Industry Insiders: Meet Chris Hessney, EMM Group’s VIP Manager

Celebrity sightings are just a day in the life for Chris Hessney, the VIP Manager for EMM Group and their property CATCH, one of New York’s most exclusive seafood spots. “Since CATCH is a major destination, there’s a good chance you’ll spot a celebrity or ten dining at a table near you, a model, or a business executive of a company you’re a fan of.”

But more than the sightings, it’s the little moments that keep Hessney psyched about working at the Meatpacking District restaurant. “I love watching guests’ over-the-top reactions when we set the crispy whole snapper or the Cantonese lobster on their table,” he says. “Our one-year anniversary brought in over 800 groups of guests on a Monday night, which was an absolute blast.”

Top-notch New York food and hospitality has been the mainstay of Hessney’s career, where he was maitre’d at Morimoto, and manager of The Standard Grill. And it was at The Standard in 2008 where he first met EMM co-founders Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum. “EMM was the perfect next step for me,” Hessney says. “With them, the sky’s the limit.”

Find out CATCH chef Hung Huynh’s favorite app here.

Follow Bonnie on Twitter.

The New York City Late-Night Chow Guide

Visitors to the Big Apple (and residents too) depend on 3am pizza and anytime delivery like nowhere else in the world. But our idea of late-night eats extends far beyond drunk snacking. After all, in one of the great food cities of the world, why settle for anything less than the best? Here is our roundup of the best late-night eats, divided into street food, restaurants, and special late-night menu additions worth staying up for.

Food Trucks: We’ll take breakfast food any time of the day (or night), and Wafels & Dinges, the Belgian waffle truck, is indulgent enough that you might have trouble justifying it the following morning. The best way to find them is on Twitter at @waffletruck. Hungry Brooklynites and those who’ve crossed the river for a night of revelry on Bedford Ave, fortify their stomach linings for the subway ride home at the Endless Summer taco truck. Located at North 6th St and Bedford, it’s open until midnight during the week and until 2am on weekends. But we can’t end our night without something sweet, and the Dessert Truck has stepped up our post-bar sugar game significantly. Find them on Twitter (@desserttruck) and pick up their rich, sweet cakes until 11pm.

24 Hours: Visitors to Chelsea’s Cafeteria love the trendy vibe and modern take on comfort food, not to mention a chance to continue the party with a cocktail list any time of the day or night. You can’t talk about late-night eats in New York without mentioning an old-school, greasy-spoon diner, and the Moonstruck Diner in Chelsea is our favorite. Expect to be comforted with fry grease and you won’t be disappointed. An East Village institution, Veselka’s pierogies, hot meaty stews, and burgers have been stuffing late-night partyers for decades. Hot coffee and cold borscht will set you right any night of the week.

Late-Night Specials: Gabe Stulman’s restaurants have quickly become neighborhood institutions in the West Village, and he likes to hide late-night specials on the menu for those in the know. At Joseph Leonard, the burger that’s only available at lunch (with tomato jam and ricotta cheese) reappears late-night, while at Fedora, it’s the pressed pork sandwich making an incredibly savory guest appearance. The Dutch in Soho has as lively late-night scene as any restaurant in New York, and top-notch, incredibly high quality food at all hours of the day and night. While it’s definitely worth it to try to get in for dinner, don’t fret if you happen to arrive closer to last call. That means you have a chance at the cheeseburger that’s kept off the dinner menu, as well as adorably delicious baby pancakes, and a few other surprises as well. And from the tip-top of the Boom Boom Room to the depths of the Beer Garden, locals and visitors alike quickly embraced the Standard Hotel, and the Standard Grill is a delicious part of its appeal. There’s an extensive late-night menu of delicious, stomach-friendly basics, like fish and chips, spaghetti, and their famed “end of the night” omelette.

Nightlife Try Outs: Intern Alice’s Wide Eyed NYC Itinerary

Name: Alice Urmey Professional Resume: BlackBook intern and NYC newbie.
 One Word to Describe Nightlife in New York City: Fascinating.

City Loves: 
 • Favorite lunch spot: Hampton Chutney Co. in Soho. Cheap, delicious, and a nice alternative to Whole Foods. 
• Favorite dinner spot: DBGB. Fight for a table up front and enjoy upscale burgers and beer with the crowd.


• Favorite nightlife trend: Bars becoming more than just places to drink: Union Hall, Culturefix, Pimps and Pinups, The Blind Barber. • Drink of choice: Sangria is always a summer favorite. And a Belve and Soda. • Meal of choice: John’s of Bleeker: classic New York pizza. 
• Favorite group of people to bump into: Anyone I haven’t seen in a long time and keep forgetting to call.

image Union Hall, Culturefix, Pimps and Pinups, The Blind Barber

City Gripes: 
 • Nightlife trend you loathe: When a good trend goes out of style too quickly. 
 • Drink: Martini, who knew it was just a fancy name for gin?
 • Meal: Raw oysters. Briny and slippery goop. • Group of people to bump into: Crowds on The High Line, tourists in Soho.

image Alice, Left

Her Hotspots: Monday: Fresh pasta at Scarpetta, Little Branch. Tuesday: B.E.S., Avenue. Beautiful art and beautiful people in Chelsea. Wednesday: Bar Pitti, Wilfie & Nell. A low key night with close friends. 
 Thursday: Schiller’s Liquor Bar, free entrance to New Museum after 7pm–great incentive to get my boyfriend to a museum. 
 Friday: Start with a bite in Brooklyn at The Vanderbilt. Hit the East Village for Death & Co. and Mayahuel, where tequila is not only the drink of choice, it’s the only drink. 
 Saturday: Union Square Greenmarket for a loaf of bread and Long Island wine. Light dinner at The Standard Grill, followed by a night of rooftop bars. Sunday: Aroma Espresso Bar, Balthazar. Recover from the weekend with strong coffee and steak frites.

image Smith & Mills

Every night: Smith & Mills. Perfect place to end any night. 
 Wouldn’t be caught dead here: Fratty bars like Wicked Willy’s. If I wanted to play beer pong, I would’ve stayed in the suburbs. 
For special occasions: Celebrate with drinks at The Modern while munching on truffle popcorn. 
Brunch is usually: Pastis. Or Bubby’s if I didn’t eat there in the early hours of the night before.

Where Celebs Go Out: Green Day, Serena Williams, Dr. Oz, Carla Gugino

Billy Joe Armstrong at the Broadway opening of Green Day’s American Idiot: I don’t have any favorites. I like anywhere and everywhere. I went to go see “Everyday Rapture” last night, and then I went to punk-rock karaoke down on the Lower East Side, it was at Arlene’s Grocery. ● Mike Dirnt: Honestly, I like to meet friends for a nice pint at McSorley’s, the oldest pub in New York. ● Tre Cool: I like to go to Gray’s Papaya at 72nd Street and get cheap hot dogs.

Serena Williams: Oh, I don’t go out too much. I love Mr. Chow in Miami. ● Donald Trump: Only at Trump properties! Jean Georges. ● Carla Gugino: I’m a big fan of Morandi. I just went there for brunch for the first time. And I love a little Mediterrean place called Taim. ● Camryn Manheim: The truth is I like to go to a casino and play some poker in Los Angeles and Vegas. And I love to go to all the places here after the show. Joe Allen, Angus, Bar Centrale. ● Whoopi Goldberg: I don’t go out, but when I am out in the city, I go and get my hot dogs from Gray’s Papaya. Which one? I like all of them. ● Dr. Oz at HealthCorps “Garden of Good and Evil” gala to fight obesity: I like Candle 79 a lot. It’s my favorite vegetarian restaurant. It’s easy to get to, and I love the way they pull together tastes that are unique. And by the way, they supply my food in the green room, for my show. I order out, and Candle 79 caters it. They have a seitan dish and they look like chimichurri. ● Roger Ross Williams: I hang out a lot at Norwood, which is a private club, on 14th Street. It’s a whole brownstone. There’s a restaurant and a number of bars. I live on the Lower East Side, so I hang out there at a lot of different bars. I love restaurants, so sometimes Spotted Pig, Pastis a lot for lunch. Right now, I’m like editing in the Meat Packing District at an edit house, so I’ve been to the Standard a lot. ● Rocco DiSpirito: I still go to Balthazar and Spotted Pig and places like that. I love going to Balthazar and getting a big plateau of fruits de mer, you know the three-level plateau, with a couple of friends and some good white wine. ● Ben Vereen: Koi restaurant. I like the food, the ambiance, and the people.

Where Celebs Go Out: Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes

1. Richard Gere, at the premiere of Brooklyn’s Finest: My favorite restaurant has to be the Bedford Post. 2. Don Cheadle: BOA, in L.A. 3. Ethan Hawke: Manganaro’s, on 9th Avenue. 4. Wesley Snipes: That’s gotta be home. My wife is an excellent cook! Where do I like to go? Oh, La Dinastia, the Cuban-Chinese restaurant on 72nd, near Broadway. 5. Hoda Kobt: I love 21 Club. I love Tabla. I love Shake Shack, just their burgers. ‘Cause the first time I saw a line, I thought, ‘Who would wait in a line this long for a burger?’ And then I realized, ‘I would.’ There’s something about the size, the texture; they’re moist, they’re delicious. And I like Kefi — on Columbus — the best, best Greek food ever, delicious.

6. Antoine Fuqua: Carmine’s. They have Carmine’s in New York and L.A. 7. Richard Belzer: I hang out in bed with my dog! West Branch is one of my favorites. It’s up here on the west side on 77th and Broadway. And all of Drew Nieporent’s restaurants. Yeah, I get around. 8. Wade Allain-Marcus: I go to a spot like Legion in Williamsburg. It’s a bar. It’s a beautiful thing. 9. Nicoye Banks: I like the Hudson. The Hudson’s always good. The Mandarin has a nice lounge on the 35th floor, if you really want to relax, look at Central Park, be smooth. Good restaurant — Parlor Steakhouse on 90th and 3rd. 10. Grizz Chapman: Actually, I work. I don’t really hang out too much. Favorite restaurant is The Palm, the one on the east side. Being that my diet has changed, my favorite dish would, probably, just be vegetables and chicken. 11. Kevin “Dot Com” Brown: I don’t get a chance to hang out, like I used to. I come to these events, and I never remember the name — I just follow the flyer; whatever address is there; I just follow the address. But I never remember the names of the venues. And when you’re not at an event? City Island. I go to Sammy’s — I go to Sammy’s seafood in City Island, and I overeat! 12. Andre Brown: I hang out at the Rose Bar, the GoldBar, Juliet — that’s about it. 13. Daymond John: Restaurants: I always go to Nobu, Blue Ribbon. Bars, I go to Tenjune. Clubs — well, Tenjune’s like a bar and a club — I go to the Greenhouse and I go to M2. 14. Shannon Kane: Wow! I don’t really hang out at a lot of clubs or anything like that, but I have some really great restaurants in L.A. One of them is El Cholo, a Mexican restaurant. Any favorite dish? The vegetarian burrito, and the fresh guacomole — they make right in front of you. 15. Michael Martin: I used to love Bar Code. It’s, actually, gone now. I love club Amnesia, great place. The Tunnel is gone now. Tammany Hall — that’s a great one. 16. Wendy Williams: Victor’s — Cuban food. 17. Sherri Shepherd: There’s a restaurant on 56th, between 8th and 9th called Bricco’s. And it’s just a nice, little family restaurant, and I go there with everybody because they got fresh Italian food, and the owner — oh, my gosh — he kisses you like you’re the most amazing woman in the world! 18. John D’Leo: John’s Pizzeria in the village has, probably, the best pizza in New York. 19. Carrie Lowell: Bedford Post — the restaurant we own. 20. Lili Taylor: I love Bar Pitti. I like the Cuban restaurant in Harlem on 125th. Sylvia’s Soulfood in Harlem. 21. Bethenny Frankel: I like Kraft. I like the Strip House. I like Abe and Arthur’s. I like steakhouses. I need meat on the bone. I need to feed the baby! 22. D’brickashaw Ferguson: Probably, Junior’s. In Brooklyn? Yeah, gotta represent! Other than the cheesecake, I’m a big fan of their barbecued chicken. 23. Ellen Barkin: I don’t have [a favorite restaurant]. 24. Lena Olin @ “Remember Me” premiere: My favorite restaurant in the city is Nobu! 25. Gregory Jbara: The Standard Grill right now is open now till four o’clock in the morning, and they have a phenomenal menu. They have great waitstaff and you can always get a great meal, after the rest of the town is shut down. I’d recommend the oysters. They have a phenomenal selection of east-coast oysters. Also, they serve an appetizer of dried-crust cheese with English radishes. And you look at it on the table and you go, ‘What am I supposed to do with that — plant a garden?!’ And then you taste it, and you go, ‘This is a brilliant, original way to start a meal.’ Corner Bistro has the best burgers, but, if you want the best glass of wine and want to sample wines, you go to Dell’anima, which is down just south of 14th on 8th Avenue. 26. Peyton List: I love going to Dylan’s Candy Bar. I always go there and get treats or chocolates. I, actually, love the bakery called “Baked.” They have the best Chocolate Cloud cookies. What’s that? It’s a chocolate cookie, and it’s really thick and I love it, ’cause it’s so chocolatey, and I love chocolate! 27. Greg Bello: Oh, Jesus! Oh, I can’t give away all those secrets; then everyone’s gonna find out and they’re not going to be hot anymore. I don’t know what to tell you! Actually, probably, the Boom Boom Room is the hottest room in the city right now. 28. Allen Coulter: Del Posto, Peasants, Ouest –said with a French accent, but I can’t do it, Barney Greengrass. 29. Tate Ellington: ‘Cause I live in the Williamsburg area, one of my favorite places is DuMont. DuMac and Cheese is one of the greatest meals I’ve had in New York. There’s a place called Barcade which is pretty wonderful, as far as a bar, but it’s gettin’ a little packed, nowadays, but it’s a good place and the bartenders are nice. Huckleberry Bar is a nice, little cocktail lounge. 30. Peggy Siegal: Oh, I like the Monkey Bar. I like the new Jean-Georges restaurant at The Mark Hotel. I like 21, the Four Seasons, Michael’s, the Waverly Inn, the Standard Hotel. What else have I missed? I don’t know. Any favorite dishes? No, I’m always on a diet!

Where Celebs Go Out: Marc Jacobs, Amanda Lepore, Adrian Grenier, Emma Snowdon-Jones

At David Barton Gym annual toy drive: ● MARC JACOBS – “In Paris, there’s a small club called Montana, and there’s a restaurant called Thiou. Bars I really don’t hang out in. Oh, there’s this great club that happens once a month in Paris called Club Sandwich. And it’s at the Espace Cardin. And everyone gets super dressed-up, so it’s really, really fun. I try to go whenever I’m in Paris, if it’s going on. And we stay out all night and just dance like crazy. And in New York, my favorite restaurants have always been the same. I love to eat at Pastis. I love the Standard. I love Da Silvano. I eat in the lobby of the Mercer a lot, the hotel. I usually go to Pastis for lunch, and there’s a sandwich that was on the menu, but they don’t make it anymore, but I always insist that they make it for me. And it’s really fattening, so I shouldn’t eat it, but it’s chicken paillard and gruyere cheese and bacon. And it’s so delicious. It’s really good. And it’s my weakness. It’s just like the most perfect sandwich.”

● DAVID BARTON – “Oh, I can’t think where I like to hang out in Seattle except my new gym! There’s a great place that just opened up in New York, up on 51st, called the East Side Social Club. Patrick McMullan is one of the partners there. He’s co-hosting with me tonight. Great place; really cool. It’s very old world, kind of like going to Elaine’s, kind of little cozy; sit at a booth; very cool. Love a little place called Il Bagatto, over on 7th between A & B — little tiny Italian place, East Village, kind of a neighborhood place that I go to. What else? I don’t know restaurants. I’m very casual. I’m so not that into food. I mean, I could eat cardboard — I’m just not into food! I like people. I like atmosphere, but I’m just not that into food.” ● AMANDA LEPORE – “I definitely like Bowery Bar and I like Hiro. Boom Boom Room. Just anywhere where everybody is, I guess! [laughs] Novita, I like, my friend Giuseppe. Any favorite dishes? I try not to eat too much! ● PATRICK MCDONALD – “My favorite restaurant in New York is Indochine. It’s been around for 25 years. Jean-Marc, I adore. I love the bar at the Carlyle. I don’t drink, but I like to go there for tea in the afternoon. And I love Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon on Gramercy Park. I love Pastis, Odeon, and everywhere. I like the French fries at Pastis.” ● PATRICK MCMULLAN – “I love going to Waverly Inn downtown. Boom Boom Room is fabulous. That’s really a new, great place. SL, on 409 W. 14th Street, down below is nice. Of course, I have the East Side Social Club that I’m involved with, and that’s great for hanging out in, for eating. Favorite dishes anywhere? Oh, I don’t know, just anything that people recommend. I usually go with what people recommend ’cause most people know what’s good — the waiters know, so I think that’s the best thing. Red wine is good to have to drink sometimes. They have a drink called the Eastsider at the East Side Social Club that’s really good; any of their pastas; their ravioli is great there. What else do I like? That new place that’s open, the English place, on 60th in the Pierre — Le Caprice, that’s a nice place. At the Waverly Inn, I like the macaroni and cheese. It was funny because the macaroni and cheese is about two dollars less than a room at the Pod Hotel, which is where the East Side Social Club is! The Monkey Bar is fun. There are so many cool places in New York. I just go where people tell me to go.”

At elf party for Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe:

● JENNY MCCARTHY – “In Chicago, I would have to say Gibsons Steakhouse still; in Los Angeles, Katsuya, still love that sushi; I’m addicted to it. And in New York, Koi. I’m very trendy and boring, but, hey, that’s where the good food is, so …” ● PERI GILPIN – “In L.A., we like BLT a lot. We have five-year-old twins, so we’re like in bed by nine o’clock — pretty boring. Corner Bakery for soup.” ● CANDACE CAMERON BURE – “L.A., hands down, our favorite restaurant is Gjelina, which is in Venice. And we love Craft; love Michael’s in Santa Monica. Here, in New York, my favorite restaurant is Lupa, which is a Mario Batali restaurant; love it here. And I don’t go to clubs anymore, nightclubs; I don’t ever! At Gjelina, they have a burrata with prosciutto and, usually, a warm pear or a warm peach. I love that! I really love tapas. I enjoy getting a lot of appetizers, more than just a main dish. We, actually, have had our own wine label, Bure Family Wines, for two years, which is at several restaurants, so matching the food and the wine is a big part for us. We’re big foodies” ● DEAN MCDERMOTT – “There is a great bar, Ye Coach & Horses in L.A., on Sunset. I’m so bad at this stuff! Oh, Katsuya, in the Valley, awesome sushi. It’s our favorite place. We go there like three times a week.” ● KEN BAUMANN – “In New York, my favorite restaurant is Il Cortile. It’s in Little Italy, and it’s run by this guy named Stefano, and it’s incredible, phenomenal food. In Los Angeles, my favorite restaurant’s gotta be Cut, which is in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.” ● SHAILENE WOODLEY – “Honestly, I’m not really a club kinda girl. I’d rather go to a local bar with some friends and hang out there. Or just go back to my house and have people come over. I’m more of the congregate-at-my-house kind of chick. I’m 18, so I don’t drink, so I don’t go to bars. There’s a place called the Alamo, which has karaoke and it’s a bar, but we go and karaoke there probably once a week.” ● FRANCIA RAISA – “I’m not a big club person. I really like bars and lounges. In L.A., I like to hang out at Buffalo Wild Wings, watching sports and drinking beer with my friends. I really don’t go out that much. I hang out at home and have my own glass of wine, watching Grey’s Anatomy. Oh, I just tried this restaurant yesterday at Gramercy Park Hotel. It’s a new, Italian place — Maialino. It was amazing. And again, I’m very simple, so I like pizza, and John’s Pizza out here is amazing to me, too. And hot wings I like at Planet Hollywood. I’m obsessed with them!”

At Zeno “Hot Spot” launch party @ MTV Studios:

● SKY NELLOR – “I am a huge sushi fanatic, so I just had Katsuya three times in two days in L.A. What is it about Katsuya? It’s the baked-crab hand roll in a soy-paper wrap. It’s just so yummy. I want one now! In New York, I have a fixation with Bagatelle. I just love the fish and the veggies. Nightclubs, nightlife, oh, my God! Apparently, I’m a really good bowler, so I hang out at Lucky Strike everywhere — Miami, L.A., Kansas! We just had a bowling party, and I won, so … Oh, they didn’t let me see my score. I just kept getting strikes to the point where they were, like, ‘Give her more shots! We have to stop this girl!’ And the drunker I got, the better I got. Clubs — if I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out to dance. And I’m going to go where the DJ is playing. I don’t care what club it is. I went to a dive in L.A., at a party called Afex, just because some of the best DJs were playing that night. Like, I don’t care about the crowd. I don’t care about the scene. I care about the music. I don’t think the venue has a name. I think it’s called No Space. They just move the party around.” ● SUCHIN PAK – “I have a great place. It’s called Broadway East, and it’s on East Broadway. And I love it because it’s a beautiful space, but also it’s literally across the street from my house. That always helps. And then there’s a really fantastic place called Bacaro. Oh, it’s amazing! It’s downstairs. It’s almost a dungeon-like place. The people that used to do Peasant, the wine bar there, moved to this place. I like to say the Lower East Side on East Broadway is where the grown-up hipsters go. For a true Lower East Sider, it may not be true Lower East Side, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve moved more south than east, and I keep trickling that way.”

At charity:ball for charity:water:

● ADRIAN GRENIER – “Brooklyn. Fort Greene. Habana Outpost — it’s run mostly on solar power, and it’s a sustainable business.” MARK BIRNBAUM “Well, if I do say so myself, Abe & Arthur’s on 14th Street; SL, the new club underneath it. I still love Tenjune. And I like hanging out at home other than that. What about places other than your own? So I shouldn’t say the Chandelier Room, in Hoboken? I really like going to Bar and Books in the West Village — that’s our spot. You know where else I like to go? Miami — the new W South Beach is unbelievable, by far the best hotel down there. The design is incredible; the pool area is very nice; they have good restaurants there — there’s a Mr. Chow’s and the other one is good; the rooms are really nice; it’s very well done; it’s just very fresh, the entire thing; and the artwork is incredible. You don’t feel like you’re in South Beach — not that there’s anything wrong with it — but it’s really, really, really, well done.” ● NICOLE TRUNFIO – “I just found this really cool jazz club in Paris where they still dance to old, rock-and-roll music in partners. It’s a location undisclosed. I don’t remember what it’s called. It’s in the Saint-Michel — it’s just off it. You can jump into a taxi, ‘cause we went to a jazz bar called the Library, but that was closed. So we asked the taxi driver, and he took us to this place. So, I’m sure lots of local French taxi-drivers would know the place.” ● LAUREN BUSH – “Oh, gosh, I’m like so uncool! It’s such an obvious question, it’s so hard … I’m a vegetarian, so I love Blossom restaurant. They have a good, quinoa-tofu dish. It’s like gingery. It’s really good. ● EMMA SNOWDON-JONES – “I love Le Bilboquet because it’s consistent, and mainly wherever your friends are it makes the place. It’s on 63rd, between Park and Madison. I’ve gone there since I was in boarding school. I’d come into the city on the weekends, and I’d go there. I think anyone that’s been in New York as long as I have knows it. That’s a really, bloody long time, sadly. As good as my Botox is, it’s too long!” ● KRISTIN CHENOWETH – “I am an old-fashioned girl, and I still love Joe Allen’s. I go there all the time. And right next-door above, is a place called Bar Centrale, and I go there, too. I was just there last night for three hours. I like the manicotti at Joe Allen’s. It’s excellent!” ● JULIAN LENNON – “Probably the Jane bar and the Rose Bar in New York.”

At launch of S.T. Dupont in-store boutique @ Davidoff on Madison Avenue:

● RON WHITE – “I love the bars in Glasgow, Scotland. You could go sit in a bar by yourself and in five minutes, you’d be talkin’ to 10 people because they’re so curious about anybody that walks in that’s not normally in there. They just want to go talk to ’em and find out what they’re about. They’re just as friendly as they can be. I was there for the British Open, or the Open Championship, as it’s called. And if you go to a bar in New York City, you can sit there for the rest of your life and not meet another person because they’re not really gonna come up to you and go, ‘Hey, what’s up? What are you doing in town?’ That just doesn’t happen here.”

Industry Insiders: Malan Breton, Couture Connoisseur

Who would have imagined that Malan Breton, a former contestant on season 3 of Project Runway, would come so far as a distinguished designer? Perhaps not even Malan himself. The 36-year-old fashion aficionado has taken his theatrical roots and tied (or shall we say, sewn) them into his collections, bringing a wistful and exquisite approach to his designs. A Malan Breton show exhibits live orchestra and ballet performances, a welcome change from the DJ-pumping, techno-blasting, glitter-flying shows-on-steroids of today. By stitching classiness and weaving sophistication into his designs, Malan makes couture that fits real women (and now men too)!

How did you get your foot in the door as a designer? I used to be the voiceovers for ESPN Extreme Sports. My contract was ending with them and I called my agent and said, “I’m not acting anymore, I don’t want to be a performer anymore and I have this passion for design.” I had this passion since I was a little boy and I put it to the side because it’s a very different world from being a performer. I decided to take all the money I had left from my contracts to my line, and it just happened. I was very lucky because I had a very close friend in the industry that told me who to contact and how to get things going and how to develop the line. I literally sat in my apartment for three months and learned how to sew on a sewing machine.

So you have no formal training? No, never trained at all.

How have your designs evolved since your first collection? The more I learned about fabrics and construction, the more the collections evolved. I really taught myself everything. Each season, as I did another collection, I learned more about it, plus, I did a lot of research as well. I always found undergarments for women incredibly beautiful, so I researched at great length lingerie and corsetry and things like that.

What is the theme of your latest collection? The theme of the latest collection went back to my childhood. My mother was a ballet dancer and kind of pushed me into it. After ballet, I ended up doing Broadway shows. This collection is me going back to my roots because I never really explored that in a collection. It used to always be about this kind of Hollywood drama concept, which I love and think is beautiful. There were always Asian influences there and different elements of my life, but never the part where I really came from.

What designers do you look up to? I look up to a lot of the old-school designers like Balenciaga and Dior. They were people that innovated fashion. Even Adrian, the costume designer from MGM, because he basically invented the bias cut dress. It’s pretty amazing what they did and where we’ve taken it. Fashion always evolves a little bit because of new fabrics and new prints and textures and even the shapes of people’s bodies. How exciting would it have been to be the first person to wear a heavily shouldered blazer? Then, 80 years later models, are on the catwalk with these big shoulder pads.

What big names have you designed for? I’ve worked with Martha Plimpton, Katrina Boden, Nikki Blonsky, and a lot of celebrities. I’ve dressed some old-school performers like La La Brooks, who was a famous singer.

Who would be your dream person to design a piece for? Michelle Obama is amazing. She brought class back to the White House. I wouldn’t say that the other women didn’t have class, but she brought an element of new designs like Jackie Kennedy did. I’d love to dress Nicole Kidman because I have such adoration for her as an actress. I would also say Cate Blanchett. Love her; she’s so stunning.

What positive trends do you see happening in the fashion industry right now? The industry is embracing the feminine body, which it hasn’t done for so many years, so I find that to be pretty amazing. Clothes have been feminine but they haven’t embraced the curves. Designs have been very up and down and narrow. I always design with the concept that women have curves. Look at the women in the 30s, 40s, and 50s — like Marilyn Monroe. They all had beautiful curvaceous bodies and then all that disappeared. Suddenly, there were a bunch of beautiful women on the runway but their bodies were like boys. It didn’t make sense to me.

How has the economy affected your company? A lot of stores really pulled back a lot, and there were orders that we had where people called and said, “We apologize but we’re going to have to sit out this season.” Some stores really suffered. You’d have to be blind to not notice there are stores in the city that have shut down and designers that have had to close up shop. I’m very grateful that I have a clientele that kept me going, but the buyers have come back this season. I think people are a bit more optimistic. Everyone was so afraid to spend any money, but people are finally opening up their budgets. They’re still testing me out, but they’re very excited about the line.

What can people do to stay fashionable amidst a financial crisis? Go into your closet and look at all those pieces that you haven’t worn for years and see what you have. There are pieces that you can layer or match with other things or even be creative and sew. Go to one of these stores that have affordable accessories and use those. Or even pop into Bergdorf’s and buy one jacket that you can wear every other day.

Next big project? I just launched the menswear line for Men’s Fashion Week in Europe. I have a couple of other divisions in the company, so I’m going to try and expand on those. I’m looking at branding myself in shoes and more accessories and handbags.

Go-to places in New York? I love the Standard Grill. Amazing, absolutely amazing, and everyone is there. I also love the Waverly Inn and Bar Centrale. I haven’t been going clubbing too much because being in the public eye I have had some problems with stalkers, and it’s scary.

Hotels as the New Nightlife: 60 Thompson vs. the Standard

Not long ago (just a few days ago actually), the place to be in the city was a speakeasy, a dark and dank basement bar. The kids stayed far away from “the man” — in nightlife’s case, bottle-servicing mega clubs, huge corporate-type hangs, slick bistros, or slick anything. With the recent opening of the now beloved Standard Hotel, we seem to be getting back to the well-rounded Manhattanites we once were. These days you’ll find us venturing out from the West Village; some are even crossing over from the Lower East Side to experience the multifaceted Standard properties: the Boom Boom Room, The Standard Grill, and The Standard Beer Garden. Like a family caravan-ing to a Six Flags, we make the pilgrimage and usually end up staying all day at this adult playground. It works to our benefit, since we get the advantage of changing scenery without paying cab fare. As Steve Lewis asked, will most or all new nightlife construction be in the hotels? With that question in mind, it was time to revisit another of the city’s package deals: the all-inclusive 60 Thompson, the understated, elegant, and trendy Soho hotel which houses the undeniably chic Kittichai, Thom Bar, and A60. Can other hotels stand up to the new Standard?

Kittichai Thai stunner brings luck with goldfish, gold coins, and, at these prices, hopefully your date as well. Very slick but I wouldn’t want a Thai resto any other way. Despite the glamour of the place, the food is richly authentic. Once we checked in with the host, we took our time lingering at the shimmering front bar, built a little too close to the waiting area, but great for a first look at the design aesthetic. Dark wood is complimented by rich jewel colors and fireside lighting. While the restaurant has recently received mixed reviews on service and presentation (disposable chopsticks, slow waitstaff), my guests and I had an above-average experience that finished perfectly with the most beautiful desert fondue presentation. Atmosphere: Atmosphere is everything, with a focus . A reflecting pool explodes with orchids, which are also contained in illuminated, water-filled bottles. The fire burns hot — at least, that’s what the lighting suggests. You feel very grown-up in this sensual atmosphere. Perfect for: A corporate dinner, entertaining a wide-eyed out-of-towner, or the girls for ladies’ night; the cosmopolitan feel sets the tone. Menu Picks: ● Kittichai fish cake with cucumber and red onion chutney, $11. ● Northern Thai beef salad Chinese long beans and roasted sticky rice powder, $14. ● Crispy whole fish in lesser ginger curry, $29. ● Steamed jasmine rice, $3. ●”Sankaya” Pandan-Valrhona white chocolate sauce with seasonal fruit, $8.

image

Thom Bar Follow the staircase one floor up and find another welcoming nook to start off the night. Comfy club chairs and all manner of throw pillows for lounging louchely about. Class act in the hotel; not as exclusive as the members-only rooftop, but on point in all other respects. Fireplace makes for cozy winter nights, though on the particular night I went, it was a great end-of-summer spot to grab drinks with a date. Later on it turned into hipster madness of the Thursday-night party on the reg. It was a nice sight amid the lush backdrop. Atmosphere: Cozy lounge with a hint of debauchery. Beautiful decor and warm lighting. Perfect for: Visiting friends who aren’t so wide-eyed but more in the know. First date drinks; your complexion will glow in the good lighting. Early on: Cougar central, which is not a bad deal at all. Drink Menu Picks: ● Lychee martini. ● Pineapple caipirinha. ● Classic mojito.

A60 You need a VIP card or a room at the hotel in order to access one of the most beautiful views in the city. Trendy without being too obnoxious. Moneyed and attractive guests sip champagne on ice and muddled fruit concoctions. You tab will be big, but it’s worth it just to feel the breeze up here. Atmosphere: Relaxed and elegant; wooden benches and luxe outdoor furniture adorn the deck. Tea lights compliment the glittery skyline. You automatically feel like you’re on vacation. Perfect for: Absolutely everything. I’m hard pressed to find a more impressive view, more attentive bartenders, and a more mixed crowd. Drink Menu Picks: ● Champagne. ● House mojitos with Pyrat rum.

Style Guru Tells Us What’s Up

The opulence of this morning’s Ralph Lauren show sounded the long-awaited death knell to New York Fashion Week, signaling an opportunity for the downtrodden to give their livers a rest and catch up on sleep. A week of triple-booked shows, bloody blisters and stolen front row seats has yielded hundreds of new collections, and though the first issues of ’10 will be volcanoes of spring fashion, we tapped into one of the city’s brightest know-it-alls for the cream of the culture crop, Gio Metodiev, to give us his Loves it! Hates it! and everything in between.

So, where are you eating? I really enjoy the Standard Grill at the moment. The food is yummy and it’s a great mix of people. The service is a little bit off but I feel all trendy restaurants always hire wanna-be models who are more interested in catwalking than actually filling wine glasses.

Drinking? The Jane is one of my favorite hangouts. It’s a fun scene and the girl working the door loves me and always lets me cut the line.

Dancing? If you really want to go dancing, Brooklyn is the place to be. Sugarland is always a good time but nothing beats Hugs after the two am bug hits. The DJs play a great mix of music, and there’s nothing like seeing your friends reanacting ‘Like a Prayer’ after an endless night of cocktails. The scene is totally fun and unpretentious.

Give us your favorite trends for fall. I’m obsessed with 80’s ripped jeans and also love the whole denim rolled up look. Studs are also huge for me. Everything from studded shoes and leather jackets to that awesome Balmain dress that Madonna wore in her ‘Celebration’ video.

Fashionwise, what just kills you at the moment? Ummm, where do we start?! Headbands with flower details is probably up there. Black tights worn as pants is another one. I just think that skirts were created for a reason. Bow-ties too. Unless you’re going to the Oscars or the Opera, they should stay in the drawer.

What are you listening to right now? The ‘Empire of the Sun’ album has been my soundtrack for the entire summer. They are so talented and visually creative. Also, I’m still playing Roisin Murphy’s ‘Overpowered’ album almost every day and I’m super excited for Devendra Banhart’s new one coming out this Fall.

Upcoming fall concerts that have you freaking. There are so many! U2’s 360 tour is definitely on my must list. I saw them perform when I was a teen and it will be a total walk back on memory lane to see them again. Kylie Minogue is another huge one I’m so excited about. She’s never toured in the States and seeing her live is going to be a fantasy come true.

Last book that made you a recluse? I always end up reading several books at the same time. I just finished The Time Traveler’s Wife which was so sad and beautiful. I’m currently on Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman, which is such a great read too.

What Euro mags do you splurge on monthly? Fantastic Man and LOVE are my two top European books. The images are so edgy and really push the boundaries as what you expect to see from a fashion magazine. I literally treat them as collectibles.

What kind of gallery action have you been into lately? I was really impressed by James Turrel’s Hologram show at the PaceWildenstein gallery. It is stunning of what he does with light and how he manages to give it a physical meaning. Another amazing show is Juergen Teller’s ‘Paradis’ photo exhibit at the Lehmann Maupin gallery. It features Charlotte Rampling frolicking around The Lourve along with Raquel Zimmerman. It is like a fashion shoot with no clothes.

Now that New York Fashion Week is over, what are you going to do with yourself? I’ll start out by sleeping. Remember what that is?