Any day now, Chelsea Clinton will follow her parents’ lead and become a New Yorker (and Chelsea makes three!). She’s got a swank consulting job at McKinsey & Co. (six figures!), she’s reportedly lined up an apartment in London Terrace Towers (where the private security guards dress like bobbies—just like in Oxford!), and Ian Klaus, her mop-topped Rhodes-scholar beau, will be joining her (he’s hunting for a studio in the West Village; no living in sin for Bill’s little girl!). Lesson one for new New Yorkers: Everyone has an opinion. We asked some of her future friends and neighbors to share.
Dress for Success
“Chelsea should get Patricia Field to give her a makeover,” says Barneys creative director Simon Doonan. Remember, Doonan says, the Sex and the City stylist “doesn’t just do Carrie; she also does Charlotte. She’d be the perfect antidote to the Hillary influence—she’d take Chelsea away from that eighties corporate restraint where everything smacks of appropriateness.” Vogue vet Candy Pratts price suggests Chelsea start out with midnight-blue Manolos—sling-backs and pumps (“I don’t know how good she is with heels, so she should start with the 70-millimeter”), a pair of exotic skins (“like the Louisiana alligator, which she should faithfully Vaseline every two weeks”), and midnight-blue stockings from Fogal or Wolford (“if they’re too sheer, she can double up”).
Speaking of Pat Field: “When Chelsea straightened her hair at the Versace show,” she says, “no one knew who she was. She can just keep getting makeovers and be incognito.” Frédéric Fekkai, whose salon recently gave Chelsea a trim and highlights, notes that New York water is heavily chlorinated, so “she should rinse with cold water, an apple-cider vinegar, and a finishing cream to make sure the curls don’t get out of control.” Downtown party doyenne Serena Bass thinks Chelsea should be open to radical change. “She needs to go to John Barrett,” she says. “He’s bossy, like her parents. He’ll know what to do.”
“Don’t believe anything you see on Sex and the City,” says comedian Lewis Black. “None of it is true! No one lives like that, no one’s ever lived like that. It’s TV. It’s not real. If that’s really what New York was like, who wouldn’t live here?”
Feather the Nest
“She’ll be making a six-figure income and her parents are now squintillionaires, but in New York, she’s probably going to be living in a little box,” says cool-kitsch decorator and potter Jonathan Adler. “She should simulate the baronial splendor of the White House with a heraldic seal custom-woven into a rug, and she should name her bedroom the Chelsea Bedroom, even if it’s also her living room.” “Lots of big, squishy chairs for the Secret Service,” advises downtown designer Steven Sklaroff. “A Hoover,” adds architect-to-the-boldfaced Lee Mindel. “Does she know how sooty it is here?”
“She’s been to Bungalow 8 a number of times, but if she’s not coming to me,” says nightlife goddess Amy Sacco, “she should stick to the Lower East Side and house parties. Of course, she could go bowling and golfing at Chelsea Piers. And I love the idea of her and her dad hitting late night together.” Given her London past, “she should hook up at the Soho House and meet the manager, Podge.”
Pick a Posse
In her Euro-hopping days, Chelsea raised eyebrows by palling around with Donatella Versace and P. Diddy. In New York, says hip hotelier Jeff Klein, “she should become friends with Samantha Boardman—she’s chic and she went to Harvard and she’s a doctor. She could be the big sister Chelsea never had.” Klein’s no fan of Ian’s, though: “She should dump him for a Calvin Klein underwear model. She’s Chelsea Clinton! She could have anyone!” If she does drop Ian, “she should watch out for creepy guys,” warns Donald Trump. “And charming men,” adds Jerry Della Femina.
“She should eat all of her meals downtown,” says Mario Batali. “Everyone would if they could.” In addition to his own beloved Babbo, Lupa, and Otto, Batali’s list of recommended eateries includes “a couple of good sushi restos, like Blue Ribbon Sushi and Jewel Bako, Mesa Grill or Balthazar for brunch, and the odd special-occasion place like Montrachet, Bouley, or Veritas.” Never mind downtown, says uptown rival Sirio Maccioni—uptown lends an air of grown-up sophistication. “Tell her to come to Le Cirque. Her mom knows me, and she knows about food.”
Don’t Be Cheap
Wherever she eats, “she will of course get special treatment without asking for it,” says Batali. When that happens, she should not make the same mistake her mother did during her Senate campaign when she stiffed a diner waitress. “Real people tip 20 to 25 percent,” says Mario. “And they treat staff members like gold.”
Or Don’t Eat at All
“I think she should lose five pounds,” says Isaac Mizrahi. “Everyone coming to New York could lose five pounds.”
Party Like a Pro
“I would avoid going to too many parties too quickly,” says socialite-publicist Elizabeth Harrison. “She doesn’t want to be thought of as someone who goes out all the time.” “Friday night is amateur night, and Mondays are the new Thursday,” declares committee queen Helen Lee Schifter. “She should always go out on Monday nights.” The New Yorkers for Children gala is one party to consider, says Schifter. “It’s a good Democratic group—Anna Wintour, Oscar de la Renta—and it’s honoring her mother.” And social causes? “One that involves the arts, one that involves a disease,” says publicist Paul Wilmot. “And never say no outright,” warns Schifter. “A good way to get out of something is to say, ‘I just can’t do it this year.’ ”
Have a Nice Weekend
“She and Ian should run together on the West Side Highway,” says Sacco. “If they get a dog, they can go to the dog run there. It’s the best.” Catch a Broadway show, advises Tony nominee Claudia Shear. “Anything by Paul Rudnick is a good place to start. For two hours, at least, she gets to be anonymous.” “She should join my Westchester Golf Club,” says Trump. “Her dad’s a member, and that way they could see each other.” Hamptons or Catskills? “She should go to Montauk,” says Hamptons magazine publisher Jason Binn. “It’s beautiful, serene, and as far away from the paparazzi as she can get.” Aren’t the Catskills farther? “I haven’t been.”
Plant Political Seeds
“She should join the local Democratic Club and work in hospitals helping people. That’s how I got elected,” says Ed Koch. “And she should never play three-card monte! You can’t win!” In New York, “being a Kennedy, a Cuomo, and now a Clinton means you’ve got political aspirations,” says Democratic political strategist Hank Sheinkopf. He recommends a listening tour, à la Hill’s: “She needs to avoid the Upper East Side of Manhattan and get out into the boroughs. She needs to meet Joe DiBlasio and check in with Hasidim.” Don’t burn the New York Post, says WCBS political reporter Andrew Kirtzman. “They’ve been nice to her so far, but this can change. Just ask her mother.”
Feed the Paparazzi
“Learn their names!” says Dan Klores. After all, that’s how John John handled it. “If she’s at all confrontational with them, they’ll drive her nuts,” agrees fellow PR guru Howard Rubenstein. “She needs to smile for one picture, and then ask, politely, for her privacy.” John Bartlett just adopted a three-legged pit bull named Tiny Tim, says Doonan. “That’s what Chelsea needs. You can bet everyone would leave her alone then.”
“She needs to drive carefully on weekends and avoid rappers and degenerate rich kids,” says lawyer Ed Hayes. “Trouble follows them. She should never be photographed anywhere near a cigar,” Hayes adds. “And she needs my home phone number—everyone else in New York’s got it.”