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In the Very Exclusive Know

April 26, 1999|VALLI HERMAN-COHEN

When you need hand-woven silk from Florence and a gold-leaf dog bed from London or custom-made shirts from Naples, one book can now give you names, numbers and the inside scoop.

"Europe's Elite 1000: The Ultimate List 1999" (Cadogan Publications) functions like a glossary for the language of the rich. The 320-page book is primarily a listing of the best luxury goods and services from such style capitals as London, Milan and Paris. It also names 100 Leading Europeans and 100 Rising Stars in business, the arts and sports, sure to cause much teeth-gnashing among those not included.

The alphabetical 1,000-item luxury list is illuminating reading as it shows how and where the ultra-rich spend their ample money. A selection just from the A's includes agencies that staff yachts, the world's best antique auctions, the showroom addresses of designers Azzedine Alaia and Alberta Ferretti, and even Antico Setificio Fiorentino, the 300-year-old Florentine silk weaving company. It also provides telephone and fax numbers, but never prices, for the best suites in the best hotels, the finest opera festivals, golf resorts and even safari outfitters.

An additional list of 100 Best Kept Secrets ventures further afield, through Europe's best suppliers of gelato (Gelateria Umberto in Milan), cigars (Havana in Moscow) and plastic surgery (the Czech Republic's Pruhonice Clinic).

Some high-profile names weren't included "because they appear to us to . . . be resting on their laurels, rather than constantly reviewing and upgrading their standards," says the book's creator, former magazine publisher Kevin Kelly, who created Departures magazine and the World of Interiors. The books are for sale at selected Borders and Rizzoli bookstores.

Of course, affluence is not just a European prerogative. To help Americans spend just as lavishly, Kelly is compiling "America's Elite 1000--The Millennium List," which is scheduled for a late fall release. The entries in both books will be updated yearly for annual editions, the better to maintain the publication's high standards, Kelly said.

Of course, Kelly assured that the listings aren't for sale (though 36 pages of advertising are in the European book). He's especially keen to know who in Los Angeles produces the best of the best and welcomes nominations. If your stuff is up to snuff, call Cadogan Publications at (212) 633-6488.

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