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Soho Gets the Valentino Pink PP Treatment

Animation: The Cut

Valentino’s new Soho boutique is officially open to the public, and on February 6, Sartiano’s welcomed the couture house to the neighborhood with a star-studded housewarming party. To kick off guests sipped on cocktails inside the newly renovated store, located at 98 Prince Street. It marks Valentino’s return to Soho after closing the 135 Spring Street store in July and features glass block tables and display cases, fabric-upholstered walls, and modern chartreuse furniture. Guests browsed pieces from the spring 2024 ready-to-wear and menswear collections, as well as Valentino Garavani accessories, for about an hour before walking across the street to Sartiano’s for the after-party.

We all stood in line under the newly-installed Valentino Pink PP awning, which is part of a weeklong collaboration between the restaurant and the fashion house — to celebrate Valentino’s new boutique, Sartiano’s street-level café has transformed into the official Valentino Café through February 14. When I got inside, I took photos of the custom-tinted windows and bar backdrop (the attention to detail is quite impressive!) and made a mental reminder to come back for coffee on Valentine’s Day before joining guests like Bowen Yang, Jemima Kirke, Dylan Sprouse, Nicky Hilton, and Lamar Johnson downstairs for the after-party.

Photo: Tommaso Sacconi
Photo: Tommaso Sacconi

The Venue

99 Prince Street has seen many different iterations, and each one is significant to New Yorkers. Nestled inside The Mercer (a five-star hotel in the heart of Soho, frequented by celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Leonardo DiCaprio), the location was previously home to Jean-George Vongerichten’s Mercer Kitchen. Last night, I heard several guests reminiscing about some of the restaurant’s staple dishes, including the tuna-wasabi pizza and the crispy fried-chicken sandwich. “The Mercer is an old favorite of mine from the early 2000s. This was a very hot pregaming spot; it’s where you went before 1 Oak, and if you met some cool B-list actor, he’d buy you drinks the rest of the night and you’d be set,” Jemima Kirke told me. “It looks exactly the same but the vibe is definitely different.”

Ezra J. William, Nicky Hilton, and Leigh Lezark Photo: Sansho Scott/

In December of 2022, Mercer Kitchen closed after 25 years of business, which ushered in a new chapter for 99 Prince Street: Nightlife connoisseur (and the man behind New York City’s premier private membership club Zero Bond) Scott Sartiano teamed up with three-time James Beard Award-winning chef, Alfred Portale, to launch Sartiano’s. The Italian restaurant opened its doors last summer with classic dishes like meatballs, house-made focaccia, chicken marsala, and pappardelle on the menu. Last night, the space looked especially chic, dressed head to toe in Valentino Pink PP. From the awning and the flowers to the signage and the colored lights reflecting off the ceiling, staircase, and furniture, the vibe was all pink everything.

DJ Mei Kwok Photo: Sansho Scott/

The Fashion

The crowd last night felt especially tall, since TikTok stars like Audrey Peters, Meredith Duxbury, and Kate Bartlett all paired their mini dresses and skirts with Valentino Patent Leather Platform Pumps. (I’m pretty tall myself, so I tend to notice when I’m looking up at people.) Ballerina Isabella Boylston also opted for platforms, and at one point in the night, she gave the shoes the moment they deserved by striking a ballet pose in front of the photo wall. I saw a few Valentino collared dresses, different interpretations of the rosette trend, and a strapless gown with side cutouts and bow appliqués from the Valentino Garavani pre-fall 2023 collection. Best dressed went to Bowen Yang, who arrived in a button down, a black tie, and matching Bermuda shorts with a sequin-embellished green jacket overtop. Dylan Sprouse also looked understatedly cool in a red denim set that he chose because, “It’s February, time for a little romance.”

Bowen Yang Photo: Sansho Scott/

The Conversation

With fashion month looming, conversation about upcoming shows and events dominated the room. Some guests are prepared for the mayhem — “I’ve basically picked out all my outfits for the next three months,” I overheard one person say — while others are apprehensive. “I’m overwhelmed and nervous and my schedule is a bit more full than I’d like it to be. It’s not that I don’t like Fashion Week; it’s that I have to do fashion week and life. I want to just do Fashion Week, but you can’t do that,” Jemima Kirke said. As a Girls superfan, I had to ask which character she’s channeling this Fashion Week. Much to my surprise, Kirke said Laird Schlesinger, Hannah’s neighbor who married Adam’s older sister, Caroline (are you keeping up?). “His responses are unpredictable. I’m trying to be charming if I can’t be elegant. And if I cannot be on time, I try to make up for that,” she explained. The actress mingled throughout the room for the first half of the party, then later took a seat in one of the corner booths with a few high-profile guests, including Gossip Girl’s Thomas Doherty.

Jemima Kirke Photo: Sansho Scott/

Sprouse also made his way over after grabbing a drink at the bar. “I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable in these sort of situations. I think the vibes have changed since COVID and the writers’ strike. The after-parties are more easygoing now, and people are more friendly,” the actor said, adding that his wife, model Barbara Palvin, has helped him navigate the fashion world tremendously. Yang, meanwhile, spent most of the night near the DJ booth chatting with Saturday Night Live writer Celeste Yim. For him, Fashion Week obligations are all about convenience: He told me he’s most likely to attend an event if the venue is in close proximity to his apartment. And honestly, same. This season, the comedian said he’s most looking forward to the always weird and wonderful Wiederhoeft show on February 13.

As is always the case in February and September, there were also plenty run-ins with familiar faces and old friends. Fashion people based in New York City greeted those who are in town for fashion week, including colleagues from major cities around the world and former New Yorkers who gave up the hustle and bustle for sunshine and a spacious apartment in Los Angeles. “I haven’t seen you in years!” one guest squealed, as she hugged a fellow partygoer.

Dylan Sprouse Photo: Sansho Scott/

The Food and Drink

The drinks were flowing; the food was not. It was a Fashion Week party, after all! I devoured the arancini balls that were being passed around, but the burrata and tartare crostinis were a bit too teeny-tiny for my liking. Can I really fault Valentino for this, though? The invite never claimed there would be food, plus I ate dinner ahead of time in anticipation of very light bites. (It’s not my first rodeo.) As for drinks, there was a standard open bar with one speciality cocktail appropriately titled Pink PP 75. It featured a tasty blend of Casa Dragones tequila, lemon, cane sugar, prickly pear, and rosé Champagne.

Soho Gets the Valentino PP Pink Treatment