Designers and other style mavens share their sources for fabulous holiday presents.

Sonali Rao
December 01, 1998

There are people whose jobs require them to know where to find items to suit every taste at every price--classic, chic, surprising, fantastic, outré or all of the above at once. Who better, then, to turn to for inspiration when it comes to gift shopping than these arbiters of style? We asked a legion of creative professionals in the worlds of food and design to share the names of some of their favorite stores and some of their favorite food- or drink-related gifts. This list of amusing, practical or indulgent presents for the kitchen, dining room or bar should help you get a head start on your own holiday shopping.

NEW YORK

GEOFFREY BEENE, FASHION DESIGNER
Outlook: "I believe in quality at the right price." Shop pick: Museum of Modern Art Design Store (44 W. 53rd St.; 212-767-1050). Gift choice: A chic and useful triangular trivet in silver and blue aluminum ($35).

AMY FINE COLLINS, WRITER
Outlook: "I buy the unexpected from a well-known source or something absolutely one-of-a-kind from an out-of-the-way or recherché source." Shop pick: Maxilla & Mandible (451 Columbus Ave.; 212-724-6173). Gift choice:An assortment of coral, shells, rocks, sea urchins and starfish for creating unusual tabletop arrangements ($1 to $150 per piece). Another shop pick: Best Cellars (1291 Lexington Ave.; 212-426-4200). Gift choice: Great wine finds for under $10.

ELISSA CULLMAN, INTERIOR DESIGNER
Outlook: "Presents should be timeless." Shop pick: William-Wayne & Co. (850 Lexington Ave.; 212-737-8934). Gift choice:A set of American pressed-glass tumblers with a thistle pattern ($15 each). Editor's note:Cullman's C & K Collection at Cullman & Kravis(790 Madison Ave.; 212-249-3874) has terrific gifts, especially the coasters ($25 to $54 each).

THAD HAYES, INTERIOR DESIGNER
Outlook: "I believe that it's better to give one beautiful thing than a lot of little gifts. I prefer simple pieces that can be worked into any interior, no matter the style--modern or traditional, formal or casual." Shop pick: Moss (146 Greene St.; 212-226-2190). Gift choice: An Osvaldo Borsani "P40" sleek reclining chair ($3,975).

GREG JORDAN, INTERIOR DESIGNER
Outlook: "My rule of thumb in buying gifts is to mix whimsy and opulence. For instance, I recently gave someone a pair of real miniature burros whose names are Party Pants and April Fool's." Shop pick: David Linley at Bergdorf Goodman (754 Fifth Ave.; 212-753-7300). Gift choice:An exquisite, handcrafted wooden pear-shaped box ($275).

CAMPION A. PLATT, ARCHITECT
Outlook: "You can spend a lot of money if you want to, but the price won't matter if the gift isn't right." Shop pick: Bowery Kitchen Supplies (460 W. 16th St.; 212-376-4982). Gift choices: Ever-practical and surprisingly great-looking expanding sponges ($7 to $13 a bag); a sophisticated stainless steel olive-oil can from Italy ($17).

SAN FRANCISCO

ANTHONY ALBERTUS, PROP STYLIST
Outlook: "I like stores that make me feel like a witty shopper." Shop pick: The Gardener (1836 Fourth St., Berkeley; 510-548-4545). Gift choices: A plastic funnel to decant anything, from wine to olive oil ($5); heavenly "Empereur" or "Bourbon" tea in fabric bags from Mariage Frères ($19).Another shop pick: Restoration Hardware (281 University Ave., Palo Alto; 650-328-4004 or 800-762-1005). Gift choice: A penguin cocktail shaker based on a 1936 design ($48).

GARY HUTTON, INTERIOR DECORATOR
Outlook: "I often make mental notes of things that my friends wish for aloud." Shop pick: Hurd Beeswax Candles, in Napa Valley (3020 St. Helena Highway N., St. Helena; 800-977-7211 or 707-963-7211). Gift choice:Fabulous handcrafted beeswax bamboo candles (in custom sizes, $13 to $42). Another shop pick: Enoteca Wine Shop, in Napa Valley (1345 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga; 707-942-1117). Gift choices: An antique corkscrew ($40); a wine coaster or tastevin in sterling silver ($250 to $2,500).

PAULA LE DUC, CATERER
Outlook: "If I see something great, I buy it, then give it when the opportunity presents itself." Shop pick: Fillamento (2185 Fillmore St.; 415-931-2224 or 888-500-8507). Gift choice: A woven Asian basket ($15 to $65) filled with loose yellow lentils cradling a silver vase ($14 to $70). Another shop pick: Smith & Hawken (2040 Fillmore St.; 415-776-3424 or 800-776-3336). Gift choice: Florentine fiberglass planter in basket-weave motif ($150), lined with leaves and filled with bread.

STEPHEN SHUBEL, INTERIOR DECORATOR
Outlook: "I shop professionally on a daily basis, but when I'm buying gifts for friends, I need to be more creative with less money." Shop pick: Sue Fisher King (3067 Sacramento St.; 415-922-7276). Gift choices: A handblown English glass ornament ($5 to $20); a silver charger engraved with the Vatican's crest ($250).

HONOLULU

SHEILA DONNELLY THEROUX, PUBLIC RELATIONS EXECUTIVE
Outlook: "I shop all year round, wherever we travel, from Istanbul to Jaipur." Shop pick: Garakuta-Do (580 N. Nimitz Hwy.; 808-524-7755). Gift choice: A Japanese obi cloth, which can be used as a table runner ($15 to $65).

LOS ANGELES

THOMAS BEETON, INTERIOR DECORATOR
Outlook: "My problem is that I tend to give gifts I can barely part with." Shop pick: Algabar (920 N. La Cienega Blvd.; 310-360-3500). Gift choices: A black lacquer and mother-of-pearl chopsticks-and-rest set ($26); exotic tea-scented candles by Mariage Frères ($58).

KARYN MILLET, PUBLIC RELATIONS EXECUTIVE
Outlook: "I like to give simple presents wrapped with real ribbon and special paper. I enjoy staying home at night and wrapping everything up just so." Shop pick: Urban Gardener (1811 W. Cliff Dr., Newport Beach; 949-642-2949). Gift choice: A rosemary topiary ($10 to $49). Another shop pick: Home and Style (23011 Moulton Pkwy., Suite A-16; 800-565-5831). Gift choice: Antique-style white tassle-shaped candleholders ($24 each).

ROSE TARLOW, INTERIOR DECORATOR
Outlook: "One-stop shopping is the only way to go." Shop pick: Maxfield (8825 Melrose Ave.; 310-274-8800). Gift choices: Grumpy Old Men chocolates ($56); a Christian Tortu pewter vase ($80 to $775); a set of collectable Sixties Hermès silver-plate rope-trimmed coasters or an ice bucket ($1,750 to $1,850).

ASPEN

HARLEY BALDWIN, GALLERY OWNER
Outlook: "My most important Christmas shopping is for my wire-haired fox terriers, who are spoiled but appreciative." Shop pick: Gucci (203 S. Galena St.; opening in December) Gift choice: Plexiglass double dog bowl ($750). Another shop pick: Louis Vuitton (201 S. Galena St.; 970-544-8200). Gift choice: The "Aspen"canvas backpack ($715) to use in place of a picnic basket.

CHARLES DALE, CHEF AND OWNER, RENAISSANCE
Outlook: "Only give gifts you'd be pleased to receive." Shop pick: Chequers (520 E. Cooper Ave.; 970-925-7572). Gift choice: A set of four silver-beaded coasters in an organza bag ($25).

PETER M.HELBURN, EVENT PLANNER
Outlook: "I like to add to someone's collection in keeping with their home and entertaining style." Shop pick: Cooking School of Aspen (414 E. Hyman Ave.; 800-603-6004). Gift choices: For friends who are always enlarging their pantries, a basket of hard-to-find condiments--chutneys, oils, salsas and mustards ($8 to $50); a gift certificate for a hands-on cooking class, which includes a full meal with wine ($125).

CHRISTINA WRESSELL, PROP STYLIST
Outlook: "I like to pamper people with simple but luxurious items that make them feel special." Shop pick: Spatique Beauté (520 E. Durant Ave.; 970-925-4648). Gift choices: Products by Skin, such as fragrant Tahitian vanilla and ginger soaps ($5 each) and Citrus Salt Glow exfoliant ($27).

NEW ORLEANS

ANGÈLE PARLANGE, SHOP OWNER
Outlook: "I like to give frivolous gifts!" Shop pick: Peter Patout Antiques (920 Royal St.; 504-522-0582). Gift choices: A vintage china finger bowl that doubles as an hors d'oeuvres dish ($40); a 19th-century French handblown glass flycatcher ($300). "It looks great on a bar or a dining table." Editor's note: Angèle Parlange Design (5419 Magazine St.; 504-897-6511) is a local favorite, with items like the oversize "Five O'Clocktails" double-on-the-rocks glasses ($19 each).

CATHRYN FOLEY,ARTIST AND DESIGNER
Outlook: "For a great gift, I think happy and fun." Shop pick: Sister Agnes (3450 Magazine St.; 504-269-9444). Gift choices: A set of six antique sterling silver mint julep sippers ($325); a "Daphne" compote dish by William Yeoward ($360).

MIMI READ, DESIGN JOURNALIST
Outlook: "When you come up dry, give them something wonderful and edible." Shop Pick: Pied Nu (5521 Magazine St.; 504- 899-4118). Gift choice: A tremendous jar of Bella Cucina preserved lemons ($40).

MARIO VILLA, DESIGNER AND GALLERY OWNER
Outlook: "I try to find gifts that I'd love to get too." Shop pick: Latitudes (612 Julia St.; 504-566-9888). Gift choice: Opulent-looking serving pieces in mother-of-pearl, coconut wood and horn ($6 to $20 each).

PALM BEACH

LARS BOLANDER,DECORATOR AND STORE OWNER
Outlook: "I try to give things people wouldn't buy for themselves." Shop pick: Tiffany & Co. (259 Worth Ave.; 561-659-6090 or 800-526-0649). Gift choice: "Windham" lead-crystal candlesticks ($50 each). Editor's note: Lars Bolander(375 S. County Rd.; 561-832-2121) is another excellent source, with such products as Swedish-designed handblown glass bottles ($75 each).

LETA AUSTIN FOSTER,INTERIOR DESIGNER
Outlook: "Presents to treasure are those that have a homemade touch." Shop pick: Il Papiro (343 Worth Ave.; 561-833-5696). Gift choice: A leather-bound, hand-painted Venetian scrapbook ($55 to $250). "I writemy favorite recipes inside for a personal accent."

MIMI MCMAKIN, DESIGNER AND STORE OWNER
Outlook: "The personality of the gift should mirror the personality of the recipient." Shop pick: Vivi's Stationery (3 Via Parigi; 561-655-9374). Gift choice: Place cards made of luxurious paper, with cutouts of the host's initials ($24 for 50 cards). Editor's note: McMakin's own shop is Kemble Interiors (294 Hibiscus Ave.; 561-659-5556), where she sells objects for decorating a dining room, kitchen or patio, including verdigris copper lanterns ($285 to $385 each).

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