19 November 2010


the inside word: nyc

Story by Claire Sullivan

We arm you with a short list of essential places to visit for your next journey into the beyond.

A city I once called home, New York is the type of city that will change your perspective on life. And while there’s no doubt there are hundreds of little gems just waiting to be discovered in NYC, here are a few of my favourites that deserve your attention next time you’re in town

Café Habana – 17 Prince Street @ Elizabeth St, Nolita, New York, NY 10012
Seriously good homestyle Mexican- Cuban cooking. Quesadillas, cuban sandwiches and the best grilled corn ever. Smothered in mayonnaise, sprinkled with cayenne and chili powder and grated cotijo cheese and finished with a squeeze of lime. Café Habana’s corn is the tastiest combination of smoky sweet, spicy, tangyness in one mouthful your likely to ever experience. It’s also an excellent spot to pull up at the bar order a margarita or mojito and watch the plethora of insanely hot and hip folks killing time waiting for their next modeling go-see.

Keni Valenti Retro-Couture – 155 W. 29th Street, 5th floor, New York, NY 10001
I will never forget my first visit to Keni Valenti’s studio, on a sourcing mission for a fashion shoot, a fashion editor had given me the inside word on Keni. I recall spending hours trawling through the clothing that was at least five racks deep to the point of actually getting lost in a sea of beautiful vintage clothing not able to find my way out – and having to call out for help.

Keni is the go-to guy for some of the biggest fashion houses imaginable. They look to his exquisite collection of vintage fashion for inspiration for new designs. A child of the fashion world, Keni Valenti has been on the scene since the late sixties, honing his eye for glamour at Studio 54 and during his years as a stylist and a women’s wear designer. The style maven turned his attention to vintage couture in 1997, gradually amassing more than 10,000 garments that date from the twenties through the eighties, of which a rotating selection is for sale at his Garment District showroom. Collecting pieces from estate sales, international vintage markets, and models’ own caches, the owner packs his one-room space with some of fashion’s greatest hits including Madonna’s Gaultier corset along with one of Jackie O’s engagement suits.

Ralph Pucci International. 12th & 9th Floors, 44 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011.
Ralph Pucci International is renowned globally as one of the most innovative manufacturers of shop mannequins in the world. Twice yearly since the 1950’s the company unveils new look mannequins in conjunction with fashion designers and models such as Christy Turlington. Understanding that furniture and mannequins should be integrated, Pucci introduced furniture, art and sculpture into the mix over a decade ago. The recent addition of Gallery Nine on the 9th floor of their 18th Street location is stunning space that showcases  art, sculptures, photography, as well as, lighting, furniture and furnishings by a variety of new artists and designers. A recent exhibition was a sculptural tribute to Noguchi.

Gallaghers Art & Fashion Gallery – 111 Fourth Avenue, New York, NY 10003
It’s no surprise that this is one of my favourite places in NYC – if you’re into books and magazines that relate to fashion, design and popular culture, you’ll find this store packed with anything you could ever dream of finding. Back issues of magazines both familiar (Vogue, Esquire, Interview) and obscure (Status & Diplomat, Charm, She) while gazing at original photography and curated exhibits. It would be easy to spend the entire day here.

Le Bain Roof Top Bar, The Standard Hotel, 848 Washington Street @ 13th Street, New York,  NY 10012
For an absolutely unbeatable view of downtown Manhattan you can’t go past the recently opened Le Bain, situated on the 18th floor and rooftop above The Standard hotel, the bar and roof reflect a chic backyard with (synthetic) grass covering the floor, dusty pink Acapulco chairs and circular water bed loungers.  Open from midday serving cocktails, salads and sandwiches, you’ll want to get in early if you don’t want to convince the evening’s host that you are worthy enough to make it beyond their very tricky velvet rope.

Atelier New York – Menswear. 304 Hudson Street,New York, NY 10013
Call me old fashioned but I like to buy gifts for the men in my life – and Atelier is one of the best places in the world to do it. A beautifully edited selection of menswear designers from around the world, with stunning accessories to match all housed in a beautiful space replete with impressive parquet flooring . If all the men in the world would shop here the world would be a very good looking place indeed.

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