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THINK PINK: Having been linked to The Plaza for nearly 55 years, the mischievous children’s book character “Eloise” now has a store there to call her own. Decorated in her signature pink with a rug imprinted with lines from Kay Thompson’s legendary tale, the 2,100-square-foot space is perfectly appointed with an array of Eloise memorabilia. (Fashion types know that Tommy Hilfiger now lives on the hotel’s “room on the tippy-top floor.”)
After meeting Eloise illustrator Hilary Knight on opening day not long ago — who just happened to be there scoping the place out — six-year-old Grace Johnston was determined to check in again to see if the store’s namesake had arrived. “Do you know when her days off are?” Johnston asked the concierge behind the store’s front desk. No such luck — but like other opening day visitors, she settled for a few keepsakes — a $20 pink Eloise T-shirt, a $85 Eloise doll by Madame Alexander and an Eloise book. Lore has it Thompson’s goddaughter Liza Minnelli — who at one point lived at The Plaza with her mother, Judy Garland — or Thompson herself was the inspiration for the rambunctious icon. But plenty of others, including some New York women who have strolled in off the street have insisted they are the source, according to Kristin Franzese, The Plaza’s executive vice president of retail. Fans will be able to host tea parties, play dress up and listen to story hours in the months ahead, or take etiquette classes, if need be. As for Johnston, who was headed back to Seattle, she left a handwritten note with the concierge. Apparently, Eloise isn’t good about e-mail.