Private Arts Patrons Set Up Public Museums

In a sign of the expanding role that private wealth plays in public life, well-off collectors are inaugurating their own exhibition spaces—often in countries where contemporary-art scenes are growing and government support of the arts remains paltry.

New Galleries Heat Up New York's Art Market

The financial crisis may have been the best thing to have happened to New York's art scene since Andy Warhol. At its peak in 2007, the market was certainly ripe for a takedown: too many galleries selling subpar work at inflated prices, centered in one neighborhood—Chelsea—where prohibitive rents allowed only the most commercially successful to survive. Now, in yet another sign that the financial meltdown may finally be behind us, several significant new gallery spaces have begun to open...

Sleeping With the Devil

For most people, knowledge of this exotic Australian island begins and ends with the animated antics of a Looney Tunes character, which isn't surprising considering that the journey to Tasmania from America or Europe can take more than 24 hours.

Learning to Play Polo

When I was growing up, I was on a first-name basis with Polo, Ralph Lauren's line of preppy staples. But I've come to understand that the little mallet-wielding man on a horse embroidered on my shirts is more than just a logo; it's a symbol of one of the world's most storied sports. And polo is becoming an increasingly popular leisure pursuit, thanks in large part to canny marketing and the crossover appeal and tireless efforts of star players like Nacho Figueras, himself a Ralph Lauren–brand...

Fashion Shows Go Live Via the Web

The seating arrangement at a fashion show has always telegraphed power and prestige; Vogue editor Anna Wintour, for instance, sat front and center at Jason Wu this season, draped in fur and dripping with jewels, flanked by The September Issue's breakout star, creative director Grace Coddington. But that hierarchy is being upended by the industry's hottest new trend: streaming shows live, which bestows first-row status on anyone with a laptop and a high-speed Internet connection.This season both...

Dining as Extreme Sport

High-end adventurers have plenty of options, from luxury safaris to guided Antarctic treks. But few think of food as a frontier offering the same kind of adrenaline-rush-inducing excitement. Maybe they should: a growing number of restaurants offer new opportunities for those bored with traditional dining. Forget wearing a sport coat while waiting for a soufflé; this is eating as extreme sport.Dinner in the Sky elevates top chefs, along with other staff members and 22 guests, to unmatched...

The Art of Louis XIV, on Display at Versailles

When it comes to the contemporary conception of luxury, the Western world is forever indebted to Louis XIV, the French monarch who can take credit for elevating lifestyle to a fine art. With his extensive acquisitions and ambitious projects, the "Sun King" embraced a pattern of conspicuous consumption echoed in the hypermaterialist culture that has defined the past 20 years. We may be living through the repercussions of our latest spending frenzy, but our fascination with the finer things in...

A Few Luxury Hotels Buck the Trend of Restraint

A year ago, travelers were still flying high, booking deluxe ocean-view suites without a second thought. Today luxury is a six-letter word that most tourists are resigned to living without, instead seeking special deals and bargain promotions. Faced with little choice, most hoteliers have tried to accommodate them; in New York the average daily rate year-on-year fell 30.1 percent in September, according to Smith Travel Research. But a select group of premium hotels around the world are bucking...

Hi-Tech Home Visions at the Milan Design Expo

In the last decade, as wild financial growth was accompanied by an explosion of ostentation, the world of high-end furniture—perched between pragmatism and corporeal comfort, and enjoyable primarily in the confines of one's home—remained a bit less giddy. Today, as the rest of the luxury industry is stripping away layers of bling, the home-furnishings world is focusing on creating a satisfying post-crisis life. The products reflect both an ongoing infatuation with high-tech progress and an...

Fashion: Luxury Brands Get Back to Their Basics

Before Yves Saint Laurent revolutionized the world with his first prêt-à-porter collection in 1966, fashion was a luxury that fell under the purview of the select few who could afford to spend thousands of dollars on a bespoke evening gown or suit. Everything else was just clothing. Today it's the opposite: what once would have been considered just clothing now aspires to the label of fashion—explaining the success of brands like J.Crew, the Gap, Topshop and H&M, which deliver the look of...

Fashion: Creating a Whole New Look for Leggings

Leggings are back—but not the kind that might trigger a bad "Flashdance" flashback. Some Indian brands are using unconventional materials and cuts to reinvent the wardrobe staple. The trend began in 2006 with American Apparel's metallic version, and underwent a cross-cultural revision at Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai in October. The talented designer Nikasha remakes the traditional Indian churidhar, tight-fitting ruched trousers, in semi-sheer cotton leggings that add to its sex...

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