SPECIAL YEAR: Third time’s the charm for Phillip Lim, who again teamed up with legacy Cognac-producer Hennessy on Thursday to ring in the Lunar New Year and New York Fashion Week on the same night.
“It’s been such an incredible partnership because growing up in an Asian American household, Hennessy is something we pray to our ancestors for,” the designer said, looking dapper in a velvet smoking jacket. “It’s that bottle on the top shelf reserved for the pinnacle of celebrations.”
The year of the dragon, a symbol of luck and prosperity, fit the bill for Lim, who will celebrate his brand’s 20th anniversary in September. “2024 started out with a bang,” he added. I’m in the process of moving homes and rebuilding a new one. I’m hosting tonight, then tomorrow will be fashion week. And it’s only February.”
Lim’s curated guest list was a who’s who of the AAPI creative scene, including designer Laura Kim, director Lisa Joy, actor Ronny Chieng, comedian Awkwafina and influencers Aoki Lee Simmons, Chriselle Lim and Ezra J. William. They all piled onto the Edition hotel’s lush garden terrace overlooking Times Square to sample cocktails infused with Hennessy’s exclusive collection of spirits for the Lunar New Year. The LVMH-owned brand tapped Chinese painter Yang Yongliang to create bespoke decanters in festive red, white and gold, which were used to decorate the space.
As in the past, Hennessy will be making a donation to Heart of Dinners on behalf of the event to help alleviate food insecurity and social isolation among Asian American senior citizens.
For the seated dinner, Calvin Eng, head chef of Brooklyn hot spot Bonnie’s, dished out Cantonese-inspired faire like wagyu tartare and jasmine rice congee, followed by dessert: mont blanc cake from Michelin-starred patissier Eunji Lee. Traditional lion dancers were an added treat.
It didn’t take long for things to heat up at the after party as those who stuck around had a short distance to the dance floor inside the hotel’s Paradise Club. The star attraction there was an enormous dragon sculpture with a gaping mouth, which looked as if it might breathe fire. Its tail snaked through the bar top before landing at the DJ booth where model Soo Joo Park could be found mixing beats.
The room was a buzz with silk fan performers, aerialists and hostesses who made their rounds, Hennessy in hand, dressed by Lim. But with a fall collection to present the next day, the designer lingered on the terrace a while to spend the wee evening hours with family, some of whom he only sees once a year on this very occasion. “Tomorrow is for the business side,” he said. “Tonight is more personal.” — ARI STARK
STRONG START: On Thursday evening, Christian Siriano kicked off New York Fashion Week with his fall 2024 runway show, held at The Plaza in New York.
VIP guests included “Succession” star J. Smith-Cameron, Ashlee Simpson, Sophia Bush, Alicia Silverstone, Melanie Lynskey and more.
Perched on a chair in a black and gold off-the-shoulder gown, a cosmopolitan cocktail in hand, Smith-Cameron said it was her first time at a Siriano show.
“I love how he’s famous for being inclusive,” she said. “All different kinds of ages and colors and shapes of people who he dresses, he has a sense of imagination, almost like fairy-tale characters at a nightclub. He’s got such joy of fashion, pure, undiluted, joy of fashion. It’s refreshing.”
As for how she chose her look for the night, she said Siriano had sent over a couple of dresses and she loved the vintage feel of the one she picked out.
“It reminds me of 1950s or ‘40s Dior ‘New Look’ shape, with the cinched waist and a flared skirt,” she said.
As for the two major cultural occurrences on the horizon — aside from fashion week, of course — Smith-Cameron had a bit more interest in Valentine’s Day than the Super Bowl.
“My husband and I, we’re going to go to Via Carota, which is our favorite restaurant,” she said.
As for Sunday’s big game, she’s a bit more intrigued this year but in general shies away from football. And does she have a favorite song by Usher, the halftime performer?
“No.” — LEIGH NORDSTROM
TALKING ICONS: GloRilla, Becky G, Hari Nef, Caleb McLaughlin, Emily Ratajkowski, Ashley Graham and more were front row Thursday night for Puma’s latest runway show, held at the Park Avenue Armory.
Becky G was styled for the night in a loose T-shirt, visible thong and baggy, unbuttoned jeans.
“It’s funny, everybody’s like, ‘Who’s your fashion icon?’ And I was like, ‘it’s kind of funny, but it’s my mom in high school.’ I was going through her high school yearbook and she had the perfect twist between a girly moment and oversize baggy jeans, and it was always one or the other. So that’s what kind of inspired my look today.”
Puma marked her first stop in what will be a busy start to NYFW.
“It’s hectic. It’s a lot. Yeah. It’s going to be a crazy 24 hours. The first 24 hours I think are the craziest, but I’m ready,” she said. “My heart is open. I’m ready to be inspired.”
“Stranger Things” star McLaughlin was dressed in all black for the night, which matched the dark energy of the room.
“I felt that I wanted to come moody,” he said. “[The] all-black was kind of going with the vibe.”
Puma was the only event he was attending, as he’s shooting the final season of “Stranger Things” in Atlanta.
“I wouldn’t even say it’s bitter. It’s a sweet thing,” he said, when asked if it was bittersweet to be winding down the show. “All good things come to an end, so I wouldn’t even put bitter. It’s been a great ride. Life changing, 100 percent. I started off in theater and doing Broadway, which definitely has prepared me for moments like this, being on a show, like ‘Stranger Things,’ the magnitude it’s been at. And after this I’ll continue to home into my creativity.” — L.N.
NEW FORMULA: Hugo Boss continues to expand its presence in the sports world with a new partnership.
The German fashion company’s youngest brand, Hugo, is embarking on a partnership with the Visa Cash App Red Bull Formula One team. Hugo will be the team’s official apparel partner.
“We’re finding a partner that helps us express who we are as a brand,” said Nadia Kokni, senior vice president of global marketing and brand communications at Hugo Boss. “The synergies are there, whether that’s the unstoppable, relentless energy; the fearless style; the sort of maverick and marvel expression, energy and personalities of those involved in either team, whether that’s the Hugo team or the new Red Bull team. There’s just a lot of synergies for us and a lot of appeal to reach new, broad, younger and dynamic audiences and bring them in.”
The partnership comes after Hugo’s sister brand Boss embarked on a similar partnership with the Aston Martin Formula One team in June 2022. Through Boss’ partnership, the brand is the official fashion partner of the team and designs looks for the drivers.
Last year, Boss furthered the partnership by naming Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso as a brand ambassador.
“If you compare Boss to Hugo, we are really two distinct teams,” Kokni said. “You can see Aston Martin’s look, feel, aesthetic and even drivers, we could never say they really fit with the Hugo brand. They fit with the brand Boss and they help Boss express the lifestyle, the aesthetic and even the product. If we look at that from a Hugo perspective working with Red Bull, it’s full of energy. It’s younger, a little bit more edgy, it’s a different type of charisma and personality. Both are extremely high-level teams and have extremely talented drivers, but are just really different and much more synergistic to the brands that we have.”
Hugo’s partnership with the Visa Cash App Red Bull Formula One team will include the Hugo logo featured on drivers’ race suits, teamwear and on the cars. The brand will also design formalwear for two of the team’s drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda, and capsule collections for fans, among other initiatives.
The brand will host Hugo Garage in the near future, which is an interactive experience it will hold in cities hosting F1 races.
Fashion brands have been increasing their presence in Formula One over the last few years as the global audience for the sport has been skyrocketing. The return of the Las Vegas Grand Prix in November saw many brands activating around the sport, including the likes of Psycho Bunny, Boss, Tumi, Tommy Hilfiger and Puma, which debuted its first F1 collection designed by creative director A$AP Rocky during the race. — LAYLA ILCHI