An eye for fashion doesn’t stop there. It generally also extends to the decorative arts, architecture, and art—good taste is all-encompassing, after all. No two people exemplify this concept better than Thom Browne, the renowned American fashion designer, and Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu curator in charge of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each is, of course, a tremendous force within the fashion world, and together, they live in a home so lovely and well-appointed, that, last night, it earned them the Ambassador to the Upper East Side Award, presented by the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts—a group that maintains the historic integrity of the neighborhood through landmark status and educational initiatives.
The accolade was bestowed upon Browne and Bolton for their exceptional work on the historical Sutton Place townhome they purchased in 2019. And the location of the award dinner? Where else but the Upper East Side, with all the neighborhood’s fixtures well-represented—Sharon Horowitz, Amy Fine Collins, Jordan Roth, Jill Kargman, Will Kopelman, Allie Michler Kopelman, Edward Barsamian, and more.
Franny Eberhart, president of Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, welcomed guests to the fête. “Since 2004, Friends of the Upper East Side has gathered friends and supporters for this gala to celebrate our essential work as stewards of the architecture, livability, and sense of place of the Upper East Side.”
Bolton and Browne’s townhome was designed by the eminent architect Mott Schmidt in 1920 for Anne Vanderbilt, and sits majestically on Sutton Place, overlooking the serene East River. Its renovation (and meticulous preservation) became a labor of love for the duo—the gorgeous results were the subject of an Architectural Digest spread and generated much fanfare.
The process was no small feat, taking three years to finish, and the pair worked closely with acclaimed designer David Kleinberg to ensure that every detail paid homage to the townhome’s long and rich history.
Emily Rafferty, the former president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, presented the award to the two, delving into their backgrounds. “Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Thom earned a degree in economics at Notre Dame and even put in a short stint as an actor…So sorry I wasn’t there for that,” Rafferty quipped, before continuing, “British-born Andrew took his first position with Victoria and Albert’s Asian department, where he refined his natural eye for clothes and, in his words, ‘the psychology of clothes, what they reveal about human evolution and social behavior.’”
Finally, Browne himself took the stage: “This is just so nice to be here with everybody. I want to say, firstly, it’s always nice to be with Andrew accepting anything in life. So I firstly have to thank Andrew for just being with me and living together in a special home,” Browne said with a smile.
He continued, “Honestly, Andrew and I feel a little awkward standing here accepting the award when it should be Number One,” he joked, referring to the house. “However, Number One could not make it, but he wanted to,” Browne said, closing out the night.
“Afterparty at Number One?” one dinner-goer joked. Though that was not on the agenda, partygoers could at least look up the AD story to feel as though they weren’t so far away.