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A new Web site helps you get a life, er, lifestyle

May 14, 2000|DEBRA J. HOTALING

I have a life, not a lifestyle. So I pick up the phone (a push button that plugs into a wall, God help me) and dial Andrew Leary, former lawyer and co-founder of the new Web site http://www.style365.com, which promises to direct me to the most stylish destinations on the Web.

"If Yahoo is the Wal-Mart of the Web, we're the Neiman Marcus," says Leary, who swears that "Arbiter of Style" is not listed on his job description. "We don't preach. We're here to help." The site is well-connected: Bruce Weber shot its ad photos; architect Frank Gehry serves on the board of advisors; and graphics guru Massimo Vignelli (he of the Bloomingdale's shopping bag) designed the dot-com. Divided into four categories--fashion, interiors, leisure and indulgences--the site's directory offers links to what its staff considers the best Web sites out there, from antique linens to Land Rovers.

I'm there. But first, a swift course in Lifestyle 101. While I'm clicking through the site's recommendations, I don't want to get so focused on booking my seven-day military-style survival course in British Columbia (with "guides as fit as Navy Seals," according to style365's blurb) that I forget to order my Zanussi fuzzy logic dishwasher (to help "usher in the future"). Pacing is everything. But when am I supposed to squeeze in time to snap up fresh bread, at 230 francs a loaf, from Boulangerie Poilane in Paris? ("Is it the oven, the flour or the hands that make this legendary Parisian bread so coveted?" muses style365 copy.)

"Say you want to buy a lighter," says Leary. "At our Web site, you can find Cartier. Or Zippo." It's not about money, insists the 35-year-old. "It's not even about luxury. It's about the way you live your life."

I don't think he means my life. Unless, of course, lifestyle means knowing how to concoct dinner for four using only foodstuffs sold at a Little League snack bar. It's not as fashionable as fighting the hostile elements in British Columbia, but it is urban survival.

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