Owning a bunch of destination nightclubs and having magazines ask for your top picks of cool things to do is one of the holy grails of Manhattan manhood. It’s the stuff egos and power trips are made of. One of Carlos Quirarte’s favorite parties in the late Nineties was at Spa, where the door was guarded by Steve Lewis. “He would point to people and say, ‘If you had his head and his body, maybe you could come in,’” says Quirarte, who possessed neither ideal but was let in anyway.
That’s not Quirarte and his partner Matt Kliegman’s style. They didn’t get from marketing a denim brand and investing in real estate at J.P. Morgan, respectively, to the top of New York’s nightlife food chain by being jerks. Their Bond Street restaurant is named The Smile, after all.
Playing nice has made them very important fixtures on the New York scene — just ask The New York Times, T magazine, Blackbook and Interview. In 2009 they conquered downtown lunch and, perhaps more importantly, brunch with The Smile, an urban rustic hole in the wall that also sells yarn. Then they opened the Jane Ballroom, which New York Magazine recently put on its “Reasons to Love New York” list. It draws the predictable comparisons to the heyday of the Beatrice Inn, and one Web site went so far as to declare “the Jane saved nightlife.” So you can imagine what the reaction will be when Kliegman and Quirarte open their latest venture next month, the Westway, a dance club packaged with the novelty titillation of a strip club. But a cool one.
“The fact that it is a topless, go-go dance place is secondary,” says Quirarte. “It’s the same way that music is sort of in the background. That’s how we think of it.”
The details, including the naked ladies, still need to be worked out, but there will definitely be four stripper poles, and Kliegman and Quirarte want them maximized. In December they had a test run for Opening Ceremony’s holiday party, which was a hit except for the stripper who only swayed in place, which they imitate simultaneously with sad little back and forth motions, while another dancer gave it her all with full helicopter spins. “Helicopter spins seemed to go over really well,” says Kliegman.
The supposed nightlife kings look like average, casual guys during dinner at The Smile on a Tuesday night, where they’re eating with seven of their friends, all people who know people, but definitely seem to know each other well. There’s Kimball Hastings of Ralph Lauren and his boyfriend, Nicolas Henderson, an artist; Omar Gonzalez, who works at Focus Features; Quirarte’s girlfriend, Mariko Munro, co-director of 303 Gallery, and the stylist Heidi Bivens and her boyfriend, actor-screenwriter Justin Theroux. It’s a stylish group, with everyone belonging to the fashion, art, film or nightlife worlds.
Kliegman describes Theroux and Quirarte’s relationship as a typical bromance. They take long motorcycle rides together and have matching tattoos of the man on Zig-Zag rolling papers, which they show off with pride. Tonight, they’re curled up at one end of the table cracking each other up on the subjects of yoga, star signs and puppies, but in a dude humor way. Just like Kliegman and Quirarte, Theroux has a beard. In fact, almost all the men at the table do.
Kliegman and Quirarte both have the fashionably disheveled look that’s achieved through a calculated combination of trying really hard and trying not at all. Long hair, full beard, rumpled utility-ish shirt and a hat. There is a certain willful lack of grooming involved. Quirarte is short and stout and has a Jack Black quality — but thinner — with intense eyes and a big laugh, although at the end of the night someone walks by and tells him he looks like Rembrandt, to which he responds with more laughter. His girlfriend is pretty. And he’s funny. So is Kliegman, but in a quieter way. Carlos says that even though Matt is younger (27 to Quirarte’s 34), he’s kind of like the dad. He got Carlos to start a savings account. When dinner is over, Matt gets up and pays, giving one of the waitresses a hug and a kiss when she passes by. The duo have been friends since their freshman year at NYU.
Friends are important to Kliegman and Quirarte, and not just because their crew, which includes Nate Lowman, the artist (who dated an Olsen), and Matt Creed, a DJ and Kliegman’s roommate (who dated Kirsten Dunst), sets a desirable tone for their clubs. Partying with people they know was the whole reason they got into this business, back when it was just a “practical way to see your friends and drink for free,” says Kliegman.
But with success has come a few adjustments to that philosophy. First, the Jane isn’t strictly a who-you-know place. “I don’t want to hang out with the same people every night,” says Quirarte. “It’s not supposed to be like some dormitory.” Second, when running a business where making money is key, you can have too many friends. “At first it felt weird to make them pay,” says Quirarte. Not anymore.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews