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The House of Waris Tea Room, Part Deux

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After the high voltage Playboy/Madame Bovary bash on Wednesday, I made a return to the House that Waris (temporarily) built under the Highline on Sunday evening for his closing event with Wes Anderson. The occasion was twofold: to celebrate the Criterion Collection's Special Edition DVD release of Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited (Waris himself plays a role both in the feature and in "Hotel Chevalier," the Natalie Portman short which precedes the film); and to enjoy the first-ever public showing of original artwork and select reproductions by Eric Chase Anderson (brother of Wes), who signed worked specifically for the special guests in attendance.

The vibe was considerably more mellow than Wednesday's all night affair, but the crowd was no less impressive. Harvey Keitel, Cynthia Rowley, and Terence Koh were among the intimate group of boldfacers and industry types who enjoyed the Belvedere cocktails and perused the tea room. I confess that I did not get a good look at the tea room on Wednesday night, so I was glad to have the opportunity to check it out before it existed no more (sigh). The selection of items for sale was eclectic in the best sense of the term: a great selection of Assouline publications, among them Kelly Bensimon's "American Style;" a wide collection of Criterion DVD releases; some very creative hardware courtesy of Cynthia Rowley; olive oil from Bar Pitti sold to the public for the first time; Cafe Cluny granola; and, last but not least, a selection of 7 types of tea, sold by the pot. One of them was memorably called the "Darjeeling First Flush Tea." For those less adventurous types, there was the requisite Green Tea.

Adorning the walls of the tea room this Sunday evening was the work of Eric Chase Anderson. Some of the art was original work from his book Chuck Dugan is AWOL, while the rest were reproductions from films like The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic. The bow-tied Anderson, delightfully charming and self-effacing, had until this evening showed his work only to his close friends. So what made him change his mind? "Waris told me to [show my work to the public] and I do what I'm told," he explained to me with a twinkle in his eye. Anderson, who has been friends with the jewelry designer/actor/man-about-town since "at least 2002," praised Waris's "soothing and masterful" methods of persuasion. I wish there were a class one could take for that.

I will miss the laid-back charm of the Waris pop-up shop, and none of this would have been possible without Building Fashion, an initiative by Boffo and Spilios Gianakopoulos that celebrates cutting edge design by providing venues for designers -- who do not have stand alone shops -- to showcase their own work. Waris marked Building Fashion's third installation; the first two were Heather Huey and menswear designer Simon Spurr. Up next: the one and only Richard Chai, who will kick off his opening with a private bash later this week. His installation will subsequently be open to the public, as all the previous ones have been. So it is not to late to make that trip down to Chelsea -- just be sure to dress warm, as it's almost November!