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LV Opens Capitale With French Entertainers

November 5, 2002, 12:00 AM EST

Louis Vuitton Tambour watch launch party Capitale Wednesday, 10.30.02, 8:30 PM onward
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If Louis Vuitton's last New York watch launch event was all about atmosphere—it had an installation that required guests to wear special mirrored glasses—this one was all about entertainment. Put together by Louis Vuitton director of special events Sandra Mariniello, the launch of Vuitton's new Tambour watch line featured groups of French entertainers who provided some cool performances that won the attention of a jaded crowd. (The other draw: Getting the first peek at Capitale, the new restaurant and event space inside the old Bowery Savings Bank on the Bowery.)

Beginning at about 10 PM, guests were treated to an aerial display worthy of Cirque du Soleil, with performers (who were flown in from Paris) dangling from hoops that were raised to the ceiling, and writhed around them with flexibility and fearlessness. Later in the evening, giant boxes were lifted to reveal three groups of drummers—all flown in from Paris, too—who performed before an eight-piece band of drummers and horn players came out and played while neon-green costumed dancers wiggled on stage. When the live entertainment was over, one of the cubes lifted yet again, this time revealing a DJ who spun tunes for the remainder of the evening.

Caterer Olivier Cheng's menu included both light and hearty passed hors d'oeuvres, such as spiced pumpkin with coconut essence; Moroccan spiced shrimp on a sugar cane with cilantro sauce; coconut spinach on pappadam; chimichangas and mini truffled grilled cheese sandwiches with celery relish. Desserts included espresso brie (shaped like little drums) and tiny, caramelized banana napoleons.

With the focus on entertainment, designer Antony Todd's d?cor was understated, and incorporated Louis Vuitton's signature brown hues throughout much of Capitale's majestic space. Oyster colored half-circle banquettes were paired with cocktail tables covered in milk chocolate-colored canvas, while taffeta slipcovers in a darker shade of brown were draped over accompanying chairs.

Two V.I.P. areas, up a few short stairs, displayed long, white canvas ottomans adorned with crimson raw silk pillows and giant square boxes made of clear Lucite that held water, red rose petals, and floating candles. The resulting atmosphere was warm and sexy.

Erika Rasmusson

Read our coverage of Louis Vuitton's watch launch...

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