City Pulse

By Lauren Baccus

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You know that classically demure response to any apparel accolade? The one that goes something like “Oh darling, this old thing” or “My dear, I just threw this on”? Uh, yeah. Overplayed. So this holiday season don’t bother using that one. Let’s make a pact here and now that when paid a generous and most deserving compliment we shall say proclaim loudly, “Thank you, I DO look fabulous in my new ‘fit, don’t I?! Now where’s my champagne!”

With Thanksgiving only a week away, this year’s holiday party season has officially begun and I’m the kind of gal who won’t take another round of last season’s duds for an answer. Unless you plan to hide out in your little bell tower a la Quasimodo for the rest of the year, it’s about that time to go party dress shopping.

On hand to help you win all the deserving praise your heart can handle is, an online resource with over 20 brand name designers and dresses for just about every occasion (including that “non-fussy, non-holiday” fussy holiday party). Especially for our readers, through November, is offering 20% off a Jill Stuart dress when you enter “beautynews” as your promotional code. To make doubly sure you have enough pocket money to call a cab afterwards, the site also offers special bargains every Saturday and Sunday.

There’s no excuse to play wall flower or even try your hand at a little southern belle charm this season. You’re all New York, my loves, so dress accordingly! Browse through the latest fashions at and don’t forget to enter “beautynews” as your promotional code for any Jill Stuart dress this month.

BeautyNews Embed Catches Some Heat: On the Front Lines at H&M
By Gillian Weeks

Have you ever looked death in the face? Stood in the crosshairs of an icy assassin? Froze before the oncoming rush of your certain demise?

Well, readers, I have, and all in the name of fashion. I found myself staring down a gang of couture hungry women, pawing the ground like a herd of Spanish bulls. They had been standing outside of the Fifth Avenue H&M for hours, the line stretching around the building and halfway down 51st street. I gloated privately when I was allowed to slip through the press entrance, but as I heard the front doors groan against the press of bodies, I wondered who might have caught my smirk. My cheeks flushed, my breath sputtered, and I think I might have peed a little.

Why the stampede, you ask? H&M has recently partnered with the Swedish designers Viktor & Rolf to create affordable high-fashion, and this was the first moment that savvy shoppers could get their hands on the goods. I could see why there was such a rush. V&R have produced a line that is feminine, simple, and just a little bit punk rock – sexy secretary mixed with brooding hipster. I would have done some of my own shopping if I cared less for my limbs. After all, there aren’t a lot of knit blouses that can inspire riots.


The line is available for both men and women and styles range in price from about $40 for tops to $100 for dresses and $300 for a men’s tuxedo-suit. You can find these fashions at the H&M located at 51st Street and 5th Avenue. Supplies are indeed limited, so get there quick to scoop up what the marauders left behind!

Fly Below the Radar in Style: Hot Spots For You Women of Mystery
By Gillian Weeks, if that is my real name

With the premier of the new Bond film, Casino Royale, all of us are inspired to inject a little intrigue into our all too up-and-up lives. Allow me to acquaint you with the hottest spots for clandestine activity. Just make sure you’re packing heat.

The Bourgeois Pig (on 7th Street between 1st and A)
The best place for a night out with your man on the side. With chocolate fondue, fine cheeses, and a wine list that’s heavy on full-bodied reds – not to mention the mood lighting and Baroque décor – this place is the ultimate aphrodisiac. You know, just in case his guilty conscience needs some extra convincing.

The Lobby Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental (80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street, 35th Floor)
Whatever way you take it – shaken, stirred, up, or on the rocks – the Lobby Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental is bound to give it to you garnished with mystery. The elegant space is dimly lit, all the better for gazing at the spectacular view of Columbus Circle and handing off secret documents. The sensitive nature of your mission means you had better be good at running in heels. You might arrive by elevator, but you’re exiting by zip-line to the park.

Moomia (157 Lafayette St between Grand and Howard)
You’ll find some shifty eyes and shady characters hiding behind the clouds of sweet smelling smoke at Moomia. Alright, so it might be a trick of the imagination, but I’ve got to wonder why one would hide behind a hookah. Soak up enough Egyptian tea and exotic tongues and you’ll start seeing Mata Haris, too. Brush up on your Arabic to come fully prepared.

You might not be juggling enriched uranium or fending off twenty ninjas, but I think you’ll find that New York nightlife offers plenty of chances to practice your own brand of espionage. Just remember to stay on the move. You don’t want to blow your cover.

Originally published November 2006

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