Last night’s Calvin Klein 40th Anniversary party was held in a John Pawson-designed, temporary structure on 10th Avenue and 30th Street built specifically for the event.
Adjacent to the space—fittingly, it seemed to be constructed from the same building material used to turn Manhattan living rooms into second bedrooms—was the new Highline Park, which guests were invited to tour during the party (the park is not yet open to the public).
Once inside, the place looked something like a very glamorous high school quad—a slate-colored staircase ran the width of the building, most of which was occupied by seated cliques of attendees sipping drinks and appraising the entryway. The stairs led to a second level and eventually to the Highline itself, which was lined with white roses, lanterns, and picnic benches (Ethan Hawke, a longtime supporter of the project, told us the setting reminded him of the filming of his 2004 film Before Sunset).
Impressive as all of this was, we wondered if any of the high-profile revelers would be able to outdo Mr. Klein in terms of birthday vision.
First up was designer Erin Fetherston. What would she have constructed for her birthday party? “I’d have a castle,” she told us. We also asked her about the high point of her Friday show: “Just seeing all the clothes together on the models…when you work with those clothes for so long, it’s really never as alive as when they’re all together.” Her favorite look for autumn? “Vibrant florals.”
Fellow designer Lucy Sykes expressed a less traditional sensibility. Her birthday structure would be “An amazing, incredible tent—sort of Indian and beautiful. It would be in a field in Gloucester England.” And her favorite autumn trend? “I’m really loving those chunky, unbelievable shoes …. I have a pair at home and they’re not really working with anything right now, but I’ll find something.”
Kimora Lee Simmons, flanked by boyfriend Djimon Hounsou, told us she would build something “fabulous and elegant and grand—a giant carousel. A huge one with little horses and fabulous divas.” Favorite look for fall? “I still like a lot of color—or black. It works for me, no? But don’t be afraid of color.”
Calvin Klein’s own menswear creative director, Italo Zucchelli, stayed on message. His birthday structure? “Similar to this one—I like spare spaces without a lot of fluff.” He also described his favorite recent design: “A webbing jacket—it’s a very complicated jacket in construction but it looks very simple. It really represents my vision.”
Lipstick Jungle’s Rob Buckley imagined “a bouncy house that big,” pointing to the CK structure. This dream was seconded by Cheyenne Jackson, currently performing in Xanadu, who recalled his childhood as a “really big kid”: “Half the time I was too tall for those things. I was too big to get in! So, it would be a giant, massive bouncy castle.”
“I don’t really want a big thing, ever," Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester told us. "I usually just love having a nice dinner.” Co-star Matthew Settle was willing to get a bit more elaborate, if somewhat perplexing: “A chairlift to the top of Mount Everest and a statue of my family to greet them when they get off.”
Estelle, who performed later in the evening, requested “A big chocolate cake that I jump out of.” Isn’t the idea that someone else jumps out? “I would jump out of it,” she said, standing her ground.
Actor Alan Cumming told us that, since his birthday is in January, wanted "a swimming pool, somewhere where I could do summer activities. Or, ideally, I’d like a train. There’s a train you can rent upstate … a train with an open deck, that sort of thing.” And his thoughts on fashion week? “I was just in Denver at the convention. [Fashion Week] is sort of like any convention. It’s sort of people who all do the same thing and they just get drunk and shag each other.”
A pregnant Naomi Watts was sentimental: “Oh my God—something that architectural would be amazing. I don’t know…just getting my favorite people together takes a huge amount of organization because they’re all over the world–a big net.” Jared Leto had similarly humble desires: “I’d probably do nothing. I would probably do something simple, in the wild, in nature, and kind of let that be the backdrop–sorry, was that boring?”
Project Runway’s Nina Garcia was a little less game: “A penthouse apartment,” she said simply, before rushing into Brooke Sheilds’s arms before we could ask for the location. Similarly, an ambivalent Kevin Bacon finally told us, “A nice grill with a big piece of fish would be great.”
And finally, Martha Stewart’s birthday structure? “Oh, a pyramid.” Would the famously creative Ms. Stewart want it made out of anything in particular? “Stone,” she said, rather deliberately.