Photography by Chris Dinerman

Peter Som


| West Village

Biggie vs. Tupac. Grace Kelly vs. Marilyn Monroe. The clash between the East and West Coasts has been a cultural phenomenon for decades, and whether you’re in the green juice-drinking, yoga-practicing camp or among the troves of ever-stressed, ever-styled Manhattanites, at times it seems the two aesthetics couldn’t be more different. Enter women’s wear designer Peter Som.  As equally as fond of far-out prints as he is ladies-who-lunch polish, the San Francisco-come-New York transplant turns out collections that meld West Coast cool with East Coast sophistication seamlessly. A structured, camel coat with a leggy mini skirt in a loud leopard print? How about an office-appropriate shift dress in an abstract floral? This is the Som way, and it’s brilliant. Here, he sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Good Restaurant (*Location now closed)— fresh, delicious food and it’s right around the corner from my apartment. Their “Fried Chicken Mondays” are a must or, when I want to go lighter, I get the fish tacos or the escarole and farro salad. They also always remember my drink which we’ve dubbed “The Skinny Greyhound”– it’s Absolut Ruby Red and soda with a splash of grapefruit.

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee at Joe’s on Waverly Place (MAP IT, x).

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: I Sodi (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). Everything on their menu is done in the most simple and perfect way. I am addicted to their cacio e pepe; it’s the perfect balance of creamy, tangy cheese and the zip of pepper. If you’ve had a bad day, eat this and all will be right with the world.

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: I take visitors on a stroll down Hudson Street. From shops like The Meadow (MAP IT, x) and The End of History (MAP IT, x) to great restaurants like EN Japanese Brasserie (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), Red Farm (MAP IT, x) and Frankie’s Spuntino (MAP IT, x), this street is a true neighborhood street with West Village charm and vibrancy.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: The Penny Drop (vodka, house-made ginger cordial, lime juice and ginger beer) at The Standard Grill (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

HEALTHY STAPLE: Juice Press (MAP IT, x).

GUILTY PLEASURE: Doughnut Plant (MAP IT, x). Their peanut butter and jelly doughnut to be exact.

FAVORITE CUISINE: Morandi (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for Italian and Sushi Nakazawa (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for Japanese.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Buvette (MAP IT, x) because it’s both intimate and lively, and the French-influenced small plates are tasty and meant for sharing.

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: Margaux at The Marlton (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

TO BE ANONYMOUS: Zampa (*Location now closed).

TO GET INSPIRED: I love Abingdon Square—the flowers, the trees, the people-watching. It’s the perfect place to sit and relax and get inspired.

DELIVERY GO-TO: I order from MaxDelivery because I can get the best of NYC at my doorstep within an hour. They have Murray’s Cheese Shop, Van Leeuwen ice cream, Ottomanelli & Sons meats, Wild Edibles seafood—all at my fingertips.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: I don’t know if it’s a secret any more, but having a drink and singing some musical theater songs around the piano at Marie’s Crisis Cafe (MAP IT, x) is not only fun, it’s taking part in a West Village tradition and history. (It opened in 1850 as a prostitute’s den!)

REGULAR AT: Café Cluny (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) has the perfect mix of great food, inviting atmosphere and is on the most idyllic West Village corner. While I always love it for dinner (get the tuna burger), it’s lovely and quiet for a weekday breakfast. When I have time to indulge, I order the organic soft boiled eggs with soldiers and read The NY Times in a sunny corner.

THING I MISS MOST WHEN I’M AWAY: The vibrancy, the creativity and the mix of different kinds of people.

CLOSET CHECK: I go to Odin (MAP IT, x) for Todd Snyder and Engineered Garments, and Margiela (MAP IT) for shoes and sweaters.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: I love Leo Design on Hudson Street (*Location now closed). They carry a handsome selection of gifts and home décor. I particularly love their selection of vintage pottery. My interior style is eclectic—there are both traditional and modern elements in place. It’s about the mix. At the end of the day, it’s about surrounding yourself with things you love, not about being stuck in a certain theme or era. One piece in my apartment that I love is my Danish chair from Housing Works (MAP IT, x). It’s beautifully made and I gave it an “upgrade” by reupholstering it with a jacquard from Scalamandre (MAP IT, x).

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Diptyque on Bleecker Street (MAP IT, x).

FIT PICK: Equinox on Greenwich Avenue (MAP IT, x). For personal training, Jaime Morales is amazing, and I never miss Violet Zaki’s Zen Combat class.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: Having lived in NYC for 21 years, there are many NY moments, but each and every day I am happy and lucky to call NYC –and the West Village- my home. CP

Peter’s New York

From L to R: First Row: I Sodi; Coffee at Joe; Cacio e pepe from I Sodi; Som’s homemade pumkin pie. Second Row: Inside Buvette; Margiela shoes; Doughnut Plant donuts; A floral inspiration for Som.


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