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“Why are there so many French people here?” a Gramercy Park Hotel guest asked her companion plaintively on Wednesday night as they exited the lobby. He shrugged. “No, really,” the female guest continued, tossing a thumb over her shoulder at the doorway of Rose Bar, where the curtains had been drawn and a bouncer stood guard. “Everyone who’s come out of there is French,” the patron said. “Very French.”
While it wasn’t exactly true, the error was understandable. There were certainly a lot of accents, Gallic and otherwise, flying around the bar — and lobby and sidewalk — thanks to a dinner Samantha Boardman and husband Aby Rosen, the hotel’s owner, threw in honor of Sophie Theallet and her recent collaboration with the establishment.
“Samantha and Aby, they brought me along and asked me to design a new dress for the [waitstaff at] Rose Bar,” Theallet explained with a crimson lipstick smile. “I looked at the art, and I looked at the hotel, and I looked at the girls, and I made this.”
The designer gestured at a passing waitress carrying a tray of Kir Royales. The server wore a bias-cut crimson silk crepe wrap dress with a cowl neckline and a sash accentuating her waist that could be tied in the front or back.
“It’s silk, but it’s treated so that it’s…” Theallet gestured with a hand while making a theatrical face that could have been captioned “Oops!” The fabric, she explained, is spill-proof.
“It is a bar, after all,” she grinned.
Tamara Mellon entered behind Rula Jebreal and Lauren Santo Domingo, revealing a backless black lace slip, another Theallet creation. “Oh, Tamara!” Theallet clapped a hand to her heart. Mellon spun in a small circle, revealing a row of ivory silk-covered buttons securing the dress to her hips.
“It was never going to be a uniform or a Robert Palmer video or ‘Let’s Get Physical’ — it was about feeling good,” Boardman said, raising a toast to the new design after the soupe a l’oignon but before the steak au poivre and butter-grilled monkfish were served.
“Feeling good matters. As a psychiatrist, I can tell you that,” Boardman went on. “So thanks for the visual Prozac, Sophie.”