CANDY PRATTS PRICE & PEGGY HEALY PARKER

CANDY PRATTS PRICE & PEGGY HEALY PARKER

FADE IN:

INT. THE NEW YORK EDITION, FLATIRON DISTRICT, NEW YORK CITY – MORNING

A chic clientele is sitting for breakfast at The Clocktower restaurant, on the second floor of The New York EDITION hotel. Photographs and artworks in gilt frames hang salon style in the clubby space, which comprises three intimate dining rooms. A billiards room separates The Clocktower from Gold Bar, where CANDY PRATTS PRICE and PEGGY HEALY PARKER are being served coffee.

PEGGY
We’re opposites — you’re total fashion, I’m a bit more classic — but opposites attract.

CANDY
We’re really good together.

CUT TO:

CANDY and PEGGY move to sit at a secluded bistro table. A waiter follows with their drinks.

PEGGY
I remember when Bloomingdale’s plucked you from working at Charles Jourdan Shoes to be the store’s display director. I was running their public relations at the time, and not long after we were asked to help save the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut. I drove up there in a little compact car. As I arrived, the longest white Dav El limousine pulled up, and out stepped this creature wearing jodhpurs and a fabulous top. That was the first time we met.

CANDY
I didn’t have a driver’s license then, and I still don’t now. Those were the days of a big white car. I got one as part of the job. When I took it, I said, “I know how to get to the branch stores: hire Dav El!”

PEGGY
You know how to live, and you know what you want. A lot of people don’t.

CANDY
Being a Vogue veteran, I’m well aware of how people are made to go crazy over a pink alligator bag. It’s not about the brand, per se, but creating the feeling that perhaps one needs pastels, or, perhaps, a new purse. Imagining yourself in a way you’ve never seen. That’s how things become luxurious.

PEGGY
Luxury isn’t just wealth, it’s how you live. It’s experiences.

CANDY
Right now, I think a lot of people, no matter the industry, see it less as “how many I sell” than as “how long you want me.” How long something will last. This place, for instance, has legs. Look at the kids playing pool in the next room. They don’t know that’s a Peter Beard hanging on the wall, but they appreciate the atmosphere.

PEGGY
There’s another dimension to luxury now, too, and that’s the element of sustainability or giving back, which more and more people are considering.

CANDY
If you care about yourself — I’m not even saying you care about the world, just yourself — there should be meaning to what you do. Something that will make you proud. It’s feasible whether you want to be an organic chef, a designer, or anything in between. Look at Stella McCartney, whom I adore. She doesn’t use fur, she doesn’t use leather, and she’s built an amazing business. She’s opened the eyes of another generation. And we know what that’s like from traveling for Bloomingdale’s. Going to India and living there was fascinating, and we brought that culture back.

PEGGY
Really, you brought a whole lifestyle back. You found Pichwai, small paintings on silk, and commissioned 20 of them to be made — each 30 feet high — for the flagship store in New York City. You shipped back two-dozen bullock carts from Chennai, thousands of yards of Indian fabric, and dozens upon dozens of turbans in shocking pink and chrome yellow. Not to mention the paintings on glass and huge carved ivory doors. Bloomingdale’s became India.

CANDY
Accumulating information from travel and meeting new people are luxuries in themselves.

PEGGY
Remember when we went to the market to buy flowers for our rooms on our trip to Jerusalem? I got some little wispy things, sat them in a vase, and thought, “That looks cute.” Then I walked into your room — probably after being invited for champagne — and there were a million tulips everywhere. Oh my god, was it fabulous. Your eyes have vision like no one else’s.

CANDY
And that wasn’t opulence. There’s always some standard in place — you don’t eat everything at the table, or drink everything at the bar. It’s not your last day on earth. There’s a limit to how far one goes.

PEGGY
Some people have innate taste, but it can be acquired, too. In the ‘50s, when Bloomingdale’s was transitioning from a store that served the maids of the Upper East Side to one that served the maidens and matrons of the Upper East Side, its buyers were sent to France and expected to become as familiar with French food as they were with French furniture.

CANDY
There’s a reason you send your kids to school. You need to learn, and there are many ways to do so. I remember taking golf lessons when I thought everything was happening at the golf course [PEGGY laughs]. I used the two hundred dollars Condé Nast gave me toward a gym membership. My lessons lasted about three days after I walked into the first one wearing thigh-high Manolo Blahnik boots. But the important thing is to get out there and discover what something’s all about.

PEGGY
The problem these days is that people have such short attention spans. They’re pulled every which way.

CANDY
One thing I love about our friendship is, when something happens, I can always pick up the phone or send you an email and receive an intelligent, worldly response. I need real answers. I grew up during the years when business happened at lunch. You couldn’t sit in your office and expect information to come in, you had to get out. Living in the generation we are, it’s become too easy for the information to come in. The question is if it’s with authority.

PEGGY
I read a survey in which people admitted they would quit their job if they weren’t allowed to look at their phone all day long.

CANDY
I still love a newspaper. Paper, in general. I adore The New Yorker. I’m six issues behind, but I won’t throw them away. It’s the kind of thing I want to read because I’ll always find a delicious story. That’s luxury.

CREDITS

Photography byRyan Petrus

Conversation moderated byAnthony Rotunno

Special thanksThe New York EDITION

Candy Pratts Price is a fashion brand consultant who has worked as Vogue’s accessories director and Style.com’s executive fashion director.
Peggy Healy Parker is an author, travel and public relations specialist, and contributing editor at Dallas Home & Garden.

Did you see? Fashion editor Eric Wilson on the art of crashing a runway show, authors and experts Michael Gross & Tim Gunn on the egos and eccentric personalities that rule the industry.

THE END