Sunday, August 19, 2012

Meandering in the Meatpacking District

It was one of those days that was so mind-numbingly hot that we found ourselves having this dreaded conversation:

So.... What do you want to do?
I don't know. What do you want to do?

And what we really would have liked to do was visit Tomas Saraceno's new super fabulous construction Cloud City on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But when we read the pre-nup (aka the release form), it said something to the effect of "If you visit Cloud City on a very hot day, the Museum takes no responsibility if you melt into a pool of salted butter." Okay. Change o' plans.

Soooo, because we had a lovely birthday party to attend in the Meatpacking District that evening, we went a bit early. Faithful readers will remember that we had a great bird's eye view of the MPD during our visit to the Highline a few weeks ago. We decided to see what we could see at ground level.

We met at the Apple Store on 14th Street and 9th Avenue, that mecca of all things digital, arriving almost simultaneously (a great feat for us!). On our way there, each of us had also had the opportunity to photograph some wonderful silver-haired ladies to include in a future post, and couldn't wait to play Show and Tell when we met.

The trip to Apple is worth it just to see the marvelous winding glass staircase. (See below. Why couldn't they have engineered a transparent elevator smack in the middle of it? We could have gotten up to mischief for hours in that.)

While we were hatching our plan of attack for the neighborhood, we were approached by Edgar, who was just starting his own street fashion blog. When he asked to take our photo, we agreed - with our usual barter banter: "You can take our photo with your camera if you'll also take one with our camera." To see Edgar’s new blog, Street Level Culture (and to see us on it), click here.)

Before we left the Apple store, we couldn't resist ascending and descending the aforesaid wonderful spiral staircase. Don't the stripes in Jean's hat echo the spokes in the spiral staircase?

Standing on the first floor under Valerie (who was wearing a dress) while she took photos on the second floor, Jean has a new appreciation for the reasoning behind frosting the glass on the all of the floors and stairs. (Ahem!)

Valerie was struck by the row of round black seats surrounding a table on the second floor, and insisted on being photographed on one. The first take just didn't work at all. (We are discovering, by trial and error - lots of error - that sometimes what you think will be a great shot is surprisingly so-so.)

In chic and edgy Jeffrey's, at the end of the block, Jean met a jewelry designer who, it turned out, knew Valerie through mutual friends. Small world, n'est ce pas? Now it's smack-the-head time. We didn't write down her name, and she didn't have her card with her, and we're little old ladies, and... need we say more?

Here is a closeup of an armlet she designed. All her work is very powerful and very minimalist. Aaaannnnddd, when we remember her name and/or get a link to her website, we promise to update this post.

We walked East on 14th Street and wandered into Alexander McQueen where Jean swooned over his skull jewelry and into La Perla where Valerie swooned over Jean Paul Gaultier-designed lingerie. Valerie swooned again when she heard the price. (And that was the sale price!) Then we headed to Krizia to check out the interior. We met Patrick, who's the major domo of the establishment, as well as its buyer.

Jean casually mentioned that we were drawn in because we had been admiring the Andy Warhol picture of Mariuccia Mandelli, the founder of Krizia, from our Highline vantage point a few weeks earlier. She still had the pictures in her camera, and showed them to Patrick, who exclaimed upon seeing himself in the photo. We reprise it here for those of you who were away in Cape Cod that week, and had no access to the internet.

Patrick couldn't have been sweeter - showing us around the gorgeous space and giving us a short history of the clothing line, with which we were both intimately familiar.

Here he is, standing under one of the spectacular lighting fixtures by one of our favorite designers, lighting genius Ingo Maurer. We kept telling him he was in the "cone of silence".

Animal prints and imagery loom large in Krizia's fashion vocabulary. This shot (from shows two Krizia sweaters from 19981 (left) and 1992 (right). Krizia is also known for her amazing array of innovative fabrics - the kinds that give the Italian mills their peerless reputation.

We also met Enrico, who was as utterly charming as Patrick.

Mariuccia Mandelli founded Krizia in 1957 in Milan, Italy and designed women's and men's clothing, handbags, perfume and shoes.

We paused briefly for one more photo in front of the Warhols before venturing back out into the steamy streets.

We wandered past the Standard Hotel, onto a side street and into a fabulous little boutique called Honor that seemed like a private boudoir-cum-performance room, and then stopped by Ports, with wonderfully architectural clothes and a small terrarium-like garden smack in the middle of the room that looks up to its rooftop space.

Just as the heat threatened to get the better of us, it was time to make our way to 13th Street to the Asian fusion restaurant Spice Market, which features not only terrific cocktails, but also gorgeous, comfortable and quiet private party rooms off the main dining room downstairs. We attended a marvelous birthday party bash for our friend Shawn in the Bombay Room, one of the larger private rooms. Friends came from far (Florida) and wide (Boston) for the festivities.

It was Shawn's 40th. Ah! These youngsters!


The above shot from the restaurant's website gives you an idea of the gorgeous interior of the restaurant's main floor. Jean-George Vongerichten's paean to Southeast Asian cuisine includes custom made furniture interspersed with artifacts and exotica from India, Burma and Malaysia. Chef Anthony Ricco's menu is indescribably delicious and yes, the food is spicy.

Below, David, head to toe in Missoni, overlooks the large square at the center of the Meatpacking District.

What we're wearing:

Valerie is wearing unlabeled vintage hat from Helen Uffner, unlabeled organza polyester jacket, metal earrings from the annual West 4th Street Block Association flea market, silver and onyx necklace from Mexico, Issey Miyake dress, matching metal cuffs from Matsuya Ginza, Melissa shoes designed by Gareth Pugh.

Jean is wearing a hat by Ignatius; t-shirt by Tahari; jumpsuit by Lilith; off-white leather bag with black polka dots (gift from Kim White in the 1980's); Underground creepers; and a variety of vintage bakelite and plastic cuffs, bangle bracelets and jewelry, including a vintage bakelite necklace; earrings (black rubber love knots) designed by Kirsten Hawthorne.


  1. Oh ladies, how I love your posts. I am being entertained and educated at the same time.
    My second son will be walking for a designer during fashion week -- reading your blog makes me feel just a bit closer to where both older sons live.
    Love your everything!

  2. Thank you for my fabulous tour. I barely sweated a bit!

  3. You two look fabulous! What would be truly spectacular is a winding escalator or movator with frosted glass panels, a kind of Woody Allanesque ascension into heaven stairway. But it would have to be silent too. I love the Cone of Silence!

  4. Great report. Loved seeing the glass stairs of Apple. I'm just reading the book on Steve Jobs and I read how much effort it took to create them!