An ice sculpture of a unicorn? Probably not the sort of thing youd expect to find just inside the doorway of an Upper East Side mansion.
But that unicorn proved the first of many surprises and delights at Stella McCartneys pre-fall 2013 presentation on Tuesday eveningchief among them, the clothes.
Upstairs, models wearing sinuous, 70s-inflected gowns in colour-blocked velvets and silks posed for illustrators in a central salon. Others stood clustered around a Lady Gaga-playing piano man, competed at Scrabble in the library, or just lounged and laughed over glasses of Champagne in the hall.
They wore tuxedo-striped trousers, striped silk jumpsuits and rich, feathered floral jacquard jackets. Anchoring it all was masculine footwear made over with heart-racing touches, like loafers that came spliced with mesh panels or enlivened by chunky tortoiseshell heels.
A train of well-dressed admirers (Mary Louise Parker, Elettra Wiedemann, Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld) waited to congratulate McCartney, both on the accomplishment of the collection and the recent news of her OBE.
Im a little overwhelmed by itI feel a little embarrassed, if Im honest, she told us. Whenever I get any kind of accolade, I feel humbled by it. But I feel lucky and privileged and Im very happy.
McCartneys inclusion on the Queens New Year Honours List follows her double-win at the 2012 British Fashion Awards, where she took home trophies for Designer and Designer Brand of the Year. Could royal honours be enough to convince her to move her show to London, once and for all?
Theres a side of me that loves showing in Paris, and another side that loves showing in London. And then tonight were in New York . I like having the freedom to express the brand, and when it feels right, to be in different parts of the world.
I dont think its so much about those two shows anymore. I put as much effort and work into these presentations, to be honest. Its not so strict anymore.
Although she wont reprise her models-and-magicians extravaganza during London Fashion Weeks upcoming round of autumn winter 2013 shows, she said she would for sure participate in LFW proceedings in the future.
Meanwhile, the collection offers dozens of tantalizing options for her upcoming Palace appointment. Which pieces will she wear first?
Oh, Im the worst person to ask that question to! There are just so many different emotions in this collection, so many pieces I desire. I love the more cocktail-y day looks, like that peacock-blue coat with the feather jacquard, and then the humour and sweetness of the big fluffy teddy bear sweater. Im obsessed with the red coat. And the tortoiseshell shoes. I want them.
Imagine that? We do too...