Instead of Thinking About the Downturn, Let’s Wear Fur and Drink Pernod

quintessentially Instead of Thinking About the Downturn, Lets Wear Fur and Drink PernodLast night, at the futuristic William Bennett Gallery in Soho, models draped in Depression-style garments trotted down a makeshift runway for an "Aspen Night" sponsored by the ski area company Aspen Snowmass and private concierge service Quintessentially. Serial party attendees in fur vests (the party was hosted by furrier J. Mendel) looked on as they sipped bright neon blue cocktails. The uniform was fur accessories, clinging low-hemmed, evening gowns for the gals; austerely slicked back hair, stripe collars, and boxy plaids for the guys. The Daily Transom was dying to know, does the Hemline Index really move this fast?

"Listen, my friend, we design $600 shirts, for the high, high, high end, you know?" Fabrice Tardieu—one of the Haitian brothers behind Bogosse, another one of the party’s hosts—told me. "This is not the same man that buys a $300 shirt. He may be buying less." Mr. Tardieu leaned in closer with increasing excitement. With a sweeping gesture, he indicated an ornate shirt his brother, Patrick, was wearing. "A lot of leather, mother of pearl, sterling silver. Form fitting, it tapers right to the body. Look at that!" he said.

Deeply tanned, white-rabbit vested Liz Rubin, a Quintessentially account manager, said the luxe concierge market wasn’t sweating the bear market. "It’s a whole lifestyle, and our clients are jetsetters. Just today, a member needed his gym membership upgraded," Ms. Rubin said. "Sure, that was just a phone call, but we also sent 50 peacocks to China for a client." Quintessentially, where the service ranges from $3,000 to $60,000 per year, was founded in 2000 by two Brits, Ben Elliot (nephew of Camilla Parker-Bowles) and Aaron Simpson.

Ms. Rubin looked around and sighed. "I was on Survival of the Richest, the WB show," she said. "I realized it was kind of a joke when I went into my agent complaining I wasn’t on the cover of US Weekly. The agent fired me. I was ludicrous," she added, giggling.

Raven-haired beauty Natalie White—who last month became the first American featured on the cover of French Vogue—had trod the runway in a long bias-cut, black silk evening gown and fur stole. (Think a skinnier, early talkies Joan Crawford.) Is it real fur though? "It’s fox fur and it’s still alive," the 20-year-old quipped. "Everyone is always saying, ‘I’d rather go naked than wear fur.’ I’d rather do both!" She added, "I’m a full supporter of using animals for all their uses. I mean we eat them. I’m from a red state!"

Which one?

"The reddest. West Virginia," Ms. White answered. "What about you?"

The Daily Transom noted that he had grown up nearby. "Oh really?" said Ms. White. "I’ve never met anyone that grew up here and I’ve been in New York two years." 

Ms White’s enthusiasm revealed a thin tattoo wrapped around her arm. "It says, where would you be if you closed your eyes," she explained holding it up for inspection. Ms. White closed her eyes. "In the Bahamas, running down a beach with my hair braided like Bo Derek."

A short young man in his mid 20′s was standing nearby wearing a full-length fur coat and shiny, pointed black leather shoes. "You’re not going to pour red paint on me," he asked with an arched eyebrow, as the Daily Transom reached in his jacket pocket. It’s a notebook! He relaxed, and introduced himself as Adrien Field, a fashion writer. "It’s gorilla," he said, about his coat. "My grandmother bought it in 1930. Last night I wore rabbit–that would have gone better with the theme, but I was photographed." He arched his eyebrow again adding, "I just couldn’t have that."

It wasn’t all Pernod and roses though. Rising indie starlet Kristen Ruhlin—in a peasant dress and black boots—pointed at her chiseled-jawed roommate Tyler Barnes as he strutted the runway in a Bogosse shirt and boxy flannel trousers. "He makes more catering in a week then I do acting in films," she said. Was she thinking of waitressing? She took a deep sip of a milky white cocktail and answered, ""No, I’ve managed to never waitress in New York. There’s no going back now."