Thursday, June 18, 2009

Uptown. Downtown.

THE few pieces in his latest collection are placed with great care on their hangers. A violinist is playing unobstrusive European classical music. Coat check girls magically materialize to relieve guests of their drapes, bags and anything they don’t want to hold. Well-wishers, including Bebe Neuwirth, socialite Lucy Sykes Rellie and a woman introduced as a friend of Nancy Reagan, are chatting quietly and sipping Veuve Clicquot. Servers thread their way through the assembly bearing miniscule finger foods that most are refusing. This is the scene at the new Cho Cheng boutique on the Upper East Side at 51 E. 63rd between Madison and Park avenues, a long narrow den of Zen with pale celadon walls and a chandelier that can’t keep its tentacles to itself.

Meanwhile, at the year-old Tory Burch boutique (shown in photo above) in the Meatpacking District at 38-40 Little West 12th Street, the joint is jumpin’. The walls are hard to see because the clothes, accessories and shoes filling the two squarish showrooms are obscuring them. It’s not cluttered, but it’s not spare. Guests can probably drop their gear right where they stand and no one would object too much. The deejay, the biggest name in the room at the moment, is rocking serious techno and House – Deep House. The crowd is young and hip; it is animated, with a spattering of full-throated laughter. Servers offer sparking wine (the name is not important). On tables placed between two white sofas, a few cookies lie insouciantly on white plates.

Of course, the parties are products of their environs and they are Exhibit 5,234 in the case that speaks truth to the social/political/artistic phenomenon that is Above 14th Street and Below 14th Street. The occasion: Good causes both. Uptown is the much anticipated opening of the atelier that bears the name of the young superstar-designer-in-the making. No longer will his celebrity and society clients be reduced to trudging up and down Fifth Avenue to find such exquisite pieces as the silk wine jacket (and matching skirt) with a bouquet of ruffles on the lapel. Downtown, TB once again is throwing some money (10 percent of sales from the evening ) at Girls Quest ( to help with its mission to give low-income girls the opportunity they deserve to be the best they can be academically and socially. After all, these are not privileges. They are rights.

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