Taking Wine Out of the Cellar

For a libation so closely associated with celebration and ceremony, wine is often relegated to behind-the-scenes status when not being drunk, stowed away in cabinets, or tucked into the dark corners of the basement. Part of this is pragmatic: wines are like vampires, best stored in cool, dark spaces. But wine-storage options for the home are growing bolder and more whimsical, blurring the lines between practical and ornamental while placing bottles within easy reach.The best alternatives simply turn wine into part of a room's décor. Like a sleek and shiny espresso maker, the Skybar sits alluringly on the kitchen counter, where it stores and chills up to three bottles of wine. Individual compartments keep each varietal at its appropriate temperature, and when it's time for a glass, a simple push of a button sends the wine pouring through a convenient spout ($1,000; surlatable.com). For a more mobile option, the Toto bar, made of freijó wood and designed by Brazilian architect Isay...

The Chair Takes a Front Seat

Even the most humorless soul might appreciate the understated wit of Sergio Rodrigues's business card, which depicts the squat, mustachioed octogenarian dozing away blissfully in a well-padded reclining chair. After all, the 82-year-old architect and interior designer has built a lively career out of cheeky chairs. In September, Rodrigues unveiled his latest creation: the Chifruda, inspired by his 1962 design the Aspas, of which only two were produced. Named after the Brazilian Portuguese slang word for a woman with a philandering husband, the oversize armchair features an imbue-wood frame and a seat, back, and armrests made of cowhide, along with an inverted, crown-level arc that resembles horns. A total of 40 pieces have been manufactured by the Brazilian design firm Mendes-Hirth ($20,000; espasso.com).More than any other article of furniture, the chair seems to be bucking the current climate of asceticism and frugality to take a boldly innovative stand. While some designers are...

Tribeca Takes Its Film Festival to Qatar

Fade in on a typical day at the Tribeca Film Festival: dazzling images flash across the silver screen, while A-listers flash megawatt smiles for a sea of paparazzi. Skyscrapers loom over the cobblestoned streets of downtown Manhattan.When the festival debuts its first franchise in Qatar on Oct. 29, the setting will be drastically different—towering palm trees, endless seascapes, sweltering temperatures—but the filmmakers and Hollywood names will all be familiar. The roster for the Doha Tribeca Film Festival includes Mira Nair's big-budget biopic about Amelia Earhart; the Coen brothers' new black comedy, A Serious Man; and Spike Lee's latest venture, Kobe Doin' Work, which will be making its international debut. The goal, says Amanda Palmer, executive director of the Doha festival, is to inspire new talent. "Long term, we want to create a film industry," she says. "Our current priority is film education and financing filmmakers."Tribeca's expansion to the Gulf was the brainchild of...

Why Are Swedes So Good at Design?

What do ecclesiastical garments have in common with a handheld version of a DJ's mixing board? Both were shortlisted for the Swedish Design Award, one of the country's most prestigious accolades.Currently on display at the Eugenides Foundation in Athens, they are part of an exhibit featuring the 10 winners and nine nominees that has been touring the world since June 2008. Other examples include a table with sides six millimeters thick, a light that shuts itself off when the room is empty, microfiber equestrian boots, and the first helmet approved by both the United States and the European Union for a range of extreme sports—including rafting, snowboarding, and mountain biking. Culled from 200 entries, the winning products all share the clean lines, simple materials, and sheer usefulness that have come to define Swedish design. "This is a competition that rewards designers and capitalists," says Anna Björkander of the Swedish Consulate General, noting that the winners had to present...

Travel: Tours with a Whiff of Jasmine and Lavender

For holidaymakers, everything's coming up roses—and every other scent imaginable. When quick drops into fragrance shops seem too fleeting, perfume tours allow connoisseurs to really stop and smell the lavender.In London, each Perfume Pilgrim walking tour visits at least a half-dozen hideaways. The 1001 Arabian Aromas outing uncovers musks of the Middle East, while Scent Sillage delves into rare formu-las ($70 per person; perfumepilgrim.com). Giving new meaning to bespoke scents, Perfume Paths customizes excursions in Paris that last up to four hours; stops might include the Guerlain boutique ($190 per person; perfumepaths.com). New York-based Sniffapalooza organizes scent events and classes in New York, Los Angeles and Italy (sniffapalooza.com).L'Occitane en Provence offers private walkthroughs of its factory in Manosque, France (loccitane.com) but the epicenter of the French perfume world is Grasse, where several influential purveyors maintain their headquarters. Parfumerie...

Christmas Markets That Sure Beat the Mall

Lucky for reluctant shoppers, outdoor outcroppings of stalls spring up each year at this time, proferring handcrafted tchotchkes, unique apparel, housewares, beauty products, toys and exotic delicacies. Featuring 300 vendors adjacent to a skating rink, the Strasbourg market is the largest in France and has been around for almost half a millennium. Situated in the shadow of the Strasbourg Cathedral, it includes a series of charming timbered buildings housing shops and a gingerbread bakery (through Dec. 31; strasbourg.com). Cologne, Germany, boasts six Christmas markets, including the Floating Christmas Market, held on a boat moored on the Rhine alongside the Old Quarter (through Dec. 23; germany-christmasmarket.org.uk).Town Hall Square in Tallinn, Estonia, is home to one of the youngest Christmas markets in Europe, established in 2001. Unlike others in the region, it doesn't close until New Year's Day, giving visitors extra time to peruse the selection of felt hats and slippers,...

Coffee Table Books That Cost More Than the Table

For a holiday gift that really carries weight, some coffee-table books have heftier price tags than the furniture on which they rest. "Guts and Glory: The Golden Age of American Football, 1958–1978" collects published and unpublished works of legendary sports photographer Neil Leifer ($500; taschen.com). For hard-core fans, 200 tomes are accompanied by two rare prints ($1,350). British publisher Opus offers several notable volumes: Harnessing the spirit of a fashion legend, the company has printed 900 copies—in nine different covers—of "The Vivienne Westwood Opus" ($2,100; krakenopus.com). The regular edition of "The Formula 1 Opus" ($5,000; krakenopus .com) also comes in a special run, featuring photographs, stories and autographs from every living world champion, including the youngest-ever victor, Lewis Hamilton ($30,000). And the cover of FMR's "Michaelangelo: The Learned Hand" features a bas-relief replica of "La Madonna Della Scala" carved into marble ($130,000; www.fmronline...

How DNA Is Inspiring Jewelry, Fashion and Art

The building block of life, DNA, is getting a life of its own. "Spit parties" have become the latest social-networking craze, like the one recently organized by 23andMe, a genetic-testing company named for the number of chromosome pairs in the human genome and founded by Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki, wife of Google cofounder Sergey Brin. Combining genetic testing with gin and tonics, friends and family compare congenital predispositions by sharing test results ($399; 23andme.com). Hereditary blueprints can also be turned into personalized perfumes and colognes ($135; mydnafragrance.com). For a perfectly accurate self-portrait, humans can map their—or their pets'—genetic coding in one-of-a-kind works of art that resemble columns of blocks ($550; momastore.org), or place it on canvas, sheet aluminum or photographic paper ($720; dna-art.co.uk). Lanvin cufflinks depict the magic molecule ($130; cufflinks.com), while Genetic Denim has created men's and women's jeans that are labeled XY...

Fashion: Silver Sneakers Put a Shine in One's Step

Silver sneakers conjure images of space treks, but selections from current menswear collections are wearable on earth. Low-tops offer drops of shine, like the chrome golfers by The Generic Man, which are handmade in Portugal from Italian leather and reminiscent of saddle shoes ($265; thegenericman.com). Gucci perforates its name along the sides of its sneakers ($475; neimanmarcus.com). Form meets function in athletic options from Puma Black Label ($225; shopkitson.com) or Field sneakers from Y-3, the brainchild of avant-garde designer Yohji Yamamoto and Adidas ($260; y-3store.com).High-tops put the metal to the pedal, with near blinding shine in Dior Homme lace-ups ($610; eluxury.com) or the muted sheen in a gunmetal pair by Alejandro Ingelmo ($485; bergdorfgoodman.com). A sole Velcro strap seals the deal around the ankle-high laces of Prada's Bike Sneaker ($380; barneys.com). The slight puffiness in YSL's uppers provide an outer-space appeal ($390; saksfifthavenue.com). Its three...

Decor: Tasteful Tokens For Decorating the Home

If home décor is a matter of taste, some designers satisfy appetites with wares that resemble food. A banana-peel stopper can prop open the door ($28; moma store.com) to a culinary-themed room, which might include a porcelain horse-chestnut sculpture with a "husk" that splits open to reveal a pair of lifelike chestnuts ($350; uncommon goods.com). Enveloping a tape measure in a sleek red tomato, jeweler Verdura ("vegetable" in Italian) lives up to its name ($100; verdura.com). Visually and environmentally friendly, the Napa Candelabra is a recycled grapevine that holds five tea lights ($215; whotelsthestore .com). Sushi fans can rest their heads on pillows that resemble seaweed-wrapped caviar ($50) or edamame pods ($69; theoriginal sushipillow.com). Loose tea can be stowed in an apple-shaped caddy by Britain's Fortnum & Mason ($150; fortnumandmason-usa.com) or cupcake-shaped canisters ($38; momastore.com).Who says desserts can't be rich and calorie-free?

Fashion: More Attention on the Back of Dresses

Dresses drawing attention to the back—with intricate, eye-popping and whimsical details—were part of more than a dozen spring '09 presentations at the recent Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. "Every season, there's a different erogenous zone," says Carmen Marc Valvo, who unveiled a black gown with thin straps that merged in a basket weave on the small of the back. Nanette Lepore's red dress had five vertical strips that played peekaboo with a model's back. Veteran Max Azria and wunderkind Narciso Rodriguez revealed gowns that can be likened to mullets: business in the front, party in the back, with thick straps flowing in all directions. Andy & Debb, a Korean husband-wife duo who made their debut appearance on the New York catwalk, presented a cream dress with a row of diamond shapes. "The idea that New York is a melting pot—that applies to fashion," says Joe Zee, creative director of Elle. Backward thinking applies only to the dresses.

Jewelry Stores Try Offering Dining With Diamonds

"Breakfast At Tiffany's" can be experienced only on the silver screen, but purveyors of high-end jewels offer more to feast on than candy-colored gems. On Oct. 13, Mauboussin opens a New York flagship that houses a five-table "salon de gourmandize" where guests can devour pastries and chocolate while trying on jewelry. (mauboussin.com).Bulgari's Ginza Tower in Tokyo is crowned by Il Ristorante, an Italian restaurant that occupies the top three floors of the 10-story flagship. It's accessible via the boutique or directly from street-level—a private lobby leads to dedicated elevators (bulgari.com).Devoid of a formal eatery, Van Cleef and Arpels' Paris flagship on Place Vendôme plies clientele with chocolate and champagne at its Bridal Bar (vancleef-arpels.com).John Hardy's workshop in Bali offers organic versions of Indonesian delicacies such as bebk betutu (stuffed duck baked under banana leaves). Guests sit at a communal table and dine on the house (john hardy.com). It's less costly...

Style: Designers Give Peace a Chance

All designers are saying is give peace a chance. The hippie symbol of the '60s has become the fashion statement of the '00s, adorning all manner of jewelry, clothing and accessories. A studded peace-sign appliqué decorates Koolaburra's sheepskin boots ($395; neimanmarcus.com). Adrenaline junkies can display a softer side with the charcoal-gray T shirt by John Varvatos, which has the two-fingered version of the sign displayed across the chest ($125; bergdorf goodman.com). For those who wear their thoughts on their sleeves, King Baby Studio depicts the insignia as distressed silver cuff links ($215; neimanmarcus.com). Betsey Johnson's Prisoner of Love coin purse, made of black leather and gold chains, sports a heart-shaped peace sign ($78; betseyjohnson.com). Roberto Coin makes the notion charming, creating a white gold pendant that's encrusted with pavé diamonds ($750; saksfifthavenue.com), while Linda Lee Johnson's design sets seven stones on 22-karat gold ($4,550; barneys.com)....

Fashion Designers Turn to the Back

Dresses drawing attention to the back with intricate, eye-popping and whimsical details were part of more than a dozen spring '09 presentations at New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week last week. "Every season, there's a different erogenous zone," said Carmen Marc Valvo, who unveiled a black gown with thin straps that merged in a basket weave on the small of the back. Nanette Lepore's red dress had five vertical strips that played peekaboo with the model's back. Veteran Max Azria and wunderkind Narciso Rodriguez revealed gowns that can be likened to mullets: business in the front, party in the back, with thick straps flowing in all directions. Andy and Debb, a Korean husband-wife duo who made their debut appearance on the New York catwalk, presented a cream dress with a row of diamond shapes. "The idea that New York is a melting pot—that applies to fashion," says Joe Zee, creative director of Elle. Backward thinking only applies to dresses.

The letter X is making its mark on fashion.

Integral to algebra and pirate maps, the letter X is making its mark on fashion. Often a symbol for the unknown, it's hard to miss when beige strips crisscross at the waist of a black bandage dress from Hervé Léger by Max Azria ($1,250; intermix online.com). Black lines intersect at the midsection of a cap-sleeved olive green dress by Chanel ($8,010; chanel.com for locations). Bust lines also feature the X factor; thick black straps overlay the décolletage of a red cocktail dress by Zero + Maria Cornejo ($573; zeromariacornejo .com). For those who don't want to cross their hearts, Kara Ross's X-shaped bangle is plated with 18-karat gold and has a tiger's eye ($215; vivre.com). Miniature gold X's surround a Van Cleef & Arpels onyx cuff from the 1970s, rendering the one-of-a-kind piece both vintage and ahead of its time ($68,000; kentshire.com). There's even an invisible way to wear the trend: patchouli, rhubarb and jasmine are some of the 14 notes in Clive Christian's X perfume (...

Solid Perfumes

Even the most pungent scent eventually fades into the ether, which may be why fragrances are becoming heavier—literally. Resembling lip balm, solid perfumes are long-lasting and portable. Marc Jacobs's eponymous gardenia blend is stored in a compact that slips neatly into a zip-up leather case ($55; sephora.com). London-based bespoke perfumery Miller Harris makes Geranium Bourbon Fragrance Balm ($60; millerharris.com). Some cases are more complex than the scents within; Estée Lauder's Pleasures is packed in a bejeweled spider ($250; esteelauder.com). Paying homage to its handbags, Leiber perfume is encased in a crystal-encrusted Miniaudiere purse ($185; neimanmarcus .com). Yves Saint Laurent conceals a smidge of Elle in its dangling-cube charm, attachable to a tote ($56; sephora.com). And the musky Sublime by Jean Patou is presented in a faux-diamond case that slides open ($95; zitomer.com). Pretty solid.

Luxury Travelers Keep High-Style Journals

Those accustomed to traveling in high style should record their exploits in the same fashion. For the private-jet set, Mrs. John L. Strong's Voyager Diary lists gratuity guidelines for 16 countries, concierge services and international dialing codes, in addition to elegant pages for reflections on the road ($150; mrsstrong. com). As one of only 38 people to traverse both the North and the South Poles by foot, Tom Avery was the consultant of choice for Smythson of Bond Street's Mountain Journal. Hikers and climbers can peruse the 31-page guide at the back of the book for statistics on the world's ranges before recording their own treks ($365; smythson.com). With its gilt-edged pages and glossy sheen, Aspinal of London's extra-large Safari Croc journal is reminiscent of big-game hunts in colonial Africa ($85 and up; aspinaloflondon.com). Paging Ernest Hemingway.

Global Singers Pay Homage To Obama

Even though they can't cast votes in November, artists around the globe are cranking out tunes in homage to the Democratic presidential candidate. Latin-Grammy-nominated Don Omar transformed Obama's surname into the upbeat Reggaeton song, "Como Se Dice," and collaborated with the Cuban band Yerba Buena and over a dozen other Latin stars on "Podemos Con Obama" ("We Can With Obama"). Jamaican crooners are particularly starry-eyed for the politician, with Tyrical's "The Obama Song," Cocoa Tea's "Barack Obama" and Mavado's "We Need Barack" (which mixes Obama's speeches with reggae beats). Grenada-born Calypso singer Mighty Sparrow is working on an entire album of Obama songs, following his hit "Barack the Magnificent."On the other side of the Atlantic, Boy George released "Yes We Can" (a tune by the same name is sung by American hip-hopper will.i.am) while Irish band Drew Hardy and the Nancy Boys proclaim "There's No One as Irish as Barack Obama." And in Kenya, homeland of Obama's...

Jewelry: Black is the New Gold

In jewelry, black is the new gold. While inky diamonds are in vogue, connoisseurs know that they're much like fool's gold: shiny, pretty, yet ultimately devoid of high value. But there are dark rocks that are worth their weight—think onyx, jade and black pearl. Flexible onyx studs cover a silver bracelet by Stephen Webster ($2,900; neimanmarcus.com). Council of Fashion Designers of America award-winner Tom Binns produces a black metal cuff that's adorned with one eyepopping yellow rhodium ($825; neta-porter .com). Long-established houses are also hip to this new phenomenon; Mauboussin's Perle de Ma Vie (Pearl of My Life) white-gold ring features a single jet-black Tahitian pearl, surrounded by colorless diamonds ($4,700; mauboussin .com). Verdura's Diamond Dome earrings are globes of black jade with a strip of white pavé diamonds running across the center like an equator ($7,500; verdura .com). London-based Garrard, the oldest purveyor in the world, houses an intricate, reversible,...

When It Comes to Fashion, X Marks the Trend

Integral to Roman numerals, algebra and pirate maps, the letter X is now making its mark on fashion. Often a symbol for the unknown, it's hard to miss when thin beige strips crisscross at the waist of an iconic black bandage dress from Hervé Léger by Max Azria ($1,250; intermixonline.com). Black lines also intersect at the midsection of a cap-sleeved olive-green dress by Chanel ($8,010; chanel.com for locations). Bust lines also feature the X factor; thick black straps overlay the décolletage of a red cocktail dress by Zero + Maria Cornejo ($573; zeromariacornejo.com). For those who don't want to cross their hearts, Kara Ross's X-shaped bangle is plated with 18-karat gold and has a tiger's eye at dead center ($215; vivre.com). Miniature gold X's surround a Van Cleef & Arpels onyx cuff from the 1970s ($68,000; kentshire.com), rendering the one-of-a-kind piece both vintage and ahead of its time. There's also an invisible way to wear the trend: patchouli, rhubarb and jasmine are...

DJ Tiesto Plays the 2008 Olympic Games

China has promised an Olympics this year of unparalleled grandeur and novelty. Still, when viewers tune in to the festivities next month, the Games' signature sound might seem a bit familiar. That will be thanks to Netherlands native Tijs Verwest, better known as DJ Tiesto, who blew away crowds with his live musical performances during the opening ceremony at the 2004 Athens Games. Since then, Tiesto has mixed tunes for the likes of Justin Timberlake, snagged a Grammy nomination for his album "Elements of Life" and completed four tours in Asia, Europe and North America.Now Coca-Cola has tapped him and seven other Western musicians to compose soundtracks for the Beijing festivities. The tunes—which are paired with eight different Coke-bottle designs created by Chinese artists—reflect the theme of common global desires, such as good fortune, strength and perseverance and a healthy world. Tiesto's hypnotic electronic track "Global Harmony"—and its visual match, graphic designer Xiao...

Sunglasses Come in Wild Prints and Patterns

While on the lam in "North by Northwest," Cary Grant disguises himself with black sunglasses. Immediately someone asks, "What's wrong with your eyes?" Attempts at traveling incognito might fail just as badly with this season's bold, patterned sunglasses. Once limited primarily to tortoiseshell, prints now come in all shapes and stripes.The king of patterns, Emilio Pucci, places his iconic abstract designs on the arms of magenta frames ($285; neimanmarcus.com). Yves Saint Laurent sees spots through its leopard motif ($250; bergdorfgoodman.com). Zebra stripes are also popular; Leiber's white and purple lines are the result of minuscule mosaics on an amethyst-hued background ($775; bergdorf goodman.com). Moss Lipow makes an arresting pair of cherry-colored lenses surrounded by strips of red leather, but also creates custom patterns ($1,100–$4,000; mosslipow.com). And like a funky lining under a no-nonsense coat, Thakoon's jet-black frames hide a navy and white tie-dye print ($315;...

Beauty: Beating The Heat With A Spritzer

Summertime and the living is … refreshing, thanks to facial sprays. Canned or bottled, aerosol or pumped, scented or fragrance-free, these hydrating mists cool parched visages.Lavender notes spring up in Decléor's Fresh Hydrating Mist ($22; sephora.com). Linden blossoms perfume the Toning Floral Water by style child Stella McCartney ($35; sephora.com). Parisian brand Sisley offers hints of rose in its Eau Florale ($65; saksfifthavenue.com). Ole Henriksen's Balancing Cucumber Face Mist harnesses the vegetable's soothing properties ($21; olehenriksen.com).Natura Bissé won't reveal the ingredients in its Diamond Mist ($79; neimanmarcus.com), but The Mist from La Mer proudly touts its marine extracts ($50; saksfifthavenue.com). With restrictions on liquids, jet-setters should stick to the travel-size Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System from Amore Pacific ($35; bergdorfgoodman.com).Getting back to basics, La Roche-Posay's Thermal Spring Water contains natural minerals...

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