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Locally Grown

She’s happy to model spring’s pretty dresses, but Claire Danes prefers the comforts of jeans and her Soho bistro.

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I always feel kind of defeated by how often I wear jeans,” says actress, dancer, and Soho native Claire Danes. “Plus I have a real weakness for animals on clothing, and hearts and stars. My mom had a nursery school in our loft and a pretty healthy appreciation for kitsch, so I think I appropriated that,” she says, adding that a friend has even given her style a name: kindergarten sophisticate. “But that’s starting to change.”

Not that there hasn’t been plenty of change already. The elegant blonde (next up, she plays a torch singer in the adaptation of Susan Minot’s Evening) doesn’t much resemble the Danes we first met as the disaffected teen with the punkish dye job in My So-Called Life. And neither does her wardrobe. At the moment, her closet includes “a disproportionate amount” of Jane Mayle, which she loves for “being feminine without being aggressively fashion-tastic.” The two shows she went to during Fashion Week were Narciso Rodriguez, who designed the outfit she wore to the Oscars at the age of 17, and Zac Posen, a neighborhood friend who sketched pieces for her back when they were in high school. “I do genuinely, objectively, if that’s possible, love their designs. I know how their clothes work on my body,” she says, “and it’s a great excuse to just run over and say hi.”

The actress likes to stay local for pretty much everything, from her fashion to her food. “I’m incredibly provincial,” she says. “Lucky Strike is across the street from where I live, so it’s my cafeteria. Right now, with the weather, I love bistro food, especially coq au vin. But there’s also Omen, and Blue Ribbon Sushi and Bakery. I love Raoul’s and Lupa. They’re all my spots and they all know me. It’s very Cheers-like. Like any New Yorker,” she says, “it takes enormous effort for me to leave my neighborhood.”


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