Parties: The Fashion Week Effect on Nightlife

Fashion Week has descended upon New York City, anointing new and yet-to-be-opened venues with its holy presence. Fashion houses and fashionable rags have shouldered their way into seen-and-be-seen restaurants and night spots, and have sold off their first born in order to offer their party guests a first look at some unopened places, like The Mondrian and the Darby’s buzzy basement. The perennial question: Whether to elect tried-and-true spots (or, in the case of Alexander Wang, gas stations and bounce houses) over what could be just a flash-in-the-pan hotspot. Herewith, a rumor-mongering and totally useless look at where all the week’s parties shall take place.

No Need for Dropping Bar Names Tonight, Stella McCartney will be watching out for our furry friends along with PETA, Tim Gunn, and Olivia Munn (last name rhyme-a-thon!) at her store for PETA’s Fashion Week fete. Also tonight is Waris Ahluwalia’s party at The Wooly to celebrate the buzzy launch of his line “Waris Loves You,” with Yoox.com and Karen Elson is rumored to perform with The Citizen’s Band. Not to be outdone, Fendi will be at Saks Fifth Avenue along with The New York Botanical Garden and a slew of fashion fixtures like Genevieve Bahrenburg, Byrdie Bell, and Lauren Remington Platt. We know this game all too well: we’ll have to leave our Frye boots at home. One place we can wear our beloved booties is the RETNA graffiti party at 560 Washington Street with fashion royalty, Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, with an after-party at good ‘ol Indochine. Itinerary: Stella McCartney The Wooly Saks Fifth Avenue Indochine

Hotel Playgrounds The James has proven to be a great new nightlife addition, frequented by a slew of designers and celebrities, which means the hotel’s newbie restaurant, David Burke Kitchen, will be a big draw for the fashion crowd, and the rooftop bar Jimmy, will be packed—per the usual. But really, the buzz is all about the VMAN party rumored to be held at the not-yet-opened Mondrian—more specifically, Imperial No. Nine, chef/cool-guy Sam Talbot’s new restaurant therein. Reason for the buzz: VMAN’s cover featuring Kanye West with money in his mouth, shot by Karl Lagerfeld. We’d love to see the confirmed guestlist, pretty please? And of course, don’t discount The Standard Hotel. Although it’s not spanking-new, Boom Boom room will continue to dazzle, and blogger workshops for the Independent Fashion Blogger’s Evolving Influence conference (featuring Proenza’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez) will be held at Le Bain. Itinerary: The James David Burke Kitchen Jimmy The Mondrian Imperial No. Nine The Standard Hotel Boom Boom Room Le Bain

On the Verge Speaking of Le Bain, the French connection will see to it that the delayed Le Baron New York will have a proper place to party. Aside from Alexander Wang (who may just be hosting a chill party at his Soho store opening on February 15th) another person everyone is trying to befriend in time is Andre Saraiva. His Paris club, Le Baron, has always been the spot for Paris fashion week, and conveniently, the New York outpost is rumored to be opening in March. Though it’s been reported that it isn’t officially ready in time for NYFW, that doesn’t mean it can’t host private events and quiet gatherings for Saraiva’s closest friends. But instead of temp fate (or the Community Boards) the splashy Le Bain will host Le Baron and family on two separate occasions: on Friday with Kitsuné celebrating “Kitsuné Parisien” with hosts/music done by Gildas, André Saraiva, Annabelle & Alexander Dexter-Jones, and Grand Marnier from 11-4AM. On Sunday, the Nouveau York weekly will also host “Late Night with Le Baron, with music by Alex from Tokyo, Manu (Supreme Records) and Lee (Hamsa). The Darby has been open for a while, but rumors point to a private basement opening party this Friday, with a subsequent party open to the public (whatever ‘public’ means to the Darby folks) next Wednesday. Also on everyone’s mind: Westway, a former strip club resurrected, has bloodlines from The Smile and The Jane. Charlotte Ronson’s after-party is one rumored party slot in Westway’s schedule. Itinerary: Le Baron Basement of The Darby Westway

The Dish: Surf Lodge’s Fish Tacos

What: Tilapia fish tacos served with mashed sweet plantains (or baked beans) and corn on the cob. Where: Surf Lodge, Montauk’s arbiter of cool and one-stop locale for drinking, dining, taking in the view, and, as of recently, shopping (Memorial Day marked the opening of the Store at the Surf Lodge). Ideal meal: When the weather’s good, this place is a sure bet. The view of Fort Pond from the deck on a nice day/night, taken in while sipping a Caipirinha, is unmistakeably one of the most picturesque Hamptons experiences on the market. Because: Chef Sam Talbot established himself as a post-Top Chef success with this local-ingredient heavy, seasonal everyman’s menu. This summer, the culinary hunk is also overseeing the the Surf Lodge taco truck for late-night bites, starting in July. Tastes like: Talbot’s inclusion of ginger, cabbage, garlic, jalapenos, and Avocado Crema give the fish a little kick, and each bite gets a keep-you-coming-back-for-more zest. Bottom line: $23 for tacos seems steep, but with the side fixins included, it makes for a filling entree.

Checking In & Checking Out at the Surf Lodge

Apparently there’s a “new Gridskipper.” Check out those nasty comments underneath the travel blog’s write-up of the Surf Lodge, Montauk’s new place-to-be. They both express anger at their beloved travel tome’s sudden propensity for what—writing about a new hotel? Isn’t that what a travel website ought to do? We hope that in also writing about the Surf Lodge, no readers are alienated, but here goes nothing.

A while back, some New York hot shots and some New York big shots joined forces to create a place that specializes in making you feel like a beach bum, albeit one who can afford a room for $300 dollars a night. The Surf Lodge was started by Rob McKinley, Steven Kamali, Jamie Mulholland, Jayma Cardosa, and Steve Kasuba—Manhattan parents to Cain and Goldbar. Curiously, the hotel borders a lake, but the ocean’s waves of its inspiration are only half a mile away. The restaurant’s menu is being prepared by “Top Chef” runner-up Sam Talbot, using local produce, so the lobster roll you’re eating might very well be the same scoundrel who nipped you in the butt earlier that day.

Each room is equipped with plasma flatscreen TVs, iPod docks, free wi-fi, and hammocks on the personal decks—which makes leaving for the beach harder than you might think. And even if you’re not a guest of the hotel, you can always hit up its indoor bar or its 2600 square-foot outdoor drinkery, which overlooks the water. This is the place to hang ten in the Hamptons in 2008.