Circle newcomer specializing in shoes and handbags. The tiny shop makes a big statement with names like Christian Lacroix, Emilio Pucci and Tory Burch. A well-edited selection from boutique designers and up-and-comers and the constant influx of new styles adds to the addictive allure for customers who come from as far as Florida’s east coast; the comfy antique and vintage furnishings render it a guerilla shopper’s home away from home. Don’t miss the counter filled with artisan jewelry. Addison Craig, 28 S. Boulevard of the Presidents, St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-3400.
Agnes & Rafael Gallery Boutique: Berlin and Munich are becoming fashion capitals, and it shows in this tiny on St. Armands Circle boutique, one of a handful of stores in the country authorized to carry the stunning German couture line Oska. Expect an international potpourri of hand-crafted fashion at this chic new find. Agnes & Rafael Gallery Boutique, 19 N. Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota (941) 388-1923.
Brooks Brothers: This clubby outpost of the country’s oldest clothing store (c. 1818) sells everything to equip the preppy/golf lifestyle, with an emphasis on cotton and cashmere sweaters, classic blazers, suiting separates and chinos. In less than a year, the American icon has become a beacon on Sarasota’s Pineapple Square. Brooks Brothers, 1500 Main St., Sarasota (941) 316-1502.
Designing Women Boutique: Sarasota socialites and patrons from as far off as Palm Beach are among this elegant boutique’s frequent shoppers. The clientele donates or consigns brands like Chanel, Adolfo and St. Johns often after only one or two seasons. Everything sells at 50 percent to 75 percent off original prices, and proceeds go to local charities. Designing Women Boutique, 1226 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 366-5293.
Foxy Lady: Mother-and-son team Bryan and Lorry Eible offer two locations for complete wardrobing, from day to evening. A loyal following loves the eclectic, but always glamorous lines, which run from the chic (Nicole Miller) to the subversive (New Zealand’s Stolen Girlfriends Club). Shoes, sunglasses and kids clothes are must-sees. Foxy Lady, 481 John Ringling Blvd.Sarasota (941) 388-5239; 209 Beach Road, Siesta Key (941) 349-6644.
Jane Boutique: Former L.A. fashion stylist Lissa Murphy’s new shop offers celebrity-ing designers with a twist: The clothes flatter every age and body. Pick up a classic Yumi Kim silk top that goes with everything, Farron Elizabeth Designs soft, drapey knits, and Nikki Jaggs belts worn by fashion icons such as Paris Hilton. Jane Boutique, 1409 First St., Sarasota (941) 951-5263.
Kelietza:This sliver of a shop is spare in decor, but brimming with avant garde international fashion finds. Kelietza (little Kelly) is the nickname owner Kelly Augustyniak’s grandfather gave her; the unique designer clothes she hand picks are as diverse as her Eastern European heritage. Kelietza, 602 S. Pineapple Ave. Sarasota (941) 312-5403.
L. Boutique: From casual daywear and cute flip-flops for afternoons by the pool to evening gowns complemented by chandelier earrings and beaded bags, fashionistas find it all at this simple but glamorous shop, featuring celebs; favorite designers from Vera Wang to Dina Bar-El and Badgley Mischka. The shoes alone (Christian Lacroix, Beverly Feldman) are worth a visit. L.Boutique, 610 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 90-1350.
L. Kids: Lee Anne Swors L. Boutique has expanded to a new dimension (and a new retail format) called L. Kids. The offshoot is designed for chic mommy and me; dressing and carries hip, fun kids; clothes by the same designers as the flagship store: Splendid, Ella Moss, Ed Hardy, Hard Tail and more. L.Kids, 556 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 951-5560.
La Mariee Haute Couture Bridal: Window shopping reaches new levels on Palm Avenue, with haute couture bridal fashions so irresistible everyone will want to take a closer peek. Shopping at La Mariee is pure romance: They will dress the entire wedding party in high-fashion names like Atelier-Aime, Badgley Mischka and the renowned Vera Wang. La Mariee, 56 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-1600
Le Couture Bridal Boutique: Owner Lourdes Varela aims to outfit every bride in the gown of her dreams. From edgy Chia Lieu designs to romantic Anne Barge and Euro-styled Claire Pettibone dresses (check out St. Pucchi’s 18th-and 19th-century redux), this opulent palace is as much a destination as a Sarasota beach wedding itself. Le Couture Bridal, 8111 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch (941) 373-3858
Lotus: Fashion cognoscenti flock to Lotus for owner Wendy Getchell’s spot on taste and knack for choosing clothing, accessories, potions and fragrances before they appear in fashion magazines. Look for hot brands like Huit, Cosabella and Fleur T, and a host of shoe and dress designers from Corso Como to Betsey Johnson. Lotus, 1451 Main St. Sarasota (941) 906-7080.
Maas & Hoffman:Sarasota’s bespoke men’s outfitter specializes in exclusive and limited-distribution lines from conservative to high fashion. All the status menswear brands are also here, but for ultimate luxury this store designs exquisite house-brand, Spanish-made crocodile and deerskin shoes, and makes its own Solemare pure cotton shirts in Maas & Hoffman, 40 S. Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota (941) 388-2551.
Reason’s Shoes: Reason’s carries a bevy of covetable brands in its new handbag boutique, including designs by Luciano Padovan and Kate Spade. But the bulk of the store is devoted to the world’s best names in men’s and woman’s shoes, from Bruno Magli to Prada. Take home a souvenir of Sarasota men’s crocodile loafers by Zelli. Reason’s Shoes, 57 S. Boulevard of the Presidents, St. Armands Circle (941) 388-1602
Saks Fifth Avenue:Saks in Sarasota offers the perfect blend of small-town hospitality and big-city flair. Customers have access to the top international designers’ latest offerings, a trove of high-end cosmetics and beauty potions, and a jewelry department that rivals Saks’ counterparts in major cosmopolitan cities. Flagship store brands you don’t see on the floor will be requisitioned; the elegant Fifth Avenue Club here is among the most active in the chain. Personal shopping experts bring the latest finds from the pages of fashion magazines to Sarasota’s doorstep and assist with total wardrobing, from bras to shoes. Saks Fifth Avenue, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 364-5300.
Shore:Palm Springs meets South Beach says Tom Leonard of his new Shore, a surf shop with an air of luxury on St. Armands Circle. His hip emporium does for surf fashion what Brooks Brothers did for the preppy look, with a smart assortment of lines like Billabong, Roxy and Juicy Couture. Shore, 465 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota (941) 388-3535
Soto’s Optical Boutique: Eye couture complements the trends on runways of New York, LA, Paris and Milan at Soto’s Optical, from Loree Rodkin’s medieval modern frames to styles by David Eden set with precious jewels. For an eyewear experience of unrivaled luxury, get outfitted in grand style by Ron and Kim Soto. Soto’s Optical Boutique, 1383 Main St., Sarasota (941) 953-3788.
Sunglass Express Optical:This destination sunglass store offers full optical services and frames from hundreds of couturiers of world renown. If you’re in the market for eyewear that doubles as face jewelry, check out the luxury styles from names like Kieselstein Cord, Judith Leiber, Bulgari, Cartier, Chanel and more. Sunglass Express Optical, 343 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-5115; 8130 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch (941) 907-9900.
T. Georgiano’s:Exclusive Italian shoes and handbags are set in a romantic nouveau Venetian styled boutique where extraordinary customer service is rivaled only by the owners’ passion for great design. You’ll find the store’s own label accessories plus the best of country region’s designer names, from shoes by Mario Bologna to exotic skin bags by Ema G.G. Firenze. T. Georgiano’s, 1409B First St., Sarasota (941) 870-3727.
The Met:An English Bermudian-style mansion provides an impressive atmosphere at this icon on St. Armands Circle. A carefully edited selection of the top names in men’s and women’s fashion ranges from Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss and Etro to Burberry, Lafayette, I48, Ted Baker and Trina Turk. The Met dresses clients from head to toe in sportswear, daywear, evening fashion, shoes, leather accessories and fine jewelry. There’s also a world-class second-floor spa and salon. The Met offers a luxury shopping experience that rivals the finest in London, Paris or New York but without the ‘tude. The Met Fashion House Day Spa & Salon, 35 S. Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota (941) 388-1772
Ashley Avery’s Collectables:At this picture-perfect gift boutique you’ll find adornments for the body and the home: artisan crafted and sinfully affordable jewelry; fine porcelain from legendary names like Herend and Limoges fashion tabletop items from Vietri; Murano art glass; and exquisite crystal from Moser to Daum. Beautifully displayed collectibles are a cut above. Ashley Avery’s Collectables, 1425 First St, Sarasota (941) 955-9593, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 366-3444.
Exit-Art:A true lifestyle emporium, Exit-Art has everything from Alessi’s whimsical kitchen gear to skinny jeans from True Religion. You’ll find Me & Ro necklaces favored by celebs like Julia Roberts and Jennifer Garner at a location in the Longboat Key Club also packed with Herman Miller furniture and accessory classics. Exit-Art, 26 N. Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota (941) 388-2827; at the Charthouse, 201 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key (941) 387-7395; at the Centre Shops, 5380 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key (941) 383-4099.
Fit2Run:The ultimate luxury for serious runners and beginners who want true fitness shoe expertise, this state-of-the-art sneaker and active sport clothing store comes with its own running track and expert analysis of your gait. Fit2Run, 8123 Cooper Creek Blvd. Bradenton (941) 358-5100.
IOPTICS:A charming cottage storefront belies the trendy eyewear, sunglasses, gifts and housewares inside this historic Burns Court boutique. You’ll find Allessi’s clever gadgets displayed in a kitschy 1950s era kitchen and strewn about this artsy shop, which also carries useful, stylish treasures from Kartell and more. But IOPTICS is known for custom eyewear and its selection of exclusive frames. Look for Chrome Hearts Goth styles favored by Karl Lagerfeld and Florida’s first ever Oliver Peoples’ in-store boutique. Peoples’ Web site brims with photos of celebs and their choice of frames. The ultimate luxury: to be invited into the delightful inner courtyard for a patio break. IOPTICS, 446 Burns Court, Sarasota (941) 955-5133
Juno & Jove:This carefully curated boutique bills itself as a micro department store. The distinctive Arts & Crafts styled interiors set the tone for a cache of luxury fashion for men, women and the home. Incredibly, many of the most luxury products here are eco-friendly, among them Turkish Bergama cotton towels by Forza (often found in exclusive hotels); Swiss-made bed linens by Christian Fischbacher and dresses by Linda Loudermilk from textiles of soy, saswashi and other sustainable fibers. Look for a smattering of swimsuits, intimate apparel, leather goods and more. Everything is for sale, including antique prints on the wall, the fixtures and furnishings. Juno & Jove, 100 Central Ave., Unit 1026, Sarasota (941) 927-0000.
Le Tennique and The Colony Sports Shop:The Colony offers two retail experiences: La Tennique, with lifestyle lines from Missoni to Zissou & Spike (plus tennis, yoga and fitness clothes); and the new Colony Beach Shop, with upscale swimwear and casual sports fashions from Betsey Johnson to Gottex. Look for a smattering of striking giftware, spa products and more. -Le Tennique and The Colony Sports Shop, 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key (941) 383-6464.
M.L. Gosling: The art of gifting reaches new heights with M.L. Gosling’s upscale brands like annieglass and Edgar Berebi, and one off treasures in ceramic and art glass. Owner Marilyn Taksen takes great pains to scan the market for & crafting uniquities’ (pieces she says you won’t find anywhere else). M.L. Gosling, 43.S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 366-2500.
Main Street Traders:Browsers beware: You’ll find something you can’t live without at Main Street Traders. Regulars stop by often: The displays of gifts, antiques and accent furniture as well as candles, hand milled soaps and beauty products are always rotating. Check out the fun jewelry and exclusive selection of pajamas and bed linens from Pine Cone Hill. Main Street Traders, 1468 Main St., Sarasota (941) 373-0475.
Marianne E:In centuries past, Europe’s royals adorned their palaces with shells, applying rare specimens to walls, ceilings and furniture. Marianne Eriksson does the same with shell studded chandeliers and accessories she hand crafts in her charming boutique. A decorator with an astute eye for vintage furniture, Eriksson offers an array of antiques from French formal to American cottage. Marianne E, 60 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 373-1260.
Mariposa Designs: Sergio Baril named this unique gift shop Mariposa (Spanish for "butterfly"), and his hallmark semi-precious stone butterfly pendants are knockouts. But the one-of-a-kind works of art here range from hand-tooled Mexican silver bowls to handbags beaded by Tibetan refugees in India. Everything is hand-picked by Baril at crafts studios around the globe. Mariposa Designs, 51 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 366-9510.
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota: Souvenirs take on new meaning at the Ritz-Carlton, with three boutiques stocked with everything including prestigious spa products (from Carita of Paris and Thalgo to the hotel’s own skincare lines). Check out the Signature Shop for distinctive apparel and gifts, and the Members Golf shop for equipment and attire. The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Sarasota (941) 309-2000.
Simply Spoiled:This apothecary-like emporium offers a mix of beauty potions, makeup and accessories that are cutting-edge and celebrity-endorsed. Gleaned from fashion capitals around the world are hot items like Butter cream body moisturizer, DuWop’s Lip Venom (used by Sex and the City’s stars for a bee-stung look) and Lipfusion, the store’s best seller. Simply Spoiled, 100 Central Ave., Sarasota (941) 364-3337.
Vivid: Vivid was inspired by the intensity of sunlight in Southwest Florida, and everything in this fun boutique is as vivid in color as it is in imagination. Carefully chosen artisan-designed apparel, sculpture and jewelry (including a beautiful selection by Israeli designer Dori Csengeri) are temptingly displayed in a serene setting. Vivid, 349 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-4400.
William Hartman Gallery: Designers all along this coast and beyond make pilgrimages to William Hartman for his exquisite antique maps and botanical and marine-life prints. The selection has received kudos from top interior design magazines and rivals any European boutique. The gallery also provides artisan-quality framing. William Hartman Gallery, 48 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-4785.
Write-On Sarasota:The bygone luxury of monogrammed stationery, gliding fountain pens and leather pencil cases lives again with every visit to Write-On Sarasota. Here you’ll find a remarkable assortment of Montblanc special-edition pens, myriad leather accessories (including laptop totes) and boxed note cards, as well as an array of custom printing and paper options. Write On Sarasota, 1423 First St., Sarasota (941) 953-2800.
A Step Above Gallery:Part furniture boutique, part decorative art gallery, this shop specializes in contemporary wood, glass and metal furnishings. Colorful art glass, area rugs and wall art reflect the owners’ modern design aesthetic. A Step Above Gallery, 1288 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-4477.
Art to Walk On:Eileen Hampshire opened this gallery to showcase her prized collection, which includes new and old rugs of distinctive provenance. In addition to beautiful antique Tibetan, Turkish and Oushak rugs, a surprise hit are authentic Voysey reproductions of original designs salvaged from Donegal Carpets’ archives in Ireland. Art to Walk On, 64 S. Palm Ave.,Sarasota (941) 951-5454.
Bacon & Wing:The same stunning chairs, barstools, custom-designed fabrics and trim the country’s most upscale stores and catalogues have purchased from high-end Bacon & Wing for decades are now available to the public through the company’s first luxury retail shop, offering full design services and wonderful antiques from the owners’ personal collections. Bacon & Wing, 1555 Fruitville Road , Sarasota (941) 366-0635.
Box Furniture Boutique This Sarasota gem is the first retail shop in the U.S. devoted to eco-chic Box Furniture (now in 32 countries). The award-winning designs are crafted from sustainable, plantation-grown teak and displayed with high-fashion brands like Ankasa (luxury textiles and pillows), Jamie Young lamps and myriad under-the-radar sources for home couture. Box Furniture Boutique,1417 First St., Sarasota (941) 366-8164.
Current: An eclectic mix of contemporary and traditional furniture, decorative accessories, art and a smattering of antiques is all designer-showroom quality, and handpicked by owner Sally Trout, ASID. Current, 83 Cocoanut Ave., Sarasota (941) 365-5323.
dkVogue: Check out dkVogue’s flagship store for the most comprehensive selection of mid-century Danish design anywhere in the country, except perhaps, for their equally striking New York and L.A. showrooms Furniture from Danish design icons like Arne Jacobsen, Hans J. Wegner, Carl Hansen & Son and other legends are displayed in a hands-on, museum-like setting. dkVogue, 1549 State St., Sarasota (941) 955-2600.
Drexel Heritage: Romantic decorating themes set the tone at Drexel Heritage, with collections like Frances Mayes’ At Home in Tuscany, Lillian August’s English Country and Postobello Home (created by interior designers Jude Scarboro and Jennifer Kates, whose celebrity clients include everyone from the Schwarzeneggers to Madonna and Renee Zellweger). Drexel Heritage, 8001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 556-0501.
Envie Home Decor:At this glamorous boutique in the Whole Foods Market Centre, the mix ranges from artisan jewelry to bench-made Italian furniture to elegant hostess gifts, tabletop wares and more. "Every item is artist-quality, irresistible and small enough to be picked up and carried home," says owner Gerrie Heible. Pieces are limited-edition and often by artisans not featured elsewhere in Florida. Envie’s ever-changing oeuvre represents the best the world has to offer: a palace chest of water buffalo horn inlay and mother-of-pearl from India; triple-milled MOR soap from Australia; deco-inspired accent furniture from R & Y Augousti on Paris’ Rue de Bac. Envie Home Decor, 1411 First St., Sarasota (941) 366-7027.
European Traditions: Old World craftsmanship distinguishes custom wall units and fine furniture designed in this home furnishings gallery and expertly finished in Sarasota. Elegant accessories and upholstery complete the selection. European Traditions, 5201 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 921-5616.
Home ResourceNew York has SoHo-but Sarasota has the Rosemary District and one of the most exciting contemporary furniture stores this side of Miami. Here is a collection of everything from sofas and sectionals straight from the latest Milan Furniture Fair to architecturally inspired exotic wood tables and chairs from furniture couturier Adriana Hoyos, Latin America’s rising star. You’ll find affordable American brands with cutting-edge European flair, coveted Knoll design classics and ultra-hip fashion from Kartell. On the floor are furniture, rugs, lighting, pillows and accessories for every room in the home, and what you don’t see can be ordered from an extensive designer source library. Home Resource, 741 Central Ave., Sarasota (941)366-6690.
i-tesori: This sophisticated little shop in the new San Marco Plaza offers a smattering of the best of Italian decorative arts, including Murano glass in everything from contemporary vases to stunning new interpretations of Old World chandeliers. Take time to absorb it all, from marquetry tables to Venetian silk sconces. i-tesori, 8215 Nature’s Way, Suite 113, Lakewood Ranch (941) 907-9296.
Light Up Your Life:Big-city aesthetes with tastes for exquisite designer lighting flock to this 6,000-square-foot emporium of trendsetting international brands. More than 130 top names are featured, from renowned Baccarat crystal chandeliers to whimsical Aqua and Moth designs. Lighting design pros help create personalized solutions inside and outside the home. But the real fun is walking the ever changing exhibits of hot new styles and artistic designs from around the world. A recent remodel and expansion made space for task lighting for the bath, kitchen and office in environmental settings and contemporary accessories, from coffee tables to salad bowls. Light Up Your Life, 1620 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 330-0442.
The Lamplighter Shop: This local institution stays ahead of lighting fashion trends in a glamorous new warehouse-sized showroom stocked with everything from Swarovski crystal bathroom fixtures to chic Italian chandeliers. With names like Flos, Lightolier and Fine Art Lamps, the selection includes all lighting categories, plus fans, mirrors and home accents. The Lamplighter Shop, 2628 17th St., Sarasota (941) 953-4292.
Living Walls: Located at the gateway to Main Street, this two-story furniture and accessories shop offers contemporary design and a refreshing mix that places classics alongside funky conversation pieces. The colorful melange reflects owner Alison Levin Bishop’s independent decorating spirit and unique ability to create stylish, comfortable rooms. Living Walls, 1311 Main St., Sarasota (941) 957-4411.
Pineapple House: Elegantly designed, this boutique showcases upscale gifts for the home, interesting accent pieces and furniture from the far corners of the globe, from classic European to Southeast Asian. Pineapple House, 1841 Lakewood Ranch Main Street, Suite 104, Lakewood Ranch (941) 373-6558.
Robb & Stucky Interiors:This two-story furniture and home accessories superstore with a boutique feel will surprise and delight at every turn. Divided into concept shops featuring work by the likes of Barbara Barry, Alexa Hampton and more, the store also designs and commissions its own furniture that’s packed with style yet thoroughly affordable. But the real luxury here is the shopping experience: Regardless of budget, a professional decorator will provide complimentary design advice to help you navigate home decorating decisions. The product assortment runs from Old World classic to chic contemporary. Don’t miss an outstanding rug department and made-to-measure window decorating center upstairs. Robb & Stucky Interiors, 7557 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 922-2274.
Rugs as Art:You could scout department stores, antiques shops, design centers and flooring stores and still not find the magic carpet of your dreams. That’s why Rugs as Art is the ultimate go-to store for decorators, who realize that great interiors start with the right rug. This award-winning store offers consumers a selection culled from around the globe to provide the perfect choice for every decorating style and budget. The informed staff will guide you through the process, design custom rugs and even come to your home to try out your choice of rugs. Scattered throughout is a carefully edited selection of accessories. Rugs as Art, 6650 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 921-1900.
Sarasota Collection Home Store:A unique melange of European, South American and Asian furnishings distinguishes this interior furnishings concept emporium. The theme is fashion for living, and the look is refined elegance just this side of trendy. Owners Marcus and Pam Anast are former fashion designers who understand how to reinterpret classics with contemporary flair (think Casa Vogue instead of Traditional Home). The store’s smattering of luscious European sheets and towels, bespoke furniture crafted in their own factory in Peru, custom window treatments, gifts and glamorous accessories (lamps, mirrors, throws and more) are surprisingly affordable for the style and quality. Sarasota Collection Home Store, 622 Central Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-8313.
Short Stacks Antiques & Gifts: Retha Barnes’ new boutique, located in Lakewood Ranch’s San Marco Plaza, conjures images of the most upscale shops in a Parisian flea market. This engaging mix of jewelry, stunning antiques and furniture reproductions has been gathered from the Continent and beyond. American-made cabinetry by Habersham Plantation is especially enticing. Short Stacks Antiques & Gifts, 8215 Natures Way, Suite 109, Lakewood Ranch (941) 929-2959.
Square on the Circle: This St. Armands shop offers luxurious gifts, bed linens and other home essentials. It’s among a select few allowed to carry Sferra’s much-buzzed-about Giza 45 sheets, so soft because the Egyptian cotton comes from the Giza region along the Nile and is allocated from a couture shirt maker’s reserve. Square on the Circle, 25 N. Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota (941) 388-1322.
Yves Delorme:This two-story atelier houses a complete collection of Yves Delorme’s internationally acclaimed fine linens and accessories for the home. Inspired by the same uncompromising quality and meticulous attention to detail as French couture, the shop introduces fashion collections twice a year to supplement timeless classics. Yves Delorme, 28 B S. Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota (941) 388-4494.
Blue Moon Antiques: Interior designers and savvy clients stalk this atelier weekly for new shipments of furniture, lighting and mirrors from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Seasoned dealers Garth Curry and Keith Filion carry in newfound treasures weekly from their West Palm Beach outpost, creating a collection of clutter that’s as irresistible as their fine antiques. Blue Moon Antiques, 134 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 365-0978. Burke & Company:Cheryl Burke and a network of scouts comb France Italy, Africa and Asia for unique antiques for this 10-year-old shop. Burke & Company is one of only 250 antiques dealers invited to sell on the luxury Internet auction site, www.1stdibs.com. Fans love to browse the ever-changing inventory of treasures, including rare finds from Maison Jansen. Burke & Company, 527 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 952-0042.
Crissy Galleries: This hallmark gallery enjoys an international reputation for its expertise in 18th- and 20th-century furniture, porcelain, cut glass, silver and paintings. Bruce Crissy and his mother, Carol, select pieces with incredible workmanship and ageless style. The vault collection includes pedigreed Tiffany and Handel lamps, American and European art glass, bronzes and paintings. But for many, the piece de resistance is the estate jewelry collection. Here you’ll find signed pieces by Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels and Raymond Yard. "Most of the jewelry I buy has never left the purchasing family’s possession until I acquire it," Bruce Crissy notes. Crissy Galleries, 640 S. Washington Blvd., No. 150, Sarasota (941) 957-1110.
Coco Palm Gallery: Those in the know say you won’t find better buys on Asian antiques or more impeccable pedigrees than at Coco Palm Gallery. Every ceramic vessel or vase is glaze-tested before it’s accepted, and the selection of hand-painted Chinese furniture is exceptional. Don’t miss the comprehensive selection of Buddhas in all materials and sizes. Coco Palm Gallery, 1255 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-1122.
Elizabeth Rice, Inc: A world-class selection of Biedermeier period (1815-1848) armoires, chairs, chests, settees, sofas, desks and tables are the stars at Elizabeth Rice’s Main Street gallery. Aficionados of the period travel from faraway places for her picks, always superior examples of the design and wood veneers that characterize Biedermeier design. Elizabeth Rice, Inc., 1467 Main St., Sarasota (941) 954-8575.
Jack Vinales Antiques: Jack Vinales Antiques attracts serious collectors with its cache of Bakelite jewelry, rare Fiestaware and exceptional American and European art pottery. But it might be your lucky day to discover a vintage piece of Haywood Wakefield, or mid-century modern furniture from the likes of Charles Eames or George Nelson. Jack Vinales Antiques, 539 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 957-0002.
Las Antiguas: Designers shop here for 18th- and 19th-century paintings, vintage chandeliers, furniture and rare room-sized rugs, and you can, too-but only on Saturdays. The significant 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century treasures amassed by antiques-dealers-cum-restaurateurs Al and Monika Tomlinson are tucked away in a gallery appended to their hit restaurant, Rustic Grill. Las Antiguas, 1525 Fourth St., Sarasota (941) 955-6444.
Mayors Jewelers:At Mayors, the first Van Cleef & Arpels boutique on Florida’s west coast is set, gemlike, in its own 300-square-foot shop within the Westfield Southgate store. The space was designed in Paris to showcase the French icon’s exquisite treasures, which run from intricate diamond pieces to the less formal classics in the Alhambra collection. In addition to its Birks house brand, the stock list reads like a who’s who of international jewelry stars, including headliners like Cartier, Rolex and Roberto Coin. Check out the offerings from Kuwait, the jewelry celebs don on Oscar night, and don’t miss a peek at the limited-production timepieces by Gevril. Mayors Jewelers, 119 Southgate Plaza, Sarasota (941) 952-1945.
Steven Postans Antiques: The luxury here is the chance to explore 28,000 square feet of antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries before they are purchased by upscale retail antiques dealers in major U.S.cities. Postans’ requent trips abroad produce a wondrous array of exquisite English and European furniture and grandfather clocks. Steven Postans Antiques, 7881 15th St. E., Sarasota (941) 755-6063.
Armel Jewelers: The destination store for exclusive Carl F. Bucherer watches, Armel has amassed a comprehensive collection of diamond jewelry, timepieces, crystal and porcelain giftware, even Hidalgo stackable rings. A small but important selection of pedigreed estate pieces is part of the allure, and this shop offers a full range of Mikimoto pearls. Armel Jewelers, 22 N. Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota (941) 388-3711.
Coffrin Diamond Jewelers: A highlight of Southside Village, this fine jewelry boutique has an extensive collection that includes handcrafted and designer creations, plus a bench jeweler for custom work and an in-store Swiss-trained watchmaker. Owner Belinda Coffrin scored a coup by becoming the region’s exclusive dealer of Hearts On Fire diamonds. Coffrin Diamond Jewelers, 1829 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota (941) 366-6871.
Dalia Koss Unique Jewelry: Every piece of jewelry Dalia Koss creates is a unique combination of gemstones, shells or pearls-sometimes all three. You can see work in process or have something custom designed to your taste and coloring at her studio in Siesta Key Village. While she works, walk along the world’s most beautiful beach. Dalia Koss Unique Jewelry, 5125 Ocean Ave., Siesta Key (941) 349-9895.
Diamond Vault: At Diamond Vault, inventories include an astonishing range of rare colored diamonds and important white diamonds, plus exclusive LaRucci-brand jewelry. Don’t miss one-off pieces by Bridget Durnell (a favorite of Hollywood celebs) and an exclusive Italian designer collection. Diamond Vault, 72 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 364-8809; 4910 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 921-4016.
Jewelry by Giorgio:Gossamer creations of diamonds in intricate gold or platinum settings are showstoppers at this new venue for luxury jewelry right next door to Morton’s Gourmet Market. The jewelry is made in Valencia, Italy, to complement Sarasota’s lifestyle, says Giorgio Salameh, who’s owned stores in Santorini, Mykonos and St. Thomas. Jewelry by Giorgio, 1924 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota (941) 363-7700.
June Simmons Designs: Mother-and-daughter designers June Simmons and Liebe Smith augment their extraordinary custom jewelry with pieces by artisans favored by celebs and featured in upscale fashion magazines. The look here is new vintage, says Liebe, who combs the world’s top sources for designs that are unique and ahead of the trends. June Simmons Designs, 68 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 388-4535.
Lakewood Design Jewelry: This contemporary take on the traditional jewelry emporium has a carefully chosen range of European and American designs, from rugged titanium men’s jewelry by Edward Mirell to fashion-forward woman’s designs by Pianegonda of Italy. Set in San Marco Plaza, this emporium also offers custom jewelry under its Paradise label. Lakewood Design Jewelry, 8205 Natures Way, Suite 115, Lakewood Ranch (941) 907-3700.
McCarver and Moser: Those bitten by the status-watch bug will find nirvana at McCarver and Moser. A cache of heritage-rich names, including Patek Philippe, Chopard and Baume & Mercier, are headliners at this two-story granite and glass structure on St. Armands Circle. An international cadre of Patek Philippe customers has discovered the Sarasota store’s amazing access to the watchmaker’s limited editions, including the coveted 5960 platinum model ($70,000). Most of the fine jewelry here is European; you’ll also find exceptional custom jewelry design and production capabilities on site, along with crystal pieces, home accents and one of Sarasota’s most exciting estate jewelry collections. McCarver and Moser, 482 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota (941) 388-3666.
Nikki Sedacca: The owner of this eponymous shop weaves wires of gold or platinum with exotic pearls and precious stones to create a signature blend of sculpture and jewelry. Every piece is a Nikki Sedacca original, many custom designed to suit a client’s particular taste and style. Look for a new Indian-inspired collection and Sedacca’s one-off handbags. Nikki Sedacca, 49S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 957-1957.
Optional Art Fine Jewelry: This spare, elegant space carries such design-conscious jewelry as Michael Bondanza, Etienne Perret, RobertLeeMorris and Michael Sugarman, among a list of names known for limited-edition and one-of-a-kind pieces. Optional Art also does extensive custom work and is the exclusive distributor for Phillippe Charriol watches and jewels in the area. Optional Art Fine Jewelry, 16 S. Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota (941) 388-2317.
Queens’ Wreath Jewels: Just looking at beautiful jewels makes owner Tina Little smile, and you will, too, as you inspect the impeccable assortment chosen from internationally renowned names. Queens’ Wreath Jewels has the largest collection of Michael Beaudry’s designs in the world, along with jewelry couture by Mimi Bijou, John Hardy and (beginning this fall) silver and gold collections by Stephen Webster. The selection runs from grin-evoking Hello Kitty fine jewelry by Kimora Lee Simmons to custom designs created by a staff jeweler trained in Europe. Look for vintage pieces from Bulgari, Cartier, David Webb and a limited selection of giftware (from $60). Queens’ Wreath Jewels, 1310 Main Street, Sarasota (941) 365-2027.
Shrode Jewelers: Handcrafted cherry wood display cases set an elegant tone for white and fancy colored diamonds and precious colored stones at Sarasota’s quintessential neighborhood jewelry store. Second-generation owner Karl Shrode Jr. is a master jeweler, offering impeccable custom work as well as fine watches, giftware and a comprehensive selection of South Sea pearls. Shrode Jewelers, 1433 Main St., Sarasota (941) 365-4234.
Thayer Jewelers: While most of the selection here is heirloom-quality estate jewelry, you can also see luxurious new designs created by Thayer and other local artists in this by-appointment gallery. Interspersed among a vast array of aspirational pieces are many that are surprisingly affordable. Thayer Jewelers, 640 S. Washington Blvd., Suite 175, Sarasota (941) 955-8820.
Tilden Ross Jewelers: Elegant jewelry couture by names you know (Judith Ripka, Yvel) and those you need to discover (Scavia, Rodney Rayner, and Alex Sepkus) distinguishes this airy shop on chic St. Armands Circle. The semiprecious and precious gems used by these designers are rivaled only by the custom work by a noted house jeweler. Tilden Ross Jewelers, 410 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-3338.
Vanessa Fine Jewelry: This husband-and-wife team relocated to Main Street in Lakewood Ranch, where they built an immediate following for their taste in designer jewelry and Vanessa’s custom creations. The beautiful boutique has a wide choice of yellow and white diamonds and art objects by a noted wood crafter. Vanessa Fine Jewelry, 8131 Main St., Suite M104, Lakewood Ranch (941) 373-6311.
Wearable Art: In this store, all the art is wearable, from hand-painted silk dresses to hand-crafted evening bags. Owner Helen Ringus is a jewelry designer whose work has been worn by Angela Bassett, Melanie Griffith, Barbara Walters and more. You’ll find original masterpieces in colored stones, pearls and coral among her jewelry oeuvre. Wearable Art, 1454 Main St., Sarasota (941) 957-0105.
HOME IMPROVEMENT/DESIGNER SOURCES
AlliKriste: AlliKriste’s designer kitchens grace the homes dreams are made of, and their cabinetry is found only in upscale trade showrooms. The stars are their designer brands: Wm Ohs, SieMatic and Draper DBS, handcrafted by Pennsylvania Amish craftsmen. AlliKriste also sells custom cabinets, granite and marble countertops, Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances. AlliKriste, 9126 Town Center Parkway, Lakewood Ranch (941)388-9696.
DeSears: This family-run appliance and electronics superstore has a reputation for luxury products and service and has just recently instituted its own installation and service network. With four locations from Venice to Palmetto, DeSears offers an assortment of fine brands including Wolf, Miele, Dacor, SubZero and Bosch appliances, top TV makers and a full complement of home entertainment furniture. DeSears, 4650 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 924-7737.
Design O’Fresco: Custom frescoes hand-painted in Italy are this shop’s specialty. Browse through tempting examples that may be framed or applied directly to walls inside or on covered patios. Or bring in a sample of art to be created to your specifications. A wonderful collection of Art Nouveau and Deco glass treasures are worth a visit. Design O’Fresco, 32 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 330- 2411.
Ferguson Bath & Kitchen Gallery: This major player in the plumbing industry has $9.6 billion in North American sales and a decidedly upscale tone at its new state-of-the art showroom in downtown Sarasota. Call it waterworks to the max: the ultimate selection of designer kitchen and bath fixtures, and bathing accouterments from Roman showers to spa tubs. Lighting and appliances, too. Ferguson, 2451 17th St., Sarasota (941) 951-0110.
Florida Builder Appliances: The go-to place for upscale appliances in Sarasota is now more delicious than ever before. Light years away from stores that line up appliances like rows of soldiers, the new showroom boasts ample room for innovative kitchen vignette displays of cooking "instruments" found in the region’s most jaw-dropping indoor and outdoor kitchens. More than 40 premium brands the favorites of top designers, chefs and discerning consumers’ are set in accessorized kitchens replete with high-end cabinets and granite countertops. You’ll find everything from high- performance ranges and ovens by Wolf, Viking and La Cornue to Sub-Zero refrigerators and Miele dishwashers. Florida Builder Appliances, 5257 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 926-0700.
Hill’s Showcase of Designer Plumbing: This designer showroom is a functional gallery, where you can see the innovative new eucalyptus steam shower and Toto Washlet at work. In fact, Toto has designated Hills a three star showroom: Everything the design leader makes is here, from water closets to complete bath suites. Myriad high end brands are on display. Hill’s Showcase of Designer Plumbing, 249 Grove St. S., Venice (941) 485-1549.
Jason Champion Outdoor: Jason Champion designs ever-so-hip outdoor furniture, and Laurie Bell designs edgy outdoor fabrics. They’ve teamed up in a new showroom where the public can buy the same high-fashion products interior designers are snapping up for luxury homes and chi-chi hotels. Check out Jason’s new Deco collection and Laurie’s Mama Jenks prints. Jason Champion Outdoor, 334 W. Washington Blvd., Sarasota (941) 957-3200.
LUBE of Sarasota: Minimalist-chic European styling combined with eye-popping high-tech features make Cucine LUBE cabinetry an object of desire around the globe. Happily, a full showroom of cabinets, from modern to classic, has provided Sarasotans the opportunity to inspect a spectacular melange of colors and finishes found in the most coveted Italian couture furniture brands. Starting from $30,000, kitchens will be designed and customized in Italy for delivery to your home in just six weeks. A "playroom" lets you test-drive features like Ferrari door hinges, drawers by Blum of Germany and myriad must-have options. LUBE of Sarasota, 2628 17th St., Sarasota (941) 954-0200.
Ravenna Distinctive Finishes Luxury surfaces for upscale interiors are the specialty at this tiny showroom. The choices are mind-boggling: flooring made of Italian reclaimed wood with rich patinas, vintage French terra cotta, high-end decorator tiles’ even gem tiles made from malachite, turquoise, tiger iron, abalone and mother-of-pearl. Ravenna Distinctive Home Finishes, 418 Central Ave., Sarasota (941) 342-0108.
AUTOMOBILES AND YACHTS
BMW of Sarasota:This spanking-new showroom pays elegant homage to the Bavarian automotive legend, with the region’s most comprehensive selection of "Ultimate Driving Machines." That includes a seductive choice of models of BMW’s M3, considered by many the epitome of a thoroughbred sporting car. Discerning drivers are equally impressed with the new (and somewhat more sedate) BMW M3 Sedan, the first four-door M3 to cross the pond since 1998. Our sister publication, Robb Report, reports, "The M3 Sedan (like its two-door sibling) carries beneath its swollen hood a 4-liter V-8 engine with eight individual throttle bodies, variable valve timing and an 8,400 rpm redline." BMW of Sarasota, 5151 Clark Road, Sarasota (941) 923-2700.
Coast Cadillac: With its 2008 CTS introduction, General Motors’ luxury division delivered on its promise of a styling revolution that would place it wheel to wheel with the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes. The acclaimed combination of art and science is a hit in Sarasota, along with the sporty 2008 XLR convertible roadster. Coast Cadillac, 2200 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota (941) 922-1571.
Galati Yacht Sales: The headquarters for Galati Yachts is equal parts dream weaver, showroom and brokerage. Named No. 1 on Boating Industry magazine’s 100 Top Dealers list (out of 400 finalists), Galati offers top brands, both new and pre-owned, and the most coveted new showstoppers, from Viking’s convertible series to Tiara Yacht’s remarkable Sovran. Galati Yacht Sales, 900 S. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria Island (941) 778-0755.
Land Rover Southpointe: Celebrate Land Rover’s 60th anniversary with a local tour of the latest iterations of Britain’s original 4×4 and its sibling, the renowned Range Rover. Considered the most fashionable all-terrain vehicles in Europe, the first Range Rover, in 1970, was displayed by the Louvre as automotive art. See the 2008 Range Rover (from $78,450), Range Rover Sport, the LR3 and the hot new LR2 at Land Rover Southpointe, 5141 Clark Road, Sarasota (941) 308-5141.
MarineMax Sarasota: The largest recreational boating and yachting retailer in the country offers world-class brands and a one-stop shopping experience. Every service is included, from finance to insurance to free classes so you’ll enjoy your new boat to the fullest. The ultimate luxury: A MarineMax delivery captain will ensure your family knows how to operate your new boat on Day One. This is one of 85 MarineMax locations in 22 states, and therefore the local exclusive dealer for Ferretti, Mochi Craft, Pershing and George Clooney’s personal fave: Riva. Clooney’s stunning Rivarama is chased by paparazzi across the idyllic waters of Lake Como. MarineMax Sarasota, 1601 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota (941) 388-0005.
Mercedes-Benz of Sarasota: The pros here are ready to sort through the glamorous options (aka "classes") Mercedes-Benz has to offer in a luxuriously appointed Sarasota showroom. Myriad choices run from the GL 550 (deemed the maker’s best-ever luxury SUV by Robb Report) to the powerful new S63 AMG model, as spacious as it is sporty. Mercedes-Benz of , 6828 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota(941)923-3444.
Reeves Maserati of Tampa: The Trident emblem outside this stunning showroom represents the essence of Italian automotive luxury: the Masarati. Inside you’ll find the newest iterations of the hallmark carmaker’s classics, all known for sexy styling and impeccable engineering: the Pininfarina-styled Maserati GranTurismo coupe, the Maserati Quattroporte sedan and the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS. Reeves has already sold its share of the 2008 GranTurismos (only 900 were allocated to the U.S.) and is now taking orders for 2009 models sight unseen. With myriad opportunities for customization, shopping for a Maserati is as exciting as driving one. Reeves Maserati of Tampa, 11333 N. Florida Ave., Tampa (813) 933-2811.
Rivolta Yachts: Speed and luxury are the hallmarks of the Rivolta Yacht fleet, with models from 40 to 60 feet priced from the mid $500,000s. The Sarasota-based company is renowned for its Jet Coupe models and The Rivolta PT Runner, with performance and styling influenced by the Rivolta family’s legendary automotive heritage in Italy. Rivolta Yachts, 1765 Ringling Blvd, Suite 300, Sarasota (941) 954-0111.
Suncoast Porsche Audi (Suncoast Motor Sports): The options are sporty and sportier at this haven for fans of German precision engineering. Get the epitome of speed and luxury with a vast selection of Porsche 911 models (including the brilliant new GT3 RS); or test drive the Audi RS 4 Cabriolet (said to be even quicker than Audi’s Vantage Roadster). Suncoast Porsche Audi, 5005 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (877) 923-1700.
Tampa Bay Eurocars: The celebrities of the British automotive industry-the Bentley favored by James Bond and Queen Elizabeth, and the equally majestic Rolls-Royce-are lavishly displayed in this extraordinary showroom. Stocking the 2008 Bentley’s Azure convertibles and Arnage sedans and the lavish Rolls-Royce Phantom, this local dealership offers a driving experience fit for royalty.