CHAMPAGNE AND CAVIAR: As with the enduring popularity of martini and French fry culture in New York City, caviar is becoming increasingly ubiquitous on menus across the city at nightlife hot spots. Customers can lick it off their hand at Temple Bar, which added “caviar bumps” to their menu when it opened in 2021, or eat it atop a potato and pretend they’re in Paris at Caviar Kaspia at The Mark Hotel.
Now, they can sit down to an entire dedicated evening of the stuff at RH Champagne & Caviar Bar, newly opened beneath RH Guesthouse in the Meatpacking District.
More than a year after the luxury dining spot opened in New York, RH — formerly Restoration Hardware — is diving deeper into food and beverage with the new bar, which offers a menu of various caviar-focused dishes, desserts and Champagnes and vodkas, as well as cocktails in a 32-seat subterranean lounge. Dishes include caviar cones with either toro or salmon (or just caviar); caviar rolls with lobster or crab; various caviar-topped tartars; several different preparations of potatoes with dollops of caviar on top, chips and dips as well as a traditional caviar service, which comes with chips, blinis, crème fraîche, chives, hard-boiled egg, chopped red onion and more.
Gary Friedman, the chairman of RH, said the company was inspired by its love of caviar, as well a “belief that there was opportunity to create a simple, yet sophisticated menu in an alluring and immersive space that transports you to both the glamour of secretive and sensual speakeasies of the past, and the most luxurious private lounges and clubs of the present.” The New York Champagne & Caviar Bar is the first for RH, but Friedman plans to open them in Paris, London and Aspen over the next three years.
In a competitive market like New York — where, as mentioned above, there are plenty of places serving caviar experiences — Friedman pointed to RH’s commitment to privacy and luxury as unique selling points.
“Our strategy is very simple,” he said over email. “We do what we love, with people that we love, for people that love what we do,” a mantra he repeated in person during opening night of the bar. The clientele was full of bold-faced names already, ranging from Michelle Williams and Neil Patrick Harris to Martha Stewart, Tamron Hall, Laura Kim, Prabal Gurung, Peter Som and more. The night before opening their doors, Friedman had been up until 3 a.m., taste testing latkes in the kitchen. He fears they sometimes turn out too oily, but when they’re perfect, they’re his go-to recommendation on the menu. — LEIGH NORDSTROM
BILLIONAIRE, BUTLER AND BOYFRIEND: Netflix’s newly released documentary on “the Bettencourt affair” has been met with large viewership.
The three-part series titled “Affaire Bettencourt: scandale chez la femme la plus riche du monde,” or “The Billionaire, The Butler, and The Boyfriend,” traces the tenticular, multiyear saga involving the late L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt and the photographer-writer François-Marie Banier. It also featured members of the French government — up to a former president.
The docuseries, directed by Baptiste Etchegaray and Maxime Bonnet, reportedly became the top-viewed documentary on Netflix in France a day after it went live last week. It appears now on the “Popular on Netflix” listing.
The Bettencourt affair began in December 2007, when Bettencourt’s daughter Françoise Bettencourt Meyers brought a lawsuit against Banier, alleging he had exploited the weakness of her mother, who had given him assets valued at around 1 billion euros. Banier denied any wrongdoing, while Bettencourt, then the world’s wealthiest woman, maintained she was sound and acting of her own free will.
By summer 2010, the Bettencourt affair had reached full boil. It spilled into the governmental arena, when an allegation surfaced that then-labor minister Eric Woerth, while serving as France’s budget minister and UMP party treasurer in 2007, had received from the Bettencourts a campaign donation well above the legal limit for presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy.
The French media was whipped into a lather by successive revelations — not least that Bettencourt’s former butler had secretly taped her conversations with advisers. Those were leaked to the press.
On Dec. 6, 2010, Bettencourt Meyers abandoned all the legal proceedings she had initiated. Bettencourt Meyers and her mother issued a joint statement saying they’d reconciled to end the conflicts that disrupted their family life and had reached a common accord. However, it didn’t stop French judges from continuing to investigate criminal allegations springing from the saga.
Bettencourt passed away in September 2017 at the age of 94.
In 2019, an examining magistrate in Paris dismissed charges brought against Bettencourt Meyers in 2016 by Banier. Allegations of false testimony related to five of Bettencourt’s former employees and a friend were also dropped at the time. That officially closed the Bettencourt affair. — JENNIFER WEIL
HEARST IN THE HILLS: Gabriela Hearst held a celebration at her newly opened Beverly Hills flagship on Thursday night.
The designer hosted a cocktail hour at the new store, at 9500 Wilshire Boulevard, alongside husband Austin Hearst. Located at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, with a street-facing view, the 2,500-square-foot space was designed in collaboration with Foster & Partners, led by Norman Foster, as well as Benji Gavron and Antoine Dumas.
Gavron and Dumas were among the attendees, as was Laura Dern, who’s been seen in Hearst’s designs recently. It was a mix of Hollywood faces, music names, sports stars and activists mingling with the fashion set: Hermès artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas; actors and filmmakers Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alisha Boe, Tallulah Willis, Lilly Hartley and Clara Cullen; tennis pro Maria Sharapova; rapper Mike D and singer-songwriters St. Vincent and Chris Robinson; author Roda Ahmed; environmentalist Nalleli Cobo, and model Dree Hemingway. A dance party followed steps away at The Blvd, the hotel’s restaurant on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive.
“For a U.S. brand we have quite an international clientele, so for retail, the idea was we need to be next to a hotel, like the best hotel in the city,” Hearst told WWD. “So it was The Carlyle in New York and Claridge’s in London. For L.A., we wanted the same, something that was historical that has a presence for itself and something that we could transform into what feels for us like the luxury experience in 2023.”
It was in 2018 that she opened shop in New York, followed by London a year later. The new store marks her first West Coast location. — RYMA CHIKHOUNE
ALL IN THE NAME OF CHARITY: Although Prada caters to stylish women, the Italian designer company showed its soft spot for children as the lead sponsor for The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s annual gala Thursday night.
Hosted by The Society of MSK’s associate committee, the gathering raised more than $600,000 including $122,600 for the the medical facility’s Pediatric Transplant and Cellular Therapy Service. Those funds are used to establish a program that helps train the next generation of transplant and cellular therapy leaders. Funding for this initiative also provides stipends to support hands-on experience in the research and clinical developments at MSK.
Thursday’s event at The Plaza hotel featured a cocktail party, dinner and dancing with music led by DJ Twilo. The quick-witted auctioneer Lydia Fenet was on hand to encourage guests to pony up some bids.
The stylish crowd included Lauren Bush Lauren and her husband David, Alexandra Lind Rose, Vera Wang’s Priya Shukla, LoveShackFancy’s Rebecca Hessel Cohen, Lela Rose’s Betsy Pepe and Bonpoint’s Meghan Klopp, among others. There were also high rollers like Spotify’s Dustee Jenkins, GeoWealth’s Yasmin Bilger and Little John’s Raphael Totoonchie. Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton was also there, with her husband, Marc Mezvinsky.
The Society of MSK’s president Muffie Potter Aston was also on hand, as was the group’s chair Austen Cruz. Dr. Andrew Harris, a pediatric hematologist and oncologist at MSK, who serves as director of MSK kids pediatric transplant and cellular therapies fellowship program, also attended.
Prada is familiar with the MSK crowd, having sponsored its annual fall luncheon and opening night of The European Fine Art Foundation New York Art Fair in the past. Representatives from the luxury company attended the gala, according to a spokesperson. However, any guests who thought they might score a Prada keepsake by buying a ticket were mistaken — attendees would have to visit Prada’s stores or website for that. — ROSEMARY FEITELBERG
CHANNEL CROSSING: Burberry is making more moves in Paris, following the opening of its flagship last year on Rue Saint-Honoré, WWD has learned.
Early next year Burberry will open a store at 17 to 19 Avenue Montaigne, Valentino’s former home, and the hoardings are already up.
The Italian brand has since moved up the prestigious thoroughfare to number 35, the former location of the Canadian embassy in Paris.
Burberry, which publishes its interim results on Thursday, declined to reveal further details.
Last year Burberry opened a three-story Paris flagship catty-corner to the massive Dior and Chanel locations. It was an expression of the brand’s upscaling drive — and the first store on the continent to feature its new design concept.
The 8,500-square-foot flagship replaced a previous Burberry unit on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, an extension of the same thoroughfare which has lost some momentum in recent years.
Burberry has been working its way around the world, opening or refurbishing stores with a new and more airy interior concept introduced in 2021 and recently updated by chief creative officer Daniel Lee.
In June the brand reopened its flagship on New Bond Street in London with a focus on the high-end customer and luxury interiors and services that could rival those of a five-star hotel.
The store, located on one of the world’s prime retail strips, had been under refurbishment for two years and reflects a more modern and minimal design concept, which Burberry unveiled in its Knightsbridge store in 2021.
The store concept has been evolving in order to accommodate a bigger focus on accessories and a fresh approach to color and branding by Lee, who made his debut for the brand in February. — SAMANTHA CONTI
A NEW BAG: Still riding high from his September fashion show, Phillip Lim launched an ad campaign Friday featuring pre-spring 2024 and the new “ID” bag, which is a big push for the brand.
Andrés Jana shot the campaign in 3.1 Phillip Lim‘s new store on Great Jones Street in New York, centered around the theme of identity. Having been quiet for several seasons, the campaign focuses on the ID bag, whose hardware is modeled about Lim’s vintage, heavy gold ID bracelets that he always wears as well as Anish Kapoor sculpture.
The campaign highlights three women: Teddy Quinlivan, whom Lim has worked with in the past; Giannie Couji, the editor in chief of Ubikwist Magazine, and model Eleanor Simon, who walked in the show this season.
Launching Monday is a tongue-in-cheek video with the three models, with a voiceover asking, “Hey, can I see your ID?”
The campaign will run on Lim’s channels, organic and digital marketing throughout the resort season from November through June.
The bag comes in three sizes: a shoulder bag (box bag shape) for $695, a soft shoulder bag for $895, and a clutch for $695. The bags are sold on 31philliplim.com and 3.1 Phillip Lim stores worldwide. — LISA LOCKWOOD