Looking for a knockout gift? Why not bestow a luxury customized gift precisely tailored to the personality, experiences and aesthetic of your recipient? Our correspondent Julie Chang Murphy has developed a luxury gift guide of unique, bespoke, and tailor-made presents. You’ll have the fun of knowing that no one else in the world has exactly the same item as your gift recipient. And they’ll know it, too. That’s some serious luxury. But you have to plan ahead if you decide to go for it.
a bespoke luxury gift can be rewarding for both giver and recipient
You may assume that unique, bespoke, and tailor-made gifts are the purview of tragic romantic figures in history. Or that they’re another way for celebs in our culture to obtain more publicity and notoriety. But anyone who has ever planned and purchased a luxury customized gift knows that it can be a really rewarding endeavor for both the lucky recipient and for the giver. The art of giving is in itself a luxurious act – one that engages all of your creativity, intuition and ingenuity.
However, creating something that is one-of-a-kind and once-in-a-lifetime takes time. If the December holidays are your goal, then the beginning of summer is perfect timing to start planning for a unique, bespoke, tailor-made gift.
We have some ideas beyond monogramming that will be sure to impress that special person in your life. Whether for the holidays, a house-warming, an anniversary or a birthday, we’ve identified four areas where bespoke items can work beautifully for gifting: home decor; fine jewelry and accessories; and fragrance.
unique, bespoke, and tailor-made luxury gifts
for the home
1. Léron Couture Linens
Who: Owned and operated by the same family for three generations, Léron Couture Linens creates custom bed, bath and table linens.
What: The company can work with you to design luxury bespoke gifts for almost any room in a home. And they can become cherished keepsakes. For example, one Léron client returns her Thanksgiving tablecloth each year so the company can add in embroidery the signatures of those who sat at her table. Another had the artisans embroider her bed linens with the varieties of field flowers that bloom on her ranch in Montana.
How: Potential clients can visit the Léron showroom in the D&D building in New York City or schedule a home visit. And of course, you can also call or email to start the process of designing your bespoke piece. The company will provide color samples, swatches, and threads and advise you on the design based on your decor, timing and budget.
Timing and Price: Timing is dependent on the scope of the project. But assume you’ll need at least 4-weeks for one custom piece. A hand-embroidered tablecloth starts at $8,000.
Who: Founded by draftsman and modelmaker, Ben Taggart, and his partner, Paul Murray, a writer and historian, Archistory creates unique architectural drawings of a home, along with a fully researched house history.
What: Beautifully presented in one large picture, this luxury bespoke gift tells the story of a home, usually beginning with a short outline of how the area developed and lead to the construction of the house. It will detail the architectural style and the building techniques used. Other details might include selected details of the previous owners’ social history, professions, family relationships, domestic servants and places of birth.
How: Taggart and Murray will conduct a site visit and produce an architectural elevation drawing, small map and detailed house history. In addition to private residential homes, ‘Archistories’ can also be commissioned for commercial buildings that might be of significance to your gift recipient.
Timing and Price: Each commission takes approximately 6 weeks and starts at $1,250 for properties within London. Costs go up for work throughout the United Kingdom and abroad.
3. Pangea Maps
Who: Nautical shop Pangea Maps will create a customized coastal map based on nautical charts to render the underwater topography of your gift recipient’s favorite waterfront location.
What: Lake, river or ocean, majestic estate or thatched hut, you can commemorate a special place or a special memory in a creative way. Martha’s Vineyard, anyone?
How: The custom maps are made from birch plywood and acrylic, and can be created for any location in the world. They’re unlabeled, so the actual location can be as opaque or as transparent as you like. The maps arrive framed in a plywood box.
Timing and Price: It may take up to 28 days following confirmation of your order before your map is ready to be shipped (the design and layout require final customer approval before any materials are cut). The price is $390 for an 18” square.
4. Alexa Pulitzer Stationary
Who: New Orleans based custom stationer Alexa Pulitzer Stationery has received commissions for her exquisite social stationery designs for high-end stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Kirna Zabete and Tori Burch.
What: In addition to social stationary, Pulitzer also produces custom crests, illustrations and monograms that can be embossed on stationery and fine china.
How: Alexa Pulitzer provides all types of printing options: engraving, embossing, letterpress, thermography, and flat printing. Their ecru and white papers are custom-created exclusively by US mills specializing in fine art and conservation paper.
Timing and Price: After an initial consultation via phone or email, Alexa creates custom artwork which can take 1-3 weeks. The client is presented with two options and changes to artwork are billed at $125/hr. After the artwork is approved, the printing process takes 7-9 business days (up to 20 days if using gilded edges). Custom stationery starts at $1,500.
1. The Perfumer’s Story
Who: Azzi Glasser is an award-winning perfume designer and owner of The Perfumer’s Story. She specializes in creating luxury bespoke gifts of fragrance (including self-gifts, of course) for the world’s top fashion designers, beauty brands, Hollywood actors, musicians and artists.
What: The fragrance is presented in a beautiful crystal bottle engraved with the name and formula number of the unique perfume, encased in a luxury handmade box, along with 20 travel-sized bottles.
How: Glasser captures the client’s character, personality and style and then composes an exclusive perfume using handpicked rare ingredients from around the world. Consultations take place within a studio at Glasser’s private residence and are strictly by appointment only.
Timing and Price: From the first appointment to having the finished product in hand, the average lead time for a bespoke fragrance is 3-4 months. According to a representative from the maison, it can be quicker than that – it entirely depends on the individual.
The other hurdle you’ll have to jump? There’s a waiting list for consultations with Glasser. You can book through the Harvey Nichols Concierge Service at the Knightsbridge store, via Net-A-Porter’s EIP Atelier Service or directly at the brand’s website. The personalized service comes with a significant price tag: it’s reported that each fragrance costs about $20,000.
2. Sarah Horowitz Parfums
Who: Sarah Horowitz Parfums is a Westlake Village, California-based fragrance house.
What: Horowitz is known for creating private label and custom fragrances that have attracted a cult following among fashion industry insiders and celebrities.
How: Horowitz taps into memories, personality quirks and recent experiences when creating each client’s unique scent, creating the perfect luxury customized gift.
Timing and Price: There are three options. The first is a private appointment with Sarah at her studio. You’ll be able to leave the studio that day with your customized perfume in hand for $1,000.
The second is an abbreviated session (at a fraction of the cost) with the team at the LA Fragrance Bar. You can also expect to take your fragrance home that same day.
Finally, you can customize a perfume online with the brand’s Fragrance Journey. After completing a series of questions on likes and dislikes, you’ll be sent three samples from which you can choose. Or you can opt for another round, until you find the exact fragrance you’re looking for. The latter option takes a few weeks.
Who: Julianne Zaleta is a professional perfumer, aromatherapist and herbalist who creates high quality natural perfumes made in small batches at her studio atelier in Brooklyn, New York.
What: Every luxury customized gift from Alchemologie is handcrafted from the freshest possible ingredients. Organics are used whenever possible, as the brand has a keen awareness of the importance of sustainability.
How: To create a custom scent, Julianne will meet privately for a step by step process to teach you how to blend a selection of scents into a bespoke luxury gift perfume. Clients can choose from over one hundred essential oils, absolutes and concretes, some rare and exotic, to create a fragrance that is uniquely tailored to the wearer’s body chemistry. And that reflects their personality and interests. The consultation includes a 1/4 ounce perfume.
Timing and Price: Consultations start at $250 for 1.5 hour appointments and $125 per hour thereafter. For $300, clients will have access to more rare and exotic oils such as Champaca, Carnation, Coffee Flower, and Orris Root.
Fine Jewelry and Accessories
1. Sharon Khazzam
Who: Sharon Khazzam was the sole in-house jewelry designer for Asprey for eight years.
What: For over 20 years since then, Khazzam has designed luxury bespoke jewelry under her own brand name. We love her work, and we think it’s one of the best luxury customized gifts to give – and surely among the most beautiful.
How: During an initial consultation, Khazzam shares selections from her collection of precious gemstones. She’s seeking to understand the details of the client’s lifestyle, the intended use of the new piece, and also which of their features they are most hoping to showcase. Khazzam then creates an original sketch, and after additional discussions crafts the jewelry itself by hand in her New York studio.
Timing and Price: The bespoke process can take as little as 4 weeks once the order is placed (it can also take a year, depending on the complexity of the piece). If time starts to runs short, you can find her permanent collection at Barneys New York , Isetan and Mitsukoshi in Tokyo, and Ylang 23 in Dallas. Prices for a pair of earrings start at about $7,500; bracelets are $8,000 and up, and necklaces are $15,000+.
2. Jimmy Choo
Who: The celeb favorite shoemaker is known for sexy and glamorous shoe designs and exceptional Italian craftsmanship.
What: Jimmy Choo now supplies luxury customized gifts including shoes and clutches.
How: Choose from a menu of colorways, fabrication and finishes to construct your own pair of bespoke shoes or clutch. First, customers browse through the models of existing styles. After choosing a silhouette and altering the heel height, there will be multiple options for color and fabrication. At the end of the process, you can choose to personalize the shoe with a monogram, personalized text or plaque engraved with a special name or date that is adhered to the bottom of the shoe.
Timing and Price: Each shoe takes at least 8 weeks to complete and be delivered. Prices start at $800.
Who: Mociun is a fine jewelry line and brick & mortar store based in Brooklyn, New York, founded by Caitlin Mociun, creating unique, bespoke, tailor-made gifts.
What: The fine jewelry line is known for their one-of-kind stone cluster rings using antique diamonds and rare gemstones.
How: Share your inspiration and preferences for design during your custom consultation. Clients then select from Mociun’s selection of curated diamonds and colored gemstones like Bi-color Sapphires, Black Opals, Paraiba Tourmaline and Moonstones.
Timing and Price: Appointments are generally booked out a month in advance in store, by phone or via Skype with Caitlin herself. Once a design is selected and approved, production will take anywhere between 6 to 8 weeks. Pricing is dependent on selected gemstones.
4. Yaelle Handpainted Scarves
Who: Yaelle Handpainted Scarves is a design brand dedicated to creating beautiful luxury bespoke gifts of hand-drawn silk scarves.
What: The designer combines her high fashion pedigree (having worked with Matthew Williamson and Roksanda) with her multicultural background to create scarves that are unique and globally inspired.
How: YAELLE will weave your story into beautiful silk in the brand’s signature look. They’re known for intricate hand-drawn motifs matched with lush watercolor hues. Each scarf is designed and made in England. Inquiries and consultations can be initiated via email.
Timing and Price: Depending on the intricacy and detail of the design, the scarf can be produced in 6-8 weeks. Pricing is dependent on design and scarf size.
There you have it. Our picks of the best unique, bespoke, tailor-made gifts. The best luxury customized gifts are within reach if you get started in time. And even if you don’t actually create one of these, isn’t it fun to dream?
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Crediting her training as a cultural anthropologist at Wellesley College, Julie has immersed herself in various industries in the last 15 years including fashion design, event planning, fitness and even investigating police misconduct. Julie lives in NYC where she loves trying every ramen and dumpling restaurant with her husband and three children. She finds joy in bold prints, biographies of fierce women, kickboxing and spending way too long finding the perfect polish color to express her mood.
Join our community
For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter. And see luxury in a new light.