Fashion Week is upon us, and I just don’t know what to wear. Last night, fur and leather were certainly not an option as I attended the PETA Fashion Week Bash. It was hosted by a man who always knows what to wear, Tim Gunn, along with the beautiful actress and Daily Show correspondent, Olivia Munn. Special guests included long time PETA proponent Russell Simmons, and actress Taraji P. Henson. Henson, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her part in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, poses without anything to wear in the latest PETA “Fur? I’d Rather Go Naked” campaign. She spoke about growing up unable to afford fur, but refused to buy it after becoming aware of the cruelty behind it. Ironically, the gala was held at the Stella McCartney boutique in the “Meatpacking” District.
Stella is a long time supporter of animal rights. PETA hero Dan Mathews remarked how wonderful it was to be having this event at a highly successful boutique where the designer has opted not to use fur or leather in their designs. I have known Dan since the Tunnel/Spa days when the clubs I was associated with would not allow people wearing fur inside. Dan talked about how far the awareness of the cruelty behind fur has come, and of course, how much more there is to do.
Tim Gunn is obsessed with personally getting designers to opt out of using fur. I had a great chat with PR goddess Kelly Cutrone, who helped put the event together. Kelly was my PR back when I needed someone to shout my name from rooftops, so you can blame her. Also on hand was the fabulous Jenny Dembrow. I guess it’s not PC to mention one charity with another, but I’m sure PETA won’t mind. Jenny is a honcho over at the Lower East Side Girl’s Club. They need people to go to their site, Girlsclub.org, and vote for Lynn Pentecost, their fearless leader. A $50,000 grant from the Diane Von Furstenberg is at stake. Here’s the scoop:
“The DVF Awards was created in 2010 by Diane von Furstenberg and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to recognize and support women who are using their resources, commitment and visibility to transform the lives of other women. These are women who have had the courage to fight, the power to survive and the leadership to inspire.
Honorees receive $50,000 in support of the organization (U.S. 501c3) with whom they are affiliated from the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to further their work. Each year, four awards are given to women who have demonstrated leadership, strength and courage in their commitment to women’s causes.”
Every vote counts, and it only takes a few moments to help the Lower East Side Girls Club get this loot. They help young girls, when often there is no one else around to guide them. Jenny, a former club kid, dedicates her life to helping these young ladies. She and Lynn and their small band are often the difference between helping a bright mind have the opportunities to reach their potential, or having them fall by the wayside. As I left Stella McCartney’s event, I eyed the Diane Von Furstenberg complex across 14th Street and was thankful that these 2 great designers where doing so much to help others with the power their success has afforded them.
After the soiree, we hoofed over to Nuela to have dinner with old friend and restaurant PR extraordinaire Kelly Blevins. That very afternoon I had lunch with Hotel Ganesvoort operator Michael Aschenbaum, and he was raving about the place. There is much to rave about. Michael demanded I try the ceviche, and I accommodated him gladly. It’s the best I’ve ever had. Nuela is located where the dearly departed Sapa used to be. I used to visit Sapa frequently when I was building Select and finishing Gypsy Tea. Located on 24th Street, just east of 6th Avenue, Nuela is charming. The block has changed since those days. There are no longer hordes of clubbers in various stages of intoxication annoying diners, which was probably the reason Sapa suffered. Gypsy, at the old Eugene’s nightclub space, has gone through a multimillion dollar renovation and is now an Indian restaurant, Junoon, which I have been told rocks on the weekends. Nuela executive chef Adam Schop’s offerings were as colorful and exciting as the interiors done by Angel Sanchez and Christopher Coleman. Cocktails were done by Alex Ott, who describes himself (with good reason) as “ alchemist/master mixologist.” The drinks were delicious, and, of course, non-alcoholic for this old warrior. The mission statement of Nuela is “Exuding unique flavors, hospitality, and the unbridled passion of South America, with refinement and style.” I would say “mission accomplished,” but that line has been used.
After dinner Amanda and I needed a stroll, so we popped over to the Ganesvoort Park to see what Provocateur’s Michael Satsky and Brian Geftner were doing with the private room Michael Aschenbaum had showed me in the afternoon. The amazing lighting Derek Vasquez was installing while Michael toured me was paying dividends at night. The crowd was enjoying the property in general, which now features an area for special guests and their special friends. I like the Ganesvoort: The intelligence and effort put into both its food, beverage, and nightlife options and how they interact comfortably with their main business of running a hotel. I like it, and I’m going to continue to say so.