Las Vegas
by Karen Alberg Grossman

LAs VegasLas VegasIt’s almost show time, a period of both anticipation and anxiety for fashion industry executives, be they relative newcomers or Vegas veterans. Here, we ask a few of our favorites where they like to eat, drink, sleep, and party in this infamous city of secrets.

NICHOLAS RAGOSTA, Ring Jacket: I’ve been going to Vegas for business for about two years. I usually stay at The Venetian or The Palazzo. The rooms are bigger than most NYC apartments, and the indoor replica of Venice (complete with chlorinated canals and gondola rides) is cheesy in a uniquely Vegas way.

I love to eat at Sushi Kabuto. I was at first hesitant to eat sushi in the desert, but my Japanese colleague found a highly-rated sushi spot about 15 minutes off the strip and we decided to give it a try. It was one of the best and most authentic sushi meals I’ve had outside of Japan. For Italian, I like B&B Ristorante. It’s Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s spot. Their house prosecco is great, and my favorite dish is the “Two Minute Calamari” done ‘Sicilian Lifeguard Style’.

I’ve yet to have a crazy party night in LV. By close of show, I like to grab drinks with clients or catch up with people from other brands before dinner. After that, I usually turn in. Vegas is always billed as a party town, but I actually prefer getting up early and getting to the gym before the shows start. I’m a lot more energized for the long days that way.

What I’m most looking forward this time: catching up with friends you see only at the shows, and presenting our new collection.

ROBERT STOCK, Robert Graham: I’ve been going to Vegas for trade shows since the first one after California in 1989. I find the Wynn Tower to be my Vegas home: quiet and very comfy. All the restaurants there are great. As far as advice for a young person coming to Vegas for the first time: enjoy the nightlife! Don’t miss David Copperfield or a Cirque du Soleil extravaganza. Also Tao is a great place to eat your first time there. And of course stay at the Cosmopolitan: it is always very entertaining for people watching.

ALLISON BASILE, Age of Wisdom: My forever favorite hotel is MGM in the Sky Lofts. I love to eat at a new restaurant called Beauty and Essex. (They also have one in New York.) It’s a “secret restaurant” that looks like a pawn shop from the outside. When entering the pawn shop you ask for the restaurant and they lead you to a back door. It opens to a beautiful bar and restaurant, very happening vibe. As for nightlife: I like going to a nice dinner with our crew and/or our buyers followed by some Texas Hold ‘Em. What I don’t like is really noisy clubs.

I always look forward to showing the new collection. It’s always great when you hit the mark and give people something that’s new and exciting but I always worry about how the line will be perceived. Did I impress or not? Did I hit the “wow” factor? What I also look forward to is seeing all my stores and colleagues. A lot of these people we haven’t seen in six month so it is great to catch up.

My advice to first timers coming to the show: Wear comfortable shoes!!!!!! And see as much as you can: there are lots of great lines out there showing some amazing trends.

FRED DERRING, DLS: I’ve been to every Vegas show since the beginning and still find it to be a magnificent resort city with splendid hotels, renowned restaurants (with celebrated chefs from around the world) and some of the best entertainment money can buy, available 24-7. My favorite is “LOVE,” a Cirque de Soleil show with Beatles music at the Mirage (which is across from my two favorite hotels: the Venetian and the Bellagio.) The food in these hotels leans Italian (think Mario Batali) but includes many other cuisines. A favorite is Otto, a lively upscale pizzeria located in the Venetian’s Plaza San Marco. Another favorite is The Giada inside the Cromwell: it’s Italian with refreshing Californian influences.

One of the most popular nightclubs on the strip is Tao, an Asian bistro and nightclub in the Venetian, where you can unwind with cocktails at any of their 11 bars and lounges and celebrate life into the wee hours.

JAMES CARTER, Clean Showroom: This season makes 10 years for me in Vegas, starting when I was a 20 year old merchandising intern for LRG. It took some trial and error but I quickly learned that the best place to stay is as close to show site as possible. Because my showroom shows at PROJECT in Mandalay Bay, we typically lock in a room at The Delano so that we’re able to maneuver quickly.

As for food, I love seafood: lobster, crab, shrimp, oysters. I like to take clients to Lotus of Siam. It may not look like much from the outside but the food is amazing!

After the show I’m the first person to my room sending out emails to potential and existing clients. Once I’ve completed that, I feel like I’ve earned a night of networking (partying) until 4am.

I’m looking forward to launching a few new emerging International designers as well as a CLEAN Showroom Capsule collection, a passion project I’ve been working on in the background for some time now. As a showroom owner I’m always worried about the performance of my collections, making sure my team and I have done everything possible to guarantee a successful show.

My most exciting Vegas experience so far was the first season I launched CLEAN Showroom. At the time I had only one small emerging designer whose product I truly believed in. Our first season we were able to get into both Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s and we also got recognized by GQ as one of the “top brands you should know about before they blow up.” That’s when I knew my concept for CLEAN was viable.

The best advice I ever got about Vegas: Follow your dreams and have fun! The best advice I’d give a newcomer: Never get too drunk. There’s always someone who over-parties and can’t make it into the show the next day. You’ve got to know your limit.