Insider Shopping: The Neiman Marcus Christmas Book


  Do we hear designer sleigh bells? Pour a mug of spiced cider and read on for shopping guru Rhonda Sargent Chambers’ review of Neiman’s much-anticipated 2011 gift catalogue.     This year’s Neiman Marcus Christmas Book shouts from the snow-dusted, twinkle-light-lined rooftops, “We are philanthropists!”   Luxury brands have taken a hit in recent years, so Neiman’s is going a step further in 2011 with its over-the-top gift catalog via charitable giving tie-ins with a variety of worthwhile causes. All of the proceeds from a Johnnie Walker Private Scotch Tasting ($5,000), for example, go to amFar, and a $2,500 donation goes to Big Brothers Big Sisters with the purchase of a Tom Burr Table-Tennis set ($45,000).  

  It makes for many feel-good shopping moments, to be sure, for those who can afford the exorbitant price tags in the Fantasy Gift category.   On the other hand, this strategy didn’t take the sting out of my reaction to an 18-foot designer yurt package called “Dream Folly” ($75,000). In countries like Mongolia, often over-crowded and polluted, entire families call these oversized tents homes. This gift was a misstep, in my book.  


  Moving on to the rest of the book – items for women, men, and home - the photography is fresh and elegant. Filled with drama, I found the contemporary fashion pages especially eye-catching. Those who follow trends will recall a strong push for the color Bordeaux this year from Neiman Marcus Fashion Director Ken Downing. With each page, his influence is clearly evident.    

    My favorite accessory pick is a pair of Alberto Fermani military-inspired boots ($545).  My top choice in holiday attire is the Diane Von Furstenberg sequin-covered, fire engine red gown ($1,600). A must-have for every fashionable coffee table is the Assouline Coco Chanel book set ($2,500). It is packaged in a lovely Chanel signature tweed slipcase.  

    But not all gifts in The Christmas Book are bank-breakers. Truly affordable, and absolutely stunning, are Dogeard’s Moroccan Hoop Earrings ($62). For him, a variety of leather Tech Cases by Abas are also wallet-friendly.   However, if you have been really, really good this year, you might ask Santa for the 651-Horse Power V12 Engine Ferrari FF. Exclusively made for Neiman Marcus, it’s priced at a cool $395,000. Golden Retreiver sold separately.  

  (All photos, credit

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