Samantha Wills' Fave New York Hangouts

Aged 21, Samantha Wills was selling her jewellery on Bondi Beach Market; 13 years later she heads up a mega-million dollar biz and her delicate, boho-luxe sparklers have a cult following from global style press and stylistas alike.

A well-known face on the Oz fashion scene, Samantha – who also runs the Samantha Wills Foundation, a platform designed to empower women in business – shuttles between New York City and Sydney. She chats to Lumira x LUXE about her favourite haunts in New York.

Describe a typical work day?

In New York, I am very much focused on the creative side of the business. I am either designing new collections, or writing for the foundation. My day usually starts with a double shot espresso and a SoulCycle class, and then it’s at the design desk. New York has a great jewellery district that has a heap of semi-precious stone stores, brass castings – on some days I trawl those markets to find elements for new collections.

In Sydney, it is much more team- and media-focused. It actually works really well to be able to immerse myself as a creative in one space, and then flip into business mode in Sydney.

What do you love most about NYC?

There are too many things to narrow down to just one! I love how there are four distinct seasons and they click-over right on the day the calendar says they will. I love late-night dinners in candle-lit restaurants with my favourite people. I love the energy of the city – it feels like everyone is moving in the same direction, and there is a real power in that energy. I love the access to the biggest brands, creatives, museums, pop ups and experiences in the world. I love restaurants that are little holes in the wall, that only people in the local neighbourhood know about.

Where are you favourite NY hangouts?


Located in an old Chinese theatre on Chinatown’s most famous street, Chinese Tuxedo is owned by Aussie restaurateur Eddy Buckingham, while Paul Donelly is the Executive Chef. It is a world-class menu. Afterwards, head next door to Apotheke for a cocktail.

In the West Village, Malaparte and Malatesta (649 Washington St) are my favourite casual, coastal Italian restaurants.

Have lunch at Freds at Barneys, and afternoon tea at The Palm Court at The Plaza for the full NYC experience.


Workout with Mantas Zvinas at SoulCycle 19th St – I’ll see you there!

Book a sunset cruise (I like to take guests on the Adirondack), which takes you down past the Statue of Liberty.

If you’re there in the summer, check out verdant rooftop restaurant and bar Gallow Green. And also Grand Banks, a floating barge for fresh oysters, seafood and cocktails (both are only open in the warmer months).

For the definitive NYC shopping experience, head uptown to Barneys, Bergdorfs, Bloomingdales.

Walk The High Line, in the Meatpacking District.

For more insider tips for the Big Apple, nab a copy of the LUXE New York guide...

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Liz Weselby

A spur-of-the-moment decision to move to Bangkok brought Liz to Asia in 2003, where 15 years and three countries later, she's in Hong Kong heading up LUXE editorial. 

  • Liz LOVES... Chilli (on everything), getting lost in cities, hiking, people-watching at airports

  • Liz LOATHES... Suburbia, MSG

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