Hey, big spender

What would you buy if, as Halifax customers found this week, you came into a windfall? Whether it's a state-of-the-art chair, a David Bailey print, or a decadent holiday of a lifetime, pounds 2,000 out of the blue is a chance for a bit of fantasy shopping. Here, some key arbiters of style give us their ideas for a big splurge

John Eagan, managing director of Tom Toms post-war antiques dealer in London

I would buy a late Fifties black Charles Eames lounger and ottoman worth around pounds 2,000, by Herman Miller.

Michelle O'Gander, editorial director, 'Elle Decoration'

At the moment I am repainting my bedroom in a lovely biscuit colour, so to complement the natural colour scheme I would have to have the beautiful double bed with staves from the Mondo Moderno range for Cappelini. It is pounds 1,875, made from a wonderful deep chocolate African palm wood called menge and the delicate streaking is unique. As the centrepiece of the room it would have definite presence and character. Of course, I would have to have some bed linen with an equally wonderful texture, something like Catherine Remi bedsheets in tan or raw linen which would add to the natural, organic feel that I am trying to create.

Ally Capellino, fashion designer

There are a few things that spring to mind, but I've plumped for a Seventies MG BGT convertible in yellow or orange. I've been dreaming about it for a while. I love the look of it and I'd like something to be independent in. I haven't got a car of my own - we have a family car.

Stephen Bayley, design writer and consultant

While objects fascinate me, I'm not much of a consumer because I think the real challenge in the contemporary world is to dispose of junk rather than collect more of it. Still, a windfall of pounds 2,000 would present some hard-to-resist temptations. Something bought with funny money, to be truly pleasurable, would have to be completely irrational and unjustifiable. So, as someone who already owns more watches than he can rationally wear, I'd go straight out and buy a second-hand IWC Fliegeruhr Mk XII. Or a Leica M6. No other two objects have quite the same delicious combination of technical perfection and frivolity.

Lulu Guiness, handbag designer

I'm decorating at the moment, I've got loads of tears from magazines, but I'm desperate for a French or Italian white marble fireplace as a centrepiece in my lavender-coloured dining-room, from Battersea Fireplace Warehouse.

Tyler Brule, editorial director, 'Wallpaper' magazine

I'd buy a navy suit from Richard James in Mayfair, and the rest I'd spend on a new Swedish designer, J Lindeberg, who's based in New York.

Tom Dixon, furniture maker

I'd buy a second-hand silver Jaguar XJ6, because it suits my champagne lifestyle and lager budget. British cars are luxurious, with mod cons like air conditioning and leather trim, and you can pick a decent one up for pounds 1,200. With the rest I'd get my Moto Guzzi bike fixed.

Joseph Ettedgui, designer and retailer

A cigar and a Bellini cocktail, because they both give me instant pleasure. The rest of the money I would donate to children's charities.

Mrs Burstein, owner of Browns fashion stores

I'd go to the South of France and blow the lot. I'd go to Cap Ferrat and stay at the Grand Hotel. It's so luxurious I'd probably only get a week for pounds 2,000 but that's all you need.

Antonio Berardi, fashion designer

I'd put the rest of the money to it and buy a ticket on Concorde to New York and go to my all time favourite club, Cafe con Leche. If I was being sensible, I'd buy a desk for my office and a bed.

Interviews by Cat Green, Amy Hamilton Fleming, Holly Davies

Tim Jefferies, director of Hamiltons photography gallery in London

A 1965 David Bailey photograph of Michael Caine for pounds 1,750. It's the signature picture of Britain's most famous living photographer. It is an edition of 51 prints and is even more special as Bailey prints his own pictures. It's also a beautiful object.

Christopher Farr, textile designer

A Romeo Gigli tapestry in a gold field with red and orange zigzag and ochre border. I like it because it's typical Gigli, with an exotic yet different feel.

Valerie Mendes, chief curator, textiles and dress, Victoria & Albert Museum

The choice is so enormous, it's almost too difficult to pick, and pounds 2,000 doesn't go very far. One would think on the 20th-century side of life ... perhaps a Balenciaga outfit. He's acknowledged as a master of the 20th century. For the money, we'd get quite a mainstream Balenciaga, not a gigantic evening ballgown. As it would be a windfall, I would give it away as a present to the V&A.

Jeff Heading, director, Conran Shop

A She chair and footstool in velvet, pounds 1,504 by Prospero Rasulo. It's cool, sexy and modern.

Harriet O'Brien, 'Independent' travel correspondent Your windfall might not cover a classic dream ticket: a trip to New York travelling on the QEII and Concorde - pounds 4,939 in July (inclusive of two nights at the Waldorf Astoria) through Thomas Cook (0990 66 62 22). Yet there are plenty of other idyllic-sounding options. The Cruise Network (0772 727 757) is offering nine days of sybaritic contentment floating around Jamaica, Haiti and Grand Cayman for pounds 954. The price includes Heathrow/Miami return flight and full board. However you'll have to wait until October for your ship to go out.

If you want to leave sooner, you could saunter off to Kenya with a friend. Tropical Places (01342 825123) has a two-week safari and beach holiday for pounds 1,259 per person bookable before the end of June. You fly from Gatwick to Nairobi, spend five days in the Masai Mara and then chill out (or not) for nine days on the beach in Mombasa, staying in comfort at the South Palms hotel.

For an ultimate thrill-without-frills option, travel overland across the Orient. In August, Exodus Holidays (0181-675 5550) starts a nine-week trek by truck from Bangkok to Peking. The price of pounds 1,990 includes road transport, guide fees and most accommodation, but not food and flights - Bridge the World (0171-911 0900) offers a British Airways fare from Heathrow to Bangkok and back from Peking for pounds 564.

Top ten

Grand items for two grand

1 Chiffon leopard print coat, pounds 940; animal print dress with corset, pounds 960, both by Dolce & Gabbana, 175 Sloane Street, London SW3.

2 Jewellery cabinet in bridle leather, pounds 2,000, made to order, by Bill Amberg, 10 Chepstow Road, London W2 (0171-727 3560).

3 Shoe case in monogram leather, pounds 1,640, by Louis Vuitton (149 New Bond Street, London W1).

4 Hand-made men's bespoke shoes in crocodile skin, pounds 2,000, by George Cleverly, 12 Royal Arcade, London W1 (0171-493 0443).

5 Classic smoking suit, pounds 1,250; cream silk shirt, pounds 400; purple snakeskin high heels with gold chain T bar, pounds 200, all by Yves St Laurent, 137 New Bond Street, London W1.

6 A labelled Schiaparelli dress in lilac silk with plum velvet applique, pounds 2,000, from Steinberg & Tolkien, 193 King's Road, London SW3 (0171-376 3660).

7 Peridot diamond daisy earrings, as worn by the actress Claire Danes at the Oscars, pounds 2,175, by Asprey, 165-169 New Bond Street, London.

8 Tank Francaise steel watch with large square face, pounds 1,875, by Cartier, 175-6 New Bond Street, London W1 (0171-493 6962)

9 Ashkin Indian wedding two-piece suit with gold embroidered detail, pounds 2,000, by John Pearse Suit, 6 Meard Street, London W1 (0171-434 0738)

10 Classic fitted single-breasted box jacket in pale blue and white tweed, pounds 2,040, by Chanel, as worn by Diana, Princess of Wales to Prince William's confirmation in April. Available at 31 Sloane Street, London SW1 (0171-235 6631)

Holly Davies

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