The first time The Observer met Niki and Shaokao Cheng, it was July, during the opening night of Julio Gaggia’s art show. Mr. Gaggia, the boyfriend of the plastic surgeon Mark Warfel, was preparing his work “Living Art: Chelsea Boy Apartment,” during which he would live for five days as a window display model at the BoConcept furniture store on West 18th Street. He spent the week eating, sleeping, working—and performing other, less-mentionable activities—in a showroom that divided him from gawkers outside with a pane of glass.
While we lounged about on the display furniture, socialite photographer Patrick McMullan brought over a petite woman with short, pixie-cropped hair.
“Niki is one of the few Power Asians in New York society,” he loudly whispered, flourishing Ms. Cheng before us. She smiled shyly and posed for a photograph before excusing herself.
It would be two weeks before we realized that Ms. Cheng and her husband owned the store where we had dropped more than one canapé between the cushions of a $3,000 couch.
In fact, the couple owns all five locations of the Danish furniture store in New York City, and another two in New Jersey. But the stores themselves aren’t the reason Mr. McMullan calls the Chengs “Power Asians.” Rather, it’s the couple’s seemingly innate social instincts, their ability to leverage a fairly cookie-cutter, mid-market design base into a celebrity-filled social whirl. One might say “Only in America,” or (even worse) “Only in New York,” but this wouldn’t exactly cover it. There is a certain type that thrives in Manhattan no matter what they’re selling, no matter where they’re from, no matter how few resources they have upon arriving.
Rebecca Taylor was not at Lincoln Center. Had we not been slammed with events, emails, editorial projects, tweets and social babysitting of our entourage, we would have easily noted this. Rebecca Taylor was scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday at Highline Studios Downtown. Yet we had eagerly arrived at the Mercedes-Benz complex, bewildered and irritated. Read More
Fashion Week Observed
When we arrived backstage at the BCBG show, Max Azria was inviting Maria Menounos to shabbat dinner at his Los Angeles home. Thrilled, she accepted the invitation before explaining that “can’t wait to return to her own Hollywood abode after Fashion week. I’m worried my dogs won’t recognize me,” she drawled. As a handler took Read More
As the Daily Transom previously reported, there have been two separate incidents in Manhattan in the last month of women attempting (and sometimes succeeding) at stealing Herve Leger dresses from high-end stores: three (worth a total of $13,000) went missing from the Herve Leger boutique on Madison on July 21; and four more Read More
Max Azria wanted to use Nastia Liukin‘s body in his new BCBG ad campaign, but not, apparently, her face. [People]
Peter Som has split up with Creative Design Studios, which has been funding Mr. Som’s collections. As a result, the designer will not be putting on a runway show during New York Fashion Read More
Yesterday outside the tents, we caught up with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals senior campaign coordinator Matt Rice, who was handing out anti-fur materials with a “sexy policewoman” (get it, the Fashion Police, ho ho ho). We wondered who’d be getting pies to the mug this week, but Mr. Rice was tight-lipped: “I Read More