'Tis the time for giving. This holiday season, affluent consumers are more comfortable with their spending. On average, affluent households spend more than four times more than the average family on holiday gifts, according to the National Retail Federation industry trade group.
“After four plus years of reprioritizing and realigning their spending to match their values, affluent consumers are feeling quite good about themselves and their ability to maintain — and even increase — their family’s happiness and well-being,” says Jim Taylor, vice-president of Harrison Group, a marketing consulting and research services firm.
For those who want to spare no expense, there are plenty of fashionable items that are on trend — leopard gloves, checkered pajamas, and metallic heels, to name a few. But personalized gifts focusing on relationships and experiences, and products that help raise money for charitable causes, are just as fashionable, as affluent consumers look to give gifts that are more meaningful.
Click ahead for some luxurious gift ideas.
By Jessica Naziri
Posted 04 November 2011
Valentino Creative Directors Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Churi introduced the Demetra bag as part of their "Goddess Collection." Valentino’s limited edition Demetra collection bags are exclusive to Bergdorf Goodman.
The prim top-handle bag, pictured here, features structured lines and braided detailing to create a couture classic. Only three of this extremely limited edition bag exist worldwide, one each in red, green, and black.
A smaller tote version is available as well, with a similarly limited edition of just two each in black and green, with a price tag of $15,400.
A folly is a foolish action, but it also is a whimsical or extravagant structure built to be a conversation piece or to commemorate a person or an event. This folly does both.
Inspired by the classic 1960s TV show “I Dream of Jeannie,” this 18 foot in diameter yurt — a structure invented centuries ago by ancient Mongols — may be a serene place to call your own. It's also an item in the famed Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, which is known for its extravagant and whimsical gifts. For every retreat sold, Neiman Marcus will donate $5,000 to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
You can choose the color scheme and decor for your folly, from its linen wall coverings to the acrylic glass door and dome. The room’s other noteworthy embellishments include a custom, handcrafted crystal chandelier from New Orleans-based Julie Neill Designs.
Talk about making a statement. These calf fur and leather boots have a 14.5-centimeter heel and a rubber sole. They were worn by models strutting down the catwalk at the autumn/winter 2011 Alexander McQueen fashion show. Model Heidi Klum was snapped wearing similar versions of the thigh-high boots walking around the streets of Los Angeles last year. “Gossip Girl” actress Taylor Momsen also wore a similar version of these boots to the MTV Europe Music Awards held in Spain last November.
Car enthusiasts wait each year for Neiman Marcus’ exclusive limited-edition car. This year was no different.
Powered by a 651-horsepower V12 engine, the 2012 Ferrari FF jumps from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than 3.7 seconds, and comes with Ferrari’s seven-year maintenance plan. This edition’s interior features soft-touch, semi-aniline leather, a technique which helps retain the hide’s natural surface, and is paired with matching custom luggage. It also features a lightweight four-wheel drive system, so it can be driven in tough conditions.
Those who purchase this car get a bonus: Buyers will be enrolled in the 2012 Ferrari Winter Driving Experience in Aspen, Colo., where they can learn how to handle the car in any weather condition.
In the past, these cars have sold out quickly, and this year was no different. The FF, which stands for Ferrari Four, went on sale on Oct. 27, and all 10 sold out the same day.
Fans of Gucci's best-selling Sukey bag have something to celebrate this holiday season. Creative Director Frida Giannini has designed an updated version of the bag that features Gucci’s diamante pattern in a deep chocolate brown, and sports a detachable interlocking G charm. Best of all, 25 percent of the retail price for each bag will be donated to UNICEF’s Schools for Africa initiative, which provides access to education for children. For a second year, Gucci has also pledged a $1 million donation in addition to the proceeds from the bag.
Catherine Moellering, executive vice president at the industry publication Tobe Report, says this holiday season, the determining factor for many is a social consciousness. "People are looking for gifts that help, even if they have to pay more for products that give back, " she says.
There are limited quantities of the bag available in Gucci stores in more than 20 countries, and on Gucci’s website through Feb. 28, 2012.
In the latest edition of the annual Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, which puts out its list of fantasy gifts, the retailer is offering a limited number of private tasting events for spirits lovers. This time around, the focus is on Johnnie Walker, the most widely distributed brand of blended Scotch whisky in the world.
The recipient of this gift can invite 20 guests to his or her home for a very special evening. The group will be entertained by an authentic Scottish bagpiper, while a Master of Whisky discusses the attributes of the five premium brands in the Johnnie Walker portfolio: the Blue, Black, Gold, Red, and Green Labels. An event planner will be on hand to make sure everything goes as smooth as your Scotch.
To remember the evening, guests will leave with an engraved bottle of Blue Label, the brand’s premium blend.
Only five of these tastings are available and all of the proceeds from this tax-deductible event will go directly to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.
Animal prints are hot this winter. These high-top Yves Saint Laurent leopard-print, cowhide sneakers will bring out your wild side. They sport the classic YSL logo on the sneaker's tongue and heel.
Jewelry, often a symbol of love and an expression of gratitude, is on the top of many wish lists. Online jewelry retailer Bluefly recently launched a diamond collection that features fashion pieces and pendants bearing words and initials. This diamond and sapphire "evil eye" necklace by KC Designs is a symbol often worn to ward off the “evil eye.”
Pajamas are another popular gift choice. These pajamas in Burberry’s iconic check design are comfortable and stylish. While wearing pajamas in public has become a growing trend, we recommended just hanging out in them at home.
Why give a generic gift when you can personalize a product and be unique?
Under the famed French luxury goods house's "Mon Monogram" program, you can personalize a version of classic LV luggage and handbags with different stripes styles, colors, and initials.
Once you choose your item, from the Pégase 45 ($2,800) and 55 ($3,270) wheeled cabin cases, the iconic Speedy 40 ($1,030), or classic Keepall 55 ( $1,370), you can pick up to three initials, and choose vertical or diagonal stripes. The pieces come in 17 colors, each one based on the colors used to paint Louis Vuitton trunks for more than a century.
This customization is available online, where you can view a simulated design with your finished product, and in all Louis Vuitton stores.
The eyes may be a window to your soul, but these sunglasses are a symbol of your fashionable style. These Chanel cat-eye shaped sunglasses accentuate the face. The temple tops are made of interlaced lambskin leather and a leather chain stamped with a metal CC signature. The frames come in brown, black, and wood.
Life happens at a fast pace, so it's easy to miss a good shot. But unlike the conventional camera that captures a single plane of light, the Lytro camera uses light-field technology, which captures the entire light field traveling in all directions.
Since you'll capture the color, intensity, and direction of all the light, you can focus after the fact. No auto-focus means no shutter delay. Users can alter a picture’s focus from the foreground to the background and back again with just a click.
The Lytro is so small you can fit it in your palm. This camera comes in red ($499, 16GB), graphite ($399, 8GB), and electric blue ($399, 8GB). You can order one now — but cameras start shipping in early 2012.