Maria Cornejo Is Feted With an Elegant New York Fashion Week Dinner in Soho

On the official eve of New York Fashion Week on Thursday evening, a dazzling group descended on Soho to toast Maria Cornejo and her brand Zero + Maria Cornejo. Robin Standefer, co-founder of Roman and William, played hostess to the revelry at  La Mercerie.

The celebration began in the new Guild Bar. There, Cornejo’s friends and muses—including model Paloma Elsesser, designer Jenna Lyons, and Vogue’s Nicole Phelps—mingled and sipped cocktails served in glasses handmade by artists represented by RW Guild.

Downstairs, the city’s chaos disappeared as guests were transported by La Mercerie’s lavish private dining room: a navy cocoon wrapped in chinoiserie wallpaper and appointed with dazzling objet d’art.

Throughout the night, guests referred to Cornejo in many toasts as “original downtown girl.” While that is true, the designer’s life was shaped by the forces of history and globalization. As a child, she fled Chile to escape Augusto Pinochet’s violent dictatorship and spent her teens in the United Kingdom. Her career took her to Paris and ultimately to New York. In 1998, Zero opened on Mott Street. 25 years later, the brand (renamed Zero + Maria Cornejo) remains a heavy hitter in the fashion world.

Laughter, gossip, and reminiscences filled the intimate dinner.  Cornejo’s warmth and ease set the tone. Diverse in age and industry, her attendees reflected the essence of the Cornejo girl. Actress and fellow New York icon Marisa Tomei shined in a blue jumpsuit. Photographer Francesca Sorrenti sported black velvet.

The French feast that followed—filet de boeuf au poivre, halibut au beurre blanc, and poulet fermier croustillant—defied any assumptions about the light fare so often served at fashion week fetes. Lavish displays of charcuterie and oysters on ice covered the table, decorated with bouquets of tulips and tapered candles.

The evening served as a beautiful kick-off to a week dedicated to design, innovation, and elegance—all attributes personified by Cornejo.

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