Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Carnival for Prabal Gurung's Collection at Target

Fashion designer Prabal Gurung (above), whose clothes are worn by cool girls as well as VIPs like Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton, created a less expensive collection for Target called Love which was recently celebrated with a launch party here in NYC. Well, "launch party" doesn't really cover it. An invitation came from PR powerhouse LaForce & Stevens promising "carnival rides, games and psychics." I don't know about you, but I find it hard to say no to a party that offers cotton candy.

On a bitter cold night my friend Scott and I headed down to Pier 57 on the Hudson River at the end of West 15th Street. Inside the huge building, we progressed down a long dark hall illuminated with colorful lights.

At the end, black curtains pulled back to reveal the Love carnival!

There were rides galore, twirling lights, and tunes by DJ Mia Moretti who spun on top of a truck. I've never seen anything like it at a party in New York.

In the center was a Tilt-a-Whirl ride. Scott insisted that we do it...

I got strapped in for the ride -

and it spun like crazy.

I survived it, dear reader...
After we regained our balance, we investigated food trucks that offered lots of good things to eat 

and the bars for drinks.

Scott took advantage of the amusements offered, and hit the "Strong Man" high striker with a rubber mallet, and played a toss game with a football. And yes, we squeezed into the funny photo booth –

On one side, a small store offered the collection where guests could shop, and later Grammy award-winner Ne-Yo took the stage to perform a few songs.
After our fill of carnival fun it was time to head out through the tunnel of lights

back to reality on the West Side Highway.
The collection was available a couple of days later in Target stores and on, and reportedly  sold out completely in just one day. That party set the perfect happy tone.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hearst Magazines Designer Visions

TD and I at Hearst's Gala - photo by Annie Watt
On a cold, rainy night TD and I headed down to Tribeca for some warm, colorful style at Hearst Magazine's Designer Visions showhouse which consisted of three designer apartments at 250 West Street, a turn-of-the-century warehouse building which faces the Hudson River and has been converted into luxury condos.

Three designers were enlisted to decorate apartments for three Hearst magazines - David Rockwell for House Beautiful, Matthew Patrick Smyth for Elle Decor, and Antony Todd for Veranda. We checked our coats and umbrellas and joined the throngs at the elevator which delivered us to the floor where the three apartments in different sizes and shapes are located.

A well-dressed crowd squeezed into the apartments as cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were passed. David Rockwell's apartment for House Beautiful featured dramatic gestures like a big chandelier and Baroque wallpaper in the bedroom. In Elle Decor's apartment by Matthew Patrick Smyth, I said hello to my friend editor-in-chief Michael Boodro. "I almost cried when I first saw this apartment," he confessed. "It has a room with no windows, and a big column in the middle of the living room. But Matthew did a great job. This is perfect proof of what a good decorator can do. It's design magic." The designer turned the windowless room into a dining room and cleverly layered it with three different striking patterns of Schumacher wallpaper which resemble black and white mosaics. The offending column was painted a dark grey to match the walls and so seems to disappear.

We grabbed a Bellini along the way and proceeded on to the Veranda apartment decorated by Antony Todd. The open living room was the largest "party" space so it was a good place to hang out. Nibbles were offered on a table lit by tall taper candles. 

I had interviewed Antony Todd before over the phone for Out magazine, so I said hello. Antony is a charming Australian with an appropriately attractive accent -

Antony told me that he wanted to treat the apartment as a "downtown loft, and keep it light and airy, almost as if it is undecorated." Throughout the apartment hung large paintings by Thomas Fougeirol, which give the space an artistic downtown attitude. A glowing red canvas by Fougeirol was hung by a tall window which revealed the West Side Highway glittering in the rain (below). Windows to the right faced the Hudson River. You can't go wrong in New York City with a river view.

Veranda editor-in-chief Dara Caponigro was enjoying the festiveness of the room. "Antony was the perfect designer for this space," she told me. "The decorating is laid-back and super chic. It's what Veranda stands for which is livable luxury."
Dara and Antony -

The showcase is shoppable too – you can buy furniture or accessories found in or inspired by the showhouse at the website Dering Hall. When the weather is not conducive to being outdoors, thinking about improving interiors is a lovely antidote to the gloomy days of winter.