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If retail is in trouble, no one told RH chairman and CEO Gary Friedman.
Last night, Friedman kicked off New York Fashion Week with the opening of the RH New York store, with a private event attended by Karlie Kloss, Portia de Rossi, Nicky Hilton, Nina Agdal, Waris Ahluwalia, Zanna and Mazdack Rassi, Sofia Sanchez de Betak, Jamie Tisch, Shirin von Wulffen and Frederic Fekkai, Kate Young, Elizabeth Chambers, Erin and Sara Foster, Maria Sharapova, Martha Stewart, Nacho Figueras and Delfina Blaquier, Ryan Seacrest and Taylor Hill.
RH (the new name for Restoration Hardware) has transformed the building which previously housed McNally eatery Pastis into a stunning 90,000 square-foot, six-floor home furnishings shop and gallery by designer Alison Berger. Floors are dedicated to the brand’s various departments, including RH Interiors, Modern, Outdoor, Baby & Child and TEEN and RH Interior Design Studio & Atelier.
On the ground floor, near DJ Nora En Pure, Martha Stewart was hanging out with longtime friend and publicist Susan Magrino. “I’m looking forward to Carolina Herrera, my friend Dennis Basso’s show and of course Ralph!” she mused happily. On Friday, Ralph Lauren will celebrate 50 years of the company with a fashion week dinner.
In Baby & Child, Nicky Hilton had her mind on both children’s and adult fashions for fall. “My little one starts school and I just bought all the back-to-school kit, binders and notebooks!” the mom of Lily Grace, 2, and Teddy, 8 months, said. “I was a big Lisa Frank girl in my day.”
Hilton, who will be showing her collaboration with Tolani at Coterie in two weeks, expressed delight for the beginning of fashion month. “It’s a reunion for me because my sister [Paris Hilton] will be in town and we are looking forward to going out with my brother Barron and my new sister-in-law Tessa. I’m excited for Oscar de la Renta and Alice + Olivia,” she said as she eyed the furnishings. “The cribs are just so timeless and classic. I just bought a house in Bellport, so I am checking out some things!”
The RH building also features 32 pieces from General Public, Portia de Rossi’s 3-D printed art company. De Rossi, who quit acting to pursue her art venture, said, “Being 43, I thought, ‘I’m doing an easy job.’ And I wanted to challenge myself. In order to make it a success, it has to be your day job. You can’t do a startup a couple of days a week.”
The actress laughed that the one exception might be Arrested Development. “Once a Bluth, always a Bluth!” She is, however, pursuing a reality television show around the art world. “I want to give people access to something that was previously exclusive, to take people into meet artists and studios. And to be able to ask the ‘dumb’ questions, not just to have an ‘expert’ but to learn alongside the viewer, to demystify, to find out why something is an important piece.”
The event, which helped to benefit Friends of the High Line and Free Arts NYC, served up bellinis by Cipriani NYC, a caviar bar and vodka cocktails, with many guests finding their way outside, despite the steamy humid night air, to the rooftop which features a restaurant, wine terrace and barista bar by Brendan Sodikoff.
Outside in the garden was actor and designer Waris Ahluwalia. The Wes Anderson muse and bon vivant, who is currently working with the London-based charity Elephant Family, says that he has some secret projects up his sleeve for June 2019 and only teased that they involve James Baldwin and Zoe Keating.
Late in the evening, when the party finally started to disperse with guests making their plans for the next day’s shows, Ahluwalia offered parting words to contemplate, joking, “Green. Chickpeas. Night swims.”
Syl Tang is a futurist and author of Disrobed, a book about the role clothing plays in global events from climate change to terrorism. Instagram: @hipguide
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