Love Letters to New York: East Village

As told by Paloma Elsesser. In collaboration with Make Up For Ever.

By: Meagan Wilson
Photography: Jake Rosenberg

It might not be the most conventional of descriptors, but if you *had* to ask us to sum up Paloma Elsesser with a movie quote, we’d probably borrow a bit from Wayne’s World. You know the one: “If she were a president, she would be Baberaham Lincoln.” Mostly because it’s true. It’s not just how she effortlessly tosses together ensembles that shouldn’t make sense, but on her, somehow do (like verrrrry oversized, printed Supreme button downs and slinky vintage slip dresses)—it’s also the fact that despite a sizeable social following and being a favorite of Pat McGrath, she’s nice, and normal, and for lack of a better word, chill. She’s as at-home at the likes of Ray’s Candy Store (a downtown institution, complete with a septuagenarian owner as mascot, decades-old signage and storefront, oh, and fried Oreos) as she is at a fancy fashion party; and remains the same person throughout it all. In other words, she’s perfectly emblematic of the neighborhood she calls home—the East Village, arguably one of the last standing bastions of old, unapologetic New York. You know, the one people speak of longing, nostalgic tones; and that, for the most part, now only lives on in old photos? As Elsesser told us as she gave us her tour of her favorite local go-tos, that same spirit is very much alive and well. Just like it is with her.

 

“I’ve lived in New York since 2010, and magically, I’ve always lived downtown; so I really cultivated my experiences here downtown. I’ve been at my current apartment for a year and a half, and I’ve built my routine around this area. This is where my social circles hang out. To be able to seamlessly pop into restaurants and run into people is really important for me.

 

“Lil’ Frankie’s is one of the main restaurants that everyone who I know downtown eats at. It’s really good, it’s not too heavy. It’s like clean comfort food. I crave certain things on the menu, and I have forever. It’s open late, so you can go for a late dinner at 11:30 and always get a table. It has really good vibes, they always play really good music.”

 

“Wearing lipstick I feel strong, I feel powerful, I feel bold, but I still feel authentic. I feel like when I wear a bold lip, it's not like, 'Oh my God, that girl looks so crazy.' In bold lipstick, I feel most like myself.”

 

“Some people break out the red lips on special occasions, but I’ll sometimes wear it in the middle of the day with a plain outfit, with no other makeup to really accentuate the look. Wearing lipstick, I feel strong, I feel powerful, bold, but I still feel authentic. When I wear a bold lip it’s not like, ‘oh my god, that girl looks so crazy.' In bold lipstick, I feel most like myself.

 

“In the winter, I like a dark purple, plum lip, with a clean hairstyle like a clean bun, maybe a brushed brow, but still, it’s more about the lip.”

 

“I love L Train Vintage. It’s really hard with vintage here, because I grew up in L.A., where there are so many Goodwill’s—that’s how you thrift in L.A. If you want to just pop in and thrift a little, not spend a bunch of money, L Train Vintage is great. They have classic stuff, or if you’re like, ‘I need an outfit for tonight, but I want it to be special,’ it’s perfect. They have cool stuff for a good price point, and all the girls that work there are so nice. I never go there and don’t find something.

 

“Ray's Ice Cream is one of my favorite places. It's super old school, and Ray, the owner is hilarious––he must be in his 80s. He's a legend! It kind of became a hangout the first year I moved here. It’s open 24 hours, so you can go for a late dinner and come here for dessert afterwards. It has really good vibes.

 

“Lipstick-wise, for a day of shopping, I also like playing around with browns, or something with a touch of purple, especially if I'm wearing something vintage. It's kind of my ode to that ‘90s, very Prada—that wave where it was like, mauve-y brown. In the winter, I like a dark purple, plum lip, with a clean hairstyle like a clean bun, maybe a brushed brow, but still, it’s more about the lip.

 

“I like Mast Books a lot, but they’re kind of book snobs in there [laughs], but they have really cool magazines and a bunch of first editions. The layout is just quiet, you can really chill. That’s why I like the East Village. You can post up on one of those little stools, and feel very unbothered.”

Paloma is wearing Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick in M401 Hot Red, C211 Rose Wood, and M100 Cream Beige. Pretty, right? Find your shade (and then some) at Sephora.com (where else?).

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