I was initially planning on just doing the one pre fashion week New York post, after all, how much do you really need to read about me being self-indulgent in my will-be adopted city? But then, as is so often the case, I got carried away telling tales of my Big Apple adventures, sorry! Plus, on day two I went to the launch of Anya Hindmarch’s Madison Avenue boutique which is so goddamn gorgeous it deserves more than being crammed right at the end of a long-winded ramble.
Dressing for the heat when you know the temperature isn’t about to suddenly plummet is so wonderfully effortless. London weather is beyond sartorially inconsiderate. On day two of what has been more mini break than business trip I donned the Paul and Joe Sister sundress that makes me look all of five years old accessorized with baby pink Karen Walker sunglasses and trusty Michael Kors Selma tote before embarking on what turned out to be one of the longest “leisurely strolls” ever. For some reason I decided it would be a great idea to walk from Soho to the Upper East Side and, some hour and a half later, found myself sweating my way up Madison Avenue only to realise I had reached barely number 200 and the Anya Hindmarch store was at 795… I know. That said, aside from the icky, super crowded mid town bit I thoroughly enjoyed my not-so-casual wander across New York. Since visiting en famille during my moody teenage years (poor mama la petite endured many a sulk in Saks) I’ve long harboured the suspicion that it is in fact my spiritual homeland – a city full of shopaholic, workaholic, neurotic grooming fanatics, go figure – and every time I return it makes me more and more determined to move there as soon as possible. One of the many, many things I adore about New York is how totally different the areas are. From the achingly cool chicness of Soho through the sticky tourist maze of Times Square on to the ultra luxe tranquility of the Upper East Side; my epic trek just served to enhance my infatuation… And give me a couple of nasty blisters, but anyway, I digress.
If you’ve ever been to an Anya Hindmarch store then it’ll come as no surprise to hear that her latest stateside outpost is divine beyond belief. Set across two floors in the building that once housed Paraphernalia and was frequented by the likes of Twiggy and Andy Warhol during the 60s, the place exudes British refinement, or at least the kind of absolute elegance us Brits like project as the image of how we roll back home. Besides stocking all of the designer’s latest creations (those domino clutches from her AW13 collection were out in full force) the store is all about personalisation with an emporium of exquisite accessories that their craftsman can give a bespoke-over up in the in store workshop. Anya herself gave me a guided tour explaining every little bit of it and not only was it awesome to meet the woman behind the bags I covet but it was seriously impressive to see how someone with a global mega brand and stores from Bond Street to Taiwan still paid such meticulous attention to even the smallest details of her latest venture. She also has FIVE children… I know!
By the time I said my good byes I was well and truly famished (walking basically the entire length of Manhattan will do that to you) so I went in search of the nearest cute looking cafe. I didn’t have to look far as the second I rounded the corner I spotted Bistro Chat Noir, a tiny, charming French (duh) place were I grabbed a table-for-one and treated myself to the Tuna Tartare. Yes, so far all efforts to economise have well and truly failed. After returning home (on the subway, I definitely wasn’t flogging back on foot!) to spent the afternoon attempting to write posts, answer emails and generally sort my life out I slipped into my Tibi green tweed skater dress in preparation for the evening’s festivities. In case you were wondering how the hell I afford to come out to New York twice a year for fashion week given how insanely expensive hotels are here, I can assure you that I’m not forking out for a suite at The Standard. I’m lucky enough to have very kind friends who are prepared to have me and my fashion week wardrobe to stay. As if their letting me hog their Wifi, lose their keys and clatter around their dreamy-beyond-belief Prince Street apartment in high heels wasn’t enough, on my second evening in NYC my hosts took me out for a sushi bonanza at Mottsu, a lovely independent Japanese restaurant serving some of the freshest fish in Soho.
With a belly full of salmon, avocado and spicy tuna I waddled to the nearest cab and headed across town to party number one, Kendrick Lamar at MILK Studios. Evidently this was THE place to be and by the time I arrived the entire street was packed with people jostling to see the rapper performing. Somehow I managed to find my friends, Suitcase Magazine Editor Serena Guen and publicist extraordinaire Sharoni Rotberg and even more amazingly we somehow managed to skip the giant queue and head straight into the fray. Once inside I spied everyone from Lindsay Wixen and Joan Smalls to Suno’s Max Osterweis accompanied by his insanely stylish fashion consultant girlfriend Kate Foley. Much as I was loving the music and general spectacle, combined with jet lag and minimal sleep the whole thing was a bit intense and I was secretly relieved when it was announced that we were leaving for party number two. Panic set in when I noticed the total lack of free taxis but I needn’t have worried, we were going to enjoy a far more fabulous ride back to Soho in the kind of vast black SUV van I expect Kendrick himself rolled up in. How? I’ll explain. When we arrived Sharoni had introduced us to a pair of seriously well dressed guys (this girl knows everyone!) who I soon discovered were the founders of New York menswear label-of-the-moment, Public School. As we were all doing the same parties we decided to move en masse and next thing I knew, the lot of us were in their pimped out van cruising through the city, music blaring.
When that kind of thing happens, you just know you’re in for a pretty epic night and that’s most definitely what went down on this occasion. After a quick stop at the packed-fit-to-burst Galore party we decamped to Galli, a buzzy restaurant and bar famed for their simple but delish Italian dishes, home made cocktail syrups and reliably excellent music. From there it was on to a random dive bar (the name escapes me) for a game of pool or three before finally winding up on the dancefloor at Acme. New York, you are too much fun, I’m going to return to London a broken and no doubt broke woman!
Love Ella. X
Ps) Apologies for the rubbish quality of certain snaps, I definitely do not trust myself to take my fancy camera out on the town so have to make do with the iPhone!