In this line of work, there are a few, well, let’s call them “insider” tips we’ve picked up along the way. You know, like the best hotel lobby to catch the international jet set in their natural habitat (Le Meurice in Paris, bien sûr—that, or the Mark Hotel the afternoon of the Met Gala); or the choice green juice pit stop in Chelsea (Hôtel Americano, wouldn’t you know it). Now let's say you’re looking for a great afternoon on Manhattan’s Upper East Side—good, albeit decidedly unanticipated, music, a gorgeous setting, the best company, and, most likely, a Mickey Boardman sighting—where do you go? Well, as we discovered one recent afternoon, you go (perhaps unexpectedly, and only if you have an invitation) to Marjorie Gubelmann’s apartment, a stone’s throw away from the Carlyle Hotel.
To put it lightly, Gubelmann is kind of a society queen bee: she grew up in Palm Beach, counts Tory Burch as one of her best friends and is seen out and about all over town at all the most exclusive, you-can’t-sit-with-us events. With that in mind, at night, out comes her alter ego of sorts: DJ Mad Marj. So while she might live in a classically beautiful, floral wallpaper-lined apartment, Lil’ Wayne was blasting from the surround sound speakers as we stepped out of the private elevator the afternoon of our visit. And when we were given the grand tour, we spied a DJ stand complete with turntable, MacBook and golden Frends headphones next to a massive table in her otherwise formal dining room (think: taffeta drapes and solid silver candelabras).
But then again, if anyone can make that totally surprising flurry of contradictions work, it’s Gubelmann. We'll be the first to admit that the whole DJ thing seems realer on her than most of the somber-faced girls we usually see pressing play on their iPods. After all, she’s not about to stop being the Palm Beach princess just to be taken seriously at the turntable. She performs her musical duties wearing real jewels only (read: diamonds), and her go-to DJ shoes are a pair of somewhat demure, totally classic, metallic Prada pumps. That, and we’re willing to bet she’s the only UES mom with her motorcycle license. We mean, we told you she could make the juxtaposition work for her, you guys.
And while her music tastes range from ‘80s dance hits to Yeezus, her closet is, well, enough to make even the most seasoned Coveteur vet weak at the knees. We’re talking a collection of Manolos heretofore unseen by the naked eye, enough Oscar de la Renta eveningwear to make even Erika Bearman blush (she’s got to wear something to those society events, right?) and an outlandish number of Hermès Birkins. But it was two pieces of rare CHANEL (‘cause, duh) that got our hearts beating the fastest: a fur-trimmed tweed coat that would have made the Kaiser proud, and a gold, hard case, quilted miniature cross-body that she revealed just as we thought we’d seen all there was to see. Gubelmann said it best herself when she caught us shooting the aforementioned CHANEL bag next to her record needles: “This is the story of my life in this one photo: Technics cartridges with a rare metal gold Chanel bag that looks like quilted leather!” See what we mean by an ideal afternoon?
All this and more of Marjorie's uptown APT in Paper Mag's May issue.