In Style + Design

Timeless Valentine’s Day Gifts That Aren’t Cheesy

Step away from the teddy bear.

There’s no denying that Valentine’s Day is the ultimate cash cow for plenty of industries. It’s a day of set menus with fat margins for restaurants, of poorly-handled and slightly bruised red roses, and supermarket chocolate landing in the lap of grimacing girlfriends. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Resist the stereotypes if you really want to impress.

Whether you plan to gift to a him or a her, these timeless gifts are effortlessly chic and always in style. Who doesn’t want to receive a spa voucher or luxurious silk pyjamas? Ditto beautiful new linen sheets or lingerie. Read on for more inspiration.

A walk-on role at the Sydney Opera House

The Merry Widow Photo: Opera Australia

For a seasoned theatre lover, you could create your own mix-and-match season pass to Opera Australia’s upcoming shows with a subscriber package. But you if you seriously want to impress, consider buying your opera-lover a walk-on role.

For $4999, they will be shown around the Sydney Opera House, fitted with a custom costume, have full hair and make-up and finally join the performers.  They’ll spend approximately one hour on stage in the Sydney Opera House. For the current season, join-in performance include La Bohème, La Traviata and Carmen.

A bespoke Little Black Box

If you want to outsource with confidence, the team at the Little Black Box are here to help. Creating by the team behind the Style Agency, the bespoke gifting service involves filing out a form to profile your giftee’s style – from clothing size to hair colour, favourite brands to style muse – and the rest is taken care of.

A personal stylist and beauty guru from the Style Agency will work together to compile a luxury gift box, personally tailored to the recipient. Boxes start from $300 and up, and the retail value of contents will be in excess of the spend price.

Untie the luxe black bow and you may find some gorgeous teal suede Bally heels, Prada sunglasses, or a piece of designer jewellery. Beauty inclusions swing towards natural and nice, with Brisbane-brand Simplicite, Glindawand cosmetics and Elements skin care on high rotation. Add in a bottle of champagne for good measure, and you’re good to go.

Flowers complete with a keepsake vase

Flowers are always a beautiful gift in their own right, but adding a beautiful vase that will last long after they perish is a classy move. It also lets you skip that awkward scramble-for-a-vase that follows the hand-over.

Skip the red roses and go for something a little more exotic, such as one of the other-worldly arrangements from Sydney’s Palings, or hit the markets. For your vase, Dinosaur Designs have a gorgeous range of resin vases, or seek out hand-made ceramics on Hard To Find.


If you don’t know your partner’s favourite champagne by now, it’s time to learn it. Stat.

Otherwise, consider a bottle of Veuve Clicquot rose, which is celebrating an anniversary of its own. This year is the 200th anniversary of Madam Clicquot herself inventing the rose – blending 12 percent red wine red grapes with the traditional champagne blend – and bucking deeply entrenched Champagne traditions to cause an uproar at the time. Of course, a magnum of something special never goes astray, either. 

Cartier Love bracelet

Cartier’s Love bracelets are an iconic piece. C reated in 1969, the charm has only grown over time.

Inspired by the decidedly non-sexy chastity belt, the bracelet is secured on with two tiny screwers (mini screwdriver included). In yellow, pink and white gold, the pieces start from $5,700 and go up to $79,000, depending on how many diamonds you’d like to add on.

An overnight stay somewhere luxe

Sometimes life is too busy to whisk oneself away from real life, let alone wrangling the logistics required to surprise a loved one. Book a luxe hotel overnight instead, set your phone to flight mode and bunker down in style.

In Sydney, the five-star Larmont Hotel is both relatively new and relatively secret. Tucked away in Potts Point, the luxury suites are perfect for a taste of escapism. Think city views, private balconies, Dom Perignon in the mini bar, Malin+Goetz in the bathroom (along with an impossibly deep tub) and all the luxury touches you need. Best of all? If your loved ones include a pampered pooch, you can bring them along, too.

Whisky gift subscription

Just like wine and socks, whisky can now be ordered in a renewing monthly format. Whisky Loot is a fun-sized service that delivers 60ml taster bottles to form your own “mini army” and discover different styles without committing to a full bottle.

The current box spans France, Wales and Italy, with two nips of each whisky for $49 (with shipping included), so you’ll never be stuck with a full bottle of something you don’t fancy again.

Published 06 February, 2018