October 11, 2011
New York City Now
Where to bed down in the Big Apple—plus where to eat, shop and what to see
By Nancy Staab
From the Daphne Guinness fashion exhibit at FIT to De Kooning at MoMA and a white hot new SoHo hotel lair, New York City defines modern glamour this fall
Of all the buzzy new and coming NYC hotels, none has created as much hype as the Mondrian SoHo, which opened just in time to cater to its Fashion Week clientele this spring at the busy nexus of SoHo/Chinatown/NoLita. Among the A-list revelers who celebrated at Mondiran SoHo’s grand opening party and grooved to live sets by The Kills (aka Allison Mosshart and Kate Moss’ new hubby Jamie Hince): Prabal Gurung, Yigal Azrouel, Charlotte Ronson, Oliva Palermo, Jay McInerney, Chiara Clemente, Fabiola Beracasa and Russell Simmons. Prior to that, Kanye West threw a party in the hotel with play money drifting from the ceilings.
The boutique hotel chain, whose sisters include The Delano, South Beach, and Saint Martins Lane, London, also bears the hotel chains’ Philippe Starck air of modern whimsy. But in this case, the design was orchestrated by Benjamin Noriega Ortiz. Ortiz took inspiration from French artist Jean Cocteau’s cinematic interpretation of Beauty and the Beast, circa 1946 for this dreamy domicile. Indeed, there is an element of fairytale fantasy to the project: from the trellised entrance and slightly feminine, neo-baroque décor of the lobby in French blue, to the “sleeping chambers”( i.e. suites) decked out with sybaritic marble foyers and baths, floor-to-ceiling windows and, of course, all the 21st century amenities like iPod docking stations and LCD HDTVs. The fantasy mood continues with the wonderland-like dining room encased in a glass garden pavilion with lush potted trees and a collection of dozens of glittering chandeliers.
The restaurant Imperial No. 9 is headed up by devastatingly handsome and daring Top Chef Season 2 vet Sam Talbot, who proffers a modern, sustainable-seafood-focused menu amid lush ficus trees and suspended chandeliers for the see-and-be-seen crowd. Menu highlights include: king crab a la plancha with sweet-and-sour butter; Iberico pork belly with seared Toro and daikon dashi; and slow-cooked octopus with jalapeno soffrito, soy and lime.
End the night at the Mondrian SoHo’s sultry nightclub, Mister H., decked out in Chinese red décor, red leather banquettes, and ornamental bird cages like a 30’s style Shanghai speakeasy or opium den. The intimate club, helmed by members of the Bungalow 8 crew, has already become a favorite venue of big-name DJ’s. Order up a scorpion bowl, settle into one of the crimson velour beds and be thankful you real bed is just one blue elevator whoosh up.
Mondrian SoHo, 9 Crosby Street, 212.389.1000, www.mondriansoho.com
The Tiffany and Dior Suites at St. Regis New York
Is Audrey Hepburn more your speed than Kanye West? Then check your pearl-wearing bad self into the fashionable Tiffany and Dior Suites at The St Regis New York. Tiffany and Co.’s design director emeritus John Loring splashed the white Tiffany suite with plenty of iconic, Tiffany blue touches, including the headboard and the walls of the formal dining room. Gem references abound -–from a console shaped like an engagement ring to a crystal wall in this blinged out, jewel box, one bedroomsuite. Added bonus: the actual Tiffany shop featured in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is just two blocks away. Or: if couture house of Dior is your fashion fail-safe, ensconce yourself in the plush Dior Suite (newly opened this fall). Swathed in lots of signature Dior Gray with touches of blush tones and lace accents (think lace-lined walk-in closet), this Beaux Arts suite reeks of subtle luxury from the crystal chandeliers with Dior bow accents to custom furniture drawers lined in Dior grey felt! Stregis.com
We still love an excuse to go to Paris, but now it doesn’t have to be for this legendary confection house’s macarons. The shop and its pastel beauties have now landed smack on Madison Ave. on the Upper East Side. The sweets are made in Paris, to ensure authenticity, and shipped overnight to the NYC boutique for freshness. Purchase a take-away box of raspberry, pistachio, and caramel -with -salted -butter bon bons. We hear the French institution also has plans for future sweets salons in SoHo and the Meatpacking District. 864 Madision Ave, Mon.-Sat
Tom Ford Women’s Shop at Bergdorf Goodman
This fall Bergdorf’s launched the first Tom Ford’s shop-in-a-shop to carry Tom Ford’s lauded women’s wear collection. In November they double down on Ford with an exclusive Tom Ford makeup salon. The sumptuous Tom Ford salon at Bergdorf’s features mirrored vitrines and Macassar ebony wood wardrobes stocked with his sensual velvet tuxedo jackets, sequined gowns, cocktail wear, shoes and bags. It’s as close as most of us will get to Tom Ford’s invite-only fashion show salons: we’ll take it.
Lady Gaga Curates a Holiday Shop at Barney’s
Santa’s Workshop is so 2010. Barney’s is ushering in a brand new tradition with Lady Gaga’s Workshop for holiday season 2011. Team Gaga—including the singer and various of her creative talents such as Terry Mugler Creative Director Nicola Formichetti --will curate this singular shop with covetable gift items available for a limited time. The cool merch will include books, trinkets, music, rock candy jewelry and other smalls.
We also predict a major Gaga factor for Barney’s famous holiday windows! 25% of all Gaga’s Workshop purchases will benefit a charity of Lady Gaga’s choice. The store will open sometime in mid-November according to the most recent reports.
De Kooning: A Retrospective at MoMA
Don’t miss this staggering show of Willm De Kooning’s work at MoMA through Jan. 9, which critics are raving about. The blockbuster show highlights this painter’s painter’s lush, fleshy (and sexy) works, plus sculptures and drawings spanning 70 years of his career. His fusions of figurative painting and abstraction with luscious colors and painterly effects are worth the ticket price. Noted art critic Jerry Saltz describes the show as “the most piercing, inexhaustible, and relentlessly intense, full-on career survey I have ever seen in this country.” www.moma.org
Daphne Guinness Exhibition at FIT
If Gaga is the fashion envelope pusher on the pop music front, then Daphne Guinness is her high fashion/high society equivalent—promoting fashion as an art form. The skunk-hair streaked, Guinness heir is a true eccentric, who cultivates the best, most edgy fashion practitioners in the business from the late Alexander McQueen to Gareth Pugh. For this year’s Costume Institute Ball honoring McQueen, Guinness turned dressing for the gala into public spectacle by preparing for the event in the windows of Barney’s! Now style-philes can study her museum-worthy closet of frocks, sky high platforms and accessories by Chanel, Alaia, McQueen, Philip Treacy, Lacroix, Valentino Rick Owens, Dior, etc at the Museum of FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) through Jan. 7. www.fitnyc.edu
Crown by John DeLucie
John DeLucie, chef and co-proprietor (with Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter) of the insider Waverly Inn and also West Villages buzzy The Lion, has a new haute spot. And this time he’s taking his act to new territory—a 1920s town house on the Upper East Side that hosts his latest eatery Crown. You can be sure his hip, media and starlet crowds will make the venture uptown to check out this Deco-inspired lair featuring seasononal American and French fare from a former Gotham Bar & Grill chef. On the menu: roasted Muscovy with baby turnips, peaches and mustard greens; cote de boeuf, and Tasmanian trout tartare. The eatery had already generated buzz, pre-opening. by hosting the Costume Institute Gala’s after party and a Ferragmo fashion show post-dinner for glitterati like Eva Mendes, Emma Roberts and Minka Kelly. Don’t miss the hidden room downstairs, behind a swinging bookshelf! 24 East 81st Street., www.crown81.com
Epicerie Boulud and Boulud Sud
Chef Daniel Boulud’s latest endeavor is a chic, very European café and take-away spot wedged between Bar Boulud and the new Boulud Sud. House-made charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, made-to-order sandwiches, soups , salads, pastries and breads are ready made for romantic picnics indoors or out. 1900 Broadway at 64th Street, www.danielnyc.com/epicerie.html (the website’s French music sets a perfect Gallic mood). For more finicky, fancy diners try Bar Sud with its refined Mediterranean menu and Mid-Century Modern décor. 20 W. 64th Street. www.danielnyc.com/boulud_sud.html