The Daily Davis: Indochicness! Tracee Ellis Ross, Prabal Gurung, Patricia Field, And More Celebrate Indochine Turning 30

by Daniel Chivu

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My absolute favorite chiceteria–Indochine–is turning 30. There is a big, beautiful bash ce soir and a special, super-collectible red Indochine MAC lipstick to mark the occasion. I host dinner parties once a month chez Indochine, and I truly grew up going there, starting when I was a teenager. It’s the ultimate fashion/art/film/media/music/society clubhouse. Simply everyone has an Indo-chic memory, so I rang people up and got them to divulge their favorite (and naughtiest) times at the hotspot. Happy Birthday, Indochine! XOXO

Jean-Marc Houmard, owner, Indochine: “1. Being kissed good-bye by Catherine Deneuve. 2. Running into Al Pacino screaming and ranting in the Indochine hallway (he was actually rehearsing his role in Henry V at the Public Theater!) 3. Having every ’90s supermodel in the room for Grace Coddington‘s 50th birthday…and then again twenty years later for her 70th.”

Tracee Ellis Ross, actress: “I’m not even sure how many of my birthdays I’ve celebrated at Indochine over the years. But it’s the most consistently awesome restaurant I know, with iconic wallpaper to boot. Fave memory is the food: spicy ginger chicken, sautéed greens, ravioli, and fried spring rolls…my mouth is watering now. Big kiss, Jean-Marc, and happy birthday, Indochine!”

Prabal Gurung, fashion designer: “My favorite memory is the celebration of our resort collection. We reserved the whole restaurant with MAC, Paloma Faith performed, and we danced the whole night.”

Kim Hastreiter, editor in chief, Paper: “One time, just for the fun of it, Paper hosted a luncheon at Indochine honoring fashion families. We called it “We are Family” and took over the whole restaurant. So many legendary peeps and moms came. It was such a special party. I’ll never forget it: Katie Ford and her mom Eileen Ford and her two daughters. Sarah Andelman and her mom Colette (namesake of their Parisian store) came. The entire Missoni family came, from grandma Rosita to her daughter Angela to her granddaughter Margherita. Carine Roitfeld came with her daughter Julia and son Vladimir. Ann Jones came with her daughter Charlotte Ronson. Betsey Johnson and her daughter Lulu were there, and so were Zac Posen with his mother and sister. Mr. Mickey came with his mom, as did I. It was amazing!”

Valerie Boster, La Marque: “Grace Coddington’s 70th birthday. We moved the tables so we could all dance.”

Patricia Field, costume designer: “When Indochine opened, it was a sensation. It was the first Pan-Asian restaurant in New York City. It was done with style punctuated by the most beautiful and fashionable young women in New York, one after another, who composed the staff. It was literally a fashion and beauty show and the place to be.”

Nick Wooster, style icon: “My favorite Indochine memory involved a skateboarding coke dealer who also collected Stradivarius violins on the side. Let’s just say that it’s been 19 years [and counting], since I have had a drink or a drug…but Indochine has always been a constant. Who knew the food was so yummy?”

Amirah Kassem, Flour Shop: “My favorite Indochine memory is braiding Hanuk’s hair while he took a picture of Peter Davis in front of the iconic wallpaper. Or is it dancing in the booth? Scratch that–it’s always the coconut crème brûlée!”

Brendan Monaghan, publisher at T: “God, I have so many amazing memories there. They mostly all involve constant head-turning because of all of the gorgeous models, and the lychee martinis and spicy chicken. Always at a booth.”

Johannes Huebl, model: “When I first came to New York, I went from a few Wilhelmina model parties to a long crazy night at Indochine. It was some after-party or some model party, maybe for V, or something like that, and I remember I had a really good time. It was one of those first New York nightlife moments that you always associate with this kind of restaurant.”

Kelly Klein, photographer: “My 38th birthday party that CK gave me for a 150 people: Best night ever, best birthday ever.”

Alejandro Ingelmo, designer: “Indochine was one of the first restaurants I went to when I moved to NYC. After all these years, it’s still one of my favorite places.  The decor, food, and crowd take you back to a time when NYC was the epicenter of ‘cool.'”

Michelle Harper, style icon: “Apart from living in the loft building around the corner and eating there every other night with friends in fashion, art etc. in the ’90s, which was wild, I remember one particularly great night when Diane Von Furstenberg took over the restaurant. What was dinner quickly turned into a full-on dance party that, to me, epitomizes Indochine. Anyone can have great food, but good luck beating them for the best wild times with the best characters and personalities, all feeling right at home. Oh, and God bless the wallpaper. I love it.”

Michael Musto, writer: “My favorite Indochine memory is always the last time I went there. Just last week, we celebrated Mr. Mickey‘s birthday there with Lynn Yaeger, Ariel Foxman, Marjorie Gubelmann, Scott Lifshutz, Lee Kimble, and Porfi. The company, the gifts (I gave Mickey a Queen Elizabeth teapot), the dish, and the sticky rice were all amazing. It helped that everyone at the other tables looked good, too, in case your eyes darted around the room every five seconds.”

Rafe Totengco, designer: “I’ll never forget my first dinner at Indochine. It must have been 1990. I had just moved to New York from the Philippines and I was living in the Upper East Side at the time with my sister. She was going on a date, and I was invited to come along as sort of a welcome dinner. I remember the taxi ride seemed to take forever. When we arrived, the street was empty, dark, and desolate. It felt a little dangerous and I felt some apprehension when I saw the red neon sign. As soon as I walked in, all my skepticism evaporated. I had never seen so many beautiful people in one room, from the diners to the staff. Everybody was super chic and sultry. The food reminded me of back home. It was love at first bite! That was the New York that I wanted to be a part of. My sister and I moved downtown and next door within the same year and never looked back. I’ve been a regular ever since.”

Timo Weiland, fashion designer: “Alan [Eckstein] and I celebrated our joint birthday there five years ago. We have the same birthday, May 21st/22nd. It was divine! Several friends flew in from across the world to be there in that iconic downtown New York setting.”

Kelly Killoren Bensimon, TV personality: “Oh my God. My first night at Indochine was for a Calvin Klein party. Calvin always hosted the chicest events, ever. Every table had disposable cameras and everyone was taking selfies. Even in the late 90’s,Calvin knew the power of the selfie. Every star, athlete, artist, musician, and supermodel was in the same room. Calvin’s eclectic group of friends coupled with Indochine’s Asian food and insanely exotic and gorgeous staff made for a very sexy, provocative evening. Happy birthday, Indochine.”

Mauricio Padilha, MAO PR: “The first time I ever went in there in 1999, I walked in and immediately saw Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran in the front. Then I walked towards the middle and saw Iman and Naomi sitting in the center booth looking like goddesses. Then I walked into the men’s room and Matt Dillon was in there. I got so excited, I was shaking throughout dinner!”

Andrew Saffir, Founder of Cinema Society: “How is it that Indochine is older than many people I know, and has stayed super-cool and on top of it for 30 years? I have to say, for starters, it’s truly one of my favorite places for a party. We did parties for Rust and Bone (with Marion Cotillard) and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (with Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy) most recently. Every party at Indochine has such a special and sexy vibe. The room, the food, Jean-Marc…all magical! One of my favorite nights was a party Calvin Klein himself threw a few years ago. It was a wall-to-wall crush of great people, and fantastic music. It felt like a Studio 54 redux. Long live Indochine!”

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