The Platinum 100

By: Carol Tisch

Three years ago, we introduced the “Platinum 100” in recognition of the growth of luxury shopping on Sarasota’s shores. Since then, the top echelon of retailing has evolved and expanded even more here, with the arrival of new boutiques and creative talents, and an increased emphasis on detail and pedigree, hallmarks of a true luxury […]


Three years ago, we introduced the “Platinum 100” in recognition of the growth of luxury shopping on Sarasota’s shores. Since then, the top echelon of retailing has evolved and expanded even more here, with the arrival of new boutiques and creative talents, and an increased emphasis on detail and pedigree, hallmarks of a true luxury shopping experience.

Our third annual Platinum 100 list focuses on that shopping experience as much as the wares we found in Sarasota’s best stores. We looked for places where the ambiance as well as the products creates a unique and memorable shopping experience. Many of these stores source from their travels around the globe, and the world’s best brands and design leaders are well-represented. 

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or longtime resident, this guide will introduce you to an amazing array of treasures and surprises in our city’s exclusive stores and boutiques. We’ve analyzed product craftsmanship, access to luxury brands, store atmosphere and staff expertise, discovering fabulous retailers from Anna Maria Island and Englewood to Main Street Sarasota and St. Armands Circle.

We’re more convinced than ever that Sarasota holds its own with major shopping destinations, and there’s an added attraction—prices for some custom creations and fine goods are less than they would be in cities like London or New York.

We’re proud to introduce you to the 2010-2011 Platinum 100 and hope you’ll find this listing a year-round resource for top-tier goods and service.

 

FASHION

Dream Weaver & Planet

Joan McKeon offers a fascinating mix of contemporary fashion and art-to-wear by noteworthy American talents. Creativity abounds in everything from floor-length gowns to mini-dresses, hand-painted scarves, artisan handbags and jewelry. McKeon recently commandeered an adjoining boutique to house Planet for Dream Weaver, the flagship store for designer Lauren Grossman’s casual-chic Planet brand. Dream Weaver Collection, 364 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-1974.

 

Addison Craig A slingback’s throw from Lido Beach, Addison Craig is the Holy Grail for shoe-obsessed fashionistas who fawn over names like Sigerson Morrison, Tory Burch, Melissa and Ben Simon. Recently expanded, the store’s well-edited mix of high fashion and classics extends to handbags worn by the red-carpet crowd. Addison Craig, 28 S. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-3400. 

Brooks Brothers A handsome shrine to clubby America’s most beloved outfitter, Brooks Brothers on Lemon and Main is actually an outpost of the retailer’s new golf and leisure concept. On-trend and yet completely classic, the resort gear here is everyday attire for Sarasotans who flock to the store for posh service and timeless blazers, cotton and cashmere sweaters. Brooks Brothers, 1500 Main St., Sarasota (941) 316-1502.

Captain’s Landing Brothers Trent and Troy Young offer head-to-toe men’s dressing with exceptional resort wear and Florida’s largest selection of Tori Richard’s couture Hawaiian tropical shirts of cotton lawn fabric as cool as an ocean breeze. Hip young golfers can’t get enough of neo-preppy Southern Tide’s super-comfy cotton stretch polos in fashion’s hottest colors. Captain’s Landing, 319 W. Venice Ave., Venice (941) 485-2329.

Designing Women Boutique Rifle through a trove of marquee labels at this beautifully appointed designer resale shop, where fashion cognoscenti compete for bargains from 50 to 70 percent off original prices. A cult following knows just where to find dreamy evening dresses, chichi Chanel, Escada and St. Johns suits, plus the perfect handbag and shoes to pull the look together. Designing Women Boutique, 1226 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 366-5293.

Influence The next best thing to shopping L.A.’s trendiest boutiques, Influence is the brainchild of sisters Liz and Sam Murray. The look is laid-back Bohemian with brands like Rebecca Taylor, Madison Marcus and Joie. A former L.A. celeb stylist, Liz says the store fills Sarasota’s void for hip young clothes for 20-somethings. But to her surprise, fans range from 20 to 60-plus. Influence, 474 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota (941) 343-2315.

Irene’s Resort Wear Fashionistas from Fort Myers to Tampa make regular runs to Irene’s, where prices cause even the most hardened comparison shoppers to swoon. Look for Tribal jeans, Brighton and Vera Bradley accessories, and silhouettes from Montreal-based designers Frank Lyman and Joseph Ribkoff as chic as any you’d find in the ateliers of Paris. Irene’s Resort Wear, 5308 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, (941) 778-1161.

Jane Boutique Lissa Murphy’s shop is arguably one of Sarasota’s coolest, positively brimming with Bohemian-chic West Coast style. Look for breezy clothes that transition perfectly to Sarasota’s endless summers and a cache of emerging designers making waves with L.A.’s celebrity scene. Goddis sweaters, Cleobella hand-tooled bags and Jens Pirate Booty cotton gauze dresses are just a few of the brands Murphy grew to love as a film stylist in L.A. Jane Boutique, 1409 First St., Sarasota (941) 951-5263.

L. Boutique/L.Kids/L.Spa Fashion insider LeeAnn Swor adeptly mixes and matches looks from glamorous to beachy, and from classic to directional at a gorgeous new location that now encompasses her satellite stores: L.Kids (designer infants’ and children’s fashion) and the just-opened L.Spa (organic treatments and beauty products). You’ll find some of the most interesting labels in town, and everything from designer evening gowns to cashmere wraps, slinky sandals and casual daywear. L. Boutique, 556 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 906-1350.

Leggiadro International Preppy pastels meet Hollywood glamour at Leggiadro, the elite fashion chain whose new outpost on St. Armands Circle is quietly outfitting a cult following addicted to its limited edition hand-painted tees, form-flattering capris and all-season cashmere. Luxury fabrics and European tailoring distinguish dress-for-success daywear. Leggiadro, 380A St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-1500.

Lotus America-meets-Europe describes the head-to-toe wardrobing at Lotus, where proprietor Wendy Getchell specializes in life’s little luxuries: Citizens of Humanity jeans, Huit and Cosabella swimsuits, Claus Porto bath soap, Eberjey sleepwear, and Chan Luu’s signature wrap bracelets (as seen on style makers Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez). Lotus, 1451 Main St. Sarasota (941) 906-7080.

Paris.couture A mecca for fashion Francophiles, Paris.couture serves up elegant style with exclusive brands reminiscent of the City of Light’s most alluring boutiques. Look for names like Les Petites and Dimension, directional colors and natural fabrics. Customers can’t get enough of proprietor Sophie Cantin’s authentic Parisian aesthetic.
Paris.couture, 606 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 914-6020.

Reason’s Shoes Go dressy with sexy Stewart Weitzman stilettos, or go casual with Prada and Donald Pliner. Add a trendy handbag, tote or packable straw hat, all artfully displayed at this temple of quality accessories. Reason’s is also a magnet for men who appreciate upscale Bruno Magli and ever-so-edgy Bacco Bucci. Reason’s Shoes, 57 S. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-1602.

RHA Boutique Much to Sarasota’s delight, the clothes at RHA are rivaled only by owner Hope Allen’s spot-on styling tips and customer service. Fans flock to Allen’s tiny boutique for everything from simple, feminine tanks and capris to resort-colorful print dresses and tops by Halé Bob, the casual-hip brand worn by Hollywood celebs from Paris Hilton to Sharon Stone. RHA Boutique, 1935 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota (941) 706-2627.

Foxy Lady

Coveted street-wear lines, including designer jeans by Paige and Prvcy, share space with smartly designed clothes for trendsetters who can pull off asymmetrical skirts and bubble dresses. Look for directional yet timeless shapes from stars like Sue Wong and Max Azria (BCBG), and total wardrobing with seductively on-point accessories. Foxy Lady, 481 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota (941) 388-5239; 209 Beach Road, Siesta Key (941) 349-6644.

 

Sahara

With fashion and interior design trending to all things Moroccan, owners Cleon and Arch Dixon recently opened the doors to Sahara, a boutique specializing in fashion and home products they personally source in North Africa for artisan quality and an upscale tribal aesthetic. Sahara, 362C John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota (941) 388-3335

La Mariée Haute Couture Bridal

Shopping is pure romance in La Mariée’s opulent white-on-white drawing room, filled with couture gowns from the diaphanous to the deconstructed. Designed to set the stage for dreamy destination weddings, the
high-fashion names here range from Badgley Mischka and Vera Wang to Cymbeline and Atelier-Aime. La Mariée, 56 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-1600.

FASHION

Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks is Sarasota’s hub for au courant fashion, and our link to the top labels across the U.S. and abroad. Women who once got their clothing, jewelry and cosmetic fixes at big-city stores find the assortment here is well-edited for the Sarasota lifestyle, balanced with enough cutting-edge and ultra-chic selections to make the right fashion statement anywhere in the world. Saks Fifth Avenue, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 364-5300.

 

Sarasota Brides & Formalwear This is the place to find the wedding dress of your dreams. You’ll discover 350 romantic bridal gowns on display and a staff carefully trained to outfit the entire wedding party. The luxurious store is brimming with big-event dresses for all occasions, from proms to debutante balls, charity galas and more. Sarasota Brides & Formalwear, 4051 Clark Road, Sarasota (941) 927-4969.

Sea Cup and Up The luxury here is more than exquisite lingerie—it’s also the shopping experience. The owners are fitting experts, the vintage décor in dressing rooms is luxe, and you’ll leave with a silhouette that’s prettier than before. This unique shop specializes in C-cup and up bra sizes in undergarments, swimsuits and sleepwear from the best American and European designers in the world. Sea Cup and Up, 1810 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota (941) 951-2727.

Shore Surf fashion goes glam at this temple of everything beachy, from Shore’s own branded bikinis and surfboards to the top names in swim and active sports. Palm Springs meets South Beach with Billabong, Roxy and Juicy Couture apparel, and stunning leather flip-flops from Hawaiian brand OluKai (a favorite for Sarasota beach weddings). Shore, 465 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota (941) 388-3535.

Soto’s Optical Boutique
The looks at Soto’s Optical run from Beausoleil (a favorite of French film stars) to Loree Rodkin medieval modern frames and styles by David Eden set with precious jewels. Ron and Kim Soto offer an eyewear experience of unrivaled luxury with couture frames that are runway-worthy in New York, L.A., Paris and Milan. Soto’s Optical Boutique, 1383 Main St., Sarasota (941) 953-3788.

Sunglass Express Optical
This destination sunglass store has its finger on the pulse of fashion: the best retro Ray-Ban aviators and trend-right styles from every design titan of world renown. If you covet eyewear that doubles as face jewelry, check out the luxury frames 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’sA setting that conjures images of an elegant Florentine “shoedoir” underscores the authenticity of every fashion-forward handbag, sandal, pump or platform at this showcase of Italian design. You’ll find private-label creations in ostrich and alligator, plus the best of Italian leather work in Mario Bologna shoes and Ema G.G. Firenze exotic skin bags. T. Georgiano’s, 1409B First St., Sarasota (941) 870-3727.

Tommy BahamaCapture the essence of the islands with sportswear, sundresses, tropical print shirts and more at this Tommy Bahama lifestyle store, a national design prototype that debuted first in Sarasota.
Hordes of women from the Gulf Coast and beyond flock here for the best-fitting swimsuits on the planet. Tommy Bahama, 371 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-2446.

The Met

Top designers and impeccable service are the hallmarks of this Sarasota legend, actually an upscale department store housed in an English Bermudian-style mansion. The finely tuned selection includes coveted names in men’s and women’s fashion, from Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss and Etro to Burberry, Lafayette I48 and Ted Baker. The Met does total wardrobing with clothes, shoes and fine jewelry (look for a new Queens’ Wreath Jewels boutique). With its world-class spa and salon, the luxury shopping experience rivals the finest in London, Paris or New York. The Met Fashion House, Day Spa & Salon, 35 S. Boulevard of Presidents, Sarasota (941) 388-1772.

 

ANTIQUES

Jack Vinales Antiques

This tiny gallery makes a big statement, attracting serious collectors with hard-to-find Bakelite jewelry, rare Fiestaware and exceptional American and European art pottery. Vinales’ ever-changing oeuvre
delights the persistent visitor 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.

Blue Moon Antiques Chockablock full of fine antiques with little room to maneuver, Blue Moon is an ever-evolving potpourri of irresistible clutter. Seasoned dealers Garth Curry and Keith Filion unveil newfound treasures weekly from their West Palm Beach outpost. 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.

Blue Pineapple Owners Barbara and Peter Matson share a passionate and comprehensive knowledge of European antiques, with stunning examples gleaned on frequent buying trips abroad. Upscale furniture (both new and old) shares space with decorative accessories and an amazing selection of Old World paintings at this must-see destination store. Blue Pineapple, 445 W. Dearborn St., Englewood, (941) 474-1504.

Coco Palm Gallery As much curator as proprietor, Paul Passerat presides over a cluttered mélange of pedigreed Asian antiques that include furniture, paintings, pottery and more. Those in the know travel great distances for wonderful buys on Chinese blue and white porcelain and a comprehensive line-up of Buddhas in all materials and sizes. Don’t miss the incomparable selection of hand painted Chinese furniture, including an elaborate wedding bed. Coco Palm Gallery, 1255 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-1122.

Crissy Galleries This grandly appointed gallery features all the decorative arts and crafts and enjoys an international reputation for expertise in 18th- and 20th-century furniture, porcelain, cut glass, silver and more. A discreet “vault collection” salon contains 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.

Elizabeth Rice, Inc Big-city aesthetes with tastes for contem-porary fine art and world-class Biedermeier antiques (1815-1848) will find both at this brilliantly eclectic Main Street gallery. Aficionados of the Biedermeier period travel from faraway places for Elizabeth Rice’s wonderfully preserved furniture, always superior examples of the design and wood veneers that characterize the now classic style. Elizabeth Rice, Inc., 1467 Main St., Sarasota (941) 954-8575.

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’ 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.

Jett Thompson Antiques

In an age that celebrates minimalist chic, Jett Thompson provides welcome balance. Every nook and cranny of her shop is brimming with repurposed treasures, new and antique furniture and accessories. Look for pillows covered with old Suzani wedding fabrics, one-off lamp bases made from weathered vine balls, interesting jewelry and a constantly replenished cache of vintage country Swedish chests. Jett Thompson Antiques, 447 W. Dearborn St., Englewood, (941) 460-2777.

 

Gift/Lifestyle

 

IOPTICS Set in a Caribbean-colored cottage that belies the sophistication of the eyewear, sunglasses, gifts and house wares displayed inside, IOPTICS is renowned for trendy eyeglass frames by hot designers from Chrome Hearts to Oliver Peoples. An important collection of Alessi’s clever gadgets adorns this artsy shop, and don’t miss the charming Old Florida courtyard. IOPTICS, 446 Burns Court, Sarasota (941) 955-5133.

i-tesori Where else but San Marco Plaza (in Lakewood Ranch) would you expect to find the region’s most sophisticated selection of Italian arts and crafts? Look for surprisingly affordable Murano glass jewelry with beads hand-picked by the Venice-based designer. You’ll also find a dazzling collection of hand painted gold Florentine trays, each gilded and carved using traditional Renaissance techniques. i-tesori, 8215 Nature’s Way, Suite 113, Lakewood Ranch (941) 907-9296.

Juno & Jove For green design as elegant and trendy as it gets, check out the seductively on point selections at Juno & Jove’s brand-new location. Owner Olivia Bono champions a roster of eco-friendly and socially responsible designers with everything from architectural Linda Loudermilk dresses to eye-popping Karla Colletto swimwear. Look for men’s clothes, leather goods, towels, bed linens and more. Juno & Jove, 1425 First St., Whole Foods Market Centre, Sarasota (941) 957-0000.

M.L. Gosling Part retail shop, part gallery, Marilyn Tasken’s Palm Avenue boutique keeps decor spare and merchandise to a well-edited minimum. The airy interior invites inspection of every piece of giftware as if it were a work of art. Names to note include annieglass, Edgar Berebi and Michael Aram. Tasken also specializes in unique wood, ceramic and art glass objects. M.L. Gosling, 43 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 366-2500.

Main Street Traders A true lifestyle emporium, Main Street Traders captivates clients with looks from coastal cottage 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.

Marianne E As much artist as proprietor, Marianne Eriksson keeps her whimsical atelier overflowing 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 or pine cones: furniture, mirrors, mantels and more. Marianne E, 60 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 373-1260.

Soicher-Marin Gallery This much-admired interior designer source for decorative framed artwork moved to Sarasota in 2009 and recently opened its doors to consumers for high-quality custom picture framing. The gallery’s own artisans will finish your frame for the ultimate in customization. Soicher-Marin Gallery, 7245 16th St. E., Suite 110, Bradenton (941) 308-7500.

The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota Browsers find the beguiling shops at this world-class hotel addictively irresistible: The longer they stay, the more they discover. Visitors choose from three distinctive Ritz-Carlton shops brimming with mementos of Sarasota at its elegant best. 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 is stocked with exclusive apparel and gifts, and the Members Golf Shop has been recognized for world-class equipment and attire. The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Sarasota (941) 309-2000.

The Tabletop This elegant tabletop boutique serves up high fashion and contemporary classics, from Alessi tea kettles and gadgets to tie-dyed outdoor tablecloths that look like silk caftans. The look is decidedly European, and the quality of knives, crystal, and serve ware outstanding. The perfect gift for a gourmet cook is just waiting to be discovered. The Tabletop, 205 W. Venice Ave., Venice, (941) 485-0319.

Terra Nova The look and tone are decidedly organic at this soothing and beautiful boutique, where clothing, jewelry, hats and 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, Sarasota (941) 388-0410.

White Egret Coastal style is the hallmark of this stylish destination store, where original home accessories, bed and bath fashions, candles, tabletops and linens are the antithesis of beachy kitsch. From designer-quality decorative pillows to whimsical beach party serving trays by sculptor Michael Updike for Mariposa, the hostess gifts here are outstanding. White Egret, 10006 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria Island (941) 778-3782.

William Hartman Gallery A mix of historic local photos and internationally sourced antique maps, botanical and marine life prints attracts tourists as well as top interior designers from around the world to Sarasota’s beloved artisan-quality framing shop. Owner Bill Hartman invites browsing, and his special archival photo reproductions depicting Sarasota’s history are surprisingly affordable. William Hartman Gallery, 48 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-4785.

Write-On Sarasota Serendipity abounds at this unique stationery shop, where Mont Blanc fountain pens and crystal inkwells share space with high-tech Porsche writing instruments. Bygone luxuries like personal monograms on deckle-edge paper and leather pencil cases live harmoniously with 21st-century laptop totes, personal agendas and quirky tabletop fashions and hostess gifts. Write On Sarasota, 1423 First St., Sarasota (941) 953-2800.

Ashley Avery’s Collectables

This beautiful lifestyle emporium in Southgate Mall delivers a beyond-borders potpourri of fine porcelain from international legends (Herend and Limoges), fashion tabletop from Vietri,
and exquisite crystal from Moser and Daum. Fashion extends from Lladro tea sets to Pandora Jewelry. Ashley Avery’s Collectables, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 366-3444.

 

FantaSea Home Celebrate the sea with elegant gifts and decorative objects embellished with every species of coral and shells imaginable. There’s something for every budget for devotees of the coastal design aesthetic to love, from top-of-the-line photo frames and fine jewelry to inexpensive party favors. Brides gush over shell-studded tiaras and attendants’ gifts for romantic beach weddings. FantaSea Home, 378 St. Armands Circle, (941) 388-3031.

HOME

 

Black Bird Home Gallery

Edgy elegance meets understated sophistication in this new home furnishings gallery set in the historic Main Street building that originally housed the Salvation Army. Restored by MyGreenBuildings, the total home shop features soft contemporary furnishings and art handpicked by design guru Wayne Rollins. Look for casual refinement in everything from linen print chairs to Oly chandeliers. Black Bird Home Gallery, 1540 Main St., Sarasota (941) 366-0941.

Art to Walk On Passersby find window displays of artisan-crafted rugs so irresistible they want to take a closer peek inside Eileen Hampshire’s gallery, literally a showcase for her prized collection of new and old Oriental carpets of distinctive provenance. In addition to beautiful antique Tibetan, Turkish and Ushak rugs, she now offers authentic Voysey reproductions and custom contemporary designs. Art to Walk On, 64 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 951-5454.

Current Annexed to ASID designer Sally Trout’s atelier is an exuberantly cluttered boutique, every inch of floor and wall space brimming with items she handpicks for clients and design-savvy consumers. An eclectic mix of contemporary and traditional furniture, decorative accessories, art and antiques is all trade-showroom quality. Current, 83 Cocoanut Ave., Sarasota (941) 365-5323.

Design 75 This shop embodies the elegant universe of Architectural Digest, with furniture and accessories that give the impression they’ve been carefully acquired over time. Designer Bob Tucker offers pedigreed art deco pieces, hand painted parchment scrolls and stunning decorative objects, including a gilt dolphin-framed convex mirror reproduced from the Lord Nelson original. Design 75, 75 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 366-8099.

Envie Home Decor The art of gifting reaches new heights at a glamorous boutique in the heart of the Whole Foods Market Centre. Proprietor Gerrie Heible cleverly selects hostess gifts so irresistible shoppers can’t resist treating themselves. Look for designer stemware and tabletop, Chinese lacquer, artisan jewelry, delicate evening bags and more. Every item is artist-quality; some pieces are limited edition. It’s an international potpourri of fine furniture and objects that’s fun to study and absorb. Envie Home Decor, 1411 First St., Sarasota (941) 366-7027.

Light Up Your Life Nirvana for aficionados of international lighting design, this vast two-story emporium encompasses must-see names from more than 100 designer sources. Think Philippe Starck for Flos, whimsical Aqua and Moth lamps and sconces, and Baccarat crystal chandeliers that take your breath away. A cult following stops by often to admire ever-changing exhibits of hot new styles and artistic designs from around the world. Lighting professionals are ready to assist with task lighting for the bath, kitchen and office, and extraordinary fixtures for outdoors. Light Up Your Life, 1620 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 330-0442.

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

Home Resource

New York has SoHo—but Sarasota has the Rosemary District and one of the most exciting contemporary furniture stores this side of Miami. Owners Michael and Kathy Bush have curated the best of mid-century design classics and a carefully edited selection of hip international trendsetters. The impressive roster includes Knoll, Herman Miller, Fritz Hansen and Missoni Home. This is the only place on the west coast of Florida awarded the coveted designer outdoor furniture lines Janus et Cie and Dedon. Home Resource, 741 Central Ave., Sarasota (941)366-6690.

HOME

 

LyteWorks This Bradenton institution stays ahead of interior decorating trends in a glamorous warehouse-sized showroom stocked with everything from Swarovski crystal chandeliers to beautifully crafted Maitland Smith accessories. The ever-changing selection includes all lighting categories, plus fans, mirrors, home accents and even an art gallery. LyteWorks, 816 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton, (941) 745-2900.

Posh on Palm A haven of shabby chic in a world of cutting-edge modern, Posh is the new name and Palm Avenue the new headquarters for the long-running store formerly known and loved as The Cat’s Meow. You’ll find founders Mark and Susie Holt behind counters dripping with vintage jewelry and lace in a beautifully appointed space that lends itself to smoked mirrors, china and chippy white furniture from estate sales in Europe. Posh on Palm, 33 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, (941) 954-7674.


Robb & Stucky Interiors This expansive two-story furniture and home accessories emporium is arranged in dreamy vignettes, making it easier to imagine a coastal cottage armoire or sleek leather sectional in your beautiful new room. You’ll find the best names in home furnishings; and regardless of budget, a professional decorator will provide complimentary design advice. The product assortment runs from classic to contemporary. Don’t miss an outstanding rug selection and made-to-measure window decorating centers upstairs. Robb & Stucky Interiors, 7557 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 922-2274.

Rugs As Art “Art you can live with” is the design philosophy at this award-winning decorative rug superstore brimming with luxurious options from the weaving capitals of the world. Rugs As Art is the ultimate go-to source for decorators and consumers who realize that the right rug is the foundation of every truly well-designed room. From contemporary Tibetan designs to Persian classics, hand-knotted needlepoints and woven grasses, the assortment is on point for every decorating style and budget. Rugs As Art, 6650 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 921-1900.

Seaside Chic Though Janice Riordan has been designing interiors for 20 years, popular new Seaside Chic is her first retail venture. She’s assembled everything you need for the coastal look, from furniture to area rugs and throw pillows. Exquisite tabletop accessories and gifts (think magnifying glasses and bookmarks) are surprisingly affordable. The tropical, sheer-curtained poster bed is dream-inducing. Seaside Chic, 217 W. Venice Ave., Venice (941) 483-1177.

Sirene Coastal Interiors Creating their own upscale version of not-so-shabby chic, artists and co-owners Ashley DeLeon and Valerie Doss will capture your heart with hand-crafted shell accessories, organic soaps, candles, pillows and the magic of mermaids. Clients have dubbed Sirene (French for mermaid) the “Mermaid House,” and when you see the beautiful art prints here ($12 to $50) you’ll know why. Sirene Coastal Interiors, 237 W. Venice Ave., Venice (941) 488-3830.

 

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 were awarded exclusive rights to carry Calvin Klein Home (furniture, linens and more) and the Mitchell Gold collection (as seen in New York City’s ABC Carpet & Home). Sarasota Collection Home Store, 622 Central Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-8313.

 

Square on the Circle

Brimming with fabulous gifts you (and your friends) will want to own, this luxurious St. Armands boutique offers a beguiling mix of bed linens, tabletop accessories, decorative pillows, soaps and more. It’s among a select few allowed to carry 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.

JEWELS

Diamond Vault

Along with its international reputation for an astonishing assortment of white and colored diamonds, Diamond Vault is known for settings that will make the diamond of your dreams look larger, whiter and will even enhance its sparkle. Don’t miss the store’s own LaRucci-brand jewelry and a small but important selection of pedigreed estate pieces including Rolex and other status watches. Diamond Vault, 4910 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 921-4016.

Armel Jewelers You’ll find an exclusive trove of coveted Carl F. Bucherer timepieces at this St. Armands Circle icon. The name-dropping continues with a host of designer brands from Mikimoto pearls to Hidalgo stackable rings and Kristina’s breathtaking work with semi-precious stones. A new satellite store anchoring the Bay Street Village extends the glamour to Osprey. Armel Jewelers, 22 N. Boulevard of Presidents, Sarasota (941) 388-3711, and 1276 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, (941) 966-5878.

Coffrin Jewelers Sarasota’s destination store for Techno Marine watches, Coffrin delights with brown, white and yellow diamonds the jeweler fashions into necklaces, bracelets and more. Look for meticulously crafted designer-quality pieces, including the newest haute couture fashions. Ask to see the exquisite Bon-Bon collection of pearls, gold and semi-precious gemstones from Nanis of Italy. Coffrin Jewelers, 1829 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota (941) 366-6871.

Jewelry by Giorgio A picture-perfect shrine to European hand-crafted artistry, this luxurious jewelry salon right next door to Morton’s Gourmet Market serves up showstopping creations as delicate as gossamer wings. Most pieces are crafted of white diamonds mounted in intricate gold or platinum settings. Jeweler Giorgio Salameh 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 Shopping is pure romance at this opulent gem box (actually a boutique and atelier where homegrown talents June Simmons and daughter Liebe Smith create extraordinary custom jewelry). Their diamond and precious metal designs share space with pieces by fashion-forward artisans coveted by Hollywood trendsetters and looks from contemporary to vintage. June Simmons Designs, 68 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 388-4535.

Lakewood Design Jewelry A well-edited selection of contemporary European and American designer jewelry distinguishes this hidden gem in San Marco Plaza. Chic-but-rugged men’s jewelry shows understated restraint, while fashion-forward woman’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. Archer’s jewelry became a global sensation after Sarah Jessica Parker wore a necklace in Sex and the City, The Movie, but Archer’s combination of natural stones with vintage coins and crystal trading beads has made her a decades-long darling of the fashion press. La Perlelle, 17 Fillmore Drive, St. Armands Circle, (941) 388-2458.

 

Bowman Originals Workshop & Showcase

“I’m fascinated with Old World techniques, archaeology, anthropology and mythology,” says jewelry designer Ned Bowman. And it shows in his exquisite silver and gold pieces that blend symbolism and ancient motifs with contemporary élan. This retail gallery also serves as Bowman’s workshop, and passersby queue up outside expansive State Street windows for a peek at the artisan in action. Bowman Originals Workshop & Showcase, 1400 State St., Sarasota (941) 316-9594.

 

JEWELS

Mayors Jewelers With a stock list that reads like a who’s who of international jewelry stars, Mayors is Westfield Southgate Mall’s headline attraction. Look for Cartier, Rolex and a host of superstar luxury timepiece brands, plus fine jewelry by names from Kuwait to Roberto Coin. The incredible assortment of fine watches is matched only by the staff’s expertise; and private label Birks jewelry offers surprisingly affordable exclusive designs. Don’t miss the Birks collection by Esty. Mayors Jewelers, 119 Southgate Plaza, Sarasota (941) 952-1945.

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, many custom-designed to suit a client’s particular taste and style. The owner of this eponymous boutique has just opened 530 Burns Gallery, where her work is showcased along with that of fine artists, potters, and jewelry artisans Yves Kamioner and Steven Anton Rehage. Nikki Sedacca, 49 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 957-1957; 530 Burns Gallery, 530 Burns Lane, (941) 951-0620.

Optional Art Recycling family heirlooms and tired-looking jewelry into chic new pieces is Maureen Hoyt’s passion, and fans are flocking to her new store for exciting and affordable design solutions. Look for Etienne Perret’s zirconia ceramic rings, which Hoyt customizes with diamonds or gemstones. She and customers adore the Vario clasp system by Gellner to update necklaces of white, yellow, and black Tahitian pearls. Optional Art, 119 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, (941) 955-4400. (Tahitian pearl necklace from Optional Art on opening page.)

Shrode Jewelers: Sarasota’s quintessential neighborhood jewelry store is brimming with elegant pieces in white and fancy colored diamonds, and chic designs with semi-precious gemstones. 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. A smattering of Swarovski crystal animal and fish-shaped evening bags by celeb designer Katherine Baumann will make you smile. Shrode Jewelers, 1433 Main St., Sarasota (941) 365-4234.

Tilden Ross Jewelers This sophisticated jewelry emporium combines aspirational pieces with remarkably affordable finds. Gail and Richard Ross artfully balance understated refinement with flights of fantasy in couture jewelry chosen for craftsmanship, imagination or exceptional 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. An in-house workshop is noted for updating heirloom pieces and custom designs. Tilden Ross Jewelers, 410 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota (941) 388-3338.

Queens’ Wreath Jewels

The serene and elegant ambiance at Tina Little’s Main Street jewelry boutique is replicated in a new shop within The Met on St. Armands Circle. The look, designed by noted Sarasota architect Thorning Little (the jeweler’s husband), is part gem box, part art nouveau palace, and rivaled only by the extraordinary jewelry on offer. The eclectic mix runs from celebrated upscale designers (think Mimi Bijoux and Steven Webster) to Tina Little’s own line (Pampoo) of playful fashion jewelry. Queens’ Wreath Jewels, 1310 Main St., Sarasota (941) 365-2027; Queens’ Wreath at The Met, 35 S. Boulevard of Presidents, Sarasota (941) 388-1772.

 

McCarver and Moser

This two-story granite and glass sanctuary on St. Armands Circle has amassed a comprehensive selection of elegant diamond and gemstone jewels, status timepieces and a new venture into Steuben art glass. An international cadre of Patek Philippe customers has discovered the Sarasota store’s access to the watchmaker’s limited editions. Collectors also swoon over watches from Chopard and Baume & Mercier and impeccably crafted jewelry hand-picked by Roland Moser from a secret cache of European designers. McCarver and Moser, 482 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota (941) 388-3666.

 

HOME IMPROVEMENT and DESIGNER SOURCES

 

Mullet’s Appliances

The hub for the most important international appliance brands, Mullet’s evolved from a simple repair shop in the 1970s to a 6,000-foot state-of-the-art virtual kitchen experience. The store was selected by Sub-Zero/Wolf as the destination for its Living Kitchen with 50 upscale models and a demonstration center, and also features specialty products from Marvel (wine cellars), Bosch, Miele and more. Mullet’s Appliances, 4233 Clark Road, Sarasota, (941) 921-5531.

 

AlliKriste This destination gallery presents a feast for the eyes: designer kitchen cabinetry found only in upscale big-city trade showrooms featured in design magazines. Browse through tempting vignettes by high-end brands like Wm Ohs, SieMatic and Draper DBS (a line handcrafted by Pennsylvania Amish artisans). AlliKriste also sells custom cabinets, granite and marble countertops, Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances. AlliKriste, 9126 Town Center Parkway, Lakewood Ranch (941) 388-9696.

Alno Sarasota Designer kitchens come to life with Germany’s Alno brand, known globally as a leader in contemporary European style. High-end gourmet kitchens are custom designed 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. Alno Sarasota, 7222 Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 922-6300.

Atmospheres Kitchen and Bath Artistry Bitten by the status-kitchen bug? The designers and master carpenters at Atmospheres have a reputation for designing and building the gourmet look within a variety of budgets. Owner Matt Nemeth also specializes in ADA-compliant home design, including bathrooms and kitchens outfitted for seniors with disabilities. The portfolio includes spa baths and outdoor kitchens. Atmospheres Kitchen and Bath Artistry, 1235 N. Washington Blvd., Sarasota (941) 365-8844.

Cook’s Custom Cabinetry Turnkey kitchen design is the specialty at this lifestyle remodeling showroom known for customized looks in furniture-grade American and European cabinetry. Ron and Margaret Cook provide 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. Cook’s Custom Cabinetry, 1191 Palmer Wood Court, Sarasota (941) 366-6112.

Florida Builder Appliances 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. Serious cooks love the participatory demonstration kitchen where visiting chefs and appliance reps show off their talents and striking vignettes display the world’s most coveted cooking instruments in indoor and outdoor kitchen settings. Florida Builder Appliances, 5257 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 926-0700.

Hill’s Showcase of Designer Plumbing A mind-boggling array of high-end brands is 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 Hills one of its highest-level dealers. Hill’s Showcase of Designer Plumbing, 249 Grove St. S., Venice (941) 485-1549.

LUBE of Sarasota This couture cabinetry showroom boasts Cucine LUBE kitchens custom-made in Italy for delivery in just six weeks in a choice of styles from sleek modern to stunning traditional. Customers can 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. Carefully selected partners like NanaWall (eco-friendly folding glass French doors) and Faer Ambienti (colorful custom bedrooms) are Sarasota exclusives. LUBE of Sarasota, 202 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 954-0200.

Plumbing Place This showroom has everything you need to channel a spa experience at home, from BainUltra’s therapeutic air baths to Jacuzzi whirlpools. In addition to the most innovative sinks, faucets and rain showers, Plumbing Place has Toto fixtures, Hastings and Villeroy & Boch bathroom furniture, and bronze architectural Rocky Mountain Hardware. The staff at the 6,000-square-foot showroom assists with everything from choosing a faucet to outfitting an entire bath. Plumbing Place, 5678 Fruitville Road, Sarasota (941) 378-5678.

Ferguson Bath
& Kitchen Gallery

This plumbing industry superstar curates the newest and most artistic designs from around the world in a decidedly upscale state-of-the art showroom. Call it waterworks to the max: The ultimate selection of designer kitchen and bath fixtures includes bathing accouterments from Roman showers to spa tubs. A comprehensive selection of lighting and appliances simplifies the remodeling process to one-stop shopping. Ferguson Bath & Kitchen Gallery, 2451 17th St., Sarasota (941) 951-0110.

 

AUTOMOBILES
AND YACHTS

BMW of Sarasota This emporium of “ultimate driving machines” will blow you away with the value and performance of sedans, coupes and convertibles. The ActiveHybrid 7, BMW’s first hybrid, delivers a combined output of 465 hp and reaches 60 mph from a standstill in 4.7 seconds ($102,300). For those who want to conserve energy with a smaller vehicle than the 7 Series sedan, BMW’s ActiveHybrid variant will be available on the 5 Series as a 2011 model. BMW of Sarasota, 5151 Clark Road, Sarasota (941) 923-2700.

Chris-Craft A venerable brand, Chris-Craft is headquartered in Sarasota, where its pleasure boats are crafted with classic design, impeccable finishing and superb naval engineering. America’s best yacht designers, boat builders and furniture makers are continually developing technology and style statements like the classic Chris-Craft Corsair 36 and the Lancer 20, the only 20-foot boat in the industry with a standard V-6 configuration that gets up on-plane in less than three seconds and runs in the mid-50s in open water. Chris-Craft, 8161 15th St. E., Sarasota, (941) 351-4900.

Coast Cadillac: General Motors receives kudos for updating the Cadillac SRX for the 2010 model year with a makeover that included sleek body panels and a lush interior—at a value price of $34,155. The fit and finish of the leather and wood-trim accents are on a par with any German or Japanese competitor, and amenities include a mechanically operated pop-up navigation display offering a touch-sensitive screen, voice-recognition software, and real-time traffic and weather updates. Coast Cadillac, 2200 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota (941) 922-1571.

Dew Luxury Motor Cars
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 Bentley Azure convertibles, Arnage sedans, the ever-popular Continental series and the lavish Rolls-Royce Phantom and Ghost models, this local dealership offers a driving experience fit for royalty. Dew Luxury Motor Cars, 3333 Gandy Blvd., Pinellas Park, (727) 822-2019.

Elder Automotive Group of Tampa Bay Some of the most luxurious names in automobiles are displayed at this distinctive dealer, including a comprehensive offering of Aston Martin, Jaguar, Fisker and Spyder. Elder was taking orders for the much-anticipated environmental vehicles, Fisker Karma and Karma S convertible, at press time. These are touted as the first luxury plug-in hybrids with speeds to 120 mph and clocked at 0 to 60 in six seconds. Elder Automotive Group of Tampa Bay, 320 E. Fletcher Ave., Tampa (866) 275-1351.

Mercedes-Benz of Sarasota The newest models in the ultra-luxurious Mercedes-Benz lineup look even more stunning in an elegantly appointed Sarasota showroom. The pros here are ready to sort through the glamorous options (aka “classes”) Mercedes-Benz has to offer, including the first new Gullwing model of the 21st century, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Gullwing. Named 2010 Car of the Year by Robb Report, the SLS AMG is described as “deserving in performance and panache.” Mercedes-Benz of Sarasota, 6828 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 923-3444.

Reeves Maserati of Tampa The big news at Reeves, and the car everyone wants to see for themselves, is the 2011 Gran Cabrio, the first four-seater convertible in Maserati’s 95-year history. This all-new cabriolet is based closely on the recently introduced Gran Turismo coupe and retails for $139,700. It’s the latest collaboration between Maserati and Italian design house Pininfarina, and 60 miles per hour arrives in a breezy 5.3 seconds. 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 Milan, Italy. Rivolta’s newest sailboat, the Vintage 43, recalls the golden age of sailing while taking advantage of innovative technology. Rivolta Yachts, 1765 Ringling Blvd, Suite 300, Sarasota (941) 954-0355.

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, or test drive your choice of a great selection of two-door Audi Cabriolets. Suncoast Porsche Audi, 5005 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 923-1700.
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Lamborghini of Sarasota

The running of the bulls takes on new meaning as Sarasota rushes to Victor Young’s Lamborghini showroom to check out the iconic Murciélago and the “baby bull”— the Gallardo LP560-4. You can also order the new 2011 Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera, which, as its Italian name implies, is super light—weighing 3,000 pounds less than the similarly designed Murciélago LP670-4 SuperVeloce. Lamborghini of Sarasota, 5151 Clark Road, Sarasota (941) 556-2980.