Though many celebrities and dignitaries have stayed at The Plaza Hotel in New York, its most famous resident is a fictional little girl. Eloise famously lived in The Plaza’s top floor in the eponymous children’s book series written by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight. It’s fitting, then, that The Plaza picked Eloise as the inspiration behind their first-ever Christmas tree, which was unveiled Monday night at a tea ceremony with the tree’s designer, Betsey Johnson, and is on display to the public through Jan. 4.
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Johnson is no stranger to The Plaza, or Eloise. The designer staged a fashion show at the hotel in 2009 and also created an Eloise-themed suite for The Plaza in 2010. The space gained notoriety after an allegedly high Charlie Sheen trashed a room across the hall last October, while ex-wife Denise Richards and daughters were staying in the actual Eloise suite. “I always knew there was a cosmic love between me and the Plaza,” Johnson said at the tree’s unveiling. “Even though I didn’t grow up with Eloise, when I moved to New York, Eloise’s story and the Plaza were real aspirational fantasies for me. And I love that they’ve kept the architecture, history and beauty of The Plaza, instead of trying to make it too modern.”
At first glance, it’s easy to forget that Johnson’s creation is a Christmas tree. There’s barely a hint of green in the 18-inch high creation, but instead, vibrant pink decorations everywhere, which is befitting the designer’s aesthetic. “It’s filled with girly stuff—pink feathers, sparkles, foldout Eloise paper dolls,” Johnson says. “There’s three quarters of me that’s six years old and it comes out.”