For just one night, Bottega Veneta has taken over the iconic New York bookstore, The Strand

On a normal day, eating and drinking is strictly prohibited inside The Strand, one of New York’s most iconic bookstores. But Matthieu Blazy, creative director of Bottega Veneta, has a way of bending the rules and to fabulous effect.

The Strand’s iconic three-story building, located beneath Union Square and known for its creaky wood floors and towering stacks of books, has been transformed for intimate dining. On the top floor, where the boutique’s inimitable collection of rare books is usually housed, a mobile kitchen has been erected. An army of cooks whipped up lobster and burrata, seared halibut, shrimp and gnocchi in a red sauce and cocoa-dusted tiramisu. As the second floor became a warmly lit dining room, soft music filled the space. A sprawling fabric-covered table for fifty Blazy-approved guests sat in the center. Euphoria star Angus Cloud, musician Kevin Abstract, artist Arthur Jafa, actress Chloë Sevigny and model Bella Hadid were all in attendance. And right next to Hadid all night? A bag resulting from the bookish and fashion collaboration that the grand affair celebrated.

Blazy decided to partner with The Strand for one of his first collaborations as creative director, a role he has held for less than a year. The result: oversized leather totes screen-printed with The Strand logo. As dinner started, Blazy opened up about his special connection to The Strand, sharing the story of spending so long in the store that he fell asleep on the third floor. “I was reading a bad book,” he joked. (Blazy is certainly a bibliophile: the brand released a capsule inspired by the Olivetti typewriter earlier this year.)

During the night, Nancy Wyden, owner of The Strand, seemed amazed. At the cocktail party, which took place downstairs, Wyden gaped at the portraits of her father’s line that adorn the walls. The pictures show how the store has gone through the family since it opened in 1924 on the former ‘Book Row’ on 4th Avenue. She seemed moved.

“My ancestors, there’s Grandpa Ben, there’s Fred Bass, and there’s me with my dad,” she said, showing the footage. “I can’t stop thinking about what they would think about tonight. Never in a million years would they have thought our logo would be on a Bottega bag. Were they really fashion people? “Not at all,” she laughs.

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