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While man-size snowdrifts, days-long flight delays and bone-chilling temperatures threw the globe’s northern metropolises into chaos over the holidays, the jet set took its yearly refuge in the tropics.

Rihanna took a break in her native Barbados sporting a savage one-piece by Australian swimwear makers We Are Handsome. Elsewhere on the island, Topshop impresario Sir Philip Green took a dip in the Atlantic with daughter Chloe. But the St. Barth’s tourism board was the hands-down winner this winter, as the isle lured Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres (and, judging by the Hermès shopping bag, a few of their discretionary dollars); a jet ski-bound Salma Hayek; Russell Simmons on the massage table, and Rupert Murdoch, who, for a moment at least, looked a bit unsure of what to make of this whole “vacation” thing.

This story first appeared in the January 4, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Back Stateside, Roberto Cavalli strolled the beaches in Miami in little more than spandex and sunglasses, and Chloë Sevigny took her lunch alfresco.

Of course, the Atlantic wasn’t the only ocean to host the party this season. Paris Hilton jumped Pacific breakers in Maui while boyfriend Cy Waits took a path of lesser resistance, and Ashley Olsen struck a meditative pose on a beach in Thailand.

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