A Glittering Evening Exploring Africa With Waris Ahluwalia

An evening set at the Explorers Club on the Upper East Side already has a certain feel to it. Aside from being uptown, you’re surrounded by relics gathered from far-flung adventures, flags that have traveled both to the summit of Everest and the depths of the Mariana Trench (thanks to James Cameron’s deep ocean dive) and a roaring taxidermy polar bear, (the roar unfortunately disabled for cocktail hour). Members have traveled the globe and to the moon, so the headquarters were a helpfully dramatic setting to imagine the African travels of jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia, who Forevermark took to Botswana and South Africa to see firsthand the sourcing of the diamonds used in their collaboration.

Waris’ glittering creations were displayed on the second floor while we looked on with champagne, ogling through glass as security loomed nearby. It’s not as if the guards had to worry much, guests like Vanessa Traina, Liya Kebede, Chelsea Leyland, Cynthia Rowley or Natasha Lyonne weren’t likely to stage a heist, though I’m sure we wouldn’t have objected to trying on a few pieces.

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Eventually the party moved on to dinner, Waris seated near designer Olivier Theyskens and Forevermark execs, the designer’s sweet mother hosting another table, seated close to heir Jamie Johnson and writer Glenn O’Brien. Before the meal began, Waris showed a short film of his African expedition, saying “This spring I went on a journey of discovery. To the origins of my materials… To see with my own eyes where diamonds come from and the impact Forevermark has on the people and the land. An experience that’s going to stay with me forever.”

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After a dinner where the waiters continued to refill the wine glasses endlessly, the party moved downtown to Bar Naná (previously Double Seven)… post which the after after party took place at the just-opened Paul (Sevigny)’s Baby Grand at the back of the Tribeca Grand Hotel. Fortunately it was a Friday, as the celebration for Waris went all night.

Photos courtesy Julio Gamboa/BFA

Everything You Want That’ll Last Forever: Vanessa Traina Opens The Line

So there are about a million ecommerce stores to shop between now, and when another one rolls into the market, for the most part, so do my eyes. There’s something different about The Line though, Vanessa Traina and Morgan Wendelborn’s new conceptual venture into bringing together the absolute best of home, fashion, and beauty for us to peruse. The store will be grounded by something called The Apartment, a physical space in New York that’ll host lectures, screenings, dinners, and workshops designed to give these products and things (like Reed Krakoff jackets, Andrianna Shamaris furniture, and Rodin Olio Lusso lipbalm) greater context. I asked Vanessa a little about her vision for The Line, below.

Given all the shopping options we have, especially online, what hole do you feel The Line fills?

I feel that the market is rife with of the moment products and trends and there was not a destination where you could really just find quality essentials; be it that perfect t-shirt, cashmere sweater, beauty product or home object.  We wanted to create that environment where you can always find the items that live with you forever.

 

What will your customer find at The Line that they wouldn’t find elsewhere?

I think it is really two things that set us apart, curation and contextualization.  Our fashion buy is curated in such a way that it builds that perfect essential wardrobe of interesting and elevated staples.  We also wanted to show where these items lived and in building the apartment we are putting them in context and giving them a life beyond the hanger or shelf.

 

So what is your vision for the site?

Our vision for the site is to illustrate the use and meaning of the products and to show their versatility, which is something that is difficult to communicate in a store. 

 

The Line will also exclusively carry Protagonist, a line of wardrobe essentials designed by Kate Wendelborn. Beginning in mid-October, The Apartment will kick off those mentioned events, so stay tuned…

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