Friday, December 30, 2011

Vilner Showcases Vito’s Luxury Possibilities by Emmanuel (RSS feed) December 29th, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Looking more like an executive business jet’s cabin than a small earthbound van, Bulgarian tuner Vilner has taken an ordinary Mercdes Vito van and made it truly extraordinary. The understated exterior treatment hints at very little of the transformation wrought by Vilner to the interior of the van. From the outside, the van just sports aftermarket wheels and a subdued presence. Open the sliding door, step inside, and you are transported to a plush luxury interior that you wouldn’t be embarassed to accommodate any VIP or celebrity in.

Four ultra-plush seats occupy the cabin, whose headliner and side trim are finished in matching-color Nappa leather, Alcantara and fine wood. Tinted windows isolate the occupants from the outside world, the better to enjoy the complete infotainment system featuring multispeaker audio and a 19-inch LCD. Helping the occupants keep their cool is an onboard mini ref. Of course, the front occupants of this Vito have not been forgotten, as they are cossetted in Mercedes CL seats.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Celebrity Homes in the Heights of Luxury (GALLERY)

Let's face it: Lavish living and celebrity go hand in hand. Rarely will you find a property owned by an A-lister (or even B-lister) for less than a few million big ones. But -- in most cases -- these jaw-dropping price tags really do translate into a level of luxury unrivaled by any others, except those of certain business magnates.

From Oprah's swanky Chicago co-op, to President Obama's former summer retreat in Martha's Vineyard, to David Spade's luxurious Malibu beach house, the celebrity homes we've thrown together in this weekend's gallery are no exception to the rule of thumb that "rich and famous" equals truly mind-blowing houses.

Click through our gallery to see some of the most beautiful homes owned or connected to celebrities. 
Gallery: See These Star-Quality Celebrity Homes

By Teke Wiggin  | Posted Dec 17th 2011 9:00AM

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Get Ready Fellow Enthusiasts for A Great Season

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Wednesday December 7, 2011
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Friday, December 2, 2011

The Luxury Emporium Has the Party Shoes You’re Looking For By FASHIONISTA

It’s finally December – that time of year when absolutely everything counts as an excuse for fashionistas like us to get dressed up and go all out – and we mean out. Office parties, family parties, New Year’s Eve parties… there’s never been a better reason to don all your gayest apparel. But while many of us have been wish-listing sequined frocks and metallic pumps all year in anticipation, others have been decidedly more sleepy in their efforts. Alright, so you went a little nutso on the tryptophan last Thursday — don’t worry, we aren’t naming names!
If you happen to be one of those last-minute kind of gals, you’re in luck: The Luxury Emporium, our go-to site for all the hottest designer accessories, has all the biggest names and on-trend styles for this season’s chicest party shoes. This isn’t just any old footwear. You know that saying about shoes completing an outfit? Let’s just say that these shoes are what make an outfit – trust us, you’ll be looking for a dress that compliments thesebeauts. These are gotta-have-’ems, can’t-live-without-’ems. A pair of sparkling gold Darmaki stiletto slingbacks is all it takes to transform your basic LBD from dull to diva. Or how about some crystal and suede platform sandals from Terry de Havilland to give your maxi gown new lengths? And nothing says “party” like an unexpected pop of color: Some brilliant blue suede Giuseppe Zanotti wedges or alluring red velvet spike heels from Vionnet Paris will definitely do the trick.
If you’ve always thought of luxurious designer shoes as window-shopping fare only (or your credit card had yet to melt from that block of ice – we’ve been there), The Luxury Emporium has another treat in store: 15% off of all full-priced, party-perfect shoes, through December 18. All you have to do is enter the promotion code FASH15 at the checkout, and watch the dollars disappear. Those black suede Balmain ankle boots you opened in a new tab when you started reading this post? Go ahead – add ‘em to your shopping bag. We promise you’ll be the life of every party.
Flip through our gallery to see some of the fabulous designer party shoes available now at The Luxury Emporium, and head to their site for even more options. Happy partying!

Luxury Wealth & Style

Monday, November 28, 2011

Porsche Is Planning A $560 Million Luxury Apartment Tower With Elevators That Carry Drivers AND Their Cars

 High rise condos in South Florida have been the epitome of exclusivity and luxury for years.

But now, one complex is aiming to take that to a whole new level.
According to the Miami Herald, the recently approved 57-story Porsche Design Tower will feature glass elevators that whisk residents and their cars straight to their front door. It will cost an estimated $560 million to build.
It sounds simple enough: pull in, turn off the car, and a robotic arm will lift the car, put it on an elevator, and automatically take it to the front door of the unit, no valet required.
The condos are expected to be between 3,800 to 9,500 square feet in size with prices up to $9 million. Larger units will receive four parking spaces while the smaller ones will have room for just two luxury cars.
These condos are also being designed with large windows in the living room to allow the gearhead residents to keep a doting eye on their prized possessions.
In order to keep it unique, there are plans to only have one of these buildings in South Florida, but there are plans to expand around the world. Parking attendants in the Miami area can breathe a sigh of relief.

Read more:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Kane, the local ladyfish, fried-up and served at Fresh Catch -- a less well-known, but excellent home-style seafood restaurant in Mahim, Mumbai.
Thanks to its large multi-ethnic population and location on the Arabian Sea,  Mumbai is blessed with an abundance of choice when it comes to seafood.
The list below reflects the best coastal Indian cuisine from Malvan to Bengal, and the Mumbai restaurants that do a fine job of keeping their food tasting authentic.
Some of these eating places are so small and so good they don't have, or even need, a website.

Konkan Café: Best fine-dine option

Chef Ananda Solomon's sophisticated kitchen at Konkan Café.
Designed to recreate a seaside bungalow on the palm-fringed Malabar coast, the warm, muted colors are welcoming at this fine-dining seafood restaurant at the Vivanta by Taj hotel.
Likewise, the food is equally inviting.

It is the brainchild of chef Ananda Solomon, who spent months in people’s homes down south, gleaning secret skills from wizened old ladies whom he persuaded to share their recipes.

No wonder it’s all about seasonal freshness and flavor here, and even the cooking is done in earthenware vessels.

Linger over the seafood display before you make your choices from this coconut-rich cuisine.

The average tab per head without alcohol comes to Rs 1,250; not very pricey considering it’s in a five-star hotel.

Know your menu: Curdee (prawns) mango; Mangalorean fish curry; meen polichattu (fish in banana leaves); pomfret recheado and the seafood thali.

Vivanta by Taj -- President, 90 Cuffe Parade; +91 0 (22) 66650808;
Lunch: 12:30 p.m.–3 p.m., dinner: 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m.

Trishna: Best tourist trap

Trishna's famous butter, pepper, garlic crab.
Even though it’s a cramped inside and located in an obscure by-lane in the business district, Trishna is a big draw for the international traveler as well as the local Mumbaikar.
Even though a steady stream of tourists has slowly made the waiters jaded, what brings locals back are some of the plumpest crustaceans and fish on offer in the city.
Even though the cuisine is primarily Mangalorean, a few dishes can be traced back to Hyderabadi influence.
A good meal here should set you back by about Rs 1,800 per head, not counting alcohol.
Know your menu: Crab, either with butter garlic or as a gassi, a fiery red curry; prawns Koliwada, (the medium or small-sized prawns are tastier); butter garlic squid; ravas Hyderabadi; lobster kalimiri.

Sai Baba Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort; +91 (0)22 2270 3213
Lunch: Noon–3:30 p.m.; dinner: 6:15 p.m.–12.30 a.m.

Highway Gomantak: Best Goan

Highway Gomantak is value for money.
"It’s Goan food certified by the Goans," says Ramesh Potnis, the owner of Highway Gomantak.
Infuriated at being passed over for promotion in the corporate world, Potnis quit and turned his focus to food.
Using age-old family recipes, he got his wife to rustle up 10 dishes that they served in their garden.
As Highway Gomantak’s reputation spread, he turned it from a backyard operation to a fully fledged restaurant.
The kitchen, still supervised by his wife and children, lures the office crowd from the nearby Bandra Kurla Complex during lunch hours. The evenings are more relaxed, with families and children taking in a leisurely meal.
A delicious repast for one will cost about Rs 300, and half that if you just have the set-meal thaali.
Superb value.
Know your menu: Prawns fry; tisriya (clams) masala; chanak fish fry; fried mussels; fish thali and the local Bombil fish fry.

44/2179 Pranav Co-op. Housing Society, Gandhi Nagar, Highway Service Road, Bandra (E); +91 (0)22 2640 9692;
Lunch: 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m., dinner: 7–10:30 p.m., Thursday closed.  

Fresh Catch: Best home-style meal

A home-style meal including grilled rawas fish, for Rs 500 at Fresh Catch.
A pelican with a full beak 
stands by the door. As far as welcoming metaphors go, nothing could be more appropriate. Because here, the catch is always fresh.

This wood-paneled, seven-table restaurant may be small, but it's big on taste.

That’s because its owner, Francis Fernandes, handpicks every ingredient and spice from his hometown in Karwar and has it shipped to Mumbai. Even the coconuts.

The food is Karwari and delectably light -- no greasy stuff here. The spices don’t smother the food, but enhance their flavors.

A sumptuous home-style meal here can be had for Rs 500 per head.
Know your menu: Konkan treasure prawns; rava fried kané (ladyfish); fish roe; rechad prawns; pomfret curry; crab meat butter garlic and tisriya (clams) sukke.

Lt. Kotnis Marg, near Fire Brigade, off L J Road, Mahim (W); +91 0(22) 2444 8942
Lunch: Noon–3:30 p.m., dinner: 7 p.m.-11:30 p.m.

Chaitanya: Best spicy Malvani

Chaitanya's tisriya (clam) masala. Cheap and yum.
For the best home-style Malvani food in town, head to Chaitanya.

Relatively new on the seafood map, this tiny 10-seater in the heart of Mumbai is the labor of love of a simple housewife with a love for cooking.

Hot to scorching, yet rich and tender, Surekha Walke’s cooking style exploits the spices to bring an earthy, lemony flavor to her seafood.

And she’s not stingy on the use of coconuts or garam masala spices.

This is where Chaitanya scores over other commercially-run establishments that only focus on the fieriness of Malvani food.

A hearty meal won’t cost you more than Rs 250 per head here. The mini combo fish thali costs as little as Rs 90.

Know your menu: Bangda (mackerel) tikhale; tisriya (clams) masala; crab masala; surmai fish fry; pomfret curry; mori (shark) masala; crab lollipop.

Shop No. 4, Shivaji Park House, L J Road, Shivaji Park; +91 (0)22 2437 2242, +91 96199 09014
Lunch: 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m., dinner: 7 p.m.–11 p.m., Thursday closed.   

Oh! Calcutta: Best Bengali

Bengal's most famous fish, the illish, cooked in mango at Oh! Calcutta.
Oh! Calcutta is one of the few places that serves traditional Bengali food in Mumbai.
From a gourmet’s point of view, this is great news because here one gets to try Bengal’s favorite sweet water fish, which are not a common treat.
Taking authenticity to a new level, the chefs fly in most of their stock of fish -- pabda (butter fish), hilsa (ilish), rohu (carp) and bekti -- all the way from Kolkata.
It’s no wonder then that Bengalis make a beeline to Oh! Calcutta.
A satisfying meal full of mustard goodness will cost you about Rs 1,000 per head, without alcohol.
Know your menu: Bhapa Ilish (boneless Bengali fish delicacy, steamed in a banana leaf); smoked hilsa; fried-fish Kolkata style; prawn cutlets; chingri (prawn) malai curry; rui (rohu fish) maachher dom jhol (curry).

Hotel Rosewood, Tulsiwadi Lane, opposite Mahindra Heights, Tardeo; +91 (0)22 23539114;
Lunch: 12:30–3:30 p.m., dinner: 7-11 p.m.

Gajalee: Best Tandoori crab

The original Vile Parle outlet of Mumbai seafood chain Gajalee.
Even though there are several branches of Gajalee in Mumbai, you should make a trip to the mothership in Vile Parle.
Many a die-hard fan still trudges all the way from south Mumbai regularly, as if on pilgrimage to seafood heaven.

And why not? Gajalee has consistently served up mouthwatering Malvani food over the years.
Some of the dishes use tirphal, the cousin of the Sichuan pepper, to leave your tongue numb.
That’s when you should reach for the solkadi, which acts as the perfect mouth fire extinguisher.
Don't miss the Tandoori crab either.
Budget Rs 1,200 per head if you are going the crab route. Otherwise, Rs 500 per head is sufficient.
Know your menu: Clams koshimbir; tandoori crab; fried bombil; crab masala; prawns masala; stuffed bombil; pomfret capri.

 Kadamgiri Complex, Hanuman Road, Vile Parle (E),  +91 (0)22 2616 6470;
Lunch: 11 a.m.–3 p.m., dinner: 7 p.m.-midnight.
Writer, filmmaker, foodie, and digital artist. Currently working on my first 'Bollywood' feature film.
Read more about Sanjiv Khamgaonkar

Read more: 7 best Indian seafood restaurants in Mumbai |

Thursday, November 24, 2011

9 Luxury Casinos With World-Class Restaurants

Built more than 250 years ago, the Casino Baden-Baden is striking, with gold and red accents throughout. Dostoyevsky wrote The Gambler while playing cards here, and Marlene Dietrich is said to have called it "the most beautiful casino in the world." The main restaurant, Sommergarten (meaning Summer Garden), is tranquil with water fountains, palm trees, mosaic tables and Mediterranean cuisine like Carpaccio "Cipriani," scallops with risotto and pork with morel cream and seasonal vegetables. 

Anyone who has seen "Casino Royale" knows that with high-stakes gambling comes expertly crafted cocktails, white-glove service and fine dining in gilded rooms. But even non-high rollers need to eat, and well, to be encouraged in their risky nights of raucous gambling. And some of the world's most luxurious casinos are more than willing to oblige, offering food served by celebrated chefs in opulent settings.
Outside of, say, Las Vegas and Macau, casinos are often housed in buildings with rich histories and an old-world feel. In Paris, the Aviation Club sits on the Champs-Élysées and was once an exclusive club for pilots. It is still a members-only club, though anyone of age (and who abides by the dress code) can become a member for €100 ($135) per year. Open 24/7, the club throws lavish events and serves traditional French fare in their restaurant and bar. Parts of Quebec's Casino de Montreal were originally built in 1967 for the World Expo, though the casino in its entirety didn't open until 1993. Since then, it has built up four restaurants and three bars that range from fine dining to casual eats.
Las Vegas' brand of luxury has, over the last 15 years or so, become infinitely more culinary-focused. Every luxury hotel on the Strip boasts a handful of celeb-chef restaurants and lavish bars, not least of which is the two-year-old Aria Resort & Casino. Within its confines, gamblers find Bar Masa, American Fish, Jean Georges Steakhouse, Sirio and Julian Serrano, among other eateries. The Bellagio was among the pioneers of the food revolution in Vegas, with Le Cirque, Picasso, Prime Steakhouse and Michael Mina throughout, most of which marked the famed chefs' first foray into Vegas dining.
In this world of high risk and high reward, fine dining is the perfect fit. Nothing motivates a gambler to continue winning quite like the mouthwatering promise of a leisurely meal prepared by a passionate chef with expert wine pairings -- except maybe the beauty of a growing stack of chips.
-- Nicole Campoy-Leffler, The Daily Meal

Monday, November 21, 2011

BoF Daily Digest | Redefining luxury, Fashion’s next frontier, Touchy-feely, Paul Smith’s highest honour, Carine Roitfeld Q&A

Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2011 | Source: Style Frizz
How The Uncertain Economy Is Changing The Definition Of Luxury (Forbes) “With the emergence of new wealthy consumers from the BRIC countries and the economic downturn for most nations outside of the BRIC superfecta in the past few years, luxury has taken on a multitude of new meanings. No longer does it exclusively equate to expensive products that are mostly of French or Swiss origins.” Fashion’s Next Frontier for Social Media (WWD) “The fashion industry is quickly learning that men and women engage and shop differently in the digital sphere. Brands and retailers such as Coach, Mr Porter, Gilt Man, Ben Minkoff, John Varvatos and Ermenegildo Zegna have spent a lot of time studying the differences between the ways men and women approach fashion, tapping into their male audiences with a host of initiatives they feel will resonate best with their target consumer.” Touchy-feely (FT) “An amorphous white dress, like an alien wedding frock, crafted from 14,000 rubber gloves; a black leather ballgown bristling with 43kg of dressmaking pins; mind-boggling numbers of latex balloons hand-knotted into a floor-skimming fringed opera-coat – are they art, or are they fashion? The answer could be both.” Paul Smith to be honoured at British Fashion Awards (Telegraph) “Paul Smith was 15 when he left school, got on his bike, and pedalled off to his first job at a clothes warehouse in Nottingham. Now, some 50 years later, Sir Paul has been awarded British fashion’s highest honour… The Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Design prize – given posthumously last year to Alexander McQueen – will be presented to Sir Paul at the British Fashion Awards.” Q&A Carine Roitfeld (Guardian) “At the beginning, when you’ve stayed for 10 years in one place, you do miss the people. It was like the baby blues. So immediately I did something new and I didn’t stop working. I didn’t go on holiday, I didn’t have time to regret it, and now I’m very much more positive and have a new project.”