By  on September 29, 2010

It was a week before the 1985 opening of Maxim’s de Paris in New York and party planner Pat Buckley was still behind on a number of counts. For one, the menu had yet to be finalized, although she promised to WWD, “Oh, we’ll have caviar, of course.” Plates were still packed away — “It will have to stay that way for while,” she added, “we don’t want dirty plates” — and the carpenters and electricians were still out in full force. The pressure was certainly on; this was the first American outpost for Pierre Cardin’s Maxim’s empire and the designer, who bought the original Maxim’s in 1981, was already comparing the two-story eatery to the Statue of Liberty. “To Cardin, the legendary watering hole is a symbol of the bonhomie he feels exists between France and the U.S.,” wrote WWD on Sept. 20. “‘I don’t expect people to thank me for this now, but later, in years to come,’ he adds.”

The restaurant was designed to be an exact copy of its Paris counterpart, from the mirrors and the velvet banquettes to the murals and the china. Even the bathrooms were ultraposh, decorated belle epoque style. “Why not?” said Cardin. “You spend more time in there than anyplace else.”

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