Photography by Eric Isaac

Ji Oh

Designer

| Tribeca

Between her perfect porcelain complexion and her newfound scarlet locks, womenswear designer Ji Oh is, in fact, the perfect poster child for her own label— both an equally compelling study in the union of purity and provocation. Whereas most designers today aim to be “loud,” the Korean-born Oh hones in on the elegance of subtlety— to her, it isn’t about the Instagrammable millennial pink [fill in the blank], but the pared-down, seductive blazer you always go back to, no matter the season. Versatile, edited and easy, Oh’s pieces come with a rare promise: to spend more time out of your closets than in them. Is it any wonder that her first collection ever found itself on the cover of WWD the morning after it launched? Now as a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, Oh is well on her way to becoming a household name. Oh, how we’ll miss the days of winning major cool points for introducing friends to, “this under-the-radar doyen crafting the most glorious un-basic basics.” Here, Oh sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Khe-Yo (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) is my go-to local spot for a good meal. I love Southeast Asian dishes and Khe-Yo is Laotian which is hard to find in the city. The dishes there are very authentic and flavorful; I love their very spicy bang-bang sauce!  My favorite thing to order is the crunchy coconut rice.

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee and tea from Laughing Man (MAP IT, x) because it’s the best and closest one to me for a quick caffeine fix.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Uncle Boons Sister (MAP IT, x)— it’s so delicious and there is never a wait for a table as it’s mainly a takeout spot. I would recommend their pad Thai; it’s so good!  Also, the Khao Mun Gai is worth a try.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: My go-to bar for a cocktail is Smith & Mills (MAP ITx). It’s a very small spot right by The Greenwich Hotel. Tribeca is filled with mostly pubs; there are not many cute cocktail bars like this one so I love to go there.

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: I’ll either have a drink at home or I’ll go to The Beekman (MAP IT, x)— it’s a great spot to catch up with friends and we enjoy the food here too.

LADIES LUNCH: I often go to Chinatown for lunch or dinner with friends. I love the rustic, small Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants over there!

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: SoHo! I lived there for a long time before I moved to Tribeca and have many spots there that I love. SoHo also has a lot more options and attractions for entertaining out-of-town guests.

MUSIC PICK: I love good electronic, but I listen to all types of music. I usually invite friends back to my apartment and we turn up the music.

BEST BRUNCH: The weekend is the only time that I cook so I usually stay in. If I do go out, I love weekend dim sum brunch at either Oriental Garden (MAP IT, x) or China Blue (MAP IT, x).

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Café Select (MAP ITx). 

HEALTHY STAPLE: I eat Japanese food when I want to be healthy. I’m not a quinoa or salad person; sushi is healthy enough for me. I often go to Blue Ribbon Sushi (MAP ITx) or Brushstroke (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)– the latter of which is right next to my apartment. 

GUILTY PLEASURE: I indulge all the time. I go to Edward’s in Tribeca (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for American food— they make a great burger. I also go to Blaue Gans (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for good schnitzel and pretzels. 

 

REGULAR AT: I’m a regular at Edward’s— it’s very local with good comfort food and it’s less than a block away from me!

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: My boyfriend and I try a different restaurant each time. I think ambience is a very important factor in choosing a date night spot. Since I explore many restaurants with my boyfriend, our date night should be something more special. To me, the perfect spot is either somewhere really small and hidden or somewhere more upscale than our usual spots. Of course, good dishes are the most important factor!

DELIVERY GO-TO: I’m a delivery queen! I order in a lot from Lan Larb (MAP IT, ORDER IT, x) which I think is better than most other Thai delivery spots.

QUOTIDIAN KEEPER: I’m a shoe person and pay extra attention to my shoes so to keep up with them, I rely on the Leather Spa on John Street (MAP ITx). I go there all the time and they have excellent service! 

GO-TO GETAWAY: I like Iceland a lot since it’s unlike any other place on earth, but Paris is where I have my own local spots and friends who I visit. My favorite local gem there is Fulvio Paris (MAP IT, x) which is a Sardinian pasta restaurant. It’s my all-time favorite!

TO RELAX AND UNWIND: SoHo House (MAP ITx) because you can stay as long as you want and they have really comfortable chairs. 

CLOSET CHECK: I would describe my personal style as, “easy casual.” I like things that are comfortable and clean; nice trousers with good shoes are a must. I love Totokaelo (MAP ITx) and love that they opened a Bowery location. It’s well curated and the best multi-brand store for shopping that I’ve found so far.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: I go to The Future Perfect (MAP ITx) for home décor. I recently purchased some light fixtures from Bec Brittain and I love them. My home interior is very minimal and I focus on playing with different lighting.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: The Apartment by The Line (MAP ITx) has a great selection as well as Totokaelo of course.

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: I love my hairstylist, Robert Winslow, at LAICALE in SoHo (MAP IT, x). He’s been cutting my hair for the past 8 years.

FIT PICK: I do boxing and pilates regularly. I’ve been working out with the same instructors for years; they are the best and they’re very hard core. I go to Jeffrey Morris (x) for pilates and Josh Knappenberger (x) for boxing— both are private instructors at Equinox SoHo (MAP ITx).

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT:  A couple of years ago while I was waiting for the subway at the West 4th Street station, I was showing my boyfriend, David, my boxing moves. As I kicked, one of my shoes fell onto the subway track and David had to go find someone who could retrieve it. I was in a hurry to get to work so I wore David’s running shoes and had to go back to the subway stop later that day to get the fallen shoe— an epic NYC subway drama! CP

Ji’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Lunch at Khe-Yo; A comfy corner inside SoHo House; Laughing Man coffee; Dim sum from China Blue. Second Row: Inside Smith & Mills; Boots from Totokaelo; Plate at Uncle Boons Sister; Footwear and home décor at Apartment by The Line.

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