Photography by Trevor Smith

John Targon and Scott Studenberg

Designers, Baja East

| Chelsea

Find yourself lucky enough to be invited into John Targon and Scott Studenberg’s Chelsea home and you may be greeted by racks of clothing, mailer boxes piled high (and ready to be shipped to VIPs like Solange Knowles and Lady Gaga no less) and two of the most handsome men you’ve ever seen— likely clad in bathrobes and/or crunching numbers to ‘90s hip-hop on full-blast. In fact, it’d be near sacrilege to imagine any alternate reality for the guys behind the gender obsolescent powerhouse that is Baja East. Work is Play and Play is Work is Baja East. Launched just over three years ago, the apparel label coined the style of “off-duty athleisure,” a mash-up of West Coast beach vibes, tribal prints and street-side New York pluck. For BE, gender is irrelevant which means Cindy Crawford is just as likely to be a brand fan, or “Baja Bae,” as Justin Bieber is (and yes, both really are). Clearly, the guys are onto something— the label is thriving (and not just because of their respective sales backgrounds: Targon, the former Sales Director for North America at Céline and Studenberg, Lanvin’s National Sales Director for North and South Americas). It’s no doubt their willingness to rewrite all the rules— traditional apparel categories and press offices be damned (the guys personally handle their own)— and that inimitable Targon/Studenberg Kool-aid you can’t help but drink. Here, the guys sit down with CITIPHILE to reveal their little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: JT: I pretty much order Seamless on the daily. I go to Liquiteria (MAP IT, x) a lot or order Seamless.
SS: And Blossom Du Jour (MAP IT, x). They have this amazing, vegan, gluten-free peanut butter cookie. Oh, and Half King (MAP IT, x)— The Half King is perfect for hangovers.

COFFEE OR TEA: JT: Coffee; Scott likes the red Folgers Classic
SS: No! That’s just what you get!
JT: Eh, I’ve gotten Dunkin’ Donuts before which I think is a premium brand.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: JT: I think mine would have to be Po (*Location now closed).
SS: I love Cafe Gitane— the original one in Nolita (MAP IT, x), not the stupid new one at The Jane.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: JT: The espresso martinis at SoHo House (MAP IT, x).
SS: Spicy margaritas from SoHo House. But, they need more bartenders…

DINNER WITH FRIENDS: SS/JT: Omai (MAP IT, x)— it’s this Vietnamese restaurant down the street from us and it’s major. It’s never busy enough where you have to wait for a table.

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: JT: Exploring around the West Village.
SS: We love Van Leeuwen (MAP IT, x) ice cream so we’d probably take them there.
JT: Oh, and Selamat Pagi (MAP IT, x) — it’s excellent. It’s another project from the owners of Van Leeuwen and it’s a cute date spot. We take people to Boom Boom Room (MAP IT, x) too, but maybe that sounds expected and like we don’t know [what are] the cool spots?
SS: Yeah, you really sound generic right now.
JT: We do go there though…

MUSIC PICK: SS: Unreleased music? We’ve heard some great unreleased stuff which we’re really into right now. We previewed some of CL’s new stuff which should be coming out this summer or fall and it’s amazing— she’s coming for Rihanna in a major way. But really, we love ‘90s hip-hop and I always love Motown (which goes into r&b).
JT: Yeah, hip-hop r&b for sure. Our friend, Frank Hendler from Blast Off Productions puts together some great playlists (he heads up the music at Milk as well). He has the sickest playlists for sure.

BEST BRUNCH: JT: The non-stop buffet at SoHo House.
SS: And Cookshop (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)— it’s a good go-to for brunch, though the line [to get in] is insane. Actually, it’s actually…

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: JT: The steam room at Equinox (MAP IT, x).
SS: Equinox in West Hollywood (MAP IT, x). I go on the StairMaster and watch everyone and feel bad about my body… that’s ultimately what happens.

HEALTHY STAPLE: JT/SS: Blossom du Jour, Sweetgreen (MAP IT, x) and Village Natural (MAP IT, x). [Village Natural] has a black bean burger and a curry we like. Blossom du Jour is amazing because it has gluten-free and vegan [options]; we’re not either of them all of the time, but if you do it most of the time, then you can go out, drink and treat yourself. You’re fine.

GUILTY PLEASURE: JT: Artichoke Pizza (MAP IT, x)— that is my guilty pleasure.
SS: I get a pint of ice cream (some sort of chocolate and peanut butter) from CVS and some sort of savory dish which I then go and eat in my bed while watching Amy Schumer. If I want to feel healthy about binging, I’ll go to Van Leeuwen because they have vegan peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream with vegan whip cream; I have them put a gluten-free, everything-free cookie in the bottom of it, and then, it’s basically like eating air.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: JT: Hehe, we can’t tell you!
SS: The Monster (MAP IT) on Thursdays with the strippers— you go in for a song, but the songs are all sped up so its three songs in three minutes. Next thing you know, you owe like $60 even though it’s only been three minutes (they charge per song). It’s speed stripping… so disgusting. Upstairs, it looks like some place you’d never want to go, and then, downstairs, it looks like some place you’d also never want to go.

SS: I don’t miss it; it’s exhausting.

REGULAR AT: JT: No. 8 (*Location now closed). The door guy remembers us from Bungalow.
SS: We should really bring him something…

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: JT: Móle in the West Village (MAP IT, x).
SS: I would cook something, then bring it up to our roof.

DELIVERY GO-TO: JT: Grand Sichuan on 9th Ave (MAP IT, x)— I get the orange beef.
SS: A green juice with no sweetness; I Instacart weekly so I load up on them for the week.

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: JT/SS: Wherever we go— we bring the party.

GO-TO GETAWAY: SS: This detox place in Desert Hot Springs (it’s half an hour outside of Palm Springs) called We Care (MAP IT, x). You basically do colonics every day, they starve you and you talk to random B-List celebrities.
JT: I think it’d have to be Malibu… Promises (MAP IT, x).

CLOSET CHECK: SS: My style is a mix of ‘90s hip-hop and Lisa Bonet. I can’t tell you exactly where it is because I don’t want to tell anyone, but my favorite place is this place in Silver Lake where I go to get vintage tee-shirts. I collect concert tees— I have Salt N Pepa, Madonna, Janet, Tupac… It’s my favorite place to go shopping.
JT: My personal style is, as Scott would always say, boring. But really, it’s relaxed sport… luxe sport. I’m obsessed with this sneaker store called Kith in SoHo (MAP IT, x)— I got an awesome pair of all-black matte Nikes there.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: JT: I like Housing Works (MAP IT, x) a lot. I browse there.
SS: Everything in reclaimed mango wood at West Elm (MAP IT) and all of the Jonathan Adler (MAP IT, x) tit lamps and vases.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: JT: We don’t really show up with gifts?
SS: I’d say a joint, a bottle of wine and/or a great attitude.

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: JT: I love Mark Bustos (x) at Three Squares (MAP IT, x); he cuts hair for homeless people in the neighborhood and he’s an incredible soul.
SS: Sean Godard at Redken (x) for hair color.

FIT PICK: JT: Powerstrike with Liz Lefrois (x) at Equinox SoHo.
SS: I do my own thing: StairMaster, plus Nicole Winhoffer (x) taught me what she used to do with Madonna before photo shoots (it involves tying 
bands around your arms) so I do that and some other tips from my friends… I’ve picked up some tricks.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: JT: I was with one of my best friends, Brandon and we were outside of this wine shop in Chelsea and we saw this girl coming up (Side note: I have a major draw for crazies). So, we see her coming up and I’m like, “Yes, yes, yes, yes.” She came up to us and started telling us about her boyfriend, then pulled her dress up right on the street. It was absolutely absurd.
 Oh, years ago when I was working at Lanvin, I was walking outside wearing this red Valentino coat in the wintertime so everything was all white. I see another red coat approaching me in the street… it was Parker Posey. At the same time, I mouthed “Red” and she says “Red coat club,” then kept walking. It was pretty major.
JT: I had a “so LA” moment too… I was outside of the Chateau [Marmont] and Scott was coming to pick me up. It was around the Oscars or something. Anyways, Courtney Love comes out into the street and she’s like, “Hey!” So I said, “Hey, Courtney.” And she goes, “So are you nervous about tonight?” I don’t know who she thought I was, but I was like I’m not going to lose this moment. Of course, I responded, “Yes; so nervous.” We’re pretty sure she thought I was Gabriel Garcia or Ryan Gosling… I was blonde then. CP

John & Scott’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Drink from Soho House; Cafe Gitane; Van Leeuwen Ice Cream; Noodles from Selamat Pagi. Second Row: Artichoke Pizza; Sneakers from Kith; Grilled Cheese from Cookshop; Reclaimed Mango Wood at West Elm.

From L to R: First Row: A cocktail at SoHo House; Cafe Gitane; Van Leeuwen ice cream; Noodles from Selamat Pagi. Second Row: Artichoke Pizza; Sneakers from Kith; Brunch fare at Cookshop; West Elm.


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