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NYC, August 2012- The Mondrian, Century 21, Mr. Chow, and more..

AvantChicmondrian hotel soho new york
Four days in the “Big Apple” was nothing short of delicious. And my stay at the Mondrian enhanced my experience all that much more. Although the purpose of my trip was primarily business, my stay felt more like a vacation (always a plus). “Meetings” seemed more like social events and I was able to research new trends and styles by shopping.
One perk I personally enjoy when I go to New York City is how the constant walking takes the place of an ambitious excise regimen that burns off the thousands of calories I consume while I’m there. Yes, I love the food in New York! You can find authentic everything with very little effort.
Although I did go to famous restaurants such as Mr. Chow, my experience in Brooklyn takes the cake. My dear friend Azra (who is an incredible hair and makeup artist) took us to two wonderful locations. The first, a piano bar called The Manhattan Inn and then to the restaurant, Five Leaves. At Five Leaves, I had a fresh pot of steamed mussels. These were no ordinary mussels. They were very large, fragrant and among the freshest I had ever tasted. They were steamed in coconut milk and topped with a thick bed of cilantro and rocoto peppers. The only thing I was sorry about was that I had a hard time eating them all because I was so full by the time I had nearly gotten to the bottom.  I will cherish the memory of their flavor for years to come and have tears in my eyes in memory of the spiciness of the rocoto peppers.
IamAvantChic Azra Red
Two other great locations that I believe deserve honorable mention are the Chinese restaurant, Excellent Dumpling House, and the Mexican deli, La Esquina, both located in Soho. They are nothing fancy, but the quality of the food was very good.
It was my shopping experience at Century 21 (located across the street from where the Twin Towers once stood) that kept me most occupied. I have concluded that it is the best place to go trend shopping. It is so jammed with old stuff, new stuff and,best of all, sample collections. Let me explain why that is a positive thing… designers use their creativity to come up with some of the most cutting edge designs (some great, others not so much…).
All these designs get sampled. Those samples are presented during sales meetings that are usually attended by business people (such as store owners and/or buyers).  Business people don’t necessarily have a sense of style or, better stated, they can’t always see the next good thing coming. What they do have is a good sense of numbers and what they feel is sellable to their customer. 
This is how they see things and their opinion. As a designer, I don’t always agree nor fully understand…. but that is a story for another time.
Some of those samples, however, will make it to the runway, but not into the collection that will go into production. The reasons vary as to why certain styles get eliminated. It can be because the product costing is off, merchandising the item is seen as an issue, styles appear  too similar or the item doesn’t look commercial enough, etc… In any case, those incredible pieces that do get eliminated sometimes end up in places such as Century 21. There you can find the best of the best at a fraction of the cost. You just need a lot of time and patience to dig through the masses of clothing clustered on racks surrounded by hundreds of tourists and shoppers shoving each other around looking for the next big deal. (Sounds like great fun, right!!)
It is there that I discovered collections like Hache and Ter Et Bantine (both designed by Manuela Arcari) which I have a special place in my heart for, but it was nice running into familiar beloved brands such as Pringle of Scotland and Paul Smith.
ter et bantine
ter et bantine fw12
ter et bantine
As I conclude this blog post, I realize that there there was just too much intense excitement to write about absolutely everything. I guess that’s just how it is in NYC!

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