NEW YORK — Everyone wants a glimpse of Ralph Lauren’s new mansion.
On Thursday afternoon, a crowd of retailers, friends, colleagues and editors filled the main floor of the designer’s new women’s flagship at 888 Madison Avenue to check out the store and witness Mayor Michael Bloomberg hand Lauren the Key to the City of New York.
Martha Stewart was walking the main floor, snapping photos for her blog (“I want to move in,” she told the designer’s brother, Leonard Lauren); Roger Farah showed Terry Lundgren the new fine jewelry and watch salon, and Polo alumna Vera Wang was greeting her former colleagues. “Buffy [Birrittella] told me I can go upstairs after the Mayor,” Wang said.
Other guests included Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Charlie Rose.
“It’s great to be in a small building that was built on budget,” Mayor Bloomberg told the crowd, adding that it’s not true “when they say they don’t build them like this anymore.”
Bloomberg proceeded to talk about Lauren’s “great American success story.”
“He asked me upstairs what he could do with the key,” Bloomberg said. “The answer is, absolutely nothing.”
Handing him a key chain, he added, “I can tell you, as a fashionista, that it is the accessories that make the outfit.”
“I will find a place to use it,” Lauren retorted.
The designer was humbled by the turnout, and thanked his family, his team, Farah and New York, his hometown.
“I grew up in the Bronx, I met my wife in New York, I got married in New York,” Lauren said.
He recalled how, at 19, he used an old-fashioned telephone booth to call his employment agency, only to find out he didn’t get the job he was going for. Everyone agreed, as Lauren said, that he “has come a long way.”