New in the New Year: Fusion Furniture, Fashions of Herrera and the 30's, Art Strike(s), Gifts Galore, and the Regency Reopens

The new year has kicked off with a plethora of new places, exhibits, products, events.

Regency Bar and Grill Returns

Regency Bar & Grill ReOpening

Regular patrons were welcomed back to their celebrated early morning routine when the Regency Hotel hosted a "Power Breakfast" to launch its newly-renovated Regency Bar and Grill.  Spike Lee, former Mayor David Dinkins, former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, Al Sharpton and present and past Police Commissioners  Bill Bratton and Ray Kelly were among familiar notables seen networking over scrambled eggs and bacon.

Lighter and more airy than its predecessor, the 135-seat dining room now adjoins a contemporary shiny metal bar, both spaces enclosed by a wall of windows open to views of passersby.  Conceived by Loews Hotels & Resorts Chairman Jonathan Tisch, the redesign will also incorporate a stand alone Milanese-style Sant Ambroeus coffee bar.

Benevolent Ballet

Coming up in April New York City will again host the world's largest student ballet scholarship competition, Youth America Grand Prix which will donate over a quarter million dollars to provide talented young dancers with scholarship auditions and performance opportunities. The contests will be topped with a recital of winners and two recent events were held to alert potential sponsors and audience members.

At a special public seminar three stars of American Ballet Theater demonstrated the creative process of dance.  ABT dancer and choreographer Marcelo Gomes led ballerina Misty Copeland and Principal Dancer

James Whiteside through the evolution of a new pas de deux enabling guests to see how movement is honed and how quickly dancers can embrace the complex steps of new routines.  The presentation was followed by a reception during which audience members were able to converse with the dancers.  All proceeds benefited YAGP’s Scholarship Fund.

A few days later, supporters of the group assembled for lunch at Le Cirque.  YAGP Founder Larissa Saveliev and Chair Lisa Morse mingled with guests and introduced principal ballet dancers James Whiteside and Herman Cornejo of ABT and Charles Askegard of NYCB who recounted highlights of their careers.  YAGP's finals will take place April 3-8 concluding with the gala on April 10.

East Meets North

Bo Concepts Chair

Fusion furniture, blending Danish contemporary style with Japanese sensibility, was introduced at a reception held at Scandinavia House.  A collaboration between Danish firm BoConcept and Japanese design firm nendo the new pieces are based on simplicity and functionality.  An upholstered wrap around armchair embraces sitters, and scissors point out the time in whimsical clocks.  Waiters passsed fusion foods inspired by cuisine at famed Copenhagen restaurant Noma:  "Oriental" pizza, soft cheese served in eggshells, and turnips coated in oyster paste "rooted" in claypots of  rye bread chips.

Calamity Glam

 Set between the 1929 stock market crash and the outbreak of World War II, the 1930's were tumultuous years when the rigid, structured clothes of the Edwardian era and shapeless flapper styles gave way to the balanced, well-proportioned body and the emergence of modern clothing.  Intricate couture craftsmanship and bespoke tailoring was applied to modern styles that took advantage of softer textiles and deconstructed designs.

On display are remarkable garments.  Joan Crawford's red floor-length gown from the film The Bride Wore Red is encrusted with thousands of hand-sewn bugle beads and a frothy floor-length Augustabernard evening  gown is elaborately pin-tucked from a single piece of fabric.  Also to be seen:  pattern pieces of the Prince of Wales' signature tastefully
tailored blazer and several pairs of Fred Astaire's tap shoes.

 "Elegance in an Age of Crisis:  Fashions of the 1930's" runs through April 19 at The Fashion Institute of Technology Museum

Wreck Works
Slashes, smashes, cuts and other violent actions are framed in works on display in new exhibit Strike(s).  By disfiguring pristine canvas, wood, walls, the creations transform the physical action into a work of art.  Spanning five decades,  the works in "Strike(s)" force viewers to contemplate simple, everyday actions imbued with artistic value.  The works by proto Arte Povera artists Alberto Burri, Cesar and Lucio Fontana and contemporary artists Dylan Lynch, Alex Perweiler, and Peter Sutherland will be on view at Nahmad Contemporary Gallery through March 1.

What Matters
 Material ConneXion, Culture + Commerce, and Interior Design held an open house to show off their newly completed global headquarters at the Time & Life building in Manhattan's midtown district.  Designer Philippe Stark, Material ConneXion founder George M. Beylerian, and "Interior Design" Editor Helene Oberman were among those mingling among the firm's handsome and intriguing archive of over 7000 new substances available for innovative use in designing contemporary interiors, furnishings, appliances.

Her Fine Fashions

February brings Fashion Week to New York, and we attended the showing of new creations by the Sophisticated Lady of 7th Avenue, designer Carolina Herrera.  Greeted by her elegant husband Reinaldo, a stylish crowd of fashion professionals and social guests packed the runway catching up and networking before taking their seats to see the Fall 2014 collection.

Snapshots don't do justice to the what the designer calls an exploration of soft construction and volume in clothes with neutral colors and varied textures.  Shots of turquoise and orange brightened prints with sharp geometric shapes.  Flowing gowns in organza and gazar were crusted with jewels and intricately tailored to catch the wearer's curves.  Fur popped up trimming jackets, dresses, and gowns.

Gifts Galore

The Javits Center and Piers were crowded with 2500 exhibitors showing off over 100,00 products in more than 400 categories encompassing Home, Lifestyle, Handmade, and NEW! at the annual gift trade show newly named NY NOW."  A colander, a "heavenly throw," a double-ball ride-on toy, and bubble bath packaged in wine bottles were among best new items singled out by the show judges.  Wandering among the aisles and aisles of goodies, we picked a few new oddities and favorites:  a bacon change purse(, diamond edge nail files (, a feather-light papery raincoat (, lots of swirly home accessories ( , metallic handbags (www.stewartstandcom) , and an inflatable crown for Dad (

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