The Crowd: Knife Pleat is where South Coast Plaza celebrates a milestone
In an ever-changing world, longstanding traditions of all kinds are often lost. In the world of retail, once-iconic staples of American shopping, including Sears, Montgomery Ward, May Co., Bullock’s, I. Magnin, Orbach’s, Buffums and many more, have disappeared over time and the trends.
Online shopping is partly to blame for their demise, but in-person shopping is still alive and well. Nothing replaces experience. Plus, being outside with others to check out the latest deals, strolling through stores, enjoying all the sensory implosion of sight, hearing, touch and smell in the real world, makes always all the difference.
South Coast Plaza, an important part of the fabric of OC life, has announced its 55th anniversary celebration in 2022, starting the season sharing record sales topping $2 billion in 2021 despite the toughest times in the pandemic.
Honor the milestone, Debra Gunn Downing, executive director of marketing, hosted a small dinner party for fashionistas, influencers and media celebrities in the extraordinary dining room known as the Knife Pleat on the Penthouse level of South Coast Plaza. The dinner was actually anything but “small”.
For approximately six decades, South Coast Plaza, under the dedicated tutelage of the Segerstrom family, OC’s founding family farmers and developers, has set a standard of perfection with everything they associate, produce or support. The late Henry Segerstrom demanded “only the best” and the legacy continues despite massive changes in industry, societal trends, technology and human behavior.
Gunn Downing was joined by Segerstrom scion and partner SCP, Anton Segerstrom welcoming guests for dinner on the open-air terrace adjacent to the Knife Pleat dining room. Marketing Managers Lisa Liddane and Lee Healy hosted crush including Gustavo ArellanoLA Times columnist; Andre Harrisexecutive producer of the SoCal Restaurant Show; Benjamin Epstein with Alan Gibbons Orange Coast magazine; and Todd Hammonconeditor of the Southern California News Group.
Famous Knife Folded Chef Tony Esnault joins his wife and companion, restaurateur Yassmine Sarmadi by creating a springtime menu and table inspired by a dreamy, sophisticated al fresco dinner that could have taken place somewhere on a perch overlooking the ocean in the south of France.
Random, multicolored flowers that looked like they had just been picked from garden beds, adorned low, simple glass vessels lining tables that somehow looked like a picnic. Candles flickered in modern square hurricanes, fine champagne flowed followed by very fine wines.
Young, bold and current “influencers” with social media can be photographers/writers David Chiem, Lynn Liou, Ashley Yi, Loreen Hwang, Kitty Anthony and Maggie Chen had their cell phones in full use. Christophe Gialanella and Allison Mitchell of Riviera Magazine has joined the editor of Women’s Wear Daily Booth MooreLos Angeles Times columnist Adam Tschorneditor of Blue Door magazine Francois Kedric and Anne Valdespinowriter, OC register.
The dinner remarks were brief. It was a time to celebrate, not to throw. A little bragging, however, was in order. Gunn Downing shared SCP’s success story as he touted the arrival of Buccellati, a first West Coast opening for the renowned Italian design brand of fine jewelry and artfully crafted homewares. Also shared, Hermés marks its 25th year at SCP with its new store taking over the former Tiffany & Co. space with a beautifully created modern feel.
Yassmin Sarmadi’s ultra-pro staff served a multi-course dinner as the sun left the Costa Mesa skyline, starting with an exceptional amuse-bouche, followed by a salad of spring vegetables, chopped and very delicately dressed with a Vinaigrette. The finest fillet of bass followed, with a fresh strawberry tart at the end of the meal.
The evening was all about sustainable style; fabulous food, courteous service, beautiful surroundings and most importantly, great people and wonderful conversation. A changing world does not overshadow the values that elevate the human experience. Congratulations, South Coast Plaza, on 55 years of raising the bar.
Special events will take place at South Coast Plaza through March 2023, connecting history, culture, fashion, dining and life in the CO for half a century.
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