The toy car

You could probably buy a brand new car for the price of a replica classic these days. But that’s not the point. The beauty we have photographed here, from Bentleys London, is a model of a 1950s Ferrari F500 F2: a vehicle that took nine Grand Prix victories and became one of the best-loved cars of all time. The popularity of model cars at collectors’ emporiums and auction houses partially explains the growth in the market for motoring memorabilia in general, from model cars and helmets to driving gloves and watches. When Christie’s Geneva auctioned a collection of Rolex Daytona Cosmograph wristwatches, designed specifically for racing drivers, all 50 watches were sold for a combined total of more than $13 million. The star of the show – a unique model known as the Paul Newman, because the racing-fanatic actor always wore one – fetched over a million dollars, more than four times the expected price. According to Bonhams, the trend extends to old car-sale and promotional books from the Golden Age of motoring, which are achieving impressive prices. Even some rare Scalextric slot cars can reach well over $1,000 apiece. Why? It’s a great way for a car enthusiast to collect, without having to garage a big vehicle. Although, as motoring author Giles Chapman says, what real collectors want to amass is memorabilia from luxury marques such as Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Bugatti and Bentley. “It really has to be something connected with a good marque,” he says, explaining that a Spirit of Ecstasy from the hood of a Rolls-Royce will always find a buyer. “No one,” he adds, “is interested in a model Hyundai or Seat.” bentleyslondon.com


The artist’s print

In the past, the art print was considered a lesser commodity to the original artwork, often secreted in a portfolio, or hung en masse on a passageway wall. But recently the print has returned to favor. Why? Not simply because prints are less expensive and more accessible than an original (who can find an original Matisse painting these days to buy, even if one had the tens of millions to acquire it?) Or because, with the rise of online galleries which have grown web-based art trade to around $2 billion a year, it’s now much simpler to find an original work of art and get it delivered to your home as quickly as your groceries. It’s also because prints, like this one from Hang-Up Gallery, have lost their lesser status. Indeed, since the contemporary art market began to soar in the 1980s, a slew of galleries have started up to offer prints from household-name artists at relatively low prices. “It’s a comfortable entry point for people who haven’t necessarily bought art before,” says James Booth-Clibborn, whose company, Manifold Editions, specializes in contemporary artists. He explains that prints are offered in limited edition, averaging fewer than 70, each signed and numbered by the artist. “Prints are an affordable way to collect works by leading contemporary artists. You won’t need a fortune to start your collection.” There may be another factor contributing to the upward trajectory of these once-derided artifacts. As contemporary art moves into the large-scale installation, video and floor-based sculpture, the small scale of the old medium brings art back to that most popular of all spaces: the domestic wall. manifoldeditions.com, hanguppictures.com


The violet

Until now, the scent of a violet has been thought of as, well, a little old-fashioned and prim. But, like many perfumes beloved by Victorian ladies, the fragrance of this most velvet of flowers is muscling its way back into fashion and scenting the smartest spaces once again. Violets are part of the scent of the St. Regis “Caroline’s Four Hundred Candle”, made by Carlos Huber of the perfumer Arquiste, in homage to the glory days of Caroline Astor, the matriarch of the original St. Regis hotel’s founding family, who hosted some of the most glorious parties New York has ever seen. “The violets in this scent formula would have been the same as the ones Mrs Astor would use as centerpieces in the St. Regis ballroom in the Gilded Age,” says Huber. Why is the flower such an olfactory hit? “The scent is intriguing,” says Huber. “It comes and goes. One minute you smell it, and the next it’s gone. This chemical characteristic makes them attractive and ever-new.” Oils extracted for perfume come from the Viola Odorata, also called the Sweet Violet, which grows in the Mediterranean region and Asia Minor and produces delicate purple, white or variegated flowers that appear in early spring. The scent itself comes from ionones in the plant, which create its trademark sweetness and powdery, woody-floral characteristics that have been popular for centuries. The French Emperor Napoleon was a lover of violets (they are thought to have therapeutic properties, and help to ward off colds, asthma, rheumatic pains and infections) as was his Empress, Josephine, who wore them on her wedding day. And it’s safe to say there was nothing prim about them.


The charm

No one can dislike a charm. Based on a simple talisman hung on a piece of string, it’s one of world’s oldest jewelry styles. While originally charms were carved out of a gem, rock, horn or wood, and worn to ward off evil spirits, in Victorian times, they became more decorative: fashioned from silver or gold and chosen to signify important things in the wearer’s life, from christenings to engagements. When Queen Victoria herself took to wearing clusters of them – some with lockets of hair, others with miniature portraits – the fashion world was quick to embrace them. Soon Chanel and Tiffany (with its iconic Tiffany heart) became renowned for stylish versions, followed subsequently by designers and brands around the globe, from Vivienne Westwood to Chloé, Alison Lou, Jennifer Meyer and Harry Winston (pictured). This time, though, as well as the traditional Cinderella coaches, dogs and ponies clinking on wrists, there are 21st-century motifs, from lightning bolts and skulls to smiling emojis and arrows, worn in clusters on necklaces by fashionable young women. Why the sudden resurgence in popularity? Not only because this boho prop has “passage of life”significance – equally appreciated by both a child and a fashionable woman for a special occasion – but because it’s versatile. Single charms can be worn with a pretty dress or you can bring out your inner Esmeralda with a clinking bunch of them. This season, a bit of wizardry has also been added to the mix: Harry Potter charms that bring not just literary characters to the frame, but a little bit of 21st-century magic too. harrywinston.com


The luxe weight

In the fickle world of fitness there’s been a move away from unsightly and complicated high-tech products towards those that are simple and rather beautiful: excellent news for anyone who likes their workout space to be as beautiful as their home. Following on from other such handsome fitness items as cast-iron kettle bells, Indian clubs and Persian “Shena” push-up boards comes a range of new designer dumbbells so beautiful, they could be mistaken for domestic sculpture. Pent, for example, makes bespoke dumbbells from European walnut with steel and brass inlay – a finely tooled look that (hopefully) complements your rippling abdomen – as well as a range of barbells, called the Lesna, with removable weights that are as handsome as contemporary artworks. (Rather wonderfully, they can be engraved, so everyone knows they’re yours.) The German company Hock Design has created a limited-edition run of 50 sets of dumbbells made from 18-carat gold and rare grenadilla wood, which could be used as doorstops should your quest for the perfect body fizzle out. And the Swedish company Tingest makes marble dumbbells (pictured) in either black or white, as well as kettlebells, which they launched at the Stockholm furniture fair, that resemble exquisite handbags and could sit as happily in a feminine room as they could in a macho gym. These weights don’t just sit incognito while not in use, but declare themselves proudly. And just perhaps, your body will follow their example. pentfitness.com; hockdesign.com; tingest.com


The antiquity

Antiquities that have long gathered dust in museums are at last coming out of hiding and finding new homes in contemporary spaces around the globe. For those fed up with what they believe is the shallowness of contemporary art, the arrival of ancient sculpture in the domestic interior is a welcome relief. Busts are not just visually beautiful – extraordinary examples of master craftsmanship – but a visual dive into deep history. This beautiful 2nd-century white crystalline marble bust of a woman’s head, for instance, from Kallos Gallery, is a depiction of Ariadne, who became the bride of Bacchus, the god of wine. It would have adorned the home of a wealthy Roman, who appreciated not just luxury materials, but the craftsmanship: the wreath here is made of finely carved pine cones and clusters, each finely modeled and hand-drilled. Heads such as this are also becoming extremely valuable at market. In 2010 a Roman marble portrait bust sold at Sotheby’s New York for $23.8 million – ten times the expected $2 million – and in 2014, an Egyptian limestone statue sold for over $20m at Christie’s: almost five times what they expected. Today, dealers and galleries such as Ariadne Galleries, David Ghezelbash, Phoenix Ancient Art, and Gordian Weber Kunsthandel feed an increasingly hungry group of collectors. The current trend is to mix antiquities with modern pieces, in the style of the Belgian seer of modern collecting, Axel Vervoordt. The trick if you get one? Backlight it, says Vervoordt. “That really brings an ancient head to life.” kallosgallery.com


The turmeric root

Having been viewed for decades as a workaday addition to the curry-maker’s pot, turmeric is enjoying its moment in the sun as the spice du jour. The gloriously colored root, with its earthy taste and ability to turn your T-shirt into a Buddhist monk’s robe, is no longer being seen merely as a flavorful addition to Eastern food, either sliced from a root or sprinkled as a dried powder, but as a nutritious addition to tinctures, smoothies, teas and lattes. It’s even being used in face packs and scrubs, to soften and soothe skin. So what are its much-lauded benefits? Primarily that it helps with inflammation. “It has curcumin in it, which is a Cox-2 inhibitor that is a proven anti-inflammatory,” says Jeanette Hyde, a nutritionist and author of the popular health bible The Gut Makeover. “People who do a lot of sport swear by it.” There’s also tantalizing talk that regular use of turmeric could help with a range of conditions, from age-related memory loss and arthritis to a variety of skin conditions, including eczema. When the actress and model Priyanka Chopra was asked the secret of her glowing skin at this year’s Oscars, she cited a body rub made with turmeric, sandalwood, Greek yogurt and chickpea flour. Hyde, who uses it to make smoothies, gives a note of warning, though. “It’s very staining,” she says. Not something to drink when you’re wearing your white Balenciaga, then.


The Luxe Sneaker

So common is sportswear as daily wear, it has a special word: “athleisure”. And it’s booming. The greatest athleisure talisman is the training shoe, which has always had a bit of cachet since it emerged as a streetwear fashion item in the 1970s. These days sneakers are also viewed as exclusive after-party wear – with prices to match. Valentino’s elastic band sneaker, pictured, is at the reasonable end of the market, at about $600. You can drop $3K on Fendi’s Monster Python Leather High-Tops. Stefano Ricci’s suede and croc trim sneakers run to $6,470, while Rick Owens’ Faun Geobasket shoes, made from alligator leather, are about $8,500. Meanwhile, there’s a battle to be the most expensive sneaker, a record currently held by The Fire Monkey, designed by Bicion and Mache Custom Kicks. Priced at $4m, they’re a glittering symphony of diamonds and sapphires with a solid-gold tag. But what type of occasion are top-end sneakers for? They could be for state visits – Cara Delevingne wore Pumas to the White House – or they could equally be for the office or coffee bar. Whatever the event, a pair of thousand-buck sneakers is more likely to be “leisure” than “ath”. valentino.com


The Lightbulb

It’s curious that new technology is making us hark back to old technology with nostalgia-infused fondness. Take lightbulbs. The market for LEDs is booming, and yet there has been a massive march of old-fashioned glass globes with exposed and often decorative filaments. The New York restaurant Craft is said to have kickstarted the trend more than a decade ago, with many of the world’s hippest cafés, eateries and homes following suit. So why the return? They’re often far warmer, twinklier and more expressive than hi-tech LEDs. Crucially, filament lights work well with the industrial-loft look. Find an exposed brick and a filament will not be far behind. But there’s one problem: traditional incandescent lightbulbs are being phased out in many parts of the world, due to their energy-inefficiency. So, what to do? Make environmentally friendly lights that look like filament lights. In the US, the firm Newcandescent started doing this in 2010 and the CEO, Larry Birnbaum, now offers a range of lights with all the stars, hearts and spirals you need. “We’re all addicted to that soft, warm glow,” says Birnbaum. newcandescent.com


Japanese Whisky

Once, all whisky connoisseurs deferred to Scotland, and although whisky was made elsewhere, it was considered a pale imitation. But over the last decade there has been a real growth in Asian whiskies, notably in Japan. A keen whisky-drinking nation, it has made the drink for almost a century. “In the 2000s, Japanese whiskies started winning awards and couldn’t be ignored any longer,” says Dominic Roskrow, author of Whisky Japan: The Essential Guide to the World’s Most Exotic Whisky. “Now Japan is one of the holy grails of whisky drinkers, with specialist bars and a real buzz with connoisseurs.” Although based on Scotch, one can find many styles, from plummy to peaty, floral to fragrant. People are discovering the differences and specifying Hakushu 12 Year Old or Yamazaki Bourbon Barrel. “The fact that Japanese whiskies are often made in small batches, and are often pricey, adds to their glamour,” says Roskrow. “It also means collectors are snapping them up, like the recent release of a Yamazaki single malt, matured in Scotland in Bowmore casks. It was my whisky of 2016.” yamazaki.com