Fashion / Shopping

The Ultimate Holiday Fantasy Gifts Come to Life in a New York Mansion

Neiman Marcus’ Latest List Brings Out Fashion Santa — and the Private Jet Set

BY // 11.19.18
photography BFA

The invitation arrived with the party’s address largely stamped in pink: 1907 Fantasy Lane.

It was a pop-up book of sorts (or was it a very chic advent calendar?), unfolding into a five-story, Neiman Marcus brownstone, with windows and doors that opened to reveal little graphic clues: boxes of gifts tied up with string; the Taj Mahal surrounded by a slew of bon-bons; two tennis rackets; a bit of spy paraphernalia; and an anchor.

What could it all mean? We had to book a flight to the Big Apple to find out.

You see, this year proved different than Fantasy Gift launches of past — and for good reason. Rather than debuting its much anticipated big-ticket, uber-luxurious gifts with a press preview and party in Dallas, Neiman Marcus’ top brass (Mimi Sterling, Chuck Steelman, Neva Hall, and its newly minted CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck, et al.) decided to pack it all up and take the reveal to New York — the first time in the company’s 111–year history the Fantasy Gift launch took place outside of Texas.

The reason? Come spring 2019, Neiman Marcus will open its first New York City location — a massive flagship in the booming new Hudson Yards development. Call it a sign of stylish things — and quintessentially Neiman Marcus parties — to come…

And so it was that we found ourselves in NYC on a chilly fall evening, cocktail-attired and ready to explore all that was 1907 Fantasy Lane. What we found was a massive space transformed into a mansion for one-night-only, replete with several stories of rooms each decorated in the style of this year’s eight, megawatt Fantasy Gifts.

It was an extraordinary sight, one where models, celebs, top fashion designers, and New York society was shaken up like a hot toddy.

One space had been transformed into a luxurious lounge for the Indian Subcontinent experience, a $630,000 trip around south Asia — via private jet, natch — from India to Nepal, Bhutan to the Maldives. All that was missing was a makeshift version of Mount Everest.

Upstairs, Sugarfina founders Rosie O’Neill and Josh Resnick took over a nook filling it with gobs of candy (think Willy Wonka gone super chic) for the Sugarfina Candy Bar gift, which includes a trip to Sugarfina’s factory in Genoa, Italy, and a candy bar to be installed in the recipients home and stocked with more than a million sweet treats. What price sugar high? A cool $325,000.

Nearby, a Bond Girl-esque model invited partygoers to participate in a mid-party scavenger hunt: We were each given a riddle that led us to hidden clues (and prizes for a lucky few) throughout a sleek room turned spy HQ. This was all in the name of the Secret Agent experience. A few guests were ready to pull out their pocketbooks and sign a check for $315,000 to fly private to Las Vegas for a two-night espionage extravaganza via the exclusive Invictus Experience.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gift party without Santa Claus, and so we asked for the whereabouts of Saint Nick. Just up this flight of stairs, we were told.

Indeed, there he was, the man of the hour — but not the jolly, round gent of childhood lore. No, Neiman Marcus flew in Fashion Santa from what we imagine was a mid-century modern bachelor pad in the North Pole, for the occasion: A slim and handsome man (yes, he had a beard — though his was more of the silver-fox variety, not bushy white), Fashion Santa wore a tailored, red-plaid suit and a dapper pair of loafers.

We found him, not sitting on a red velvet throne, but rather playing a very stylish, reinvented version of Beer Pong, wherein red Solo cups and beer were replaced with Champagne coups and bubbly.

All was to replicate a party-game version of the Tennis Majors experience — a $555,000 trip to all four tennis majors as a VIP guest of 2017 U.S. Open champ Sloane Stephens. What we would give to see Fashion Santa suited up in a Yuletide-appropriate ensemble of Wimbledon whites.

After this whirlwind New York City night, we do hope we’ve made the nice list — you know, the kind that rewards with six-figure presents.

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