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.
Remember that great Sean John ad Mark Ronson was in 10 years ago? The Observer loved that ad. Sure we could have asked the producer whether married life had changed him, or “what’s next,” but all we really wanted to know was whether it was P. Diddy’s idea or his to let the toothpick dangle so lazily in that print advertisement we once saw ages ago in VIBE. And as electronic rockers Phantogram left the stage of Symmetry Live—the W New York-Downtown’s music concert series—we asked him.
Tinychat, which provides simple, socially connected video chat rooms, has just raised $1.5 million.
The round gives Tinychat the support of celebrity investors like Ashton Kutcher, P. Diddy, plus investor celebrity Ron Burkle.
There seems to be a symbiotic relationship here. Celebrities are interested in dabbling in the tech space, since the fame game Read More
Megan Salt, who helped organize Vogue’s first Fashion’s Night Out last summer, has been named the magazine’s director of public relations, according to Memo Pad.
Ms. Salt replaces Patrick O’Connell, who resigned after 12 years with the magazine earlier this week.
Here’s hoping that Vogue‘s PR strategy starts to look more like Fashion’s Read More
Paris brand APC has partnered with Nike for a limited edition line of canvas tennis shoes based on Nike 1975 "All Court" model that will be in stores this spring. [WWD]
In this holiday season’s films—Revolutionary Road, Australia, Milk—costume design is at the forefront. [LA Times]
Neiman Marcus has Read More
“Beyonce has the voice and she’s got the attitude,” declared the rap artist Akon at the Monday night premiere of Cadillac Records, a film about the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists in which Beyonce Knowles plays the blues singer Etta James.
Curiously, the venue selected for the premiere was the AMC Read More
Tommy Hilfiger and Dee Ocleppo, who called off their wedding earlier this year, were reportedly "making out" at the Waverly Inn on Wednesday. According to Mr. Hilfiger, Ms. Ocleppo gave him a kiss for his "stellar business performance." [P6]
Lauren Hutton has agreed to become the face of Mary Kate and Ashley Read More
Team Sarah Palin has reportedly spent $150,000 at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Barneys since early September to dress and accessorize the vice-presidential candidate for her public appearances. [Vogue UK]
Kate Moss often ducks into Topshop stores in disguise to see how her line for the store is selling. [Read More
The new ads for Gossip Girl that use criticisms of the show as complimentary slogans–"Mind-blowingly inappropriate"–make the show’s creator, Josh Schwartz, feel bad. [Daily Intelligencer]
A Los Angeles cop, who was said to be fearful for his safety, pulled a gun on P. Diddy and his entourage during a routine traffic stop. Read More
Designer Yves Saint Laurent died at home in his apartment in Paris yesterday at the age of 71. [NY Times]
Tatum O’Neal, who wrote a memoir in 2004 about her drug addiction, was arrested for buying crack on the Lower East Side on Sunday morning from a homeless man. [NY Daily Read More