Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Big Apple Best

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Big Apple Best

Article excerpt

Byline: LAURA CRAIK

ONE of the few advantages of New York city getting a pummelling from hurricane Isabel is that it forced everyone to stay indoors. Before the storm we were told to stockpile food and allow a gallon of water per person in case all the shops got blown away in a Wizard of Oz-style whirlwind. For me, nothing could have been better than being kept indoors by inclement weather.

That's because I've been staying at the most fashionable place in Manhattan: Soho House, the New York branch of the London institution made tabloid-famous by the twoyearold daughter of Jude Law and Sadie Frost's run-in with an ecstasy tablet. Since opening in April, the six-storey members' club-cum-hotel has become the hardest place to get into and the only place to be seen. Even uber-PR Samantha Jones gets rejected by the frosty door staff in a still-to-be-screened episode of Sex and the City, while in real life, Madonna was turned away for not being a member.

Although the food is good, the bath in the middle of the bedroom kinky and the public areas sleek, teak and cashmere-cushion comfy, what elevates SHNY from every other chocolate-dark, over-designed watering hole in Manhattan is its clientele.

Forget celebrity spotting on the front row: they're too busy drinking strawberry vodka cocktails in SHNY to bother with the fashion shows. Where else could you spy Uma Thurman, Adrien Brody, Matthew Broderick, Chloe Sevigny, Mariah Carey and Nicole Kidman in the space of two evenings?

And, yes, I can report that Nicole looks just as gorgeous having an off-duty pint as she does on the red carpet: she was dressed in black Balenciaga biker boots, black leggings and a black YSL donkey jacket.

The British fashion contingent are divided into two camps this season: those who are staying here, and those who are puce with envy.

Vogue, Harper's and Ten magazine have been lucky enough to secure one of the 24 rooms, as have model Jacquetta Wheeler and stylist Katie Grand. Kate Moss, alas, was just too late. The only downside of staying in such a sceney hotel is the pressure to look fabulous.

This is not the sort of place where you pop upstairs for breakfast in your jimjams: the SHNY way is to be groomed and labelled at all times. …

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