By Alexandria Geisler and Bailey Calfee; Photography by Colby Blount

Kaelen Haworth

Designer, KAELEN

| East Village

In New York, a designer with a Parsons degree isn’t exactly revelatory, but follow it up with the debut of your own women’s wear collection just nine months post-grad and, suddenly, all eyes are on you. Of course, that’s a spotlight Kaelen Haworth was ready for— her eponymous ready-to-wear collection, KAELEN got picked up by Intermix at that very presentation. But so it goes with those passionate, tenacious types: the Canadian-come-New-Yorker has had atypical talent and drive since the very beginning (think teen years full of deconstructing and reconstructing old clothes, plus internships at cool girl brands Jenni Kayne and Stella McCartney). With that kind of now-or-never attitude, we’re not surprised she landed herself in the CFDA’s current Fashion Incubator class (the program runs 2014-2016), nor that, these days, her five-year-old brand leaves little to be desired on the runway. Here, Haworth sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: I love The Smile (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). It’s a block-and-a-half away from our apartment so we go frequently. In the winter when it’s cold, we’ll go to Lucien (MAP IT, x). It’s cozy (a little too cozy for the hot months!) and we go for steak-frites and a bottle of red wine.

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee! For drip coffee, I go to Juicy Lucy’s on the corner of 1st and 1st (MAP IT, x). I think it’s the best coffee downtown and, comparatively speaking, pretty cheap. 

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: I feel like this is a cruel question for a New Yorker! I think I would have to say Il Buco (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). The menu changes daily so recommendations are hard, but they usually have the black kale Caesar which is outstanding. The wine cellar downstairs is a great spot for a date.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: In the summer, it’s tequila on the rocks with fresh lime juice; Mayahuel (*Location now closed) is a great bar for serious tequila drinkers. In the winter, I’m a dirty martini kind-of girl— vodka always, never gin. I like to go to The Bowery Hotel (MAP IT, x) for a drink and pray that Jamie is working because he has the sunniest personality and can brighten any day.

LADIES LUNCH: I don’t have a lot of business lunches, but if I did, I’d go to Balthazar (MAP IT, BOOK ITx) or Sant Ambroeus (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)— a little more upscale, but not stuffy.

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: Madame Geneva (*Location now closed) or Von (MAP IT, x) are great for a happy hour drink. 

BEST BRUNCH: We go to The Wren on Bowery (MAP IT, x) for brunch; they have a great menu that’s a little different from your average spot. If we’re feeling ambitious, we’ll walk our dog over to Prune (MAP IT, x) and put our name on the list. The food is worth battling the crowds of tourists for.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Tompkins Square Park— all walks of people and all interesting.

HEALTHY STAPLE: Juice Press (MAP IT, x). The salads are always good, but, in the colder months, the soup hits the spot.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (MAP IT, x). The Salty Pimp is the cone of your dreams— you just don’t know it yet.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: If I told you, I’d have to kill you.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The convenience. If you get used to it, it makes you lazy, but dammit, it’s nice.

REGULAR AT: The Smile, McNally Jackson Books (MAP IT, x), Great Jones Spa (MAP IT, x), Mendez Boxing Gym (MAP IT, x), Juice Press and Exquisite Cleaners (MAP IT, (212.674.3535, x), the nicest dry cleaner on the block!

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: We go to The Musket Room (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) or Acme (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for date night. If the seared salmon is on the menu at The Musket Room, you would be a fool not to order it.

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: The back patio of The Bowery Hotel. There are always interesting people there and, as mentioned, the staff is the bees-knees.

TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: Great Jones Spa is great for unwinding. Also, across town, Shibui Spa at The Greenwich Hotel (MAP IT, x) feels like a different world. The dog park at Tompkins Square is pure joy.

CLOSET CHECK: I wear whatever makes me feel good. I’m a big fan of a button-down and jeans. I’m actually pretty understated in my style. I like to keep things simple. I  would say I shop the most in Nolita. Since I started designing, I find I shop less for clothes and more for things like candles— Le Labo (MAP IT, x) has the best– and vintage tees from The Quality Mending Co. (MAP IT, x). I also like to stop into Olde Good Things on Bowery (MAP IT, x) and try convincing myself that I need a 12-foot mirror.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: I would go to St Mark’s Bookshop (*Location now closed) for a beautiful coffee table book or to Turntable Lab (MAP IT, x) or Good Records (MAP IT, x) if the person has a record player. We have a record player and people often bring us records they love— it’s such a great way to build a collection.

GIFTS FOR HIM: I go to Saturdays (MAP IT, x) which is a no-brainer. B Space in Nolita (*Location now closed) for Zanerobe pieces, Housing Works Bookstore (MAP IT, x), and Gasoline Alley Coffee (MAP IT, x) for a donut to top it off. Everyone loves the gift of a donut! I know he likes By Robert James on Orchard (MAP IT, x) for jeans so I’ll go in there too.

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: I will (reluctantly) tell you my hair colorist. While I don’t want to share him, I feel like it’s my duty because he’s amazing. I go to Bryan Thomson-Dipalma (No longer at Marie Robinson) at Marie Robinson (MAP IT, x) and it’s the first time I have stuck with someone in NYC since moving here ten years ago.

FIT PICK: I started boxing a few months ago and I love it. I got to Mendez Boxing on and work out with a trainer there. It’s so different from all the fitness crazes happening right now and I love it for that. My trainer tells me I have “million-dollar hands and five-dollar legs” because my balance is shit… I’m not going to tell you his name because I already have to fight for my time slots each week!

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: I had a moment where I was walking Lola and this man was being really rude to me and yelling at me for not being able to “control” my dog (for the record, Lola is 21 pounds and very averse to physical activity— suffice to say, she was under control) and the homeless man who was often across the street from our apartment came running over and stood in between me and the guy and said, “Say another word to her and I’ll beat the shit out of you.” It was really touching. It felt very New York to me. CP

Kaelen’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Le Labo; Bite from The Wren; Kaelen womenswear; Negronis. Second Row: The black kale salad at Il Buco; Menswear from Saturdays NYC; Big Gay Ice Cream treat; Inside The Musket Room.


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