DALLAS — A mere $3.8 million will buy a lifetime membership at Massimo Ferragamo's private Tuscan resort of 16th- and 17th-century villas. If you're more intrepid, almost $1.8 million will buy a short flight in space.
The holiday selling season is fast approaching, and that means Neiman Marcus is previewing its Christmas Book.
This year's compilation of gifts for those who have just about everything features the complete archives of couturier Jacques Fath for $3.5 million, including 3,488 illustrations in 26 volumes, and three original dresses.
Stanley Marcus launched the Christmas Book in 1959. The extravagant trinkets, trips and doodads turned out to be a shrewd marketing tool and the Dallas-based retailer has expanded the strategy, offering everything from pet camels to hot-air balloons. Neiman's estimated the advertising value at $9 million to $15 million.
The fantasy gifts get the attention, but that's not what drives the volume of the 152-page book, which also is filled with fashion, jewelry and accessories from leading designers and even some relatively inexpensive items, such as $40 tins of gourmet popcorn.
That's not to say the fantasy gifts don't find buyers. Last year, Neiman's sold five photo booths and all 75 Lexus hybrid performance sedans.
Among the gift ideas that are part of the formula are a fantastic piece of jewelry (diamond cuffs costing as much as $128,000), a limited-edition car (50 BMW M6 convertibles, $139,000 each), something for the kids (a backyard water park, starting at $100,000), a strange vehicle (a motorized recumbent bike for two, $40,000), a testosterone-charged vehicle (the GG Quad high-powered four wheeler, $56,465), a work of art (a pencil sculpture of a skyscraper, $40,000) plus an exclusive trip and something sporty. And one charity tie-in.
Ferragamo's Club at Castiglion del Bosco is to open next September for 120 members with a golf course, equestrian center and acres of vineyards.
For those enamored of traveling to the cosmos, there's Virgin Galactic's space flight, which isn't actually available until 2009. That's because the craft is still under construction by Scaled Composites LLC in Mojave, Calif. Virgin Galactic, owned by billionaire Richard Branson, has commissioned five of SpaceShipTwo and already is selling tickets for the two-and-a-half hour jaunts and their 15 to 20 minutes free of gravity. The Neiman's trip is the only charter, however, and is followed by four days cavorting with Branson at his private Caribbean island.For sports fans, there's a travel package with tickets to six pro sports championships and all-star games as well as individual dinners with six famed athletes: Troy Aikman, Chris Evert, Bob Gibson, Wayne Gretzky, Magic Johnson and Arnold Palmer. There's no price on this yet; it will be sold at a 10-day auction beginning Nov. 7 with all proceeds benefiting the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation that combats domestic violence.
Breaking the mold is the limited-edition $5,000 pet home. Two flawlessly behaved West Highland Terriers demonstrated use of the home at the Christmas Book launch here at Gilley's western dance hall.
"It's been a good selling season so far, so we're optimistic the trends will continue," said Brendan Hoffman, president and chief executive officer of NM Direct.
He pointed out that Neiman's online business eclipsed the volume of print catalogue business this year, when almost two-thirds of NM Direct sales were done via the Web site.
Neiman's is working to raise its "conversion rate" of browsers to buyers by tailoring the home page to shoppers' patterns and displaying what an individual is more likely to buy. A men's shoe shopper, for instance, would see a Prada men's shoe on the home page, not a Prada handbag.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye