The High End of the Lower East Side
Joining downtown's one-stop-shopping fashion monopolies Kirna Zabête and Jeffrey, Za`o opens this week on the city's original shmatte row: Orchard Street. Owners Assaf Ziv and Tal Lancam will house collections previously unavailable in the United States, including dresses by haute couture's on-and-off darling Jeremy Scott, Y'Saccs handbags by Yohji Yamamoto, and leather pieces from Tristan Webber. The interactive mezzanine will house Japanese electronics and gadgets (like anti-stress goggles), organically shaped furnishings, and German skateboards. To please cool-hunters like Courtney Love and Lenny Kravitz -- already spotted browsing the trendy aisles during the shop's preopening party -- the merchandise will change frequently, well before the Gap or Pottery Barn can knock off the one-of-a-kind pieces for the mainstream masses.
Since you've plunked down too much money for New Year's Eve reservations at Balthazar, you might as well forget about shopping couture. Instead, choose one of the Three Dots millennium tees embroidered with a Chinese character to mark the coming Year of the Dragon. The shirts ($57-$62, available at Barneys and If Boutique) come in red, black, and white and a few cuts (short, long, and shell). Stylist-to-the-stars Phillip Bloch has already put in an order for his celebrity friends Jada Pinkett Smith, Salma Hayek, and Jenna Elfman. "Miss Salma loves them!" he exults. "It could be something for New Year's if you accessorize it the right way -- with a red satin skirt to take it to that evening level."
For those who can't get enough beauty-product samples at the Clinique counter, trendy restaurants are now stocking their rest rooms with more than just the usual soap pump. Asia de Cuba started the bathroom-bounty trend by offering a mini-mart of candy, tampons, and cigarettes. Balthazar stocks bottles of luxurious Creed perfume, while at Oriont, Kiehl's coriander products are featured in Christopher "Madonna's brother" Ciccone's minimally designed room. Orchard Street's Slipper Room will open this month with a supply of Face Stockholm cleanser and moisturizer; when Hydra opens its doors on Ludlow Street in November, the unisex stalls will stock lavender- and jasmine-infused sprays to dispel any secondhand smoke your coat and hair may have picked up at the bar. At Canteen, opening in SoHo this month, the lavatory will double as a virtual pharmacy: Gucci perfume, lint brushes, hair spray, and, for bleary-eyed revelers, the ideal beauty fix: Visine.
For Whom the Dumbbell Tolls
Now that hip industrial designers are muscling in on the world of fitness, Pilates-trained bodies can finally work out in proper style. Marc Newson, London's designer of the moment, has come up with Rock, a Crayola-colored plastic dumbbell ($45 at Totem; available in beige, light blue, and olive green) that can be filled with water or sand, depending on the strength of your curl. Philippe Starck has created a futuristic polished aluminum-and-steel pair that come in two bicep-sculpting weights, 4.5 pounds and 6.5 pounds (see page 92).Of course, there are a few New Yorkers left who prefer to maintain more sedentary positions. For those health holdouts, Newson suggests that his weights also double as decorative doorstops.