Who’s the hottest men’s designer? Where can a woman find the most stylish shoes without sacrificing comfort? What are the premium accoutrements for today’s business and lifestyle demands? And which premier destinations help you escape from it all? We talked to our writers and editors as well as scores of experts, enthusiasts, and industry tastemakers to answer those questions-and more. Our result: The black enterprise Guide to the Best of Everything.
From high-end fashion and luxury autos to top-shelf spirits and enchanting resorts, this comprehensive package reveals the finest products, unmatched services, and world-class experiences for professionals and entrepreneurs who work smart, play hard, and deserve nothing but the best. Just as important, we unveil a number of African American innovators and emerging talents worthy of recognition. They represent the force behind some of the world’s first-class brands and exciting new properties. Read the following pages of our inaugural guide and discover the ultimate lifestyle.
Best Emerging Men’s Designer: Nana Boateng: Born in Ghana, Nana Boateng is a clothier to the stars with his custom men’s line-Akua Adoma-offering suits, shirts, and overcoats, featuring Persian lamb and Australian wool (the softest in the world). Clients include actors Forest Whitaker, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Luke, Terry Crews, and tennis star Boris Becker. Carried in boutiques in London, Tokyo, and Rome, suits range from $1,800 to $5,000; coats $3,000 to $6,000. www.akuaadoma.com
Best Ties: Robert Talbott: Robert Talbott ties are known for their signature fabrics, intricate weaving, and fine quality. All neckwear is hand-sewn on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Each tie is given special consideration such as the Seven Fold tie, which is created with seven hand-cut layers. www.roberttalbott.com
Best Cufflinks: Longmire: Longmire provides men with one of the world’s largest collection of cufflinks in 18-karat white, yellow, and rose gold and a stunning array of stones including diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. www.longmire.co.uk
Best Bespoke Designer: Ozwald Boateng: Designing for more than 20 years, Ozwald Boateng (Nana’s cousin) is the first black to own a boutique on Britain’s famed Savile Row. His one-off designs, entirely made by hand, have impressed celebrities from Laurence Fishburne to Mick Jagger. Boateng also has his own line of fabrics sold around the world. www.ozwaldboateng.com.uk
Best Custom Shoes: GJ Cleverley: The art of custom shoemaking is a rare skill. Renowned bespoke shoemakers George Glasgow and John Carnera inherited the knowledge of the craft from their mentor, famous London shoemaker George Cleverley, whose store they now operate. Using pre-Revolutionary Russian reindeer hide salvaged from a Danish ship sunk nearly 200 years ago, the duo fashioned a pair for Prince Charles. www.gjcleverleyco.uk
Best Men’s Retail Experience: Ralph Lauren: A New York City landmark, the Rhinelander Mansion-with antique furnishings and cashmere upholstery-houses Ralph Lauren’s flagship men’s boutique. http://stores.polo.com
Best Leather Goods and Accessories: Martin Dingman: Martin Dingman provides an extensive assortment of belts, shoes, wallets, and other accessories. Fashioned in European tradition, each piece is a timeless design, exquisitely constructed in the world’s best leathers and exotic skins by hand. www.martindingman.com
Best Emerging Jewelry Designer: Mychael Knight: He is