The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide for car-loving girls

The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide for car-loving girls

CHOOSING the perfect gift for the woman who’s hard to buy for can be one of life’s recurring challenges. But those who have a car-lover on their buy-list can slip their efforts into neutral.

Madam Wheels has got you covered.

Our “Guide for glamorous gift-giving” has been crafted to delight and inspire the female motorist. Anything that’s on this list made the cut as a few of the favourite things of founder and brand ambassador Jacquie Hayes. She has either bought or experienced them in the past year - there are no paid endorsements here and nothing has been gifted (though she wishes the Ferrari Portofino had been)!

In the true spirit of Christmas, authenticity is the key here.

The list’s inspiration has been drawn from the experience of driving and discovering ways to boost how a woman may like to look and feel when she’s steering her way through life.

Included in the mix are accessories best viewed from the driver’s seat, favourite dining destinations, right up to driving experiences in some of the most iconic brands on our roads.

Madam Wheels is Australia’s go-to resource for women who love a set of wheels. Our goal is to help women experience and buy the cars of their dreams.

1: Louboutin sneaker as a drive shoe: OK, major admission right up font here. This Louis Junior Orlato Sneaker (above) from Christian Louboutin is actually a men’s shoe but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a perfect driving shoe for the stylish lady (albeit with a larger foot size). Madam Wheels actually had a close encounter with The Great Man Louboutin himself during his trip to Australia earlier this year and suggested to him that a female driving shoe would be a neat addition to his collection. He agreed, though there’s been no sign yet of the Madam Wheels Driving Shoe. In the meantime, the sneakers featured here have a drive-away price of $1275 and stockists can be sourced on (02) 8355 5282.

2: A beautiful and functional handbag: I love a charity auction but not when I miss out on a coveted lot. One such failure featured a limited-edition crossbody “Jemima” handbag (above, right) by Melbourne-based brand A-ESQUE. After my single competitor took the price of the bag beyond my self-imposed limit, I went straight to A-ESQUE’s South Yarra store and bought another one. Since then, the bag’s attracted endless compliments, and admirers have repeatedly asked about its provenance. Over time, the bag has held its shape, the leather feels softer and more giving to the touch and the gold plating is still free of scratches. It’s the ultimate companion for a road trip. And so is this elegantly oversized Petal Grande (above, right) from the brand's latest capsule. Not only does it make a style statement with its minimalist feel, this shade of Serpentine green just happens to be a perfect match with the Louboutin sneakers above. A winner at $1000.

3: Accessories from Christine: This subterranean jewellery-box of a store is nestled among some of Melbourne’s grooviest eateries on Flinders Lane behind Melbourne’s Westin Hotel. It’s quite literally a treasure trove for anyone seeking gifts with flare and points of difference, chosen for the store, as they have been by Australia’s maven of cutting-edge design and fashion-forward brands, Christine Barro. On the racks are the most stylish pieces from “now” designers Toni Maticevski and exclusive distribution of paris-based Martin Grant, among other international labels. Milliner-to-the-Royals Philip Treacy is well represented, as is French brand Maison Michel, and favoured footwear from Lanvin and Robert Clergerie feature, too. But it’s all about the jewels here, and there’s a vast range to choose from. See below for a selection of Madam Wheels' favourite things.

A. Berlin designer Gabriele Frantzen has nailed the belt and cross-body bag with this range of Hashtag or Scarab-embossed bags in silver, gold or black leather. Seen here in slim $475, mid $595, and large $695.

B. Look the part and actually see where you’re going in these Cutler and Gross convertible spectacles-cum-sunglasses, available in black and tortoiseshell, $745.

C. British large-format sculptor cum micro-jeweller Sia Taylor has crafted a stunning array of earrings, bracelets and necklaces in 18ct gold ranging in prices from $450 to $2950.

D. Melbourne-based jeweller Adrian Lewis is popular at home and abroad, and these beauties demonstrate why. Big Bomb Ring in 14ct gold, $4950; Handmade Hoop Earrings in 9ct gold, medium $5250 and large $6950.

4: Luggage: When you’re on the road a lot - and in the air - having lightweight, durable, and easily manoeuvred carry-on luggage makes the whole exercise so much more tolerable. And when you can fit a helmet inside for those exciting track days, all the better. Japanese brand Protex has come through with the goods with a bag that looks good, too, especially when you wrap it with branding as Madam Wheels has done. The range comes in four different sizes ranging in price up to $555. Mine is the Mini Protex Luggage Bag, priced at $255.

5: Keeping things fresh in the car: French perfumer Diptyque has been producing luxurious and innovative ways to fragrance bodies and spaces since 1961. Honouring its traditions but with an eye to modern styling, the brand has crafted a clever car deodoriser that’s as aesthetically pleasing as it is olfactorily effective. The beautifully designed diffuser can house a range of interchangeable fragrance capsules then clipped on to an air vent to emit scents such as Fleur d’Orange (Orange Blossom), Figuier (Fig Tree) and Baies (Berries) to name a few. Each fragrance capsule lasts for about three months while Un Air De Diptyque Car Diffuser should outlast your car. Not bad for $83, and available from Mecca.

6: Supercar coffee-table book: Melbourne supercar owners agreed to have their exotic cars photographed to feature in the limited-edition DRIVE Melbourne Supercar book. The book is part of a campaign to help raise funds for families living with Motor Neurone Disease. The brainchild of well-known Melbourne photographer and self-confessed car nut Suzette Nesire, DRIVE has already raised $25,000 since its October launch. Presented in A3 landscape, hard-cover format, DRIVE costs $195 and is available online.

7: Fine-dining gift voucher: Driving in Sydney does nothing to inspire those who spend time behind the wheels these days. The opposite is true of steering through Victoria’s Yarra Valley.

I mention these poles-apart locations as they’re home to two of Madam Wheels’ favourite restaurants, and both of them offer vouchers to present as gifts.

Catalina Rose Bay is worth the drive despite Sydney’s increasing road chaos. Perched over the water at its spectacular harbour-side location, it’s perfectly positioned for a long, languid lunch or a sneaky twilight glass of champagne paired with the best Sydney Rock Oysters around. Here’s cheers to this option!

Back in Victoria, hatted chef Teage Ezard has worked with the owners of award-winning winery Levantine Hill Estate to deliver a menu based on classic European food styles with an Aussie twist. Set in a stunning building designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects, the best way to arrive is by car after a quick zip through the stunning, Jurassic Park-like landscape along the Black Spur drive. The best way to leave - given the array of critically acclaimed Levantine wines available to enjoy - will be by chopper. Do be sure to factor that into your Levantine Hill voucher.

8: A girls-only drive experience: There's simply no better way to experience luxury cars than to drive them in the circumstances and surrounds for which they were designed to be driven - be it on the track at break-neck speeds or through some of our country’s most spectacular landscape.

Madam Wheels Drive Experiences will bring out the driver in participants and provide unforgettable memories for like-mind ladies by getting them into some of the most exotic and prestigious cars available.

Designed as the “ultimate girls getaway”, each event will include guided instruction on the unique car brand that’s featured - think Ferrari, Bentley, Porsche, to name a few - an extended driving session, champagne reception at luxury accomodation, as well as dinner and breakfast. The schedules promise to be exhilarating and uplifting while allowing for downtime, too.

Prices will vary depending on accomodation and other State-specific built-in activities, but will start from $1500. Register your interest online.

Oh, and stand by for details of an inaugural Australian Grand Prix Madam | Wheels event to be announced soon. Sorry gents, that one will be ladies-only, too.

9: A fast shade of Christmas Red: Nothing screams Ferrari more than Ferrari’s classic exterior red paint colour, Rossa Corsa. It’s a great colour for the festive season, too, so getting the woman in your life behind the wheel of Ferrari’s new Portofino seems an ideal gift going into summer. Invite her to celebrate being a woman by getting the top off this car, grabbing a girlfriend and donning the scarf and sunnies for a carefree whip around town. (It manages the 0-100km/h dash in 3.5 seconds.) Even better, let her take the wheel for a romantic weekend away for the two of you.

The powerful V8 GT combines a retractable hard top, roomy boot and generous cockpit space, and the rear seats are perfect for your overnight bags and coats. The Portofino is Ferrari’s “entry-level” set of wheels at $398,888 before on-road costs, which vary from state to state.

10: The gift of time out: OK. This may be the gift that wraps lot of things into one, making it not only highly desirable and also very thoughtful to bestow on someone whose wellbeing matters to you. Annual membership to a city retreat.

Madam Wheels and many of her friends have been in the habit over the years of taking time out to travel to Queensland or Thailand to spend a week regrouping/recharaging/reenergising/regrounding immersed in programs involving world’s best-practice mind therapies, yoga, meditation and organic eating, sans caffeine and alcohol. It always seemed like a good idea at the time, but none of us ever really succeeded in keeping our new habits alive for long.

So when Willow Urban Retreat opened in Armadale, in Melbourne’s south east, earlier this year, Madam Wheels whipped in to trial its yoga, rebounding, qi gong, meditation and became addicted to infrared saunas. Its array of movement, mindfulness and retreat programs along with its full spa menu and whole foods cafe help infill those annual wellbeing practices into the daily program. And isn’t that the way it’s meant to be?

Willow’s foundation membership is $3600 for the year and can be bought outright or paid monthly via direct debit. The inclusions are vast and the habits could last a lifetime.