Photography by Eric Isaac

Bonnie Young


| South Village

If today’s ready-to-wear market screams of ruffles, volume and “more is more,” Bonnie Young’s eponymous label rules instead with an elegant hum. That is to say, her wide-leg trousers come slinky, not stilted; her pleating, purposeful, yet never overwrought. Officially, this season marked the designer’s New York Fashion Week debut, but her collection was rich in the kinds of dexterous layers (think kimono tunics and floaty day dresses) characteristic of a seasoned vet. Rightfully so— Young has over two-decades of design know-how under her chicly polished belt, including an initial position at Ralph Lauren and a coveted 15-year run at Donna Karan. First based in Milan, her position at Karan snowballed into a Southeast Asian adventure where Young wandered throughout India, Nepal, Tibet and China for several months (the trip led her to publish a photography book, Colors of the Vanishing Tribes, as well as left a lasting impression upon her own design aesthetic) and later, a seven-year gig back in New York as the label’s Creative Director. Fast-forward to the late 2000s and Young was ready to launch a personal label, ultimately choosing to take the plunge into children’s wear, until a somewhat ironic curveball was thrown her way: she learned that women were buying the clothes… for themselves. Is there such a thing as fashion fate? Whatever the case, Bonnie Young knows what women want. It’s her. Here, Young sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: I love Café Clover (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) because it’s super healthy and fresh; it has a cutting edge menu and chilled atmosphere. My favorite things are the lentil risotto and shaved hamachi.

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee from Starbucks on Varick and Spring (MAP IT) because their venti dry cappuccino wakes me right up.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: I can’t pick favorites— there are too many to choose from.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: I rarely have cocktails; I mostly have red wine. My favorite wines range from Sicilian Nero D’Avola and Tignanello to Sassicaia for special occasions. My favorite bartender, Teo works at Tutto il Giorno in Tribeca (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: LOL, what is happy hour? My happiest hour is in the morning at SoulCycle (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

LADIES LUNCH: I have many frequent girls nights at Tutto il Giorno, owned by my longest lifetime friend, Gabby Karan. We always eat parmigiana to start— it’s the best melanzane parmigiana in NYC. There isn’t a night at Tutto il Giorno where we don’t close the restaurant down.

MUSIC PICK: My daughter, Celia Babini writes her own music and I can never get enough of it.

BEST BRUNCH: Jack’s Wife Frieda (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).


HEALTHY STAPLE: Juice Press (MAP IT, x)– I’ll go for breakfast, lunch, and sometimes, dinner. I order the “Doctor Green” (red apple, pineapple, kale, lemon, ginger and proviotic) and “Love at First Sight” (kale, spinach, lemon, green apple and proviotic) juices, the blueberry superfood bowl, the raw hummus wrap and their “Get Rich Quick” sushi (a raw vegan sushi with cauliflower, jicama, sunflower seeds, cucumber and avocado).

GUILTY PLEASURE: Rosemary’s (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for the taleggio truffle focaccia.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: All the way behind the back of Pier 40 (MAP IT, x), there is a bench where you can sit and watch the most spectacular sunset in solitude.


REGULAR AT: Tutto il Giorno, Bar Pitti (MAP IT, x), SoulCycle in the West Village, Jivamukti Yoga (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) and Dominique Ansel Bakery (MAP IT, x). For SoulCycle, I recommend Marvin (x). At Tutto il Giorno, I recommend the parmigiana and the tonno. Tutto il Giorno is my home-away-from-home (the owners are like family). 

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Vin et Fleurs (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), a tiny French bistro on Thompson Street.

DELIVERY GO-TO: Song E Napule on Houston Street (MAP IT, x). It’s a teeny-tiny Italian restaurant with a brick oven; our favorite thing to order is the pizza tartufato.


TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: The River on the West Side.

DREAM SHOOT LOCATION: St. Patrick’s Cathedral (MAP IT).

GO-TO GETAWAY: The Exumas, Italy and Aspen. We try to take the kids to explore new places every year from Africa to Central and South America. Next summer, we are planning to go to Japan and South East Asia.

AUTUMN IN THE CITY: I love riding my bike on the river from the Mercantile Exchange all the way uptown to the George Washington Bridge.

CLOSET CHECK: I would describe my personal style as “glamorous hippie.” I mix my own collection with vintage pieces and special separates that I have collected over the years.

ACCESSORIES PICK: I buy a lot from my friend, Shannon at NY Vintage (MAP IT, x), as well as different shops in Los Angeles. I have a massive collection of jewelry from Caroline Roumeguere (x) and a collection of gold rings from Aurora Lopez.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: My house is minimal, but eclectic. It is a giant white canvas (white cement and mother of pearl floors, white Corian and white walls) to house my finds from travels around the world. My favorite piece in my home still remains the oversize giant Corian Boffi tub (MAP IT, x).

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: I buy unique gifts for each specific person, never at the same place.

GIFTS FOR HIM: The Ducati store (MAP IT, x), next door to my loft.

FOR THE KIDS: Gifts for kids are easy since I have a children’s collection. My baby organics and Bonnie Young Cashmere are no-brainers for new moms.

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: Deify Laser in Chelsea (MAP IT, x) and i-Plaza Nail & Spa in Tribeca (MAP IT, x).

FIT PICK: Marvin at SoulCycle in the West Village, Jivamukti and Physique 57 (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)– I do one of those daily.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: Sitting in a car with Barbara Streisand listening to her new album before it was released. CP

Bonnie’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Pasta at Tutto Il Giorno; Interior of Jack's Wife Freda; Maroon Bells, Colorado; Pasta at Rosemary's. Second Row: Cocktail at Tutto Il Giorno; Gown from NY Vintage; Ice Cream at Dominique Ansel Bakery; Interior of Cafe Clover.

From L to R: First Row: Pasta at Tutto Il Giorno; Interior of Jack’s Wife Freda; Maroon Bells, Colorado; Pasta at Rosemary’s. Second Row: Cocktail at Tutto Il Giorno; Gown from NY Vintage; Ice Cream at Dominique Ansel Bakery; Interior of Cafe Clover.


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