As a child growing up in Hawaii, celebrating the Chinese New Year always meant sitting around a spread of traditional Chinese dishes, watching the Lion dances, and receiving tiny red envelopes with monetary delight. Apparently that is NOT how China’s über-rich fashion elite are ringing in the new lunar year these days.
Tuesday night in New York City, a pretty potpourri of colorful personalities and financial heavy-hitters converged at the 5th Avenue Bergdorf Goodman to celebrate the launch of Affinity China’s ‘Dragon Week’; where rack of lamb replaced roast duck; supermodels dancing in couture replaced dancing lions; and large red gift bags with Estée Lauder eye creams were the envelopes of choice.
Marchesa's Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig
Diane von Furstenberg
Oscar de la Renta
Zac Posen and Candi Dalipe
Jason Wu runway look
Elie Saab runway look
The fashionable affair was hosted by Affinity China, an exclusive members-only startup network that provides unique access to luxury, lifestyle, and travel opportunities for its high net worth Chinese members. The new club celebrated Chinese New Year with its first annual ‘Dragon Week’ (Jan. 23 – 27); a series of private fashion and shopping events hosted by leading U.S. luxury retailers including but not limited to Bergdorf Goodman, Monblanc, Piaget, J. Mendel, Coach, and Ralph Lauren. Quite the impressive roster. Affinity China’s founders say it aims to connect its prestigious members with international luxury brands and opportunities by combining high-touch and high-tech networking events.
Obviously something is working, because the club’s organizers clearly called forth the big guns for the event. First, an intimate 'couture' style fashion show where towering models flaunted head-to-toe ensembles from Christian Dior, Prada, Givenchy, Chanel, Fendi, Lanvin, Ellie Saab, and much more. Onlookers had the privilege of bidding and owning any article of clothing displayed. Then, a mixer commenced with five star cuisine, top shelf bar, gorgeous penthouse view, and all of China’s social elite in attendance. Wealthy investors, chic trophy wives, artists, supermodels, fashion luminaries from Paris to Milan, Miss China, Miss Universe, and me. Talk about a Shanghai surprise. What was I doing there?? I’m not quite sure. I’m also still not sure how they managed to confirm Oscar de la Renta, Diane von Furstenberg, Zac Posen, Peter Som, Jason Wu, and the resplendent Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig of Marchesa fame for an intimate cocktail hour with just two short weeks until Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week.
Honestly, I didn’t really ask too many questions. I just smiled and nodded. Oh, and managed to snap a few photos.
images: Ross Matsubara and Candi Dalipe