Thirty years ago, a little restaurant named Indochine opened its doors near Astor Place in Manhattan. On Friday, the restaurant with the famous palm tree walls celebrated the anniversary in style, with a burlesque-inspired bash that drew a lot of the people who were there in the beginning — Anh Duong, Bethann Hardison, Salman Rushdie, Susanne Bartsch, John Demsey, whose MAC Cosmetics’ was sponsoring the party — and those who’ve come to the party later — Jenna Lyons, Chelsea Leyland, Alexandra Richards, Scott Studenberg, Mel Ottenberg. Bathed in red light, they all made their way through throngs of people to get to the inner sanctum as waitresses in red-lace bustiers and scantily dressed dancers performed for their entertainment.
“When I first came to New York for a fashion show in 1987, I, of course, went to Indochine to have dinner,” Duong bragged. “It was the place to go then.” Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” a Seventies club anthem that was likely still in rotation by the time Indochine made its debut, was blasting from the speakers.
“I remember years ago, I finagled my way past the door into some Naomi-, Linda-moment, until a tap on the shoulder came, and I was booted out,” said the stylist Robert Verdi. “Now, I’m here but I keep looking over my shoulder.”
Hardison first came to Indochine years ago and hasn’t looked back. “My fondest memories of Indochine are too numerous. I don’t have just one. There’s just so much history here,” she said. “I’m still here all the time.”