With Fashion Week in full swing, the crowd at Michael’s today was full of stylistas (Glamour‘s Connie Anne Phillips, Tom Ford‘s CEO Tom Mendenhall) and media moguls (David Zinczenko and Jim Smith) refueling for the home stretch of shows. (Big guns Ralph, Donna and Calvin still have their runway shows to do) After all, surviving the crowds at Lincoln Center requires nothing short of herculean strength. We prefer to watch the shows the most clever designers livestream (thank you, Oscar de la Renta!) or post to their sites afterwards because we can only pretend to be fabulous one day a week — on Wednesdays, of course.
Speaking of fabulous, I was joined today by jewelry designer Paige Novick and our mutual friend, accessories maven Mickey Ateyeh and had a terrific time dishing about the fashion biz. (Sorry, but some of the best stuff is off the record.) Paige launched her signature costume jewelry collection at Bergdorf Goodman in 2008 and then added Phyne by Paige Novick, her fine jewelry collection, with Saks Fifth Avenue in 2013. She recently celebrated an important milestone, having been admitted into the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) last month. “It was surreal,” Paige told me of being surrounded by the top guns in the industry at the welcoming reception and being congratulated by CFDA president Steven Kolb and designer Stan Herman. “I was so happy to be part of ‘the club’ in the best sense of the word.”
Not that Paige hasn’t already broken through the all-important sacred circle of dressing celebrities. Among her bold face fans: Taylor Swift, Mad Men‘s Jessica Paré, Anne Hathaway and It Girl on the Rise, Allison Williams (the flawlessly dressed daughter of Brian Williams). Paige told me she works extensively with stylist-to-the-stars Rachel Zoe and good friend Cristina Ehrlich, but a lot of her star-studded exposure “happened organically” as opposed to the now-common practice of pay-for-play, which many of the big jewelry houses engage in to assure their gems are photographed on the famous. Said Paige: “Beyoncé once bought my ‘Linda’ silver link hoop earrings, which are named after my dear friend Linda Fargo (Bergdorf Goodman’s high priestess of style) and Rihanna borrowed a lot of pieces for her current tour. You sometimes don’t know where your designs are going to show up, but it’s wonderful to see them on such iconic and inspirational women.”
Paige describes her chic, oh-so-modern designs as “trend aware but not trendy” that are more “personal” making them perfect for Oscar and Emmy after-parties. “They are much more personal than the pieces that usually show up on the red carpet. I like to say the pieces take you from day to night and even the morning after.” Both her signature costume line and Phyne by Paige Novick is being snapped up by an increasing number of women who are buying the pieces from themselves. “Jewelry is really having a moment,” said Paige. “It’s a fabulous way to express your personal style with a great single chandelier earring or ear cuff. I prefer pieces that are both subtle and unique.”
Paige earned her street cred with the style set honestly. After studying French languages and literature at the Sorbonne, she landed an internship with Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. (“He spoke seven languages a mile a minute. He is absolutely brilliant but one of the most intimidating people I’ve ever been around.”) With a mother who has been designing fine jewelry for 35 years and a father who once owned a home furnishings store on the Upper East Side, a career in fashion seemed pretty much preordained. And then there was being named ‘Best Dressed’ in her fourth grade class. “As much as I rebelled and tried to go in a different direction, I was like a homing pigeon, I came back to it in the end because it’s where I felt most at home. I absolutely love it.”
And it’s a good thing. She’s doing a brisk business in fine jewelry at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City and in the luxury emporium’s Greenwich store and online at Moda Operandi. “I saw that happening a few years ago that customers began buying more pieces online,” said Paige. “People have less time to shop and the price point of the jewelry ($800 – $10,000) is no longer an issue for people who prefer to shop that way.” Her costume jewelry collection, which ranges from $150 – $500 is being snapped up at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Intermix. “Today, you have to give customers a reason to buy both,” said Paige. In a few weeks, she will be jetting off to Paris to show at the Tranoi on September 26 and 27. Give our best to Kaiser Karl.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Perfumer Marc Rosen presiding over a table full of exuberant execs.
2. Paige Novick, Mickey Ateyeh and yours truly
3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and David Zinczenko. Boy, have these two have been busy. Joe hosted a lunch for his longtime friend Ken Burns on Monday, which was attended by none other than Meryl Streep, 60 Minutes‘ Lesley Stahl, Nancy Gibbs,TIME‘s first female editor and The Times‘ Gail Collins. The gang was celebrating Burns’ 29th documentary, The Roosevelts, which premieres on PBS next week. Streep voices Eleanor Roosevelt for the broadcast, which was six years in the making. I ran into Joe, who was with Tony-winning director Susan Stroman, on Saturday at David’s “friends and family” dinner at his new Tribeca restaurant, White Street. David and partners Dan Abrams and Christine Cole, with executive chef Floyd Cardoz and chef de cuisine Jason Lawless, have combined an innovative menu with “global influences” served up in an absolutely gorgeous, clubby setting. The place is sure to keep the reservations lines buzzing. The grand opening is Friday.
4. Act One uber agent Esther Newberg; Second seating: Morris Reid
5. Wayne Kabak with a very tall gal and a fellow we didn’t recognize. Anyone?
6. Louis Vuitton’s Nancy Murray, The New Yorker publisher Lisa Hughes and a host of power gals
7. DuJour’s Jason Binn
8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia with Nikki Haskell and Rikki Klieman (Mrs. Bill Bratton, as if you didn’t know)
10. Tom Ford CEO Tom Mendenhall
11. Sole man Steve Madden (wearing his signature baseball cap) and a blonde gal
12. Larry Spangler
14. Armando Ruiz
15. Jack Kliger, who was chatting with Connie Anne Phillips for a while
16. United Stations Radio’s Nick Verbitsky
17. Forbes Travel’s Jerry Inzerillo
18. Glamour‘s publisher Connie Anne Phillips
20. Agent Rob Weisbach and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lucinda Franks. I stopped by the table to say hello and ask Lucinda about her new book, Timeless Love, Morgenthau and Me (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) which first grabbed my attention when I read about in The New York Times Book Review a few weeks ago. While a lion’s share of the publicity has centered upon Lucinda’s romance and marriage to former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, the book also recounts plenty of previously untold stories involving the famous and infamous folks that have been part of the couple’s orbit over the years. There is one particularly interesting exchange involving Hillary Clinton (who else?) that has plenty of people talking. If you want to know more, you’ll have to buy the book. Lucinda is in the midst of her national publicity book tour and will be on NPR and CNN in the not so distant future.
21. Jonathan Wald
22. Richard Fitzburgh
24. Niche Media’s Jim Smith
27. Sony’s Ron Wilcox
28. Debra Fine
30. Steven Stolman, who told me he is hard at work on his next book, 40 Years of Fabulous: The Kips Bay Decorator Show House and The History Channel’s Frank Rico.
81. Publicity maven Judy Agisim with Bisila Bokoko who I lunched with earlier this summer, where we chatted about Bisila’s tireless efforts in her role of global ambassador of Liceu Barcelona Opera House.
Diane Clehane is a contributor to FishbowlNY. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Please send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.