If your Christmas list includes a Zainfeld Twin Turbo Pantera for $1.3 million or a $10,000 doghouse, you're in luck. These and other pricey baubles are waiting at the Luxury Lifestyles Show this weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Items that give new meaning to the word upscale are featured at this third annual show, which offers conspicuous consumers ample opportunity to conspicuously consume.
If the $1.3-million Pantera is out of your price range, try the $310,000 Marquis Motor Coach that comes complete with a Jacuzzi, or the $135,000 Ferrari Testarossa. Men's suits that sell for $3,000 have an unusual twist--the wearer's name or initials can be handwoven into the fabric.
"Cocooning" is a popular trend, but even couch potatoes deserve a little pampering. Clutch a custom-made, signed teddy while curling up on an $80,000 antique rug, remodel your kitchen into a palace of culinary gadgetry for $50,000 or build a solarium with a built-in insulated shutter system.
Doghouses that would make Jim and Tammy Bakker's mutt jealous include a French chateau with marble floors and tapestries, a Swiss chalet and an English manor. Kitty can sack out in a Greek temple that doubles, for convenience, as a coffee table.
And when the material world starts to cave in, zip away from it all in a hot-air balloon, or take a nighttime helicopter ride over the city.
Worried about cash flow because of an unpredictable stock market? Dan Greene isn't. As president of the Southern Pacific Exhibition Group, which produces this and several other trade shows, Greene is convinced this will be the best year ever for this show.
"Southern California has its own economy," he said confidently. "Los Angeles is a phenomenon unto itself. It takes something really, really major to affect it. And I don't think Angelenos have ever had guilt about consuming. At one show I watched a guy sign a check for $103,000 for a car, and he was haggling about the sales tax.
"When the market is like this," he added, "people especially want to put money into their property. That's the one safe bet."
It took Greene and his colleagues six years to research the marketplace for the Luxury Lifestyles Show.
"We had to figure out what the public perceived as luxury. What we discovered was that everyone's idea of it is different. To some it's remodeling, or fine art, interior design, exotic motor cars or jewelry. And to some people it's staying at home, being in front of the electronics, just pushing buttons," he said.
But he stresses that it's not only millionaires who attend the show (a survey taken last year revealed the median income of shoppers was $75,000). Items on the low end of the scale include baskets of gourmet foods starting at under $10, hand-knotted carpets from $30 and Scandinavian jewelry from $10.
The show is not without a dash of altruism. On Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. there will be a charity auction to benefit the Children's Burn Foundation. McLean Stevenson will host the auction, which features celebrity memorabilia (including furs and jewels courtesy of Zsa Zsa Gabor) and goods and services from the show's exhibitors. Other celebs are scheduled to attend, and items will be on view until the auction begins.
Show hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children 6 to 12; children younger than 6 and seniors 65 and older admitted free. Information: (213) 659-2010.