On Thursday afternoon, The Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel was a riot of pink-striped hatboxes, stuffed animals, flutes of rosé Champagne, tiered stands holding macaroons, chocolate-dipped strawberries and scones for Betsey Johnson’s celebratory tea party for the one-year anniversary of the hotel’s Eloise suite, which she designed.
“I have been working my little ass off,” Johnson laughed, cradling a doll version of Kay Thompson’s beloved children’s character in her lap. “I keep saying, ‘Next year won’t be the same,’ but it will. I love it, but my dream in this life is to take a month off with the grandkids, take them to Africa or something. Not just to the backyard in East Hampton.”
They certainly won’t be shacking up in the Eloise suite anytime soon. The room — which boasts, among other amenities, a sparkly pink headboard, neon sign above the bed and starts at $1,125 a night — is booked solid until next year.
“They sold out in September of last year until now,” Johnson said. “I wanted to have a party with, like, 30 kids, now I can barely get in. Though I don’t know if it’s Eloise or Charlie Sheen….When I heard Charlie had trashed a room at the Plaza, I thought it was Eloise’s, and I was thinking ‘Oh, that’s not so good.’” All the walls are handpainted, custom fabrics, one-off prints, you know. But it was actually Denise Richards and her kids staying there, and Charlie across the hall. Luckily. Or not so luckily? Though Denise just named her adopted daughter Eloise, too.”
Gesturing at the rapidly emptying Veuve Clicquot bottles that littered the tea tables, Johnson exclaimed, “I could do a Betsey room or an Eloise room in my sleep, or after a few glasses of Champagne. It’s all pink and cupcakes and candy. I’m glad it worked on a corporate level, unlike when I wanted to use Playboy bunnies on the runway and everybody loved it until…they didn’t. But I just found out that I’m locked in to do the tree. The Christmas tree at the Plaza will be an Eloise tree.”
It’s not the only big event Johnson’s got to look forward to in the near future.
“I’m turning 69 on Wednesday,” the designer said with a grin. “I’m a Leo. Like Obama.”