Worth Avenue, the Rodeo Drive of Florida

francine_boissonneault

Francine Boissonneault

Worth Avenue is aptly named – it’s one of the world’s most famous shopping streets, with a wealth of luxury goods, highly prized by the rich and famous who frequently wander the sidewalks.

For over 100 years the lush island of Palm Beach has attracted royalty, celebrities, socialites, politicians, personalities, writers, artists and captains of industry. They built monumental mansions and extravagant estates nearby, they threw lavish parties and had the time of their lives. And, of course, they shopped with a passion!

Stretching four blocks from Lake Worth to the Atlantic Ocean, Worth Avenue first became fashionable after the construction of the Everglades Club in 1918 – and has never looked back. Among the oldest retailers still trading is Kassatly’s Linens, established in 1926. Maus & Hoffman, also something of a Worth Avenue institution, arrived in 1961. Described as “the ultimate haberdasher” and “a fine men’s store for total outfitting”, it boasts extravagant wrapping paper made from uncut sheets of genuine $1 or $2 dollar bills – how very Palm Beach!

Worth Avenue now boasts more than 200 shops, offering everything from world-class designer jewellery, clothing and shoes to internationally acclaimed paintings and antiques. This year it has also benefitted from a $14 million renovation and facelift that features spectacular landscaping and parks. Here are some of my top tips for some truly exceptional shopping experiences.

The east end of the street begins with Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus – although they have stores nationwide, here they are uniquely Palm Beach. Saks will open on Sundays or after hours by appointment for special customers, while at Neiman an escalator ride is an ethereal two-storey descent through dangling strings of white feather butterflies and mirrors.

PB_Jewellery

Jewellery

Vilebrequin, at 150 Worth Avenue, is where the celebrities, including Prince William, Pierce Brosnan, and George Clooney, go for the hottest, brightest swimwear. If diamond baguettes are more your thing, boutiques such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, and Tiffany offer ample bling. For a less costly but highly appealing alternative, try the costume jewellery at Mariko. Although the boutique offers many pieces of real jewellery, such as the ivory, Lucite, and silver ethnic baubles from New York sculptor Patricia Von Musulin, its specialty is “travel” jewellery — replicas of fine jewels or very sparkly alternatives.

Non-wearable art also abounds on the avenue. The Gasiunasen Gallery offers a variety of museum-quality pieces by well-known artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse. In Via Parigi, one of several shady courtyards off the main street, you’ll find Stubbs & Wootton, purveyor of exclusive velvet embroidered slippers – the truly well-heeled request these Palm Beach must-haves with hand-stitched initials.

Serious fashionistas flock to Eres, at 303 Worth Avenue, for this season’s most desirable lingerie and swimwear, while those who can never have enough shoes (with achingly chic bags, accessories, eyewear, watches, perfumes and haute couture to match) Salvatore Ferragamo, at 200 Worth Avenue, is an absolute must.

Finally, the avenue’s smallest store is Bibi’s Doggie Boutique, specializing in color-coordinated luxury collars, leashes, harnesses, dog bowls, beds, tee-shirts, coats, and other high quality items for dogs.

PB_shopping

Shopping

From end to end, with its elegant offshoots, Worth Avenue stretches for less than a mile, but in that short distance it manages to cram in more desirable labels, brands and stores, from Gucci to Giorgio Armani, Brooks Brothers to Jimmy Choo, and Michael Kors to Ralph Lauren, than you can shake a Louis Vuitton bag at. Did I mention they have a store here? It’s at 150 Worth Avenue!

One final thing, The Chesterfield Palm Beach is just two blocks from Worth Avenue and we’ve just introduced a special package for dedicated shopaholics – click here for details, and make the most of your retail therapy!

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2 Responses to Worth Avenue, the Rodeo Drive of Florida

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