Photography by Mike Webb

Somsack Sikhounmuong

Creative Director, Madewell

| Greenwich Village

After we’ve sufficiently lamented the end of summer, there’s a sense of excitement that comes with early fall. Cool, crisp air means digging your favorite pair of jeans back out from under your bed and rediscovering that I-can-wear-my-oversize-t-shirt-and-still-look-styled leather jacket. It means cozy sweaters, double-breasted vests and chambray shirts; the clothes you’ll keep coming back to no matter what trend-du-jour has you looking quasi-insane (ahem, head-to-toe knits à la sock monkey this season). If you’re getting all warm and fuzzy inside, you already have a thing or two in common with Somsack Sikhounmuong. The Head of Design for Madewell, Thai designer Sikhounmuong is a master at casual, classic pieces you’ll treasure season after season. From relaxed boyfriend jeans to plaid button-downs and chunky pullovers, his collections are a formidable study in effortless style. Here, he sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: I’m definitely a creature of habit and a bit nostalgic. Piadina (*Location now closed) is great and I’ve been going since I was in school. It’s nice and dark, the food is good and their gnocchi is my favorite in the city. 

COFFEE OR TEA: Both at Newsbar on University Place (MAP IT, x) because they also sell magazines. Nothing beats sitting on the bench outside with a new Vogue and a large iced coffee.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: That’s a toss up between Uncle Boons (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) and Somtum Der in the East Village (MAP IT, x)— both are recent discoveries. I’m pretty particular with my Thai food (having been spoiled all my life by my Mom). My family is from the northern part of Thailand and both restaurants serve dishes from that area. For me, nothing beats seeing things on a menu that I’m used to seeing on my dinner table at home.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: I’m more of a beer guy. I love a good Hoegaarden. I’ve had my best ones at Phoenix on 13th Street and Avenue A (MAP IT, x). I’ve been going to Phoenix for a long time; I used to live around the corner in college.

MUSIC PICK: 80’s night at The Pyramid (MAP IT, x)! It’s dark so you can let all your dance inhibitions loose.

BEST BRUNCH: Cookshop (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for both the food and the setting. After brunch, I hop over to the Comme des Garçons store on 22nd Street (MAP IT, x) for what I call, “retail dessert.”

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: The bench outside of Balthazar (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

HEALTHY STAPLE: My definition of “healthy” is not the norm. I usually like to hit all five food groups at once, preferably with some sauce on top. I’ve currently been ordering the chicken burrito from Dos Toros on 4th Avenue (MAP IT, x). I’m not a salad kind of guy.

GUILTY PLEASURE: I’ve been known to order my team hot fudge sundaes from Silver Spurs (MAP IT, x). Gluttony loves company.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: Barbara Shaum on 4th Street (*Location now closed). I love her things; she’s been making custom sandals since the early ’60’s.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: Being able to buy a slice of pizza at 4 am after being out. The fact that the city never sleeps is pretty special.

REGULAR AT: Equinox on 19th Street (MAP IT, x). I try to go at least six times per week, mostly before work. It really helps to get my brain and body going by the time I’m at my desk. It also offsets the (occasional) pizza lunch.

DELIVERY GO-TO: I just had a pizza delivered for lunch yesterday from Motorino (MAP IT, x): a personal size soppressata piccante.

TO GET INSPIRED: I really love a good magazine store. It’s important to see what other people are doing— not just in women’s fashion; I buy just as many men’s fashion and home magazines.

CLOSET CHECK: I naturally gravitate towards casual pieces— jeans, t-shirts, vintage army pieces and sneakers. I like pre-loved and pre-lived in things or at least pieces that look like they have been. To shop, I love Stock Vintage (MAP IT, x), R by 45 RPM (MAP IT, x) and online at J. Crew.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: My interior style is pretty similar to the way I dress— comfortable, but considered. For example, it was really important that my couch was as welcoming as it was beautiful. It’s this heavy, dark grey linen canvas with the deepest seats. I found it at ABC Carpet & Home (MAP IT, x). The rest of my home is filled with things found on my travels. Generally, I love ABC Carpet & HomeJohn Derian (MAP IT, x), BDDW (MAP IT, x), Modern Living Supplies (MAP IT, x) and Ebay for home accents.

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: I have been going to Edward Barber (MAP IT, x) for haircuts for 15 years. It’s so nice to sit down in his chair and not have to explain anything. Edward knows just want to do.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: Every time I travel, land back in NYC and hail a cab home. There’s nothing like being in a cab and seeing the skyline in the distance with the Empire State Building. It’s always a “I can’t believe I live here” moment. It just simply never gets old. CP

Somsack’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Salad at Uncle Boons; Inside Newsbar; Inside Comme de Garçons; BDDW décor. Second Row: Brunch at Cookshop; Rx45RPM textiles; Motorino pizza; Bread at Balthazar.


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