If you’ve ever been out to The Foundry in Long Island City, it’s likely either been for a wedding, a special event, or a chic blogger gathering. It’s the sort of space that begs to be photographed, specifically where flowy dresses and bohemian floral against the building’s whitewashed brick walls are concerned. Just a hunch as to why Free People chose this locale as the background for a dinner this past week involving a sea of different iterations of the aforementioned requisite uniform, perfectly highlighted cheeks and matte lips, and literal farm-to-table fare from the brand’s actual farm you never knew existed. It was the ray of hippie glam sunshine we all needed after the political dumpster fire that had culminated only days before, rocking the foundation of a country established for and by the freedom of the people. It seemed a bit symbolic, in a way. All I can say is that I’d never been so grateful for a glass of red wine and a massive table of cheese.
I’d arrived at 7:00 on the dot; prime time for scoping out the scene and monitoring the door for familiar faces. In walks my girl Alexandra (@alexandramachover) and seconds later Emily (@trendsontrends_), and together we vented about politics and simultaneously filled up on hors d’oeuvres. I blame the cute servers for enabling. But damn, were the smoked carrot tartare things good. Photos were taken and introductions were made, most notably to a silver-haired goddess, Meg Hayne, who just so happened to be the owner of Free People. I was more starstruck than the time I met Nick Lachey in a cathedral in some random town in the Italian countryside. This lady is #goals.
Cocktail hour flowed on, and we stumbled upon veteran staycationer Eden Grinshpan (@edeneats) and caffeine queen Michelle Williams (@coffeeandchampagne). I noticed at one point a familiar beautiful face on a body clad in a darling black gown, racking my brain’s archives, determining that it was indeed Kimbra from that Gotye song. Solid crowd. Promptly at 8pm, we were invited to enter the dining room, which was illuminated by a suspended centerpiece of cascading string lights. Place cards were waxy green leaves with each of our names scrawled in silver. More wine was poured, and the first course—a veggie salad with dried apricots, sunflower seeds, and pine pollen vinaigrette—was served shortly thereafter. The chef greeted us warmly and introduced himself, as did each of our hosts from Free People, seated around the room in between guests. We learned about the brand’s lifestyle extensions beyond retail, the farm from which each element of our dinner came, and future plans of a foray into the dining realm.
Next came a roasted beet salad “carpaccio” with dragonfly cheese, caramelized pears, and maple glazed walnuts. I’d never felt so healthy-chic in my life. Then, a squash “ravioli,” more wine, an apple granita with yogurt and candied nuts, and coffee in darling stone mugs that I low-key wanted to steal but didn’t. Inter-table socializing led to milling about the room to say hi to those I hadn’t yet seen or met and bye to those filtering through the door. In true Free People fashion, gift packets as quaint as their contents were handed out upon everyone’s departure…I tore mine open in the cab on my way to a protest. If that’s not this year in a nutshell, I don’t know what is.
Written by Celine Bossart
Feature image by BFA