Lord of the Local Chefs: Jimmy Carbone

While lacking the pig head on a stick, Karma Food Projects’ September 6thPig Island in Red Hook, Brooklyn served up hogs in nearly every other form.

In its fifth year, the all-things-pork celebration pulled in 25 local NYC chefs to create dishes emphasizing nose-to-tail cooking of 25 large pigs from the Battenkill River Valley’s Flying Pigs Farm. The concept behind the day is simple: purchase pigs from local farms to support New York-based farmers, hand them over to talented, professional New York chefs to cook up creative tasting portions, and offer guests all-inclusive VIP tickets. As the saying goes, “you are what you eat,” but if being a pig tastes this good, then oink oink.

Highlights amongst this year’s chefs and dishes included: 

  • Michael Jenkins (Butter) with Chorizo Tacos with Watermelon and Serrano Chile Sauce
  • Katy Spark and Adam Shepherd (Tavern on the Green) with Glazed Pork Belly on Chilled Ramen
  • Ben Schneider (The Good Fork) and St. John Frizell (Fort Defiance) with Pit-Roasted Whole “Merpig” (aka a roast pig wrapped in seaweed)
  • Thomas Perone (The Pig Guy NYC) with Italian Spring Rolls with Roast Pork, Broccoli Rabe and Provolone-Horseradish Mayo and Pork Sliders with Lime Chimmichurri
  • Davide Navarro (Jimmy’s No. 43) with Cochinita Pibil, a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Península
  • Jon Bratton (NYC Hot Sauce) and Justin Brunwasser (Friedman’s Lunch) with Pork Belly Lettuce Cups finished with Peach Chutney, “Hog’s Head” Cheese, Pork Skin Crackle and NYC Hot Sauce

Topped off with unlimited Craft Beer from Barrier Brewing, Singlecut Beersmiths, and Sixpoint Craft Ales, NYC State Wine, Hard Ciders from the Hudson Valley and live music and patrons were as happy as a pig in… you see where we’re going with this. 

Missed the event?

Fortunately for you, Jimmy Carbone, the man behind the swine-genius, is an NYC-based restaurateur with twenty years of culinary experience under his belt, and a whole lot to offer outside of Pig Island. Creator of Food Karma Projects (creative producers of specialty food and craft beverage events throughout the New York area) and owner of Jimmy’s No. 43 (a Craft Beer Pub and Kitchen in Manhattan’s East Village) Jimmy is on a mission to bring sustainable, locally driven culinary masterpieces to the people of New York. Not only do Jimmy’s endeavors give to New Yorkers taste buds, they also grant chefs a chance to break through by showcasing their talents AND benefit non-profit community groups. In other words, all hail the man who has made charitable eats a thing.

Get in on the daily action and join Jimmy’s No. 43 for pop up kitchens, classes, prix fixe dinners and guided tastings by emailing here: foodkarma@gmail.com

Be sure to follow Jimmy during Cider Week NYC for cider-centric events including CiderfeAst, an indoor/outdoor expo featuring 20 different cider makes and grilled bites to pair.

Keep in mind Jimmy’s tips to getting the most out of culinary-tasting experiences:

  1. Arrive early to any event with food. It will run out.
  2. All you can drink is fun, but let the food drive the day. In other words, don’t fill up on beer.
  3. Events are rain or shine, so bring a poncho… your hands will be too full with food to juggle an umbrella. 

And if you can’t wait for Pig Island 2015, bring home the bacon with Carbone’s e-book, I Like Pig: The Pig Island Cookbook, with pork recipes to perfect in your kitchen, releasing later this month. 

By Lily Rouff

Long Live the Queen, of NYC Nightlife: Queen of the Night

Psst. Pass this note to Talia. 

In a darkened hallway of the Diamond Horseshoe, in the Paramount Hotel, a scantily clad bellboy slips a folded paper to a guest, whispers instructions and disappears. Another bellboy approaches two female guests with a tray of hors d’oeuvres and slyly coos with a smile.

Have you tried my balls?  

Welcome to Queen of the Night, an immersive-theater dinner show loosely based on Shakespeare’s “The Magic Flute.” Produced by some of the creative minds behind The Box and Sleep No More, Queen of the Night embraces the same seductive and mysterious ambience, aiming to remove guests far from their comfort zone. The rules? Say yes to everything. 

Upon arrival, guests are encouraged to explore every room of the theater and interact with as many bellboys, or cast members, as possible, before taking their seats for the performance. Amongst these rooms, guests can find a cheetah decadently draped in jewels, a secret bar, acrobatic performers, intimate interactions and hushed conversation between actors and of course, the centerpiece to the entire space, the Queen. Masked and standing on stage, overlooking the main room, the Queen watches as the crowd mingles at the bar.

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For pulsd ticket-holders, flirtatious bartenders serve unlimited beer, wine and Mad Distillery cocktails, including the bourbon-based Willing Gentleman and vodka-based Queen’s Bush. 

The show commences as guests are ushered to large, group dinner tables surrounding the stage. What to expect during the performance? A Queen, virgin, handsome suitors, knives, whips, dancing, contortionists, aerial artistry, and acrobatics… but that’s just a teaser… here’s what you’ll need to know: 

1. Dress to please the Queen.

Rumor has it that Queen Elizabeth frowns upon Kate Middleton’s rising hemlines. Our Queen encourages sequined hot pants. Be sure to stand out in the crowd, just remember, no denim or tee shirts. 

2. Don’t be shy.

The audience is as much a part of Queen of the Night as the cast; guests are called on stage to participate in exhilarating, and sometimes unusual, theatrics.

3. Germophobes need not apply.

Lingering touches and endless flirtations are only the start…

4. Bartering is a must.

Each table will receive one of the following: birdcages filled with lobster, full suckling pigs or carving boards topped with short rib and bone marrow. Grab a plate, head to neighboring tables, and start trading. EVERYTHING is a must try. But save room for dessert. Ever wanted to be spoon-fed? Let’s leave it at that…

5. Prepare to hobnob.

Then after the show it’s the after party, a nightlife experience like no other. Think more guests, mingling actors, body painting, tarot card readings, dancing, drinking… This sexy setting more than lends to conversation with strangers… It’s the perfect environment to make friends, trade business cards, forge new romances…

Intrigued? Start passing notes here.

By Lily Rouff 

The Concrete Jungle’s Secret Cocktail Safari Guide: Alex Ott

Sophisticated. Cultured. Intelligent. Creative. Authentic. Enigmatic. 

In the heart of Times Square, these descriptors are not the norm, making Alex Ott’s 42nd Street apartment-turned-cocktail lab quite the exception. 

Alex has been quietly offering Secret Cocktail Safaris in New York, beginning in his lab, over the last few months. His intimate rendezvous grant guests access to a hidden and exclusive underground nightlife of Geisha bars, jazz clubs and late night establishments with five-star quality dining. Past guests include Brad Pitt, Alan Cumming and Susan Sarandon…

So how do you get in? Shoot him an email and hope to catch his eye. And pass a background check.

Seriously.

Of course, this is for good measure. Alex’s cocktail-lab doubles as a cultural museum, with artifacts ranging from a 500-year-old German book (which he found buried in the walls of his parents’ home), a 200-year-old bottle of gin (for female pains, AKA the original PMS cure), and an Indian camel bone art piece, painted with squirrel hair. After Alex’s moon rock, a gift from NASA (Alex creates drinks for them for space travel… in SPACE, you know, no big deal), went missing after a night of hosting, it was apt time he start guarding his treasure. 

The man behind the goods? For one, he is a studied biochemist and seasoned mixologist. His merits, which are many, include the following: 

  1. Creator of 300 cocktail menus for restaurants and events around the globe, including New York’s SushiSamba, an $80 Million Indian Royal Wedding and The Oscars.
  2. Successful storyboard designer for blockbuster films such as The Beach.
  3. Perfumer for Tom Ford Fragrances.
  4. Guest star on an episode of HBO’s Sex and the City, as himself.
  5. Star and developer of a CNN libation-induced-healing inspired travel show, which is currently in production.
  6. Teacher of a class at Ivy League institution, Columbia University.
  7. Author of a Wine & Spirits book, DR COCKTAIL: 50 Spirited Infusions to Stimulate the Mind & Body
  8. Consultant for major spirits brands, including Svedka Vodka and Möet Hennessy.
  9. Engineer of a hangover prevention drink, MERCY.
  10. Master of homeopathic and flavor-pairing spirit infusions that will leave the drinker without a hangover in the morning. 

Yes, that last one reads correctly. Drink ten cocktails with Alex, mix multiple spirits, indulge in a late night, and see the sunlight the next day without a hangover.

Alex Ott, unbelievably, becomes increasingly more interesting in person; welcoming, vibrant, friendly, interesting, cultured and passionate, there is never a lag in conversation. Born in Germany and raised in Kenya, Alex has called New York his home for fifteen years, after making a few “pit stops” in Paris, France and Sydney, Australia (he’s also a surfer). He’s a well-traveled intellect with an adventurous spirit and an appetite for a well-lived, health-conscious life.

In a city of tour guides run amok… Alex stands out. Not only does he expose guests to a side of New York unseen by most, he will charismatically entrance an evening into a unique experience only available through Alex. Simply put, he is the experience. And his libations… There’s that, too.

You in? Of course you are. Let your fingers do the talking: alexott73@gmail.com

By Lily Rouff

Cool New Yorkers: Erik Kimel and Sloane Wimberly of Harry’s

If you’re a guy (or know a guy) with the ability to grow hair on his chin, you have probably heard of Harry’s. At the very least, you’ve probably encountered a Harry’s shave.

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Harry’s is the relatively new SoHo-based shaving startup that’s revolutionizing the world of men’s facial hair management.

They’re providing men all over the USA (and Canada, because they give us maple syrup - so, you know, fair is fair) with a really close, smooth shave at an everyman price point. And they’re doing it with pizzaz.

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Oh, so now you know Harry’s! Their ads, emphasizing their commitment to providing a close shave any time, any where, are consistently quirky but clever.

Best of all, that style carries over to their NYC manifestation - Harry’s Corner Shop at 64 MacDougal Street in SoHo.

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There’s the old school barbershop vibe, but with a Harry’s twist.

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But much more interesting is what goes on inside. I sat down with Harry’s Director of Brand Activations, Erik Kimel, and PR Manager, Sloane Wimberly.

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Like the company, they’re young and friendly (and clean shaven, though that only applies to Kimel).

Kimel and Wimberly both joined the company around a year ago, within a few months of its launch, and are in the barbershop frequently. They work in the Harry’s office, just a few blocks over, and Kimel makes a point of stopping by at least once a day.

After all, he joined the Harry’s team for “the ability to have such direct interaction with customers.”

Everything they do is about creating “exceptional experiences” for their customers, beginning with the care they took in developing their high quality razors.

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The hardest step in bringing Harry’s to life was making the razors, said Wimberly. It was a “really high barrier” to overcome, because an ideal razor blade must be very strong at the base and very sharp at the tip. “We realized how hard it is to manufacture great blades.”

After literally looking all around the world, Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider, Harry’s founders, found the perfect blade in Germany.

They just knew the moment that they tried the razors that they had found the perfect partner and, a little over six months ago, purchased the approximately centenarian German razor blade factory.

But enough with the backstory - the Harry’s team is as cool as their product.

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Kimel’s favorite razor is Harry’s orange Truman razor (it comes in three other colors, or there’s the chrome Winston) with their signature 5 blade head.

They both know everyone on the team, now of almost 60 employees, and enjoy hanging out together a lot.

A LOT.

There are Team Lunch Thursdays, Team Breakfast Tuesdays, occasional happy hours around NYC, and informal hangouts after work on Fridays. Kimel and Wimberly agree that their favorite event thus far was team karaoke.

Everyone has “such diverse skills during the workday and it’s fun to see people doing something else,” said Wimberly. “We also have some talented singers,” she added.

So there you have it! Harry’s is defined by its high quality product, customer focus, friendly team - and good singers.

When not working, Wimberly enjoys dining at Navy, a new restaurant on Sullivan Street that she recommends for coffee meetings, lunch, or dinner. Her favorite SoHo shopping is “anywhere on Broadway - when it’s not crazy.” 

Good luck with that on a Saturday afternoon.

Kimel likes pretty much everything about SoHo, as evidenced by his choice to live “a block away” from the Harry’s Corner Shop, which is itself not far from Harry’s office. 

Maybe he just needs that regular straight shave service.

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Tips For NY Restaurant Week

First off, did anyone else raise an eyebrow at the NY Restaurant Week dates?

Math wasn’t our major in college, either, but July 21-August 15 sounds like more than seven days…

…but we probably shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. After all, we’re looking forward to around three weeks of eating three course meals all over New York City for only $25 per lunch or $38 per dinner! That’s almost pulsd-worthy!

(Almost). 

We do $29 dinners *with* wine included, but this isn’t about us.

It’s about the fact that NYC foodies are about to descend upon 314 more-reasonably-priced-than-usual restaurants (and yes, we’ll be among the crowd - purely for research, of course, to find out which are the best and what we need to turn into a pulsd special). 

Here are some tips to help you navigate the madness that is NY Restaurant Week(s)!

1) Don’t just show up expecting to go in without a reservation. That might work at times during the off-season, but NY Restaurant Week is definitely the on-season for participating restaurants. You’re about as likely to be seated as the 1 train is to make it from Uptown West to the Financial District in under ten minutes. 

Dream on.

2) Remember life isn’t a bottomless brunch and if you try to wash your meal down the way you do ours, there will be (financial) repercussions.

Yeah, we know - it sucks. But it’s better to go in to your NY Restaurant week aware that you’ll be paying for those mimosas than to come out wondering what happened to your fall vacay budget.

3) Don’t try to go every day for every meal. You will run out of either stomach space or patience, possibly both.

Three weeks of 3 course meals twice a day will take a total of days and days and days to eat, not to mention all that time waiting to be seated, place your order, receive your order, get your check, and leave behind the slow walkers.

At most, do one meal a day - and even that, for most, will be pushing it. Scheduling three or four a week, if you’re going to go for the full duration of the week(s), is much more reasonable.

If you’re super hard-core and planning to go for every meal every day, though, definitely send us your photo collage of all that food - @pulsd on Instagram. 

#picsoritdidnthappen

What are YOUR top tips for NY Restaurant Week?

Where are you planning to dine?

Tastemaker: Beat The Crowds

It’s Friday! It’s summer! We live in New York!

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There are a lot of reasons to be happy. Unfortunately, summer crowds in New York aren’t on that list. 

It’s no wonder New Yorkers have a sort of stand off-ish reputation - trying to get home and getting stuck behind Midwestern slow walkers striding down the sidewalk three abreast is enough to make a Mother Teresa misanthropic.

Experiencing that kind of irk during the weekend? The time that was explicitly created for fun, partying, boozy brunching, and all things nice?

Completely unacceptable.

But don’t worry! We go through the same stuff and we have nothing better to do than to make sure that, by the time 5pm on Friday finally rolls around, there’s nothing standing between you and that well-deserved Sangria. 

To beat the crowds, you have to think like the slow-walkers and be one step ahead. We did it for you (you’re welcome). 

Workout - 

Not exactly the thing you want to start with, right? But think about it - if you get your exercise in before the indulgence, you get it done ahead of time and beat the massive Sunday ‘cleanse-day’ crowds.

In the heat of summer, we recommend yoga. It’s a lot more appealing than a bootcamp class after a busy work week when you just want to unwind.

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And hey, if it works for the likes of Miranda Kerr, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Candice Swanepoel, it’s good enough for us.

The only remaining excuse is that yoga is too expensive - false, because we got you $1 hour-long classes. It’s cheaper than taking the subway to Central Park for a jog!

And the instructor will be there to make you actually get a workout, unlike the solitary jog where you have to motivate yourself.

Eat -

So after all that yoga, you’re going to be pretty hungry. But, fun as it is to dine in a known celeb hot-spot, the lines at Delicatessen would kill that yoga glow in less time than it takes the NYC humidity to fry a blowout.

Solution?

Barca. It’s a formerly-popular restaurant with a new name, a new menu, and new branding. 

New restaurant + previously solid = no one knows about it yet, but you’re not risking a lackluster meal. 

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Put on your drinking eating pants, because we have the #luxeforless intel: just $29 for a bottomless boozy brunch for two.

Split it with your yoga buddy and your weekend barely even touches your work week earnings. That’s great news for the sample sale budget!

Party -

Hit up a friend’s rooftop!

With the great weather, some great company, and drinks you mix exactly the way you like, it beats having a bouncer glare at you for having a guy:girl ratio that’s too closely approximating 1:1. 

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We even got you guys a sick deal on our favorite wines.

Have a #pulsd weekend!

How To Be Deluxe (On A Dime)

What are the best parts of being Kanye-West-blowing-his-nose-with-gold-kleenex rich? 

1) Shoes.

2) Maids.

3) Shoes.

Sorry, we can’t help you with the shoes (yet - though you’ll be the first to know when we find that elusive Louboutin sample sale!) but the house cleaning? We’re so on it. 

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The fact of the matter is that you only really need a maid for a big scrub-over every week or so, to deconstruct the leaning tower of trash and make your room shine. 

And truth is, you’re probably only really thinking about it on Thursday or Friday night, when you realize that bringing someone home to that mess isn’t going to skew things in your favor. 

You don’t have to be loaded to not have to clean up after yourself. All you have to do is be buds with us - we can get you two hours of professional cleaning for just $29 bucks, the cost of a brunch out. #luxeforless

To put that into context: make your own pancakes once = get a maid (or, better yet, do a brunch deal for two weekends and you’ve recouped the cost of the cleaning without giving up anything). 

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We tried it out and it was amazing - the cleaner Handybook sent was in and out while we were at work and, after just two hours and $29 dollars, the apartment had been transformed from a veritable ‘sty to a sparkling beacon of cleanliness.

Forget about impressing a date, even our moms would be impressed!

The bathroom, kitchen, living room, and two bedrooms were all cleaner than we’d ever seen them, even pre-moving in, and the hardwood floors literally gleamed. We almost shed tears of happiness, no joke.

Though this deal is just about sold out, we have something very similar still up. You’re welcome!

Cool New Yorker: Corey Galotta at Bulldog Gin

Bulldog Gin isn’t your grandfather’s gin, as they’ll be happy to tell you. Corey Galotta, the 31-year-old USA Marketing Manager who handles the whole US market (Bulldog Gin is in all 50 states and 35 countries) isn’t so typical either.

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Here’s what makes them both so cool and so NYC.

Origins

Bulldog Gin is the brainchild of then-28-year-old Anshuman Vohra, a former finance guy who decided to leave Wall Street and revolutionize the gin experience. Founded in 2007, just before the economic downturn, Bulldog Gin managed to not only survive, but thrive at a time when other businesses were shutting down. 

Launched in NYC, the first place that Bulldog Gin expanded to was the United Kingdom followed quickly by Spain, because, as Galotta said, “gin is huge in Spain.” Now they’re so busy that Galotta, a former NYC bartender who joined the company in 2012, is just returning from a week of traveling to meet with distributors and clients in other states.

The Bulldog Difference

We know what you’re thinking when you hear ‘gin,’ because we’re thinking it, too. But Bulldog Gin isn’t crazy-hard liquor reserved for men who can go from clean shaven to fully bearded in under twelve hours. It’s London Dry Gin and, for starters, it’s 80 proof. Most gins are 92-94 proof, but popular mixer alcohols, like vodka and rum, are 80 proof. Making their gin 80 proof makes it “more approachable” and ridiculously smooth (it’s delicious).

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Bulldog Gin also has less juniper than your standard gin, so the traditional pine needle flavor isn’t as prominent. Instead, the flavors of the other eleven botanicals that are also in the gin come together to provide a gin experience that’s mildly sweet, ridiculously smooth, and all-in-all incredibly enjoyable.

Life the Bulldog Way

The office is open, airy, and luxe, with a nap pod (the office go-to hangover cure).

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Soft music with great bass, put together by Galotta (a DJ when he isn’t at Bulldog), sets the office’s chill vibe. Everyone is young, friendly, and smiling…

Honestly, it feels like walking in on a group of friends being beautiful New Yorkers in someone’s posh loft. There’s that feeling that someone should be Instagramming this, #win. 

Rapid-fire With Galotta

Favorite drink - Gin & tonic with lime & licorice

Typical day - “Busy” (laughs). Galotta deals with the Bulldog Gin distillery, based in the UK, in the morning, then works on marketing plans, works with distributors, and, as of late, with beverage giant Campari (the guys behind SKYY Vodka, Wild Turkey, and more).

Biggest challenges - “Learning the industry…there’s a lot of rules and regulations, because it’s alcohol.”

Favorite thing about working at Bulldog Gin - “Being involved in this industry…I have a very productive 9 to 5 job, but there’s always events after.” As a former bartender, Galotta likes checking out the new cocktails people come up with using Bulldog Gin.

He also mentions fancy desserts - tempting.

Last thing the team did together - A big dinner honoring the Managing Director of Campari America last night.

Next thing the team is doing togetherA happy hour next Friday, June 27 from 6-8pm at Ambrose Hall, South Street Seaport. All Bulldog drinks will be half off - pulsers, get on it! It’ll be the smoothest, most delicious gin you’ve ever tasted.

Bulldog does to gin what Marvin Gaye does to mood music.

Favorite country (excepting the USA) - Spain. “They drink a ton of gin in Spain…they drink gin like we drink vodka.”

Team’s favorite place to go out together - Daddy-O, an industry spot in the West Village that was the very first account to take Bulldog! “There’s great food, they’re open late, and they make great cocktails.” They also always make Bulldog drinks. 

Biggest Interview Takeaway - Go to the happy hour on Friday! Half-off and it’s the smoothest buzz you’ll get all weekend. Sounds pretty #luxeforless to us!

Sample Sale Recap: La Perla

We live by luxe for less, so we’re loving sample sale season!

…even if we’re standing in so many lines that NYC is starting to feel like Disney World with pigeons.

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Yeah, that’s not tourists organized into convenient rows to people-watch. That’s La Perla at the opening of their summer 2014 sample sale - and yes, we were there.

The line formed on both sides of the sidewalk, but was surprisingly well organized (the sale was excellently staffed) and moved pretty quickly.

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People were pretty much in and out of there, grabbing all the reduced price designer lingerie, swimwear, and accessories that appealed to them, so the line wasn’t as long as it looked. 

While many chose to steer clear of the silk whips and other more daring pieces, there were plenty of couture temptations to go around.

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The silk robes were reduced to $80 and, while a few were damaged, a lot of the pieces were in great condition! There were also bras and panties in bulk, as well as some super chic swimsuits. 

All in all, a great way to justify a designer wardrobe - getting high quality couture for the same price as Victoria’s Secret can’t be beat!

To find out about future sample sales for La Perla, among others, check out pulsd.com.

Meet Diane von Furstenberg: Recap

Last week’s Meet Diane von Furstenberg event at Bergdorf Goodman pulled in fashionistas from all over Manhattan to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the DvF wrap dress with the fashion icon and former royal.

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We’re sure Diane was thrilled to see so much of her own work on the event attendees - even many of those who didn’t favor the wrap dress wore at least a DvF piece or two.

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The pink wall honoring some of Diane’s career highlights set the mood for the very chic event and stylists were on hand to help some attendees purchase the perfect dress. To set the party mood, there were also pastel cake pops and glasses of champagne.

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But Diane, whose style can best be explained by her famous quote, “Feel like a woman, wear a dress,” was the clear main attraction.

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Diane took the time to speak one-on-one with her guests, gesticulating grandly and looking fabulous in one of her own dresses and a pair of to-die-for heels.

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Don’t you just wonder what they’re talking about?

Diane even took the time to speak with a FIT design student about a necklace that the student had created (as seen in the photo).

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Also spotted: a film crew shooting material for Diane’s upcoming reality competition show.

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Should Project Runway be concerned?

For more events like this, check out pulsd.com