Editor’s note from the September/October 2017 issue of Luxury Listings NYC

History often repeats itself—the first time as art, the second time as a marketing campaign
By Stuart Elliott | September 11, 2017 12:19PM

Stuart Elliott

LLNYC is starting off autumn on a high note. We’ve got profiles of celebrated performers Kristin Chenoweth and Rufus Wainwright, plus other flashy fare like dogs dressed in couture.

It’s a pretty fabulous edition of LLNYC, and there’s much more besides.

First, turn to page 50 to read about a $25,000 dress that literally lit up a room when a dog wore it to a society gala. Even more amazing: It had a computerized program that controlled the lights. These days, many society events (even the famed Met Gala) are putting dogs in the spotlight. Fortunately, there are pet couturiers who can help get your dog ready for his close-up.

Meanwhile, our cover profile on Kristin Chenoweth explores why the sunny Emmy winner is playing darker characters these days, and contemplates the “cure” to the addiction that can be showbiz, including her desire for more of a social life. But don’t worry, there’s plenty that is bright and cheery, too. Chenoweth plays Princess Skystar, the princess of the sea ponies, in the upcoming “My Little Pony: The Movie.”

A children’s cartoon that’s popular with little girls, “My Little Pony” has another, more unusual fan base: young adult men who call themselves Bronies (a portmanteau of “bro” and “ponies”). And Chenoweth wants to reassure them that she won’t do anything to harm the brand and will do the Bronies proud with her performance.

Meanwhile, our profile of Rufus Wainwright finds us with another crooner who is perhaps a little less sunny and a little more ironic. We met up with Wainwright in the Hamptons, where he was singing at a cancer benefit — part of the proceeds went toward finding a cure for the type of cancer that killed his mother, the Canadian singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle, in 2010. (So the irony of puffing on a cigarette outside right after the show was not lost on him.)

Wainwright, who has successfully navigated the tightrope between indie and mainstream success with his sardonic wit, paused to look at how far his music and life have changed since his more out-of-control 20s, when he was living in Chelsea and had a drug habit. These days, he’s more of a homebody with his husband, Jörn Weisbrodt, and his daughter, Viva Cohen, whom they raise in a “parenting partnership” with Lorca Cohen, daughter of another famed singer, the late Leonard Cohen.

“I had a great classic New York period,” Wainwright said of his earlier days. “I used to do a lot of blow with Alexander McQueen. But that is sort of run-of-the-mill, I guess.”

Speaking of the late designer McQueen, we take a look at some edgy fashion accessories — namely, skull-patterned accoutrements of all sorts (like umbrellas, clutches and velvet slippers), a motif McQueen was well-known for. You can wear them with or without a sense of irony.

Another story in the issue proves the maxim that history repeats itself—the first time as art, the second time as a marketing campaign.

We go inside a fancy new rental building in Fidi that pays homage to Downtown Manhattan’s art and music scene from the ’70s and ’80s. Think giant photos of the Rolling Stones at Danceteria in 1980 and a studio portrait of Debbie Harry circa 1978 hanging in the lobby. The tower is appropriately named Exhibit.

There is clearly a certain paradox in making these gritty images the central theme of a brand-new high-end building. But developer Scott Aaron has a more earnest take, saying, “it’s all about eclectic luxury celebrating an unfiltered time and place in New York that no longer exists.”

Art also repeats itself as amenity, too, apparently. Wwe take a look at the new condo towers rising on the Upper East Side, which are loaded with cool perks. To wit: Recording artist-slash-designer Lenny Kravitz has outfitted one condo building, the Kent, with a rehearsal space dubbed “The Sound Stage,” complete with guitars, a drum set and pianos. And that’s just the start of what’s on offer in projects around the neighborhood (there are boxing gyms, private basketball courts, yoga studios and saunas). Forget stuffy old co-ops with low ceilings.

Meanwhile, if you want to live among celebrities and not just alongside their photos, take a look at our story on 443 Greenwich, an abandoned bookbindery-turned-high-end condominium in Tribeca that has become a magnet for the famous. Buyers there can count Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Lawrence, Justin Timberlake, Meg Ryan, Harry Styles, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebel Wilson and Mike Myers as their neighbors.

Finally, on the health and wealth front, check out our piece about the top personal trainers in the city. We also have an investigative feature on the millionaires and billionaires who spend money to become citizens of multiple countries, and what this luxury affords them — namely, freedom, peace of mind and for a certain showy set, bragging rights.

Enjoy the issue.