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Boys, Boys, Boys at Prada's Big Bash

December 19, 2001, 12:00 AM EST

Prada SoHo store opening Prada SoHo store, Mercer Hotel, Canteen Friday, 12.14.01, 7 PM onward
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It was the fashion event of the year, according to Fashion Wire Daily and various fashionistas. Its venue made the front page of The New York Times Sunday Styles section. It drew a list of celebrities that rivaled the Oscars. “It,” of course, was the much-anticipated, multilayered opening celebration of Prada's new SoHo store.

The bash--with its various levels of V.I.P.-ness--drew more than 1,500 guests, who packed into the store with such fervor that you'd think the Prada folks were giving away clothes with the hors d'oeuvres. The movie stars were there (Kevin Spacey, Kyle MacLachlan, Meg Ryan, Amanda Peet). The supermodels were there (Stephanie Seymour, Milla Jovovich, Shalom Harlow, Bridget Hall). The fashion arbiters were there (Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg, Chloe Sevigny). Even the mayor was there.

But the real star of the show was the store itself. Designed by Rem Koolhaas, the two-story, block-long space features a concave “wave” design, and high-tech displays tucked into surprising spots--like flat video monitors spaced among the skirts and shirts. With that backdrop, everything else seemed secondary.

Champagne, white wine, and champagne cocktails made with cinnamon sticks and almond liqueur were the available beverages. (No chance of merlot spilling on the frocks). Tentation's hors d'oeuvres, including smoked salmon and crepe rolls with dill and creme fraiche, warm figs with mascarpone pastry, and foie gras on brioche toast, were served by some of the prettiest boys in town (courtesy of Tentation, with extra help from staffing agencies Dan Taylor, Urban and Choice), who were outfitted in head-to-toe Prada waiter-wear of white shirts and black pants and shoes. (Alas, they didn't get to keep the clothes.)

At 9 PM, the party moved downstairs to Canteen, which served its own food, and across the street to the Mercer Hotel, where three levels of fabulousness were available to increasingly limited numbers of guests. In Mercer Kitchen, servers (women this time) outfitted in frilly, golden Prada aprons, passed hors d'oeuvres like black trumpet mushroom-crusted loin of lamb on potato leek pancake with onion compote, and pumpkin ravioli with walnuts, mascarpone and sage butter. Uniformed chefs served up miniature pizzas that were topped with raw tuna and wasabi cream, and black truffles and fontina cheese. A buffet of vegetable crudite and a raw bar rounded out the offerings.

Further down, in SubMercer, simpler fare of toasted pecans and manchego cheese twists were provided for a select 150 people to nosh on. And on the second floor, in a suite designed to look like an intimate hotel lobby, 60 V.I.P. guests, including Miuccia Prada herself and Rudy Giuliani, ordered from an abbreviated menu from Tentation. It featured freshly-shucked oysters and stone crabs, braised short ribs and aged loin of beef with roasted baby vegetables and mashed potatoes with caramelized onions, Maryland crab cakes with horseradish slaw, wild mushroom tart with herb salad and roasted baby beets, and individual apple pies with cinnamon ice cream.

DJ Ursula 1000 helped set the evening's loungey, Rat Pack vibe by not playing any music “post 1969.” And if you needed to wipe your mouth at any point in the evening--or if you just forgot where to go next--napkins were available with both a map of the evening's locales and the itinerary. (They were created by Prada and produced by Gold Seal Novelties.) With so many different places to party in one night, it was easy to get lost.

--Erika Rasmusson

See the napkins from this event...

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