Monday, October 11, 2010

Party Time

It is fashionable to lament the death of the "epic party", sometimes in the same breath as people lament the death of New York nightlife.  Truman Capote's Black and White party is often the prime example of the time gone by, but as that is often the only example that is cited, I wonder if it was in fact part of some great party pattern that was present in decades past or whether it was a high point in an otherwise dull landscape.

But that said, I have spent nearly ten years in New York and during that time, in what is supposedly a highly happening city, I have only been to two truly noteworthy parties.

Noteworthy Night #1 - One evening I found myself on Liberty Island, which a Russian vodka company had rented to host their product's American launch.  I shared a ferry boat with a bunch of supermodels over to the island, where I drank champagne and ate caviar in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.  After much wandering and oohing and ahhing at my fellow guests, the night ended with everyone sprawled on the ground on massive Moroccan cushions dining on Russian delicacies while watching fireworks over Manhattan.  As you can perhaps guess, this was at the beginning of the silly money era in New York, and spending was becoming insanely free flowing.  I was riding the wave.

Noteworthy Night #2 - Just as the (economic) world was starting to fall apart, I attended a party that had to be the last gasp (for a little while at least) of the freewheeling, flush times.  Bono was hosting an event for his Red charity, and although Paul and I, as mere plebes without millions in the bank, were not invited to the actual money making event (an auction at Larry Gagosian's gallery), we were invited to the myriad after parties (aka the best part of the night).  Up at Sotheby's I found myself shoulder to shoulder with Ed Norton, Paul wrangled a photo of himself with Dennis Hopper and we both found ourselves mere feet from Bono when he took to the tiny stage and played Beatles songs with The Hours.  The night moved on to the newly reopened rooftop at the Gramercy Hotel where Bono stalking commenced, and we finished the night (and spent part of the next morning) downtown at The Box at a table with Damien Hirst.  The intense glamor juxtaposed with the tanking economy gave the night a particular poignance.

But as much fun as I had those nights, no one will be talking about them decades hence.  In fact, almost no party that I can think of during my time in New York will be memorialized in the history books.  So I got to thinking, maybe the nay sayers had it right.  Maybe I have missed out on the glorious party years.

But then something came about that gave me hope.  And it was, as is so often the case, the brainchild of Carine Roitfeld, the editor of French Vogue whom I worship from afar (I'm not the only one...the woman has blogs dedicated to her for goodness sake!).  It was Vogue's 90th Anniversary party.

Held in a mansion in Paris, where guests were required to dress up in masquerade gear, it sounded like something out of a fantastical movie (Eyes Wide Shut as it Turns Out).  I breathlessly read Garance's tale of her lost invite, and then her tale of the party itself.

chicest masks of the night

coolest dress of the night

most elaborate skirt of the night

my favorite dress of the night...if I had the courage to do it I'd get married in this outfit

the fabulous creature that is Anna Dello Russo...according to Garance she could barely move in this outfit but it is worth the pain I think

Leigh Lezark...who would have thought when she starting DJing in New York a few years back she'd be here now?

straight out of twisted Alice and Wonderland, Suzy Menkes and Jean Paul Gaultier

thank god Giselle didn't cover up too much of that gorgeous face

Queen Diane

Mama Roitfeld and son

all photos via here

I read about the night in the New York Times...the man who had lashed a mirror to his face, the antics in the courtyard, the decadence, the beauty, the all reeked of art and imagination and an intense commitment to beauty and fun.  

Although we have parties that embody these qualities on a small scale here in New York, we're lacking something large scale that doesn't scream money and celebrity.  But until Carine can bring her magic stateside, I'll have to console myself with the fabulous issue of French Vogue this month.  Let me just say this:  Crystal Renn and that squid are insanely good together.


Mlle Paradis said...

oh those french!

atif said...

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Mel said...

You had me at Ed Norton.

Sunday Taylor said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog post about books. It certainly sounds like we have similar taste in our reading choices. I went on your blog for the first time and really enjoyed it. I love New York and visit whenever I can. I will definitely be checking in to find out about your latest discoveries.

Dobbygirl said...

Wow! Just stunning!

Teresa said...

Oooh, I love masquerade ball photos! Gorgeous outfits and mysterious allure.

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