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Smythson for Spring

Smythson’s gorgeous new forthcoming spring collection is worth a close look.

November 24, 2011

Diary ($375) and Antonia handbag ($1,665), both by Smythson

Smythson of Bond Street
 launches its Spring/Summer 2012 collection of leather goods at the end of January, and we can’t wait. Start off the New Year with this leather-bound diary ($375) or the gorgeous Antonia handbag ($1,665). The new collection will be available in both turquoise and rose.

—jessica ferri


Sons of Essex Serves Thanksgiving

The hot new Lower East Side eatery brings on the holiday fare and gives back along the way.

November 23, 2011

The Thanksgiving menu at Sons of Essex
Since Sons of Essex opened last month, I have been saddling up to the watering hole at least once a week. Why? The space is sick: think dive bar meets dance club meets low-key lounge accented with wooden tables, estate-sale finds and Tenement Museum photos. The menu features four types of grilled cheese sandwiches and five types of mac ‘n’ cheese. (Case closed.) Celebs spotted as of late include Ashley Greene, Pink, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Greenberg, Padma Lakshmi, and Penn Badgley. And the Lower East Side has never been hotter.

With Thanksgiving here I’ll be fleeing the city for Buffalo, New York—and missing my weekly date with Matt Levine’s Essex Street outpost. If you’re lucky enough to be sticking around for the holiday, visit Sons of Essex and get familiar. Come Thursday the spot will offer a special holiday menu ($56/person), which includes all the usual suspects and then some: sweet potato pie empanadas, lobster pot pie, Wild Turkey-brined turkey (cute, right?), and butterscotch pudding with brûlée bananas.

In the spirit of giving back, six dollars from each guest will go toward the Lower East Side Business Improvement District, with the funds spent to improve the LES community. Looks and class. How’d we get so lucky? Sons of Essex, 133 Essex St., 212-674-7100 or feedme@sonsofessexles.com

—julie bensman


Eloise Does Christmas at The Plaza

Betsey Johnson designs an Eloise-themed tree for The Plaza's holiday season.

November 23, 2011

The precocious heroine of Kay Thompson’s 1955 children’s book Eloise plays a major role in The Plaza’s holiday celebrations this year. The hotel’s first-ever Christmas tree, designed by Betsey Johnson with plenty of Eloise involved, will be unveiled on November 28 followed by a special Tree Lighting Tea (5 PM; $79 for adults, $49 for children) in the Palm Court. The event debuts The Plaza’s brand-new holiday tea menu, and kids can enjoy the Eloise Tea, which features bite-size delights like grilled cheese sandwiches and pink Jell-O. The Betsey Johnson pop-up shop will be open till January 4. Fifth Ave. and Central Park South, 212-546-5300; palmcourt@fairmont.com

—jessica ferri


A Champagne Toast to Thanksgiving

Tote a bottle of bubbly to your holiday headquarters.

November 23, 2011

Before you head out the door—or let in your guests—on Thanksgiving, stop by your favorite wine store and grab a bottle of Champagne. A festive magnum-size bottle is an elegant gift, and the experts at Sherry-Lehmann suggest a Grande Cuvee MV bottle of Krug ($149), which comes in a stylish gift box.

—jessica ferri


Gift of the Day: A Royal Fragrance

Let us count the ways that we love Krigler Oud for Highness 75...

November 23, 2011

The official perfumer of The Plaza Hotel and the maker of signature scents worn by such icons as Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, Grace Kelly, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Krigler New York City is more than a house of fragrance—and Oud for Highness 75 proves it. Originally blended in 1975 for the royal family of Jordan, the scent is one of Krigler’s crown jewels (and a throwback to a bygone era). A unisex offering that seduces the senses with woodsy notes of royal Asian oud, amber, and sandalwood and dries down with creamy notes of honey, saffron, and tobacco, Oud for Highness 75 radiates nobility and warmth. The Shops at The Plaza, 1 W. 58th St., 212-371-1122

See all of Gotham's 2011 Gifts of the Day here.

—April Walloga


The Ultimate Louis Vuitton Pajamas

Luxe PJs for the holidays inspired by Sofia Coppola.

November 22, 2011

A new trend emerged on the runways this fall—pajama tops and bottoms meant to be worn in public, not just to bed. Inspired by a suggestion from the über-chic Sofia Coppola, Louis Vuitton offers these leopard-print silk pajamas ($2,160). Whether you’re the hostess of a laid-back holiday party or brave enough to venture out, these pajamas are luxuriously cool. 1 E. 57th St., 212-758-8877

—jessica ferri


A Sol LeWitt Art Installation at the Mondrian Soho

LeWitt’s 1979 photographs of the Lower East Side are on display in an outdoor installation.

November 22, 2011

Artist Sol LeWitt is remembered for his minimalist drawings, but he was also an accomplished photographer. In 1980 he published On the Walls of the Lower East Side, a collection of the graffiti-covered landscape where he lived and worked. Now, in collaboration with Paula Cooper Gallery, The Morgans Hotel Group will exhibit 120 of those photographs on the side of the Mondrian Soho. The permanent installation will be outdoors with photos arranged in a grid occupying a 60-foot-by-20-foot space. Now on your way to the Mondrian for a cocktail, of if you're simply strolling by the neighborhood, you can take in art by one of America's most famous conceptual artists. 9 Crosby St., 212-389-1000

—jessica ferri


Gift of the Day: A Pinhole Camera

A colorful Shipley & Halmos camera is the perfect present for retro-minded teens.

November 22, 2011

What this hand-painted pinhole camera ($100) from Shipley & Halmos lacks in megapixels it makes up for in charm. Made of thick paperboard and painted with retro shapes and colors, the camera includes plastic spools to advance and rewind the film and comes with two rolls of 35mm film. Also known as the "camera obscura," this quirky and fun gift is a great way to get kids thinking about how images are captured on film.

See all of Gotham's 2011 Gifts of the Day here.

—April Walloga


Gossip Girl Hits 100

Stars of Gossip Girl turned out to celebrate the show's 100th episode.

November 21, 2011

Blake Lively

Dispatches must have missed a few episodes (read: four years’ worth) of Gossip Girl. When I showed up at Cipriani Wall Street for the “100 Episodes” fete on Saturday, it turned out that the cast and crew had just shot a royal wedding. What?

Yes, apparently Blair is marrying HSH The Prince Louis of Monaco. But—throw in the Gossip Girl drama quotient—she’s pregnant and we’re not quite sure who sired the bump. (Hint: Not Ryan Reynolds.) “It’s big,” said Mark Piznarski, who directed the 100th episode. “It’s like the royal wedding. We didn’t ape the wedding in Monaco. But we knew it had to be huge. We’ve been following Blair’s life for five years. She always wanted to be a princess.”

On her way into Cipriani, a regal location for the gala, Michelle Trachtenberg had her hair up in a bun and tons of makeup around her eyes that she said she had applied herself—a bit like Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra. How did she gussy up for the Gossip Girl royal wedding? “A fascinator, a gigantic feather piece by Philip Treacy,” she said.  “And every time I bent down to look at something, it hit some aide in the nose.” 

Kelly Rutherford, her hair also pulled back and with the same big eyes, said that she wore Dolce & Gabbana to the regal wedding. “It was fairy-tale,” she said. “But I was definitely ready to get out of the dress by the time we were done filming.”

Apparently there is an over-the-top dance sequence, and Blair wears a seriously grand Vera Wang wedding dress and looks sensational. But Blake Lively’s Marchesa getup at Cipriani was mainly fancy blue appliqués on a nude body stocking draped with loads of long white tassels. It had a Vegas-Gossip Girl appeal. The big drop earrings were by Lorraine Schwartz. Lively’s hair was pulled back in a messy bun. Again, big fake lashes.

A terribly thankful Penn Badgley, Blake’s real-life ex, mentioned that before he got the gig on Gossip Girl five years earlier, “I was out of work in LA about to get a job as a waiter or a liquor delivery boy.”

Joanna Garcia showed up with her Yankee boyfriend, Nick Swisher, who got the most autograph requests of anyone at the party. She had a funny story about getting home from her spray tan that afternoon. “I had to walk home in a coat and no pants,” she claimed.

So who knocked up Blair? “I love working with Ed [Westwick], Penn [Badgley], and Hugo [Becker, Prince Louis],” offered Leighton Meester, the last to arrive. With dark bangs on view, she apparently didn’t get the memo about pulling her hair back and doing big eyes. “I think the best thing is that you don’t know,” she said. “She’s dating and engaged to a prince. What could be better than that? And then you realize the fairy tale isn’t 100-percent perfect. She and Chuck have had up and downs. As much as everyone loves them together, I think their having been apart has actually helped Blair grow.” Or at least the bump.

Stay tuned...

—jeffrey slonim
photograph by gettyimages.com


Fine-Dining Thanksgiving Feasts

These five Manhattan restaurants offer elegant prix-fixe menus for Thanksgiving.

November 21, 2011

Má Pêche
Má Pêche
(translation: Mother Peach), David Chang’s midtown Momofuku, offers a Thanksgiving prix-fixe dinner ($95) this year featuring two choices for each of its three courses and dessert. If you are after a nontraditional Thanksgiving meal, you’ve come to the right place. Chang’s Asian-influenced American food is a delicious adventure. The apple salad for an appetizer contains seaweed. For a second course, choose oyster stew, a beautiful fillet of halibut, or (yes) turkey. The main dish is served with Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. Vegetarian options are available, as is a kids’ menu. 1 PM–7 PM Thanksgiving Day. Call 212-247-1045 for reservations.

Le Cirque
New York favorite Le Cirque gives the traditional Thanksgiving meal an Italian twist ($110), featuring lobster risotto, chestnut pappardelle, and a choice of filet mignon or scallops (if turkey doesn’t strike your fancy). For dessert try staples like pumpkin or pecan pie plus crème brulee and a chocolate soufflé. Deliciously impressive. Call 212-644-0202 for reservations.

Chef Gabrielle Hamilton prepares French cuisine with a rustic American touch at Prune. (Read her memoir Blood, Bones and Butter for some scrumptious holiday reading.) The eatery does serve a Thanksgiving prix fixe ($78), but the place is tiny so make a reservation immediately. The menu (read it in full on the website) entices with items such as a cheddar cheese board, an oyster pan roast, Brussels sprouts with baby turnips and cauliflower, stewed chestnuts with ricotta and sea salt, and pear and dried cranberry crisp. 3 PM–8 PM Thanksgiving Day. Call 212-677-6221 for reservations.

, located just underneath the High Line in Chelsea, is a nice option for a kid-friendly Thanksgiving dinner out. For its prix fixe ($65; $32.50 for children under 12), you can order family style with stuffing, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and cranberry-orange sauce for the table. The meal itself gives you a choice of two-dishes and is vegetarian-friendly. 2 PM–8 PM Thanksgiving Day. Call 212-924-4440 for reservations.

, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, just under the Williamsburg Bridge, will serve a three-course Thanksgiving prix fixe ($85) this year. Find a lovely romantic atmosphere here, perfect for a quiet Thanksgiving dinner if it’s just the two of you. The food is wonderful (Dressler is Williamsburg’s only restaurant with a Michelin star) and you can’t go wrong with choices like a braised lamb shank with creamy white polenta, roasted broccoli rabe and tomato jam for an entrée this holiday. Call 718-384-6343 for reservations.

—jessica ferri
photograph by Elizabeth Leitzell (Má Pêche)

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