The Seattle-based retailer Nordstrom is selling a few over-the-top, one-of-a-kind items this holiday season, like a $15,000 Tory Burch couch and $50,000 photo session.

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Nothing says “Happy Holidays” quite like a $15,000 ethnic-print couch or a $50,000 private session with a celebrity photographer.

Today, Nordstrom introduces several over-the-top, one-of-a-kind items for sale on its Web site, hoping to put some cheer into an otherwise grinchlike holiday shopping season. Dubbed the “Ultimate Gift Collection,” it represents a first for the 107-year-old Seattle retailer.

Nordstrom began planning the collection three to four months ago, before the Lehman Brothers collapse and subsequent meltdown on Wall Street. Customers have pulled back on discretionary purchases, but the retailer says it’s optimistic some will spend big bucks for gifts that can’t be found anywhere else.

“Value has been top of mind for many customers in this climate,” Pete Nordstrom, who oversees merchandising for the company’s full-line clothing stores, said in a statement. “The other thing driving purchasing is when customers find items that are special and unique.

“For the right customer, these may be the perfect gift,” he said.

The items are:

• A family portrait session with photographer Sam Jones, whose famous subjects include George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Will Ferrell and Steve Martin. Two sessions are for sale at $50,000 each.

• A custom couch designed by Tory Burch, best known for 1960s- and ’70s-inspired tunics. The couch has a silk ikat-print fabric and is made by Century Furniture in Hickory, N.C. One is available for $15,000.

• A Juicy Couture armoire packed with an assortment of apparel, shoes, handbags and other accessories selected by the label’s founders, Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor. Two are for sale at $15,000 each.

• A large, personalized painting by Ruben Toledo, a Cuba-born artist who illustrated Nordstrom’s designer ad campaign. It comes with an at-home consultation and professional installation. One is available at $200,000.

The concept of offering lavish, limited-edition items has a precedent at Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, which for the past 82 years has put out an annual Christmas catalog, often to much fanfare. (This year’s catalog included a $160,000 BMW sedan, three backyard golf holes designed by Jack Nicklaus, and a $10 million stable of 12 to 15 Thoroughbreds.)

But with stock markets plunging and joblessness on the rise, will Nordstrom find any takers for such extravagant gifts?

Seattle retail consultant Patricia Edwards says “yes.”

“There are going to be customers who say, ‘Sure, why not? Whatever you want for Christmas, honey,’ ” Edwards predicted. “Even in tough economic times, there are people who want that ‘wow’ factor.”

Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or