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Published: Wednesday, 10/19/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Luxury retailer revs up for holiday shoppers

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brady White during the unveiling of the Neiman Marcus Catalog in Dallas,  Tuesday. Brady White during the unveiling of the Neiman Marcus Catalog in Dallas, Tuesday.
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DALLAS — For shoppers seeking a bit — or a lot — of holiday extravagance, the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book unveiled yesterday is offering options like a $420,000 tour of European flower shows on a private jet and a $250,000 handcrafted mahogany speedboat.

At a cost of $1 million, customers can have a fountain installed at their home. The “his and hers” gift features two underwater robot nozzles that will be programed to make the water “dance” to music. If that’s not in the budget, though, there’s also the calendar paperweight for $25.

The Dallas-based luxury retailer, known for the extravagant and often outrageous “fantasy gifts,” said the 85th edition of its catalog has about 600 items, with almost half of them under $250.

“When I look at this book, there’s something for everyone, but at the same time, you do have the whim and the whimsy of the fantasy,” said John E. Koryl, president of Neiman Marcus Direct. “You don’t need to buy everything to be inspired.”

Publishing house Assouline is offering a custom-built library filled with 250 of its books for $125,000. Eduard de Lange, vice president of sales and distribution for New York-based Assouline, says the company will create the library anywhere a customer chooses: “It could be in a mansion. It could be on a boat, on an airplane,” he said.

Looking for something with a little speed? There’s an exclusive edition of the 2012 Ferrari FF, which reaches top speeds of more than 200 mph. The catalog offers 10 of the Ferraris with four-wheel drive in the silver-gray color “grigio caldo.” A set of tan leather luggage matching the interior is included in the $395,000 price.

Artist Tom Burr has created a $45,000 piece made of black rubber that doubles as a Ping Pong table. For $5,000, Johnnie Walker is offering a scotch tasting for the buyer and 20 guests — complete with a bagpipe player.

An 18-foot-diameter yurt for $75,000 could provide someone with a backyard getaway, said interior designer Rebecca Vizard, who will decorate the inside of the tent.

“I think it would be great as just a little escape, a place to go … Or to have a dinner party in there would be fun,” she said.

Mr. Koryl said that part of the lure is getting items that show fine craftsmanship. The 27-foot mahogany Hacker-Craft speedboat took 1,400 hours to build and will feature the name its owner bestows in 23-carat gold leafing.

“This is the most glamorous boat that can be seen on waters anywhere in the world,” said Ken Rawley, spokesman for New York-based Hacker Boat Co. Inc.

Most of the fantasy gifts are paired with a charity that will benefit from their sale.

The department store chain is part of Neiman Marcus Group Inc.



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