catherine malandrino’s smoking-hot store opening
California gets a bad rap from smokers. Granted, the state was among the first to legislate against tobacco—and the very first to put the kibosh on cigs in bars. Cities in California have banned smoking on the beach, on park benches, at outdoor bistro tables. But even the most zealous anti-smoking advocates can’t do a thing about the weather. When in doubt, a smoker can just go outside, deposit him or herself on a congenial curb, and soak up the California sunset. Further: Smokes are cheap here. Catherine Malandrino may not have been thinking about any of this when she mulled her plans for a new L.A. store, but as last night’s opening party for the Catherine Malandrino Maison on La Cienaga proved, no more congenial spot for smoking could possibly be imagined. The courtyard out back was elbow to elbow with happy puffers zoning out on cocktails and the sounds of African drumming, provided live next to the leather settees that had been thoughtfully adorned with ashtrays. Then, suddenly, the dream was over—a neighbor had complained about either the noise or the smoke, possibly both, and partygoers including Rosario Dawson and Dita Von Teese were duly hustled back inside. Malandrino, for her part, wasn’t worried about the dust-up—naturally, the designer likes her courtyard, but it’s not even her favorite place in the shop. “I like to sit by the fireplace,” she said as event co-host Mary J. Blige batted eyelashes with some arriving guests. “For me, you know, it has a warm, intimate feeling—like, you can come inside, and make yourself at home.” Sure. Until it’s time to head out to the curb.
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