150 Sullivan Street
The Pace Collection
986 Madison Avenue
The club chair has come a long way from the days of Bakelite radios and Erte. Today everyone from Pottery Barn to Portico is doing a version, but if you’re searching for the kind of chair you can picture Gloria Swanson sinking into on a thirties movie set, your best bet is Depression Modern. Michael Smith has been in the business for 22 years, surveying estates up and down the East Coast for Deco pieces, which he then restores with frames, springs, and covers. “Matt Lauer’s decorator did his whole apartment from us but didn’t tell him the source; somehow Matt found us,” says Smith. Surely everyone would want to keep this place his or her little secret – Smith’s prices are unbeatable: $650 for a velvet club, $750 for leather. “On Saturday, people start lining up as early as 11:15; we open at twelve, and by 12:02 the club chairs are gone,” says Howard Becknell, who’s been with the store since 1978. Even deep-pocketed celebs like Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Lopez, and Luther Vandross have been known to wait in line.
If, however, you’re on the prowl for a modern-day rendition, the Pace Collection carries a club designed by Le Cirque 2000 impresario Adam D. Tihany ($4,740 in leather). It’s available in the color, fabric, and, in some cases, even the dimensions of your choice – Shaq had one specially fitted for his Bunyanesque frame.
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