As part of their summer discussion series “Living New York,” W Hotels New York and Liberatum, a creativity and cultural diplomacy organization, hosted a lively discussion with fashion and art leaders about the influence of the city on their intersecting industries on Tuesday evening. Fashion designer Prabal Gurung, model Karen Elson, industrial designer Karim Rashid, curator Stacy Engman, and director Paul Haggis showed up at the W’s Times Square location to discuss their experiences in the city—the good, the bad, and the ugly. “I romanticize New York,” admitted Elson, after describing the financial struggles she faced as a young model when she arrived at the age of 17. “I was down to my last subway ride.”
The night’s moderator, former W fashion director and current Yahoo fashion honcho Joe Zee, attempted to keep the discussion on track, but inevitably the conversation steered into unexpected tangents including everything from elevator manners to the cultural authority of Style.com. “It’s the city of the misfits,” noted Gurung, a sentiment that was perfectly illustrated during the second half of the night when the panel opened up the floor to the audience. After fielding questions on everything from the legalization of marijuana and environmental politics to what one audience member characterized as the “fundamentally lazy mentality of New Yorkers,” the stylish group retired downstairs for a well-deserved drink and bite at the Blue Fin restaurant.