Philip Crangi

Designer, Giles & Brother

| Chelsea

Not too long ago was jewelry the unsung hero of fashion. Sure, there were the pop culture-driven grade school sensations (who didn’t own Elle Woods’ “Return to Tiffany” heart choker?), but those authentic, personal pieces— the kind you hope to find nestled in your grandmother’s jewelry box, were few and far between. Now, thanks in large part to the resurgence of statement jewelry, the market is studded with big names like Jennifer Fisher, Monique Péan and Giles & Brother, the instantly recognizable label of which brother-and-sister Philip and Courtney Crangi are behind. Known for their toughened-up oxidized silver and brass designs, the pair has collaborated with leading designers including Jason Wu and Phillip Lim and are the recipients of multiple CFDA awards, not to mention, they’re regularly featured in major magazines like Vogue, W and Harper’s Bazaar. Bold, urban and androgynous, the label’s nut-and-bolt cuffs and curved railroad spike collection (intended for both women and men) are especially swoon-worthy. Here, Philip sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: My partner and I just moved to Chelsea and the newly re-opened Empire Diner (*Location now closed) is our new go-to spot. I assume all the food is good, but I only ever seem to order the salmon paillard. It tastes like junk food, but it’s miraculously healthy— it’s perfect.

COFFEE OR TEA: I’m a lover of both in equal measure. When I’m in need a of a good cup of coffee, I go to this Japanese salon/coffee shop downstairs from my studio called Hanamizuki (MAP IT, x). They have the best coffee in the neighborhood.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Seriously?! This is the single hardest question to answer in the world! Okay, how about this: best steak: the Porterhouse for Two at Keens (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), best cheap Vietnamese food: New Pasteur in Chinatown (MAP IT, x), best oyster eating experience: Oyster Bar in Grand Central (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) and my favorite Japanese restaurant, EN Japanese Brasserie (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) is on Hudson Street… Shall I go on?

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: I have to admit, I don’t really go out for “cocktails.” My ideal cocktail hour is making martinis at home for my partner, Darren, and I. Darren says I make the best martini (and I kind of agree). It’s Ketel One vodka with a twist, olives on the side.

MUSIC PICK: Okay, another dodge… I love all kinds of music, but it’s actually the one place in my life where I take the backseat. Like the above question, my favorite way to listen to music is to dance around my apartment with Darren, drinking martinis—he is the best DJ (just ask my downstairs neighbors). That said, we went to see Fleetwood Mac last month and they were mind-blowing— it made me realize I should get out more!

BEST BRUNCH: So trashy, but I love the Rail Line Diner  on 9th Avenue and 23rd Street (MAP IT, x). It’s a classic NY diner where you can always get a booth (no matter how late you roll in for brunch) and the food is always great. As with most other restaurants I regularly eat at, I only order one thing: the Rail Line omelet, with grits instead of potatoes, of course.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Hands-down, the subway.

HEALTHY STAPLE: I sneak out to Dirty Bird (MAP IT, x) for their kale salad with rotisserie roasted chicken.

GUILTY PLEASURE: I’m pretty hard-core with my diet so if I’m going to splurge, I want those extra calories to get me good and drunk. That being said, I guess my guilty pleasure is beer. I like to visit Woodrow (a bartender) at The Other Room (MAP IT, x) in the West Village for a couple of pints.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The filthy, pulsing electricity of this beautiful town!

REGULAR AT: Whenever I find myself in the West Village, I always make time to spend an hour or two at Left Bank Books on Hudson Street (*Location now closed). It’s the archetype of an old Village bookstore— an increasingly endangered species; I always find an amazing gem there!

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: This question makes me realize that I do not take Darren out enough for date night, but for years our favorite spot has been Prune in the East Village (MAP IT, x). We love the tiny room and the fact that you can always count on a really special meal and lots of oysters.

TO GET INSPIRED: I find this whole, crazy city inspiring. I have been spending a lot of time in Europe lately and it has made me love the creative energy of New York even more. I’m still completely thrilled every time I see the Empire State Building when I’m coming home from JFK— I can’t believe I get to live in this magical place.

CLOSET CHECK: I grew up in a very preppy environment so that is at the core of my aesthetic. It mixes really well with Japanese and European designer pieces, but, at heart, I’m still a kid from Florida who loves a pair of ratty chinos and a jean jacket.

BEST JEWELS: Robert Bentley (MAP IT, x) in the Diamond District has, far and away, the most beautiful collection of gems and minerals anywhere. He’s like a shaman and he has one of the best eyes for rarity and beauty.

ACCESSORIES PICK: In my opinion, a classic intaglio signet ring is always chic on a woman’s hand. I wear a lot of my own jewelry on a daily basis, but the one thing that I never take off is my 1976 Rolex President, which was a Tuesday present from Darren (and by the way, the only way to give jewelry to that special someone is as a Tuesday gift… See Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton).

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: John Derian (MAP IT, x), of course.

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: This is a closely held secret, but the only person I let touch my hair is Jordan M. at Bumble and Bumble in the Meatpacking District (MAP IT, x).

FIT PICK: Currently, my fitness routine looks pretty hard-core. I train at Equinox at 10th Avenue and 17th Street (MAP IT, x) 3-4 days a week and on the other days, I go running along the West Side.

 

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: One time I was with a friend in the Barney’s shoe department and I couldn’t take my eyes off of this big, beautiful ring with a dark stone on the hand of a chic lady trying on shoes across from us. She saw me looking at it and held her hand up and said, “I know, it’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Just then the light hit the stone and it exploded electric blue and I realized that it was the most perfect sapphire, and then, in the next second, that it was Ellen Barkin! This is some years ago before she sold her huge jewelry collection at Christie’s— the ring sold for $132,000. It was an amazing New York jewelry moment for me. CP

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