The beautiful beaches of The Hamptons beckon as the designer embarks on a pop-up shop.
From London, we are off to The Hamptons, otherwise known as a “playground for the rich”. By the time we land at JFK, night has fallen and we head to Long Island via Uber. Two hours later (nearly midnight by now), we arrive in Bridgehampton. $500 for the trip? Must be surge pricing.
This weekend, our temporary home is the Bridgehampton Inn. We have a two-bedroom suite, which to me feels homey and a bit – shall we say – quaint. I’m used to spacious, sleek and modern in Hong Kong, London and Paris. But my New York friends quickly tell me I am staying in The Hamptons’ equivalent of the presidential suite. Suddenly, I have a new appreciation for my room.
Saturday is a busy day. My dear friend Elad Yifrach has just opened L’Objet, a wonderful, well-curated boutique on Main Street in Southampton. Elad has organised a wonderful event to showcase my collection and that of jewellery designer Luis Morais. I can’t resist and buy a chic pair of long, tiny-diamond earrings from Luis, which he calls “the dusters” because they are so long they “dust” your shoulders. They will go well with my “duster” cardigan.
The event, which culminates with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres later that afternoon and evening, draws the who’s who of The Hamptons. More than 200 people walk into the store. I am happy to have my girlfriend Alina Cho with me, who introduces me to a few of her friends. Alina is a fan of the brand and shows them photos of her wearing my kaftans last week in Capri. We sell well today and make some new fans along the way.
The Hamptons is a little world of its own. Every time I look up, I see private planes. It reminds me of my last trip to the eastern end of Long Island five years ago; I remember arriving via helicopter at the East Hampton Airport to discover a flotilla of private jets. I was told people fly from all over the States and Europe to spend their summers here. And many commute between New York (work), The Hamptons (summer) and Palm Beach (winter).
Sunday is a bit lazier, but still busy. After a breakfast of French toast (infused with orange juice) at the Bridgehampton Inn, we head back to L’Objet for another day of selling. I am amused to meet one woman who walks in, tries on a few items and vows she will return later in the day. And return she does. Within an hour, she is back in full hair and make-up, jewellery, a white top, white jeans and black crocodile Hermès sandals. She wants to retry the collection with the right accessories. Talk about commitment. She buys several pieces after consulting with her husband (who is there) and her daughter (who is sent photos).
The weather on Sunday is perfect, which means we can sit outside for lunch at the Southampton institution Silver’s. This restaurant, which is only open for lunch and never takes reservations, has been in business since the 1920s. I order the smoked salmon sandwich. My son, Sacha, indulges in the garlic bread and Wagyu burger. Ah, to have the metabolism of a 27-year-old.
We spend a few moments strolling along Main Street and make our way to Intermix, a boutique that carries my collection. I am pleased to find my white kaftans and long dresses on display and the sweet shop assistant, Mimi, tells me Marie France Van Damme “sells very well”. I am pleased.
Alina says the place to head for dinner on Sunday nights is Sunset Beach on Shelter Island. So off we go. Alina drives Sacha and me on the beautiful Hamptons back roads dotted with horse farms, cornfields and vineyards. Not to mention gorgeous homes.
Soon we drive onto a ferry, which in a few minutes gets us to Shelter Island. We arrive a short time later at Sunset Beach, which is across the street from the beach. I’ve been so busy this weekend I forgot why so many people come to The Hamptons: the beautiful beaches. I decide to walk barefoot in the sand to get a taste of the summer vibe. Dinner begins with Sunset Beach rosé, followed by crudités, ceviche and the vegetable tagine. The food is truly farm to table – so fresh. And what better way to end the day than to watch the sun setting from the top deck.
I head to bed looking forward to a lunch in my honour on Monday with a group of New York’s chicest girls, who I hope will become friends and also fans of my collection. A great way to start the new week.