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A choice group of New Yorkers gave new meaning to late night dining Saturday when they celebrated Jason Wu’s birthday at the St. Regis’ Adour Alain Ducasse with a meal in the style of a midnight supper.
Once a common form of entertainment, the tradition of midnight suppers harkens back to the Gilded Age when Caroline Astor hosted lavish spreads for guests coming from balls or the opera. Often accommodating upwards of 500 people in her Fifth Avenue mansion, the nights featured multiple cold and warm courses, overflowing dessert selections and limitless drink.
This story first appeared in the September 29, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
This being 2009, Wu’s midnight affair actually began at 9 p.m. with an intimate group of 15, not 500. And some seemed a bit perplexed by the call time.
“Why is dinner being served so late?” asked one confused but prompt guest Julie Macklowe. Olivia Chantecaille and Zani Gugelmann joined Wu and boyfriend Gustavo Rangel in Adour’s cognac room for rosé Champagne before being led into the restaurant’s vault room.
Dressed in a grey Dior cardigan, a gift from Rangel, Wu admitted it was a much fancier version of his usual celebrations.
“I normally don’t do anything for my birthday,” he said, somewhat wide-eyed. The evening certainly made up for his more casual endeavors. There were salmon canapes, ricotta gnocchi, olive oil poached cod, duck breast fillet and separate wines served with each course.
“I have so many glasses in front of me,” joked Chantecaille, before waiters helped clear some space.
Wu received a Champagne toast just before midnight (his actual birthday was Sunday) and inexplicably, two separate mini chocolate desserts with candles. And despite the purposely tardy start time, most guests contentedly filed out around 12:30, with no plans beyond bed.
“I’m going to sleep,” said Wu, adding slyly. “I’m 27 — I’m no longer a young designer.”