Born and raised in Shanghai, designer Sally Wu was trained as a traditional calligrapher and painter during childhood. Prior to launching her own collection, Act.1, she held influential executive positions at fashion houses Milly, Ralph Lauren, Helmut Lang, as well as working for iconic designer Karl Lagerfeld. Actively involved in contemporary art, she has curated museum exhibitions across the world and produced several documentary films. Her interest in architectural design results in a unique approach to the construction of her garments. Contemporary art and artists are the source of many of her inspirations.
Where were you born ?
How long in New york:
A million years? It feels like it, but in reality about 15 years.
Just moved to Chelsea from the Gramercy area and love it!
Of the moment is Aldea. They are on my street and I know everyone in the restaurant from the kitchen to the front staff. They are super friendly and the food is amazing. They have a virgin drink created and named after me. That’s a good sign, right?
Love the simple, good quality, and clean taste of Sushi Azabu under Greenwich Grill. The sushi has an amazing al dente firmness to it.
Best Ethnic Food:
Dim Sum Go Go. When friends visit, we camp out there on weekends. It’s always a great place to get a table for the entire afternoon. Friends stop by, catch up, drink tea, have nibbles and before you know it, three hours have passed and over 100 dumplings have been eaten. The owner Veronica is super sweet and also from Shanghai.
My friend Mauro is the Chef de Cuisine at Falai on the Lower East Side on Clinton Street. Every time I go, he creates something mind-blowingly good, with European tastes and flavors that are hard to find on this side of the globe.
Best place for a power business meeting:
The Peninsula Hotel’s restaurant Fives; Every time I walk into the dining room it’s filled with men in black suits and ties. It is an empowering experience.
All-around favorite spot in New york:
My most favorite restaurant is Jean Georges CPW. It’s a fine dining restaurant, but it’s never stuffy. Jean Georges is always there and he makes you feel welcomed. The food is always amazing. The atmosphere is always lively. I can’t ever forget to be in Jean Georges’ kitchen during truffle season. When the big box of truffles arrives from the South of France, hand carried by the dealer, Jean Georges takes out the truffles from the box and let’s me smell them. It’s intoxicating. Eating it is even more intoxicating.
If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend?
Ace Hotel. It’s inexpensive and cool, like a dorm room for rock stars. The hotel lobby is always filled with hipsters from everywhere. Loud music at 3 a.m. in the lobby, everyone is drinking exotic cocktails, and working on their laptops. The food is amazing at the hotel’s restaurant Breslin.
Favorite shopping venue/boutique:
Best place to buy Jewelry/Watches:
Cartier; I always love their amazing collections! For those on a budget, but still seeking quality, Elizabeth Street below Houston has great boutiques, as well as Tohoshoji on 6th Avenue. If you are fabulous, why buy jewelry? As Elizabeth Taylor said, “Say no to roses, just jewelry please.”
Aura. They have the best hot stone rooms and massages. They are open late. I usually stroll in around midnight to refresh and renew. The service is excellent.
Favorite Charity Event:
Museum of Art and Design Annual Gala. I help them every year for their annual Gala event. It’s new, fresh, and never stuffy. They encourage young people to take part in art/fashion/architecture/food... all of these which I’m totally into.
Favorite Cultural Event:
Performa Art in New York. This is so original. Roselee Goldberg had a wonderful idea and she carried it out amazingly! She always brings the best artists in the world to do performance art. It’s really something to look forward to.
Favorite Cultural Institution:
ICP (International Center for Photography). They are small and personal with well curated shows. They have a great mix of proven and new artists. The ICP also has a great gift shop with amazing photography books.
Best Aspect of New york:
It’s the people that make New York such a wonderful place. There are so many talented people in every field that have gathered and settled down in New York to call this city “home.” Home is convenient. Grocery can be ordered on-line. Laundry picked up and delivered in a nicely folded square bag. No one knows how to do my nails better than the corner place. I can sit at a dive bar, the best composer can be sitting right next to me. All of this and only in New York. As much as I hate the garbage on the sidewalks, rude people hijacking your taxi in the pouring rain... I still love this city like no other.
J&G Steakhouse by Jean Georges, if they are going to open in New York City. But for now, I’m settling for Minetta Tavern.
Best Gym/Athletic Facility:
Equinox. My apartment building has the best one in the city.
Best Limousine/Driving Service:
What’s the saying... friends who own cars are better than friends who don’t? Otherwise, my private limo driver, Mr. Liang, is only a phone call away, and he is always reliable.
ICP’s Atta Kim show in 2006. I was fortunate to meet the artist and learned firsthand that his deep Buddhist rooted philosophy had a lot to do with his abstract works. It’s like a decoding experience. The process of reaching the understanding of his philosophy is rewarding and soul satisfying. The show meant a lot to me.
Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore:
The Spanish Inwood in the Summer. Just to walk around the streets there it feels like you are in a different part of the world. The streets are where life is. There is food, music and people full of spirit. It’s refreshing to see neighborhoods like Spanish Inwood still exist.