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Early in the last century, British officers on campaign in the far reaches of the empire traveled with folding liquor cases, suitable for mixing antimalarial gin and tonics in tropical climates. In the twenties, maharajas and movie stars made sure they had all the delectations of home on their journeys, packing custom cases for serving tea or Champagne and caviar. And in the thirties, no one would have dreamed of going out for a day at the races without a traveling bar in the boot of the Bentley.
Decades later, being able to take one's indulgences on the road is no less important. With that in mind, some of the world's oldest luxury brands have updated the pleasure case. And as the sampling here shows, they are raising it to a whole new level of decadence.
The Cad S. T. Dupont, the venerable French firm known for its supremely elegant cigarette lighters, has created the irresistible Vice Case, fully equipped to assist you in all your favorite guilty pleasures. On the outside, it is quietly monogrammed charcoal canvas. Open it and you find a Baccarat crystal decanter and four matching tumblers for your poison of choice. Drawers house two humidors (one for cigarettes, another for cigars), two decks of cards, dice, and gambling chips. And since it's from Dupont, a signature Deco-style lighter is included. The interior surfaces are palladium plate, polished to a mirror finish—perfect to use while shaving after staying up all night. $15,000. At 58 Av. Montaigne, Paris; 33-1/45-61-08-39; www.st-dupont.com.
The Wild One For something completely different—literally—there's the Goyard Entertainment Center. It was designed by American artist Toland Grinnell for the company that has made luggage for the czar of Russia, several European royal houses, and John Rockefeller. Grinnell, who is known for his extravagant tongue-in-cheek furniture and luggage, covered the 450-pound wheeled trunk in Goyard's classically understated canvas. Inside, however, the contents are anything but understated: two skateboards, a gas-powered minibike, a 1,100-watt sound system, and two George Foreman grills. Sadly, this is one of a kind, but the firm will entertain ideas for any similarly immoderate project you might dream up. Price upon request. At 233 Rue St.-Honoré, Paris; 33-1/42-60-57-04; www.goyard.fr.
The Sophisticate If you're heading out for a pastoral excursion or a day at the polo grounds, Pinel & Pinel's luxurious ponyskin Picnic Trunk houses tools for fulfilling all sorts of sybaritic pleasures. Designed in collaboration with Krug, it has spaces for three bottles of Champagne (sorry, no magnums), plus the requisite sterling ice bucket and crystal flutes. Red leather–covered drawers contain caviar spoons, two Thermoses (for the chilled vodka to be consumed with the caviar), and four full place settings. Should your picnic include truffles—and why not?—Pinel & Pinel has provided the truffle shaver. $42,500. At 62 Bd. de Strasbourg, Paris; 33-1/45-23-11-14; www.pineletpinel.com.
The Connoisseur Of course, if you must have vintage, you'll definitely prefer the forties travel bar offered by F. M. Allen, purveyors of antique and contemporary safari gear. Covered in buttery calfskin, it holds a complete cocktail setup: silver shakers and tools, labeled decanters for nine kinds of liquor and mixers, and sterling spikes for the onion in your Gibson. In short, everything a gentleman could want for entertaining, even out on the savanna. $14,000. At 962 Madison Ave., New York; 212-737-4374; www.fmallen.com.
Customize Your Own
Given that fun is a highly personal pursuit, it makes sense that much of the business for these types of luxury cases is bespoke. ZERO HALLIBURTON, GHURKA, LOUIS VUITTON and HERMES do custom pieces, with costs varying according to the complexity of the design and the materials used. We asked London leather specialist BILL AMBERG to create something stylish that would hold a bar, all the necessary tools for cocktails, and an iPod sound system. He came up with the dashing White Lady Maker. A project like this typically takes three months to complete and costs around $8,700. At 21-22 Chepstow Corner, London; 44-207/727-3560; www.billamberg.com