When Melissa Ventosa Martin, the founder of the online marketplace Old Stone Trade, and Patricia Voto, the designer and founder of the women’s wear line One Of, were introduced by a mutual client this past spring, the two felt an instant kinship. “I immediately DMed her on Instagram — very professional,” said Ventosa Martin, a stylist, creative consultant and former magazineeditor whose three-year-old retail platform highlights handmade clothing and accessories from artisans around the globe. Soon after, Voto, 35, whose designs are all made to measure, invited Ventosa Martin, 44, to her New York apartment and, within that first visit, they’d come up with a plan for both an evening wear collaboration and an over-the-top launch party that would double as a holiday celebration.
“We wanted to convey the warmth and exuberance of a big family gathering combined with the elegance of Gilded Age New York,” said Ventosa Martin of the event, which took place on a Tuesday evening at Voto’s home and atelier on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. To that end, they used personal heirlooms as a starting point for the décor: crystal glassware and vessels from Voto’s great-grandmother Margaret Magdalena Gray, who was a seamstress and model in the 1920s, and lace tablecloths and silver serving pieces passed down by Ventosa Martin’s great-aunt Marion. Marion — who studied at Juilliard and took Ventosa Martin to the opera when she was a child — served as the unofficial muse for Old Stone Trade’s evening collection, which includes a hand-stitched kimono gown by Sara Sakanaka of the Brooklyn-based line Considered Objects and a tuxedo jacket by the Manhattan men’s wear brand J. Mueser in addition to Voto’s contribution, a black chenille opera coat and a black wool-linen off-the-shoulder cocktail dress. Her pieces, produced in New York from deadstock Italian textiles, are all custom fitted and available in extremely limited quantities — there’s only enough fabric for seven of the dresses and two of the coats.
The night before the party, Ventosa Martin and Voto gathered to polish silver and iron linens. When the guests arrived, they stepped into a magical world of dramatic gelatin molds, towers of fruit, copious cakes, coupes of champagne and gleaming silver bowls of punch. Both hostesses dressed in keeping with the old New York theme, Ventosa Martin in a 1920s black satin dress with jet beading that belonged to her husband’s great-grandmother and Voto in a vintage kimono top with an Old Stone Trade corsage and a voluminous black floral skirt from her own collection. It was a night, said the designer, “worth dressing up for.”
Guests Jeauni Casanova and Rolly Robinson.Credit…Melody Melamed
The attendees: The hosts invited friends and supporters from the fashion world and beyond, including the stylist Becky Malinsky, 39, who writes the “5 Things You Should Buy” newsletter; Jalil Johnson, 24, of Saks Fifth Avenue’s fashion office; the illustrator Joana Avillez, 37; the restaurateur and chef Clare de Boer, 34; the stylist Bailey Moon, 31; and Xavier Donnelly, 31, the creative director of Ash hotels.
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