In a year defined by an economic downturn, manufacturers and designers stepped up to create pieces that inspire dreams and remind us all to keep living the good life.
Here is a month-to-month guide of the most decadent and extravagant items of the past year:
January 2009 – Put Your Drinks on Ice
What better way to keep your New Year’s bubbly chilled than with a diamond and crystal encrusted wine cooler? Amsterdam based La Fraicheur started the year off with a bang with the debut of this one-of-a-kind wine accessory with a price tag of $145,000.
February 2009 – The Lap of Luxury
Less than a year after his death, Yves Saint Laurent was gone but not forgotten. Auctioned at Christie’s for $28 million, Laurent’s brown leather armchair became the most expensive piece of 20th-century design ever sold at the famous auction house.
March 2009 – Dressed to the nines….or the millions
Who knew International Women’s Day could turn the entire month into a lady’s shopping paradise! While Chris Aire’s $20 million diamond dress came in a close second place, first place for the month was a tie. Susan Rosen created the $30 million diamond studded bikini and Stylo produced a $30 million masterpiece – a diamond dress dubbed the “Nightengale of Kuala Lumpur.”
April 2009 – Posh Pooch
Spring time brings out the whimsy in many people and this year was no different. April saw a $30,000 cupcake with diamond toppings from Mr. Mervis, the most expensive champagne of all time from Leon Verres and Paris Hilton’s $400,000 diamond-encrusted dashboard, but it was a Thai jewelry designer that took top prize this month. His $4.2 million tiara for his pet dog used 250-carats of emeralds and diamonds in a titanium setting.
May 2009-Racing to the Top
In an auction of Italian supercars organized by RM Auctions at Ferrari’s Maranello home in Italy, an iconic 1957 Ferrari 250 Testarossa set a new world record for the most expensive motor car ever to be sold at auction. The car sold for an incredible $12 million.
June 2009- Blinged Out Brides
At the mid-point of 2009 we saw the world’s most expensive espresso machine and the world’s most expensive magazine ($6,500 per issue!), but Vietnam based designer Huy Vo showcased the winner – a $117,000 bridal gown decked out in 222 diamonds and 100 red rubies. The gown took Vo 40 days to complete and features a gemstone flower made of 22 big rubies and 8 big diamonds and a big waterdrop-shaped ruby to symbolize love.
July 2009 – To the Tune of Thousands
Going out in style, Michael Jackson’s $25,000 solid bronze and 14-karat gold plated custom casket was a front runner for most expensive item in July, it was another musical icon that topped the list. Audi Design Studio, with designer Philip Schlesinger, created an incredibly sleek and modern piano priced at $139,867 to celebrate Audi’s 100th anniversary.
August 2009 -Speed and Style
Honorable mention this month goes to the Sultan of Brunei who was the recipient of the world’s most expensive haircut at $21,495, but on this list of tangible products only, Rolls-Royce was the big winner for August. The “Star of India,” a one-off 1934 Phantom II 40/50 HP Continental “All Weather Convertible” that belonged to the Maharaja of Rajkot was named the world’s most expensive car at $14 million.
September 2009-Is There a Luxury App?
Alexander Amosu unveiled the world’s most expensive diamond encrusted Blackberry this month, a limited edition piece selling for $200,366. Crafted in solid 18-carat yellow gold and encrusted with 4,459 brilliant cut diamonds, this is perhaps the heaviest Blackberry in existence as well. Only three will ever be made and one handset has already been sold to a client in the Middle East.
October 2009- A Girl’s Best Friends Close At Heart
In a month when you could have bought the Batmobile for $1 million or the $1.4 million Dartz Monaco Red Diamond Edition that boasted whale penis leather interiors, Victoria Secrets edged everyone out with their $3 million diamond bra. Designed by Italian jewelry house Damiani, it took 15 artisans approximately 800 hours to craft this one-off bra. The 18-karat gold harlequin-patterned net was embellished with 2,355 colorless and cognac diamonds with a 16-carat heart Champagne diamond pendant that dangles from the center.
November 2009 -Deck the Halls with Diamonds
Year end celebrations began early with the influx of expensive liquor including Vielle Bon Secours 12-liter bottle of ale for $1,200 and Dalmore Oculus’ whisky sold for $46,400 at auction, but as always, the diamonds have it. In the spirit of the holidays it was 38-year old Mark Hussey, owner of the family business Hallmark Jewelers that created the $136,000 ornament. Made of 18-carat white gold and plastered with over one and a half thousand diamonds and 188 red rubies, this stunning bauble took a year to complete and debuted just in time to grace the tops of trees everywhere.
December 2009-Gilt-y Pleasures
Manufacturers and designers pulled out all the stops to close the year out with a bang. From Patrick Knowles Designs’ $500 million gift set of a Megayacht, Airbus A380 and a custom interior brand (too intangible to be included as the winner) to Ginza Tanaka’s $135,000 Mount Fiji made of pure gold, it was a month of extravagance. However the most expensive item for December ended up being…a piece of furniture! Auctioned at Christie’s for a whopping $7.3 million, the Cucci Cabinet is an ornate piece of art dating back to 1665 to 1675 and is one of only three wooden cabinets crafted by Italian artist and craftman Domenico Cucci. This gorgeous cabinet features Florentine “pietra dura” plaques with gilt bronze mounts, elaborate marquetry and intricate modeled carvings of figures.