NEW YORK — Cafeteria, the 24-7 hipster diner in Chelsea, has been making fashion statements along with tasty late-night meals since it opened its doors in 1998.
Now, as it counts down to its 15th anniversary and unveils its new PDR (private dining room), it’s taken a turn toward the casual, dressing its waitstaff of about 80 in jeans by Los Angeles-based Item jeans and shoes from Vans.
“We’ve always looked to the fashion world for partnerships and we’ve always had a fashion element — and a fashion clientele,” said Marko Kalfa, the fashion photographer who serves as director of events and marketing for the 2,200-square-foot restaurant. “Whether it’s the food we’re serving or the interior design or the clothes our waitstaff wears, it makes sense for us to stay relevant in a trendy market like New York City.”
In its early days, designer Victor Alfaro was among the eatery’s investors and Dolce & Gabbana provided apparel that at one point included corsets that made serving difficult. The approach today is a good deal more laid-back, with Item’s jeans and Vans shoes projecting a far more relaxed vibe. “We wanted a sleek, simple, clean look, just like we have in the restaurant and now in PDR,” Kalfa said.
As has been the case with previous fashion affiliations, there is no formal agreement between Cafeteria and its outfitters. The companies are providing the clothes in exchange for the exposure as well as opportunities to hold parties and press briefings at Cafeteria’s Seventh Avenue site.
Charlie Chung, vice president of brand management at Item, which styles its brand “!iTEM,” said Cafeteria’s typical customer was nearly a perfect match for his target customer, typically a college graduate in his middle or late 20s involved in some kind of creative pursuit such as fashion, music or art. “There’s a constant surge of energy in this group,” he said. “They’re constantly connected to the digital world.”
The Cafeteria aesthetic matched Item’s clean, uncluttered look as well: no oversize logos, a signature single-needle stitch of blue thread across the right back pocket.
Considering its fashion heritage, Cafeteria might take the step of selling branded clothes of its own in the future. “Everything we’ve done so far with fashion has been casual and friendly, based on handshake agreements — ‘we give you this, you give us that,’” said Kalfa. “If we decide to get into sales of apparel, that would have to change.”
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)