Michelle Smith

Designer, Milly

| Upper East Side

Part-street, part-lady is what we’ve grown to expect from Milly designer Michelle Smith whose collections never fail to meld luxury with sport. Dichromatic dresses are dotted with mesh, capes are sculpted in neoprene and pops of saturated shades like iris, cobalt and bubble gum are practically a Milly signature. Still, Smith’s clothing is never heavy-handed, but channels a relaxed sophistication that feels decidedly French. The comparison isn’t totally unfounded— the City of Light is where Smith got her fashion feet wet.. err, drenched? After diving head first into an internship at Hermès (she was the first American to ever work in the Parisian atelier), Smith logged similar high-profile gigs at Louis Vuitton, Torrente and Christian Dior Haute Couture before returning stateside. Now, with fans like Allison Williams, Gwenyth Paltrow and Kate Middleton, Smith consistently delivers chic collections with contemporary appeal. Here, she sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: I love Sant Ambroeus on Madison Avenue (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). If I’m in a snack-y mood, the tuna tartare is divine; if I’m really hungry, their spaghetti bolognese is perfection. The maitre d’, Antonio is always charming and quite easy on the eyes too.

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee at Via Quadronno (MAP IT, x). They serve authentic Italian coffee just the way I like it. It’s always fun to people watch there too— it’s popular with the art crowd.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Dirty French (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) is a current favorite of mine. Everything there is awesome.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: A French 75 (it actually originated in New York around 1915!). During the fall and winter, Bemelmans at The Carlyle (MAP IT, x) is my favorite spot— quintessential old-school NYC.  In the summer months, I love to grab a rooftop cocktail at The Surrey (MAP IT, x).

BEST BRUNCH: I like Bar Italia (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for brunch. The vibe is lively and fun with good, friendly service. It has an extensive gluten-free menu which is great for my husband (he has a gluten allergy).

HEALTHY STAPLE: Blossom Du Jour (MAP IT, x) for a smoothie and kale salad.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Dessert is my guilty pleasure. The Mark Hotel (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) has a butterscotch pudding with crème fraiche, sea salt and caramel that is out of this world.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: The Conservatory Garden in Central Park (MAP IT, x).  They’re the most beautiful gardens you could imagine. Go during tulip and cherry blossom season.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The special energy of New York and my morning ritual of going out for a cup of coffee and the paper.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Bar Pleiades (MAP IT, x) is a cozy, romantic place to start or end an evening— great cocktails and delicious snacks in a beautiful atmosphere with flattering lighting.

KID-FRIENDLY STAPLE: Toloache (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) has delicious, upscale Mexican food and it’s kid-friendly. We go there at least twice a month.

REGULAR AT: I am a regular at Crawford Doyle Bookstore on Madison Avenue (*Location now closed). It’s an independent bookstore that is cozy and charming with an intriguing selection of vintage and rare books.

DELIVERY GO-TO: Sushi of Gari (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)… YUM!

CLOSET CHECK: My style is bold, feminine and advanced. The Milly boutique (MAP IT) is my favorite place to shop… I’m not biased, really.

ACCESSORIES PICK: Kentshire antique jewelry on the first floor of Bergdorf Goodman (MAP IT, x) has a fantastic selection of rare, one-of-a-kind pieces.

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: I don’t like “scene-y” places, but if I did, I would go to the rooftop of The Standard (MAP IT, x) or Omar’s in the Village (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

TO BE ANONYMOUS: I like to belt out show tunes at Brandy’s Piano Bar on E 84th Street (MAP IT, x).

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: The 7th floor of Bergdorf Goodman has a chic, well-curated selection of small gifts.

FOR THE KIDS: Mary Arnold Toys (MAP IT, x) and Zittles (MAP IT, x) have a great selection of toys and games.

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: John Barrett Salon (MAP IT, x) for great highlights.

FIT PICK: I’m a regular at SoulCycle on E 83rd Street (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x); I go 3 days a week. Stacey Griffith (x) is my favorite instructor— her classes are always very challenging, but motivating and she has an excellent sense of humor.


ULTIMATE NY MOMENT:
There is nothing quite like the checkout line at Citarella near Thanksgiving. “Intense” would be putting it lightly, but you just have to roll with it! CP

Michelle’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Womenswear by Milly; Light bite at Sushi of Gari; Kentshire estate earrings; Dirty French. Second Row: Inside Sant Ambroeus; Pasta from Bar Italia; A French 75 at Bar Pleiades; Milly womenswear.

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