Best Guide - luxuries and amenities

Welcome to the first annual "B.E.ST Guide." Living well is an inherent part of our culture. This premier supplement features pages of recommendations on the "best" in ... Style (fashion, fragrance), Wining & Dining, Destinations (spas, luxury vacations, and beach-front mega resorts) and Passions (luxury automobiles, yachting, coin collecting, premium cigars, golf, etc.) and highlights the ways we work. Play. Shop. And simply, how we enjoy the finer things in life.

Economic conditions have never been better for African American consumers. Our earnings increased significantly between 1998 and 1999 from $441 billion to $491 billion; and along the way, the face of America's newest millionaires took on a new hue, too. Our goals are now bigger homes, faster cars, and billion-dollar deals. We've watched our parents play the corporate game, but have decided to forge our own way -- on our own terms.

The power of style is in its shorthand declaration of individuality, allowing us to say who we are and what we're about without having to say a word. From an early 1930s Duke Ellington commanding the stage at Harlem's famed Cotton Club in tailored suits and coordinating vests, to Sean Combs commanding runways with his lush, plush, and opulent Sean Jean clothing line, Black male style has always been a defining force in the world of fashion. That means being secure enough to take the best of Prada, a little bit of the Gap, toss in a liberal dose of Jeffrey Banks, and stir. Because those who know are too busy starting trends to simply follow dictates.

For women, fashion's focus is on global warming. A memorable Italian experience is just a likely to be a tour of the Ufizzi or a Sardinian summer as a funky pair of Versace hip-huggers, Dolce & Gabbana python boots, and a Gucci tote picked up during an afternoon at Saks Fifth Avenue. Wherever we go, fashion remains at the top of our must-do list.


B. michael, Seventh Avenue's only African-American collections' couturier, is quickly gaining international recognition for his apparel and accessory designs. While b's initial acclaim was through his talents as a millinery designer, he has since developed a loyal following of professional women, international socialites, and worldwide celebrities, including Cate Blanchett, Halle Berry, Nnenna Freelon, and Cindy Blackman. "I am inspired by the woman I dress," comments b.

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