The Kimberly Hotel is hoping to attract partygoers to Midtown Manhattan. On Thursday, the property opens its new rooftop bar, aptly named “Upstairs.” Interior designer Sylvia Tosun helmed the renovation, aiming for an “old world meets new world aesthetic,” she says.
The 3,000-square-foot venue, open year-round thanks to a retractable glass roof and heated wood floors, is outfitted with pewter leather banquettes, black Edwardian chairs and “Alice in Wonderland”-esque chess tables.
And the staff got duds to match. Design duo David and Phillipe Blond, whose jewel-encrusted corsets are typically designed for the on-stage acrobatics of Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Katy Perry, have created the wait staff uniforms.
WWD sat down with one half of the Blond team, David, to discuss.
WWD: How did you get involved with this project?
David Blond: Sylvia Tosun is a regular client of ours. We dress her for most of her performances [Tosun sings on the side]. She was working on the design of Upstairs so she approached us about doing the costumes for the staff.
WWD: Was your design mostly influenced by the look of Upstairs?
D.B.: Definitely. It’s got this Gothic-luxe theme but it’s still very light and whimsical. It’s great because it’s very over-the-top, just like we are. Traditionally, when we work with our clients, we take into consideration not only the music but also the stage set where they will be performing. We treated this the same way. We viewed the staff as performers.
WWD: What limitations does designing a server’s uniform impose as opposed to a garment?
D.B.: These definitely needed to have some practicality involved. The staff needs to be able to maneuver through crowds, to carry things, to move fast. We knew the costumes couldn’t be too heavy. We made them out of stretch satin so they would be flexible for their work but still look amazing at the same time.
WWD: So we heard that some of your designs were used in “Sex and the City 2.”
D.B.: It’s so funny because Pat [Fields] came to Phillipe’s birthday party and we’d made a dress for Phillipe to wear for the occasion. The minute Pat saw it, she freaked out. She thought it would be perfect for Samantha. She said it was like her little double entendre since Samantha is always compared to a drag queen. So it made perfect sense.
WWD: Didn’t you do the bedazzled jeans that Carrie wears in the film as well?
D.B.: Yeah, we had gifted Pat a pair of jeans that we had embellished. She loved them so much that she was wearing them all over the place. I guess Sarah Jessica Parker saw them and loved them. So Pat called us and in the middle of the conversation she just goes, “Hold on, let me just…” Just like that. And she passed Sarah Jessica Parker the phone. I was looking at Phillipe standing there and his eyes just were popping out of his head. She was just like, “Hi, it’s Sarah! Oh my god, I love these jeans. I have to have them.” And he was like, “Wait, who’s this?” She was like, “It’s Sarah Jessica Parker.” He freaked out.