Fabrics Even Finer Than Cashmere

The shift toward lighter, softer fabrics is changing the precious-wool market. In addition to improved milling techniques and an increased appetite for novelty, changing lifestyles have wrought a dramatic transformation in the fabrics that high-end consumers are looking for.

Luxury Jewelry: Not Just for Women Anymore

Earlier this month, news leaked that rapper Jay-Z was looking into launching a line of male jewelry. Of course, there is nothing new about pop musicians wearing jewelry, whether it’s rapper bling, goth skulls, hippie beads, or heavy-metal chains. But changing from customer to jeweler is a big step, and Jay-Z is not the first musician to take it.

London Gardens Where Smoking Is Encouraged

They are called COSAS—an acronym for Comfortable Outdoor Smoking Area. And according to Jemma Freeman, the sixth-generation owner of the London-based Havana cigar importer Hunters & Frankau, “They are opening up in London at the rate of one a week.”

Haute Couture Shows Embrace Jewelry Designers

For those who order their year by the fixed calendar of fashion, late January and early July are synonymous with Paris couture. To be allowed to use the term “haute couture,” a fashion house must maintain an atelier and show twice a year in Paris, present a minimum number of outfits to the fashion press, and make garments to measure with fittings for individual clients.

Racing Through History at Britain's Epsom Derby

As the colorful 19th-century Whig politician Lord Palmerston put it, “Epsom week is our Olympic Games.” That was back in 1847, when both houses of Parliament adjourned for most of the week of the Derby, then the world’s most famous horse race. The way Palmerston saw it, the holiday was “part of the unwritten law of Parliament.”

Basel Watch Fair Report

The Basel Watch Fair, or Baselworld, to be precise, is the second great horological gathering of the year. The Geneva fair comes first, but while the January fair in the lakeside city is ritzier, the Basel undertaking is bigger.I have been attending the Basel fair for most of the past 20 years, and it is testimony to the hold that watches have over me that I still feel a frisson of excitement as I enter the grand hall each year. I am always amazed by the ways the industry manages to innovate and surprise, and this year was no different. Though the scars of the financial crisis remain apparent—CEOs have been replaced and jobs lost—many stalwarts created opportunity out of the misfortune. When the high-profile movement-maker BNB failed, for instance, the irrepressible Hublot boss, Jean-Claude Biver, hired 30 of its staff, at a stroke creating an in-house haute horlogerie division. In Basel, Biver proudly displayed the fruits of that new endeavor, including a minute repeater.The...