Photography by Eric Isaac

Cynthia Sakai

Designer, Vita Fede

| SoHo

Walk around Cynthia Sakai’s new SoHo loft, an oasis of blush and gold chairs, potted succulents and jewel-toned loungers, and you get the distinct feeling her career as a designer is far from accidental. Indeed, with an accomplished architect for a father and a mother who previously worked with the Fendi family in Rome, the founder and creative force behind jewelry label Vita Fede was primed to create from the onset. The line’s moniker, which translates to “life” and “faith” in Italian, reflects Sakai’s personal connection to diverse cultures— she’s Japanese, Californian and now a New Yorker— as well as her travel-inspired, handcrafted pieces she urges should be mixed, matched and layered. Her Titan bracelet— VF’s signature polished cuff with conical ends— put Sakai on the map for its substantial, yet elegant nature and, thanks to a collection full of pieces with similar appeal, she’s managed to climb all the way up the contemporary accessories ladder, one gilded band at a time. Here, Sakai sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: This amazing Japanese restaurant called Omen (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). My go-to dish is their salmon rice and egg special.

COFFEE OR TEA: I get a little spoiled with great coffee since I have an office in Italy so I would have to be a little snobbish and say my Nespresso machine (MAP IT, x) at home.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Any of the pasta dishes from Da Umberto (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) or the uni and meat dish from Takashi (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

LADIES POWER LUNCH: Santina (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) is a great little spot in the Meatpacking District. Plus, afterwards you can walk The High Line.

BEST BRUNCH: I love going to Seamore’s (MAP IT, x) because it is right here in SoHo and it has a cozy little vibe.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: When I take Faith [my dog] out for walks around SoHo.

HEALTHY STAPLE: The Mercer Kitchen (MAP IT, BOOK ITx) has this amazing avocado shrimp salad.

GUILTY PLEASURE: 10 Below (MAP IT, x) for rolled ice cream. They used to have a flavor called Honey Boo Boo that was the best!

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: The gardens at The Cloisters (MAP IT, x).

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: That you can walk anywhere at any time of day and always discover something new.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: The Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn (MAP IT, x).

DELIVERY GO-TO: Anything from Postmates.

TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: The Dia Beacon in Chelsea (MAP IT, x). They always have cool exhibitions for inspiration.

CLOSET CHECK: My style is a fusion of classic and modern. I recently went to the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market (MAP IT, x); they had the best collection of vintage and unique finds.

ACCESSORIES PICK: Bergdorf Goodman (MAP IT, x).

BEST HOME DÉCOR: I love going into the 1st Dibs showroom for home inspiration (MAP IT, x). ABC Home (MAP IT, x) is always a go-to place as well.


BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: Sakura Nails (MAP IT, x) and Skin Laundry (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

FIT PICK: I regularly work out with a trainer, but I also recently started attending breathing and meditation classes with Dr. Belisa (x)!

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: When my dog, Faith finally peed on cement for the first time! CP

Cynthia’s New York

From L to R: First Row: SoHo; Spread from Seamore’s; Santina; Vita Fede jewelry. Second Row: Installation at Dia Chelsea; Vita Fede jewelry; ABC Carpet & Home décor; Outside Seamore’s.


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