Platinum 100 Luxury Stores

By: Carol Tisch

The tenets of luxury shopping are universal—unerring quality, uncompromising service, and impeccable style. That’s what consumers expect in Paris and New York, and that’s precisely what every store on our all-new Platinum100 luxury list delivers. In the quest for Sarasota’s brightest beacons of luxury, we considered everything from product craftsmanship to store ambiance, access to […]


p100.bmpThe tenets of luxury shopping are universal—unerring quality, uncompromising service, and impeccable style. That’s what consumers expect in Paris and New York, and that’s precisely what every store on our all-new Platinum100 luxury list delivers. In the quest for Sarasota’s brightest beacons of luxury, we considered everything from product craftsmanship to store ambiance, access to coveted luxury brands and the expertise and demeanor of the sales staff. We found fabulous new boutiques from Main Street to Lakewood Ranch and St. Armands Circle. And we scoured the tried-and-true bastions of luxury, uncovering new brands, new categories of merchandise, even new locations that better serve Sarasota’s sophisticated shoppers.

Most of all, our second annual Platinum 100 list is about memorable shopping experiences that surprise and delight at every turn, whether you’re test-driving a Lamborghini at our newest
auto dealership or being outfitted in couture clothing that’s entirely fair trade and green. We discovered a bit of luxury for every taste and budget, from locally crafted designer jewelry to a Euro-style cosmetics apothecary and an opulent athletic shoe store. We think you’ll agree this is our best guide yet to Sarasota’s upper echelon of retailing, and we hope you’ll save it and enjoy it all year long. Browse the stores by category, and enjoy.
Fashion

Designing Women Boutique Guerrilla shoppers scour the racks for couture labels at this elegant designer resale shop, where an upscale clientele donates or consigns coveted brands like Chanel, Escada and St. John. The pickings are especially good, attracting fans from as far as Palm Beach who compete for bargains from 50 to 75 percent off original prices. Proceeds go to local charities. Designing Women Boutique, 1226 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 366-5293.

Dream Weaver Joan McKeon stocks her art-to-wear gallery with exclusive fashions gleaned from 75 of the country’s top fiber artists and designers. The look is refined opulence rather than crafty, and names run the gamut from Kiss of the Wolf to Maria Pinto. From one-off necklaces by artist Susan Green to exotic skin handbags with sculpted clasps by Raphael Sanchez, the selection is ever-evolving. Dream Weaver Collection, 364 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-1974.

Foxy Lady Lorry Eible carries an eclectic mix of designers (Nicole Miller, Joseph Ribhoff, and XCVI), and everything from glamorous evening dresses to flirty sandals, sunglasses and the sexiest jeans on the planet. A loyal following flocks to Eible’s two locations for complete wardrobing along with breezy clothes perfect for endless Sarasota summers. Foxy Lady, 481 John Ringling Blvd. Sarasota (941) 388-5239; 209 Beach Road, Siesta Key (941) 349-6644.

Jane Boutique Run by fashion stylist Lissa Murphy, this sliver of a store in the chic Whole Foods Market Centre offers designers favored by celebs from Anna Bush (Farron Elizabeth Designs) to Paris Hilton (Nikki Jaggs). Uniquely qualified to fit and flatter Sarasota’s fashionistas, Murphy has dressed Hollywood actors for film and TV. Jane Boutique, 1409 First St., Sarasota (941) 951-5263.

L’Atelier F The next best thing to shopping trendy boutiques on the Cote d’Azur, this exciting atelier combines proprietor France Engels’ own designs with brands that cause French fashionistas to swoon. Look for slinky stretch leather couture from Jean-Claude Jitrois, Fred Sun evening dresses artfully darted to highlight every curve and Amour de Pin-Up’s hottest chi-chi styles. L’Atelier F, 538 Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 539-6096.

L. Boutique From the diaphanous to the deconstructed, evening wear glamour is nonstop at this stunning emporium, with superstar dresses from Vera Wang to Mark Bouwer. But the casual daywear is also irresistible: Fans stop by weekly for must-haves like Testament’s gypsy dresses and Susan Monaco’s cool cottons. The shoes (Christian Lacroix and Beverly Feldman) and the Magaschoni cashmere sweaters alone are worth a visit. L.Boutique, 610 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 906-1350.

L. Kids Owner LeeAnn Swor expands her hip fashion aesthetic to the max with a kids’ version of her grown-up women’s fashion store. Little girls will find the same designers their moms love at the flagship store: Splendid, Ella Moss, Ed Hardy, Hard Tail and more. And the boys’ L.A. street scene clothes are as cool and hip as Hollywood and Vine. L.Kids, 556 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 951-5560.

La Mariée 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 Mariée 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 Mariée, 56 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-1600.

Lotus Luxury is not a function of price at Lotus, the Main Street haunt of fashionistas who share proprietor Wendy Getchell’s taste and philosophy. “Luxury is finding things that make you happy,” says Getchell. With luscious sleepwear (Eberjey), Euro-chic bathing suits and lingerie (Huit and Cosa Bella), and an array of fragrances, skin potions, accessories and jewelry, the focus is on happy customers. Lotus, 1451 Main St. Sarasota (941) 906-7080.

Paris.couture Straight from Paris’ 9th arrondissement, Sophie Cantin specializes in clean, simple, livable apparel from Les Petites and Dimension—French clothing brands that transition beautifully from day to evening. Sarasotans who have embraced her aesthetic look as chic as any Parisian fashionista. Paris.couture. 606 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 914-6020.

Reason’s Shoes A venerable name in Sarasota’s retail history, Reason’s is a magnet for shoe lovers and a temple of quality handbag design. Choose from a bevy of covetable names: Prada, Donald Pliner and Kate Spade for women, and upscale Bruno Magli and edgy Bacco Bucci for men. Reason’s Shoes, 57 S. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-1602.

Saks Fifth Avenue Saks in Sarasota is the perfect blend of small-town hospitality and big-city style. Customers have access to the top international designers’ latest offerings, a trove of high-end cosmetics and beauty products, and a jewelry department that rivals Saks’ counterparts in major cosmopolitan cities. The elegant Fifth Avenue Club here is among the most active in the chain, and personal shopping experts assist with total wardrobing, from bras to shoes. Saks Fifth Avenue, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 364-5300.

Sarasota Brides & The Karis Collection Fanciful, romantic bridal gowns (350 are on display) from top designers are the hallmark of this Sarasota legend, recently re-imagined by new owner Karis Lynch. The luxurious store is brimming with big event dresses for all occasions, from proms to debutante balls, charity galas and more. Ask about the evening wear registry, a good idea during the busy social season. Sarasota Brides & The Karis Collection, 4051 Clark Road,
Sarasota (941) 927-4969.

Sea Cup and Up The vintage décor in this repository of luxury lingerie is rivaled only by the fashion-forward European and American designs. The concept of this unique shop is to offer hard-to find bra sizes (C-cup and up) in pretty styles and fabrics. Imported lines like Simone Perele (Paris) and Edoras by Prima Donna (Belgium) are state of the art. Sea Cup and Up, 1810 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota (941) 951-2727.

Shore This hip emporium does for surf fashion what Brooks Brothers did for the preppy look. Catch the perfect wave with smart assortments from Billabong, Roxy and Juicy Couture. Experience the Palm Springs meets South Beach look and lifestyle that Tom Leonard has created at this must-see new surf shop for men, women and teens with an air of luxury on St. Armands Circle. Shore, 465 John Ringling Blvd., St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-3535.

Soto’s Optical Boutique Ron and Kim Soto offer an eyewear experience of unrivaled luxury, with couture frames that complement the trends on runways of New York, L.A., Paris and Milan. The looks at Soto’s Optical run from Loree Rodkin’s medieval modern frames to styles by David Eden set with precious jewels. Soto’s Optical Boutique, 1383 Main St., Sarasota (941) 953-3788.

Stitch Boutique Fashion insider Vinny Sizemore fills this tiny shop with skin-tight Kinetix T-shirts, Ed Hardy tattoo everything, slim European-style shirts from Bogosse, and an exclusive cache of best-selling William Rast jeans. The store is geared to young men and women with an aggressive fashion edge. “But anyone can wear these clothes,” says Sizemore. “A young attitude is all you need.” Stitch Boutique, 1636 Main St., Sarasota (941) 366-7268.

Sunglass Express Optical This destination sunglass store offers full optical services and frames from hundreds of couturiers of world renown. If you covet 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 private label creations in ostrich and color-blocked alligator, plus the best of Italy’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.

KELIETZA Kelly Augustyniak creates a beyond-borders lifestyle in her upscale Pineapple Avenue boutique, a serene haven focused on the harmony of comfort and style. Sarasotans have embraced Kelly’s global aesthetic; her exclusive fashions from Europe, New Zealand, Japan, Iceland and the United States keep them coming back for more. The look is directional and classic; the service spot on. Kelietza, 602 S. Pineapple Ave. Sarasota (941) 312-5403.

The Met This upscale and beloved mini department store is housed in an English Bermudian-style mansion on St. Armands Circle. A carefully edited selection of 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 does total wardrobing, from clothes to shoes and fine jewelry. With its world-class second-floor spa and salon, this luxury shopping experience rivals the finest in London, Paris or New York. The Met Fashion House Day Spa & Salon, 35 S. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-1772.

Addison Craig A seductively on-point selection of European and American designer shoes attracts a cult following to this exuberantly cluttered boutique, shelves brimming with looks from cool refinement (Tory Burch) to chic flamboyance (Jean-Michel Cazabat). There’s an “it” bag to match every shoe personality since Addison Craig commandeered the space next door, doubling its size; a constant influx of new designs adds to the addictive allure. Addison Craig, 28 S. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-3400.

Brooks Brothers For America’s take on discreet British classicism and impeccable service, Sarasota heads over to Brooks Brothers on Pineapple Square. The country’s oldest clothing retailer dates back to the early 19th century, but this new golf and leisure concept store is perfectly in sync with the new resort lifestyle. Look for hip colors spiking up clubby cotton and cashmere sweaters, classic blazers, suiting separates and more. Brooks Brothers, 1500 Main St., Sarasota (941) 954-7545.
Antiques

Crissy Galleries Every decorative art and craft is represented at this gallery, which enjoys an international reputation for expertise in 18th- and 20th-century furniture, porcelain, cut glass, silver and more. A discreet “vault collection” salon displays pedigreed Tiffany and Handel lamps and estate jewelry signed by the likes of Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels and Raymond Yard. Crissy Galleries, 640 S. Washington Blvd., No. 150, Sarasota (941) 957-1110.

Blue Moon Antiques Seasoned dealers Garth Curry and Keith Filion unveil newfound treasures weekly from their West Palm Beach outpost, creating a collection of clutter that’s as irresistible as their fine antiques. Interior designers and savvy clients pounce on every new shipment of furniture, lighting and mirrors from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Blue Moon Antiques, 134 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 365-0978.

Burke & Company In an age that celebrates minimalist chic, Cheryl Burke has developed a global following for pedigreed antiques gleaned from France, Italy, Africa and Asia. Burke & Company is one of only 250 antiques dealers invited to sell on the luxury Internet auction site, www.1stdibs.com. Locals 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.

Elizabeth Rice, Inc The juxtaposition of contemporary fine art and world-class Biedermeier antiques (1815-1848) makes a brilliantly eclectic statement at Elizabeth Rice’s Main Street gallery. Aficionados of the Biedermeier period travel from faraway places for her wonderfully preserved furniture, always superior examples of the design and wood veneers that characterize the classic style. Elizabeth Rice, Inc., 1467 Main St., Sarasota (941) 954-8575.

Jack Vinales Antiques A Sarasota hallmark, Jack Vinales Antiques attracts serious collectors with hard-to-find Bakelite jewelry, rare Fiestaware and exceptional American and European art pottery. Serendipity rules, and the persistent visitor is rewarded with discoveries from vintage Haywood Wakefield furniture to mid-century modern chairs by stars like Charles Eames, George Nelson and more. Jack Vinales Antiques, 539 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 957-0002.

Steven Postans Antiques Chockablock full of 18th- and 19th-century antiques with little room to maneuver, this wondrous 28,000-square-foot emporium is the secret source of upscale retail antiques dealers in major U.S. cities. Postans’ frequent trips abroad produce a constant flow of exquisite English and European furniture and grandfather clocks. Steven Postans Antiques, 7881 15th St. E., Sarasota (941) 755-6063.

Coco Palm Gallery Those in the know travel great distances for the wonderful buys and impeccable pedigrees on Asian antiques at Coco Palm Gallery. The selection of hand-painted Chinese furniture, including a hand-painted wedding bed, is exceptional. Don’t miss the comprehensive line-up of Buddhas in all materials and sizes. Coco Palm Gallery, 1255 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-1122.
Gift/Lifestyle

Exit-Art Exit-Art has a brilliant mix, from Alessi’s whimsical kitchen gear to skinny jeans from True Religion. Look for big-name bijoux and clothes and a location in the Longboat Key Club also known for Herman Miller furniture. Exit-Art, 26 N. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands Circle (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.

FantaSea Home Clearly, Elizabeth Rice has a thing for aquatic life: Everything celebrates the sea at this new outpost of her mini-empire (check out FantaSea and Terra Nova, also on St. Armands Circle). Shelves are dripping with elegant gifts and decorative objects embellished with every species of coral and shells. Brides gush over tiaras and attendants’ gifts for romantic beach weddings. FantaSea Home, 378 St. Armands Circle, (941) 388-3031.

Fit2Run If you can make only one stop while in town, make it this state-of-the-art running and fitness store. The staff’s passion for exercise is contagious; the ambiance fun for novice and pro. Ask for a videotaped analysis of your gait and test any of hundreds of sport shoes on an official indoor track. It’s a luxury experience whether you’re shopping for active clothes, shoes, or fitness equipment. Fit2Run, 8123 Cooper Creek Blvd. Bradenton (941) 358-5100.

i-tesori This sophisticated little shop in the new San Marco Plaza offers a smattering of the best of Italian arts and crafts, including Murano glass in everything from contemporary vases to stunning new hand-crafted necklaces, earrings and more. The look is tasteful and eclectic: a mix of Old World crystal chandeliers in hip new colors and hand-painted Venetian silk lamps. i-tesori, 8215 Nature’s Way, Suite 113, Lakewood Ranch (941) 907-9296.

Le Tennique and The Colony Sports Shop The Colony’s reputation as a world-class tennis destination doesn’t stop at the courts: Its Le Tennique shop has everything for the tennis lifestyle from rackets and shoes to top designer fashions. For upscale swimwear and sports fashions, don’t miss the Colony Beach Shop for brands like Calvin Klein and Gottex. Tennique and The Colony Sports Shop, 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key (941) 383-6464.

M.L. Gosling Glass is one of Marilyn Taksen’s favorite media—and it shows in the upscale serving pieces and stemware she carries, with names like annieglass and Edgar Berebi. This beautiful gallery also specializes in unique treasures in wood, ceramic and art glass. Great pains are taken to scan the market for what Taksen calls crafting uniquities: pieces she says you won’t find anywhere else. M.L. Gosling, 43.S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 366-2500.

Marianne E As much artist as proprietor, Marianne Eriksson has created a whimsical atelier that overflows with displays of creative talent—most of it hers. A decorator who understands the importance of unique accessories, Eriksson adorns everything from antiques to quotidian objects with shells: furniture, mirrors, mantels and more. She does the same with pine cones for a rustic look, and her silk flower arrangements are favored by local interior designers. 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.

Paper Tree Barbara Portanova and Amie Swan opened The Paper Tree to share their passion for beautiful stationery, delightful gifts and paper goods. A fanciful tree is the focal point of the store, which offers a sophisticated mélange of everything from custom wedding invitations, to faux fur baby gifts and fashion-right Lilly Pulitzer note cards. The Paper Tree, San Marco Plaza, 8209 Natures Way, Suite 121, Lakewood Ranch (941) 306-5830.

The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota Take home a memento of Sarasota at its elegant best from a choice of three distinctive Ritz-Carlton shops. The spa offers indulgent spa products (brands include Carita of Paris and Thalgo, as well as the hotel’s own skincare lines). The Signature Shop for exclusive apparel and gifts and the Members Golf shop have been recognized for world-class equipment and attire. The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Sarasota (941) 309-2000.

Simply Spoiled This destination cosmetics boutique is on top of trends before you see them in beauty magazines. Try Rare Elements natural hair treatments or the hot new Julie Hewett Los Angeles cosmetics (make-up artist Hewitt has worked magic on beauties from Nicole Kidman to Hilary Swank). The selection of important new skin, hair and make-up lines is dazzling; the knowledge of celebrity-endorsed and buzzed-about products is unsurpassed. Simply Spoiled, 100 Central Ave, Sarasota (941) 364-3337.

Terra Nova The look and tone are decidedly organic at this soothing and beautiful boutique where clothing, jewelry, hats—even gifts for the home—are fashioned from earthy, natural materials. The design theme is upscale, natural and elegant, with artistic, crafty uses of driftwood, natural stones, woven grasses, exotic shells and more. Terra Nova, 351 St. Armands Circle, ( 941) 388-0410.

William Hartman Gallery For exquisite, affordable art that offers a direct connection to Sarasota’s history, check out Bill Hartman’s exclusive archival photo reproductions. Designers from this coast and beyond make pilgrimages to this gallery for his wonderful antique maps and botanical and marine-life prints, and of course, the owner’s artisan-quality framing. William Hartman Gallery, 48 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-4785.

Wish On Main Make your wishes known, and this sophisticated boutique in the heart of Lakewood Ranch will fulfill them. It’s a destination store for many classic brands (from Pandora jewelry to Caspari agendas and gift wrap), where serendipity abounds with candles, jewelry, table fashions, even soaps that make wonderful gifts for all occasions. Wish On Main, 8111 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch (941) 907- 9125.

Write-On Sarasota Browsers find this beguiling shop addictively irresistible: The longer they stay, the more they discover. Owner Eileen Hayes perpetuates the bygone luxuries of monogrammed stationery and gliding Mont Blanc fountain pens. A traditionalist with a modernist bent, she peppers the store with hip new Mom Agendas, quirky table gear and Jane Marvel’s divine vegan totes. Write On Sarasota, 1423 First St., Sarasota (941) 953-2800.

Juno & Jove As much curator as proprietor, Olivia Bono has created a temple to luxury green design and upscale fair trade products unlike any other in the world. Distinctive Arts & Crafts-styled interiors set the tone for a cache of exquisite fashion for men, women and the home: Turkish Bergama cotton towels by Forza (often found in exclusive hotels), bed linens by Christian Fischbacher and clothes by Linda Loudermilk are crafted of sustainable fibers. Look for a smattering of swimsuits, intimate apparel, leather goods and more. Juno & Jove, 100 Central Ave., Unit 1026, Sarasota (941) 927-0000.

IOPTICS Slip down any lane in historic Burns Court—they all lead to a quixotic cottage that belies the trendy eyewear, sunglasses, gifts and housewares inside. An important collection of Allessi’s clever gadgets adorns this artsy shop, which is known for custom eyewear like these Loree Rodkin sunglasses (an IOPTICS exclusive) and frames from Chrome Hearts to Oliver Peoples. Recharge with a shopping break in the charming Old Florida inner courtyard. IOPTICS, 446 Burns Court, Sarasota (941) 955-5133.

Main Street Traders A true lifestyle emporium, Main Street Traders snares client’s hearts with every look from romantic beach to French country. 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 Pine Cone Hill’s pajamas and bed linens. Main Street Traders, 1468 Main St., Sarasota (941) 373-0475.

Ashley Avery’s Collectables The art of gifting reaches new heights in this picture-perfect gallery of adornments for the body and the home. A carefully edited selection includes artisan-crafted and sinfully affordable jewelry, fine porcelain from legends like Herend and Limoges and fashion tabletops from Vietri. You’ll also find names like Pandora (jewelry) and exquisite crystal (Moser and Daum). Ashley Avery’s Collectables, 1425 First St, Sarasota (941) 955-9593, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 366-3444.
Jewels

Armel Jewelers Bitten by the status-watch bug? You’ll find an exclusive cache of coveted Carl F. Bucherer timepieces at this St. Armands Circle icon and its new satellite anchoring the South Bay Shopping Center in Osprey. The name-dropping continues with a host of designer brands from Mikimoto pearls to Garavelli of Italy’s big event pieces, and Kristina’s fashion-forward work with semi-precious stones. Armel Jewelers, 22 N. Boulevard of Presidents, Sarasota (941) 388-3711, and 1276 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey (941) 966-5878.

Coffrin Jewelers Unexpected treasures abound in this low-key Southside Village jewelry store with haute couture style. Look for meticulously crafted designer-quality pieces, including hand-strung necklaces in unusual brown diamonds. White-glove services run from custom design to repairs by a Swiss-trained watchmaker. Coffrin Jewelers, 1829 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota (941) 366-6871.

Dalia Koss Unique Jewelry Jewelry designer Dalia Koss relocated this year to a new studio on St. Armands Circle, where she works with unique stones that complement current clothing trends. Think purple jade, unpolished rubies and red ocean jasper (just discovered in 2002 in Madagascar). Every piece is unique and affordable—even custom can be had in the $200 to $400 range. Dalia Koss Unique Jewelry, 19 Fillmore Drive, St. Armands Circle, (941) 388-9828.

Diamond Vault As the name implies, the specialty here is diamonds—an astonishing assortment of white and colored stones waiting to be custom-fabricated on site by two master jewelers. Run by the Chokr family, Diamond Vault is known for settings that will make the diamond of your dreams look larger and whiter, and will even enhance its sparkle. Don’t miss the store’s own LaRucci-brand jewelry. Diamond Vault, 4910 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 921-4016.

Jewelry by Giorgio European hand-crafted artistry takes center stage at this luxurious jewelry salon, right next door to Morton’s Gourmet Market. Tantalizing indeed are show-stopping creations as delicate as gossamer wings with diamonds mounted in intricate gold or platinum settings. Jeweler Giorgio Slameh says everything is made expressly for the store in Valencia, Italy. Jewelry by Giorgio, 1924 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota (941) 363-7700.

June Simmons Designs Homegrown talents, designers June Simmons and daughter Liebe Smith Gamble augment their extraordinary custom jewelry with pieces by fashion-forward artisans coveted by Hollywood trend-setters. The duo discovered jewelry by Karen Erickson and Vicki Beamon before their new vintage jewelry became status symbols among superstar celebs. June Simmons Designs, 68 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 388-4535.

Lakewood Design Jewelry For contemporary European and American design, don’t miss this hidden gem in San Marco Plaza. A carefully chosen range of chic-but-rugged men’s jewelry shows understated restraint, while fashion-forward women’s designs by Pianegonda of Italy are jaw-droppers. This unique emporium also offers custom jewelry under its Paradise label. Lakewood Design Jewelry, 8205 Natures Way, Suite 115, Lakewood Ranch (941) 907-3700.

Le Perlelle Sarasota’s newest statement jewelry headquarters, La Perlelle is the Gulf Coast’s best source for big, bold, ethnically blended pieces by San Francisco designer Masha Archer. Worn by such celebs as Raul Julia, Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Jessica Parker, the jewelry combines natural stones with vintage coins and crystal trading beads. Every element used is detailed in a hand-written history. La Perlelle, 17 Fillmore Drive, St. Armands Circle (941) 388-2458.

Mayors Jewelers A destination store for legendary Van Cleef & Arpels jewels, Mayors is Westfield Southgate’s headline attraction. In addition to Paris-based Van Cleef, the stock list reads like a who’s who of international jewelry stars: Cartier, Rolex, Kuwait, Roberto Coin and more. An incredible assortment of fine watches is matched only by the staff’s expertise, and private label Birks jewelry offers surprisingly affordable exclusive designs. Mayors Jewelers, 119 Southgate Plaza, Sarasota (941) 952-1945.

McCarver and Moser An international cadre of Patek Philippe customers has discovered the Sarasota store’s amazing access to the watchmaker’s limited editions. Collectors also swoon over timepieces from heritage-rich Chopard and Baume & Mercier. But the quiet headliners at this two-story granite and glass sanctuary on St. Armands Circle are impeccably crafted jewels hand-picked by Ron Moser from a secret cache of European designers. McCarver and Moser, 482 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota (941) 388-3666.

Nikki Sedacca A force in contemporary jewelry design, Nikki Sedacca weaves wires of gold or platinum with exotic pearls and precious stones to create a signature blend of sculpture and adornment. Every piece is a Nikki Sedacca original, and many are custom-designed to suit a client’s particular taste and style. The owner of this eponymous store has just created a not-to-be-missed Oceana Collection. Nikki Sedacca, 49S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 957-1957.

Shrode Jewelers Sarasota’s quintessential neighborhood jewelry store is brimming with elegant pieces in white and fancy colored diamond pieces or with stunning precious and semi-precious soled stones. Second-generation owner Karl Shrode Jr. is a master jeweler, offering impeccable custom work as well as fine watches, giftware and a brilliant choice of South Sea pearls. Shrode Jewelers, 1433 Main St., Sarasota (941) 365-4234.

Thayer Jewelers Appointments are required for an audience at this elegant gallery, but once inside you’ll find a warm staff with extensive knowledge of heirloom-quality estate jewelry. New designs created by Thayer and other local artists round out the selection. Despite the hushed atmosphere, you’ll revel in trying aspirational pieces as well as remarkably affordable finds. Thayer Jewelers, 640 S. Washington Blvd., Suite 175, Sarasota (941) 955-8820.

Tilden Ross Jewelers Gail and Richard Ross artfully balance refinement with flights of fantasy in couture jewelry chosen for craftsmanship, imagination or just plain beauty. In a setting that’s all creamy marble and sparkling glass, you’ll find coveted names from Judith Ripka to Todd Reed and Rodney Rayner. The precious gems used in these unique designs are rivaled only by the custom work by a noted house jeweler. Tilden Ross Jewelers, 410 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-3338.

Queens’ Wreath Jewels Part gem box, part Art Nouveau palace, the serene and understated ambiance at Tina Little’s new jewelry boutique suggests a rite of passage for Sarasota’s style leaders. Recently relocated from St. Armands Circle to Main Street, the store offers a mix of celebrated upscale designers from Mimi Bijoux to Steven Webster. Little’s custom portfolio is breathtaking, as is a playful new selection of fashion jewelry. Queens’ Wreath Jewels, 1310 Main St., Sarasota (941) 365-2027.

Patrice Designer Patrice Viles’ lifelong passion for biology is evident in her renowned hand-crafted jewelry collection, every design a limited edition. Her favorite pieces feature insects and sea life composed of vintage European glass from the ’30s and ’40s and semi-precious gemstones and brass stampings created from molds dating back to the late 1800s. You’ll find Patrice jewelry on six continents, but only Sarasota boasts her studio and outlet store. Patrice, 1747 Independence Blvd., Sarasota (941) 359-2577.

Galleries Galore

In addition to upscale retailers for furnishings, fashions, jewelry and more, Sarasota is home to a variety of art galleries bursting with paintings, prints, sculptures and other works by both local and national artists. Of course there are several noncommercial galleries filled with art to view based here as well, including Art Center Sarasota, Selby Gallery on the Ringling College of Art and Design campus, and the Ringling Museum of Art. And the artists’ colony of Towles Court, just west of U.S. 301 between Adams and Morrill streets, is worth a visit, especially during monthly gallery walks.

Many galleries are located downtown or on St. Armands Circle; here are some of the most notable.

Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art. This Rosemary District gallery presents frequent exhibitions and an array of original paintings, sculptures and mixed media assemblages. 1419B Fifth St., Sarasota. (941) 366-2093.

BAS Studio/Gallery. Original oil paintings on canvas by artist Beverly A. Smith are on exhibit in this Burns Square gallery. 537 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota. (941) 955-4390.

Dabbert Gallery. Located on historic Palm Avenue, Dabbert presents an eclectic collection of oils, acrylics, watercolors, drawings, bronzes and more. 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. (941) 955-1315.

Galleria Amadoure. Original artwork, sculpture and furniture are on view at the gallery. 401 Burns Court, Sarasota. (941) 906-8666.

Galleria Silecchia. Galleria Silecchia actually has two galleries filled with art, including original oils, mixed media, glass, ceramics and more by international artists. 12 and 20 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. (941) 365-7414.

Gallery 53. At this Palm Avenue gallery, you’ll find fine art by a wide variety of artists, plus Disney art, sculptures and mixed media works. Opening in August 2009 here: Ecoteriors, Sarasota’s first eco-friendly gallery, offering LEED-certified fine art prints. 53 S. Palm Avenue, Sarasota. (941) 365-4442.

Hodgell Gallery. This Palm Avenue gallery is a home for contemporary art glass by a wide number of artists. 46 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. (941) 366-1146.

Imperial Fine Art. A fine art dealer offering both prints and original works by artists, including such names as Dali, Chagall and others. 1453 Main St., Sarasota. (941) 954-8901.

M Gallery of Fine Art. Original oils, watercolors and other works of art are available here, along with conservation framing. 16 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. (941) 954-8774.

R&R Bond Gallery. Specializing in paintings and sculpture from the 15th to the 20th centuries, R&R Bond is especially known for its monumental sculptures by Dali and Rodin. 18 S. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands. (941) 388-2221.

Stakenborg & Villet Fine Art. An arts resource for lovers of paintings, drawings and prints, some by names such as Durer and Picasso. 1545 Main St., Sarasota. (941) 487-8001.

State of the Arts Gallery. A contemporary fine art gallery presenting works from local and national artists, including owner David Steiner, in regular exhibitions. 1525 State St., Sarasota. (941) 955-2787.

Wyland Galleries of Sarasota. Highlighted here: marine and wildlife art by Wyland and other environmental artists, along with Oggetti glass. 314 John Ringling Blvd., St. Armands. (941) 388-5331.
Home

Art to Walk On It’s not just what she knows, it’s whom she knows: Eileen Hampshire is a renowned rug expert and lecturer with contacts in weaving centers in the far corners of the globe. Her gallery showcases Oriental carpets of distinctive provenance—beautiful antique Tibetan, Turkish and Ushak specimens. By popular demand she’s now offering authentic Voysey reproductions and custom rugs in contemporary colors and designs. Art to Walk On, 64 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 951-5454.

Bacon & Wing The stunning chairs, barstools, custom-designed fabrics and trim the country’s most upscale stores and decorators have purchased from high-end Bacon & Wing for decades are now available to the public through the company’s only retail store. Bob Bacon offers full interior design services and wonderful antiques from his personal collections. Bacon & Wing, 1665 10th St., Sarasota (941) 366-0635.

Current This upscale interior design concern is loaded with mirrors, furniture, decorative objects, rugs—everything you need to furnish a home reflective of owner Sally Trout’s impeccable style. Look for custom hand-painted fabrics and customizable Raku table accessories, an eclectic mix of contemporary and traditional furnishings plus a smattering of antiques in this ASID designer’s store. Current, 83 Cocoanut Ave., Sarasota (941) 365-5323.

Design 75 Bob Tucker does a full design service and the caliber of his stock reflects it: Authentic Art Deco antique sconces, posters and furniture are interspersed with equally stunning decorative objects from classic to modern in this must-see new store. The look is understated elegance, and the former California designer brilliantly mixes Sarasota favorites like McGuire rattan with touches of Hollywood glam. Design 75, 75 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, (941) 366-8099.

Drexel Heritage The staff designers at Drexel Heritage have a lot to work with: beautifully crafted 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 This breathtakingly glamorous boutique’s ever-changing oeuvre represents the best the world has to offer: a palace chest of water buffalo horn and mother-of-pearl from India, triple-milled MOR soap from Australia, deco-inspired accent furniture from R & Y Augousti of Paris. Every item is artist-quality and unique, including elegant hostess gifts, table fashions, and contemporary necklaces incorporating vintage brooches and semiprecious stones. Envie Home Decor, 1411 First St., Sarasota (941) 366-7027.

Living Walls This loft-like furniture and accessories shop offers contemporary design and a refreshing mix that places mid-century modern classics alongside edgy Euro-style accent furniture and quirky conversation pieces. The colorful mélange reflects owner Alison Levin Bishop’s independent decorating spirit: Her fans say the uniquely personalized rooms she creates are clean-lined, comfortable and memorable. Living Walls, 1311 Main St., Sarasota (941) 957-4411.

Rugs As Art This award-winning rug superstore displays luxurious options for every decorating style and budget. From contemporary Nepalese designs to romantic needlepoint rugs and casual woven grasses, the vast assortment is narrowed with the help of an informed staff that guides you through the process, and even comes 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.

The Sarasota Collection Home Store Pam and Marcus Anast champion a look of refined contemporary elegance at their unique home furnishings store. The theme is fashion for living, derived from the pair’s shared passion for reinterpreting classics with an edgy new flair. Glamorous gifts, custom furniture and window treatments are surprisingly affordable, adding to the appeal. The designers just announced exclusive rights to carry Calvin Klein Home (furniture, linens and more). Sarasota Collection Home Store, 622 Central Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-8313.

Sarasota Design Center A new but notable outpost of modernism, Sarasota Design Center is the brainchild of AIA architect Dwight M. Herdrich. His idea: Showcase furniture, cabinetry, lighting, audio/video, art, music and design in a combination design studio and showroom. With trade-only names like Janus et Cie (high-end outdoor furniture) and Difiasa (contemporary armoires and closets), Herdrich brings design center brands to Sarasota consumers. Sarasota Design Center, 1413 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota (941) 706-1616.

Short Stacks Antiques & Gifts Brimming with fabulous gifts you (and your friends) will want to own, Retha Barnes’ new boutique conjures images of the most upscale shops in a Parisian flea market. Located in Lakewood Ranch’s San Marco Plaza, the shop’s beguiling mix of jewelry, stunning antiques and furniture reproductions has been gathered from the Continent and beyond. Cabinetry by Habersham Plantation is unique and appealing. Short Stacks Antiques & Gifts, 8215 Natures Way, Suite 109, Lakewood Ranch (941) 929-2959.

Home Resource Owners Michael and Kathy Bush share a passionate and comprehensive knowledge of contemporary furniture and home accessories, with the best on offer from the design capitals of the world. The growing stable of prestigious names is impressive: Think Knoll, Herman Miller, Missoni Home and more. Whether it’s a sleek Milanese sectional sofa, an accent piece from Holland’s Moooi, or couture tables from Latin America’s Adriana Hoyos, the aesthetic is impeccably on point. Home Resource, 741 Central Ave., Sarasota (941) 366-6690.

Square On The Circle This St. Armands shop offers luxurious gifts, bed linens and fashionable home accessories. It’s among a select few allowed to carry Matouk’s bespoke bed fashions and the company’s elegant Lulu DK crib sheets. Look for Sferra’s coveted Giza 45 sheets, so soft because the Egyptian cotton comes from the Giza region along the Nile. Square on the Circle, 25 N. Boulevard of Presidents, Sarasota (941) 388-1322.

Robb & Stucky Interiors This two-story furniture and home accessories emporium surprises and delights at every turn. You’ll find all the fine furniture names you know, plus the store’s own designs, all packed with style yet thoroughly affordable. Regardless of budget, a professional decorator will provide complimentary design advicea. The product assortment runs from classic to contemporary. Look for outstanding rugs and made-to-measure window decorating centers upstairs. Robb & Stucky Interiors, 7557 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 922-2274.

Light Up Your Life Big-city aesthetes with tastes for exquisite designer lighting flock to this emporium for 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, but the real fun is walking the ever-changing exhibits of hot new styles and artistic designs from around the world. Light Up Your Life, 1620 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 330-0442.
Home Improvement/Designer Sources

The Tile Market Glam up your walls and floors with a magical assortment of high-end decorator tiles at the coolly contemporary Tile Market, recently relocated from Osprey Avenue to Main Street. A walk-through is akin to a tour through the history of the medium, from antique looks in Delft ceramics to textured glass mosaics in myriad shimmering colors. The Tile Market, 1724 Main St., Sarasota (941) 365-2356.

Hill’s Showcase Of Designer Plumbing Myriad high-end brands are on display at this showroom equipped with functioning bath fixtures you’ve seen in top shelter magazines. Master plumber Seth Hill and a staff focused on service are highly qualified to install products from international style leaders like Toto, which designated Hill’s one of its highest-level dealers. Hill’s Showcase of Designer Plumbing, 249 Grove St. S., Venice (941) 485-1549.

AlliKriste Designer kitchens come to life with AlliKriste’s access to exclusive upscale trade-only cabinet brands. The offerings run from furniture-grade cabinets by Wm Ohs and SieMatic to custom and semi-custom cabinets in classic to contemporary styles. Turnkey kitchen design includes granite and marble countertops, Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances. AlliKriste, 9126 Town Center Parkway, Lakewood Ranch (941)388-9696.

Alno Sarasota Germany’s renowned Alno brand, considered the Mercedes 500 of European kitchens, is now offering its luxury gourmet kitchens at a new Sarasota dealership with exclusive rights to the line from Jacksonville to Fort Myers. Look for stunning displays plus a working kitchen that features Miele appliances, a MasterChef oven, La Perla dishwasher and more (from $45,000). Alno, 7222 Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 922-6300.

Architectural Marble Importers Choices in luxury surfaces at this full-service showroom run from traditional granite, marble, travertine, onyx and quartz to a new countertop material of recycled concrete decorated with your choice of shells, abalone and more. There’s no guesswork with myriad edging styles on display and an acre of stone slabs outside. Architectural Marble Importers, 2560 12th St., Sarasota (941) 365-3552.

Cook’s Custom Cabinetry Homeowners on a makeover mission head to Cook’s design studio for customized looks in American and European cabinetry. Ron and Margaret Cook are known for flawless attention to detail and have served as advisors to Sub-Zero and Kitchen Aid. The pair’s talent is evident each year in kitchen designs for local ASID designer show houses. Cooks Custom Cabinetry, 1191 Palmer Wood Court, Sarasota (941) 366-6112.

Extreme Remodelers Focused on a new lifestyle approach to remodeling, this exciting new showroom includes complete custom-designed kitchens and respected names like Wood-Mode cabinets and Viking commercial-style appliances. Look for a new treat when owner Jim Butler debuts Sarasota’s first Viking Culinary School at an inspirational demo kitchen. Extreme Remodelers, 3750 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota (941)894-3750.

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery A Sarasota success story, this international plumbing industry leader brings a new world of style and the ultimate selection of designer kitchen and bath fixtures to local homeowners and designers. Look for resort-inspired bath luxury from Roman showers to spa tubs, plus lighting and appliances that are decidedly upscale and fashion-forward in tone. Ferguson, 2451 17th St., Sarasota (941) 951-0110.

Florida Builder Appliances Like an innovative participatory theater, this cook’s paradise boasts a demonstration kitchen and striking vignette displays with the world’s most coveted cooking instruments in stylish indoor and outdoor kitchen settings. Impeccable service and 40-plus premium chef-endorsed brands (from Wolf, La Cornue and Bertazzoni, to Sub-Zero and Miele) make this Sarasota’s go-to high-performance appliance dealer. Florida Builder Appliances, 5257 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 926-0700.

Kimark Audio Audiophiles and techies head to Mark Brooker’s amazing new showroom for high-end home theaters and sound systems customized with coveted top-of-the line equipment. But Brooker is also fast becoming Sarasota’s go-to expert for home automation, including centralized control of lighting, heating, window treatments, security systems and more. Kimark Audio, 4625 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 922-7900.

LUBE of Sarasota This couture cabinetry showroom boasts a “playroom” where customers test-drive eye-popping high-tech features like Ferrari door hinges, drawers by Blum of Germany, appliance drop-downs—and a mind-blowing range of colors and finishes. For the look of fine Italian furniture, Cucine LUBE kitchens (from $30,000) are custom-made in Italy for delivery in just six weeks. LUBE of Sarasota, 2628 17th St., Sarasota (941) 954-0200.

The Plumbing Place Homebodies with a yen for resort-like living spaces head to the recently renovated and expanded Plumbing Place for ideas. Opened a year ago to much local fanfare, the 6,000-square-foot showroom has access to unique brands, and the staff assists with everything from choosing a faucet to outfitting an entire bath. Plumbing Place, 5678 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, (941) 378-5678.
Automobiles and Yachts

Rivolta Yachts The ultimate in speed and luxury, the Rivolta Yacht fleet offers both power and sailboats ranging from 40 to 90 feet. The Sarasota-based company, renowned for its Jet Coupe models and Rivolta PT Runner, will also custom retrofit your yacht ($10,000 to $125,000) with quality and performance reflecting the Rivolta family’s legendary automotive heritage in Italy. Rivolta Yachts, 1765 Ringling Blvd, Suite 300, Sarasota (941) 954-0355.

Lamborghini Of Sarasota The running of the bulls takes on new meaning as Sarasota rushes to Victor Young’s new Lamborghini showroom to check out the iconic Murciélago and its new baby brother: the Gallardo LP560-4 (base price $200,000). It’s Robb Report’s 2009 Car of the Year, with aerodynamic shape, baby bull emblem and a new four-wheel-drive system that turns even novice drivers into mini Formula One racers. Lamborghini of Sarasota, 5151 Clark Road, Sarasota (941) 923-2700.

BMW of Sarasota This emporium of “Ultimate Driving Machines” will blow you away with the value and performance of sedans, coupes and convertibles in BMW’s new M3 series (base price, $60,000). “It’s a perfectly balanced combination of engine performance, handling prowess and what can only be described as the best automated shifter on the planet,” reports our sister publication Robb Report. BMW of Sarasota, 5151 Clark Road, Sarasota (941) 923-2700.

Coast Cadillac General Motors took the 2009 CTS-V sport sedan to Germany and challenged its Teutonic-made rivals on their own turf. And its Nürburgring track record now makes it the fastest production sedan on street tires in the world. Sporty models like the CTS-V go for a $60,355 price; Sarasota drivers also lust after the XLR Platinum (apropos to this Sarasota Magazine issue) at $87,500. Coast Cadillac, 2200 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota (941) 922-1571.

Galati Yacht Sales Dreams of boat ownership come to reality at Galati Yachts, the showroom/brokerage named No. 1 on Boating Industry magazine’s 100 Top Dealers list for the second straight year. Editors praised Galati’s unsurpassed service and stellar range of choices, both new and pre-owned, from Cabo sport fishing yachts to classy Viking and Tiara models. Galati Yacht Sales, 900 S. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria Island (941) 778-0755.

Land Rover Southpointe Just as regal when plowing through the Costa Rican jungle as it is trolling down Palm Avenue, the 2009 Range Rover comes with new rear entertainment system and four-zone climate control. But we also love the skillfully balanced ride and handling of the hip new Range Rover Sport (under $100,000), especially when it’s supercharged. Land Rover Southpointe, 5141 Clark Road, Sarasota (941) 308-5141.

Mercedes-Benz of Sarasota The newest models in the ultra-luxurious Mercedes-Benz lineup are even more stunning in an elegantly appointed Sarasota showroom. Check out the sensationally comfortable SL63 AMG (from $135,475): with its split-personality retractable hardtop, you can take it from serious sports car to easy-driving cruiser in seconds. Mercedes-Benz of Sarasota, 6828 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 923-3444.

Suncoast Porsche Audi (Suncoast Motor Sports) This bastion of mechanical engineering caters to driving progressives as well as traditionalists. Audi’s handsome 2010 S4 sports sedan is bigger and quicker than its predecessor but weighs less and consumes less fuel. Test-drive the Porsche 911 Carrera S and enjoy performance, elegance, and unimpeachable racing history. Suncoast Porsche Audi, 5005 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (877) 923-1700.

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This article appears in theAugust 2009issue of Sarasota Magazine.

For more on our beautiful area,  subscribe to Sarasota  Magazine now »

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