Native New Yorker Arielle Patrick on Fashion, Philanthropy & Culture

November 16, 2011

It’s been nearly a year since I first met Arielle Patrick at the New York Junior League Fall Fete at Sotheby’s on the Upper East Side. I was a recent transplant to the big apple and moonlighting as an events and society reporter. In a sea of blondes and brunettes at this highly attended event, I could spot the impeccably styled Ms. Patrick from across the room, mingling with her friends. She was after all one of a few African Americans in the room. We sparked a lively conversation about fashion and travel and she later introduced me to exclusive nightlife at the Rose Bar at the Gramercy (she’s on the list), where we sat next to Matt Dillon and his entourage.

At first glance you might perceive Ms. Patrick, a native New Yorker, as unapproachable and uptight but strike a conversation with her and you’ll immediately find a trusting, loyal and supportive friend.  Though she’s wrapping up her senior year at Princeton University, Ms. Patrick is no stranger to the New York social scene.  On any given weekend during the school year, she can be spotted in society photos at some of the most exclusive and high ticket galas, lending her support to arts, history, botanical, children’s and humanitarian charities.  She makes juggling a busy collegiate life and a jam packed social calender a cinch.

A year after meeting, I decided to sit down with Ms. Patrick for an exclusive and revealing interview into growing up in the exclusive circle of the Upper East Side, what New York really means to her and perhaps give readers some insight into what New York really is in terms of fashion, philanthropy, beauty and culture.  On a crisp Saturday afternoon, I walked into the lobby of the Bowery Hotel for a one-on-one sit down with Ms. Patrick and what she reveals is both insightful and inspiring.  She talks about her love affair with Chanel; her aspirations of starting her own public relations firm some day but not before interning at Edelman Public Relations and nabbing several clients under her belt; her favorite haunts in New York; and most importantly her style.

Ms. Patrick is a refined beauty who describes her style as classically conservative, opting for smart basics that transcend time.  For our meeting, she’s wearing a plaid skirt she’s had since grade school with her fox fur trimmed Andrew Marc leather jacket, opaque tights and brown riding boots.

“My style is a permutation of what my mom has worn over the years.  I learned how to dress, by watching her.  She literally embodies everything I like about the way people dress.  It’s simple and classic,” says Ms. Patrick proudly.  “She always told me never to wear things that are too trendy.  She used to always say, ‘trends are for people that have no creativity.’ I was always in a jumper or a plaid skirt. She had me in khakis, always in a button down and a blazer in the second grade.”

Ms. Patrick reveals that most of her clothes are really old, some she’s had since middle school and that she keeps her look current by mixing older pieces with new items she picks up from Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s.  She buys basics that can be accessorized for flare.

“The magic happens when I put things together. There’s never a time I wake up and I think to myself that ‘I need this,’ she quips.  She hates borrowing her friends clothes because they don’t have sentimental value to her. ” I have such an emotional attachment to my clothes that if I lost any of them, I would probably cry,” she says.

When asked how often she shops for pieces to update her closet, Ms. Patrick says it’s usually sporadic.  She loves buying in boutiques as  much as the department stores and recently scored a camel colored safari dress (shown here) from the Michael Kors boutique..

“I’m 100% an uptown girl.  One of my favorite haunts is Bloomingdale’s because it’s down market… of course the fourth floor isn’t and I could get a really ridiculous piece and feel bad about it later.

“H&M is the shit by the way.  I get the pieces that are the most basic. I usually spend around an hour to find good, sturdy basic tee shirts, long sleeved shirts, and turtlenecks”

On Growing up in New York

I am a lot more sheltered than the average wild child from New York City.  You always hear these stories about kids partying downtown a la Gossip Girl.  I have had my fair share of partying but have always been very studious. My parents are both brilliant and strict and I attribute my focus to them,” Ms. Patrick says after a lengthy discussion on her parent’s background.

“My mom was born in Haiti but grew up in Queens and attended Laguardia performance art school for operatic singing. My dad was born in Brooklyn but his family is from Curacao, St. Martin,” she adds.

Ms. Patrick attended Chapin, the elite private school attended by First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and Lilly Pulitzer.  “I used to walk 7 blocks to school, and right back.  I never strayed much from the UES.  The fun of the college years has been exploring downtown during the day, and not just at night… now that I’m allowed by my parents,” she said with a laugh.

So what’s the deal with Princeton?
“I am a senior in the Classics department, and writing my thesis on what I’ve determined to be the first instance of public relations recorded in the history of civilization.  The Roman emperor Nero, had an advisor named Seneca, who dictated everything from the way he dressed, his speeches and who he should be seen with.  I compare it to Kennedy’s first televised debate against Nixon, which was a huge turning point in media relations,” says Ms. Patrick, who in her spare time works independently on public relations and social media for a charity organization and a newly launched travel site called TripGram.

Tell me about your involvement in Junior League and the charities you support.

“I took a year off school after my sophomore year from what I considered to be a stifling environment. So I worked for a few companies in New York and spent time digging up Latin text for thesis research.  During that period, I knew I had to get some volunteer experience under my belt,” says Ms. Patrick.  She joined Junior League to enrich her volunteer experience.  She currently is a journalist for their internal newsletter publications.  After graduation, she plans on getting more hands on.   “I want to join the Crisis Intervention committee in Junior League to help other women who have not only become victims of domestic abuse but also victims of their socioeconomic condition.” 

Ms. Patrick and her family, which includes mom and dad and her little brother, currently studying at Yale, support several charities including:  the Metropolitan Museum, she’s a member of  the Apollo CircleBoys and Girls Harbor: Harbor Charter School in East Harlem, her dad serves as board chairman; and the New York Botanical Garden. “I think preserving beautiful things like orchids, which is a superfluous flower, is important,” she says with a smile.

What is your favorite New York City restaurant of all time?

“This isn’t based on food, it’s based on attachment.  Brasserie Julien (1422 3rd Avenue) on 3rd and 81st is my favorite restaurant hands down because my girlfriends and I have been going there since high school.  It’s where we debrief and convene when anyone is home from school or from a trip.  It’s our home base.  I always get the chicken or the French onion soup, which is spicier than the average.  It’s a beautiful, intimate place.

 The best panini in New York City is served at Via Quadronno. They have this rigatoni arrabiata that is really delicious.  Also there are a lot of Italians that frequent the restaurant, that’s how you know it’s good.”

If you were down to your last $20 and wanted to have a great meal, where would you go?

“The Halal man on 64th and 3rd has the best chicken for $4.00.  He’s the nicest guy ever. People act as if street food is this un-chic and un-cool thing to eat but I find it delicious.  Street meat is completely fine, if you know the cart and the guy manning the grill.”

As a college student, I’m sure you are not getting zooshed up every day so what’s your beauty routine?

I swear by my Clarisonic Mia face brush.  It has really helped smooth my skin.  I use it with my the Trish McEvoy Gentle Cleansing Wash; followed by Dermatologica Active Moisturizer, a dab of Benefit “It’sPotent!” Eye Cream and Laura Mercier Foundation PrimerI rarely wear makeup during school but I wear Chanel makeup when I’m going out.

  • Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzer in “Desert Bronze”
  • Chanel Levres Scintillantes in “Giggle”
  • Chanel Mat Lumiere Foundation in “Honey”
  • Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof in “Black Shimmer”
  • Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara in “Noir”

I go to Shareen Tannous at the Chanel counter at Bergdorf Goodman for professional makeup.  She is my best kept secret for looking flawless at special occasions.


Best Place for a Manicure:

I feel like all the nail salons are so over priced but recently I have been really into shellac manicures because it lasts for two to three weeks. I go to Blooming Spa. Blue Mercury Spa in Princeton is the best place for waxing.

Best Hair Salon:

Delores Salon in the East Village for $25 Domincan Blowouts.

Where do you get facials?

I don’t get facials. I use my Clarisonic face brush.

What’s your most prized possession?

My Chanel bag gifted to me by my parents on my 21st birthday.  I take very good care of this bag. It’s my baby.  I have other purses that are of equal value monetarily but I had wanted this bag for five years and continued to badger my mother for a Chanel Quilted Bag and when I finally received it, I literally thought I had seen the light and every outfit I wore had a new purpose.  I could wear jeans and a t-shirt and still look chic because I had such a classic bag to compliment.

Coming in close second is my Andrew Marc Fox Fur Lined Leather Jacket (photographed) just because it was the first thing I’ve ever invested in.

If you could wear one designer for the rest of your life, who would it be?

Milly! I love Milly.

Top Three Designers:

Helmut Lang, Ralph Lauren and Narciso Rodriguez.

Heels or Flats?

Heels! There’s not even a question.  I feel so much skinnier when I wear them.  I will wear heels until I’m 95 years-old.

Taxi or Subway?

I love riding the subway but I am such a lazy bum so I just cab it everywhere.  I do end up feeling guilty after though.

If New York was an adjective what would it be?

Bittersweet! I am unlike native New Yorkers. I don’t think it’s the end all be all.  There are some dark places one can go here in their mind, physically and emotionally.  It can really suck the life out of you, which is why I love spending time in Princeton in this serene town or in our country home in Easton, Connecticut.  But don’t get me wrong. I love this city.  I come home a lot from school because I miss it.

If New York was a noun, what would it be?

A conglomeration!

Favorite Cocktail:

Gin and tonic with Hendrick’s.

Best Pizza Place:

Pintailes on 90th and Madison.

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