Elisa Mala

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 "Guts and Glory: The Golden Age of American Football, 1958–1978" collects published and unpublished works of legendary sports photographer Neil Leifer ($500; taschen.com).

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.

Haute For Chocolate

It's a bird! It's a plane! At the New York Chocolate Show, it's a sweet superhero showdown.

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).

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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").

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.

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).

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.

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.

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).

Grooming: Razors To Relish

Shaving doesn't have to be a chore. Luxury razors feel sleek and substantial in the hand as they combat stubble in style. Established in 1805 by the Duke of Edinburgh, Truefitt & Hill offers ebony, faux horn or imitation ivory Wellington handles ($110; truefitt andhill.co.uk).

4 Hours In Atlanta

Mainly steel and concrete, Georgia's capital doesn't look like much from the highway. But rewards await for those willing to probe a little deeper. Touch stingrays, bonnethead sharks and anemones at the Georgia Aquarium, the world's biggest.