Shalom Harlow’s Reading Roth, and Other Things We Learned at Fallon Fenton Boutique Opening

90495455 Shalom Harlows Reading Roth, and Other Things We Learned at Fallon Fenton Boutique Opening

The mood was extremely relaxed last night at the opening of the Fallon Fenton store, buried in the back of the pleasantly secluded Freeman Alley on The Lower East Side. It was a mellow preface to the inevitable chaos of Spring ’10 Fashion Week.There was a courtyard full of people wordlessly communicating with Blackberries, iPhones and whatever else industry types use to avoid talking to one another in person, but the store itself was a self-contained relic of the 1980s.

A piano player who looked like John Oates crossed with Friedrich Nietzsche pounded out the melody to Wham’s “I’ll Never Dance Again”; neon-pink lights lined the windows; gaudy jewelry sat in display cases; and old copies of Interview with Grace Jones, Nancy Reagan, and Molly Ringwald on the covers sat on zebra-print ottomans. Working Girl, starring Melanie Griffith, played on a flat-screen television. The space was rabidly retro but somehow tasteful nonetheless.

“I think it’s interesting to reference the ‘80s,” Fallon Fenton’s designer Dana Lorenz said. “It was about excess and waste. I like to use them in ways that are not organic.”

Fashion Week seemed like a dark cloud looming over everyone’s heads.

“I’m just happy the store is done,” Ms. Lorenz said, adding, “I’m kind of gonna keep it low-key this week.” This seemed a general theme among the crowd, many of whom wore jeans and tennis shoes. Still, there was a tinge of excitement in the air.

“This is the first year that I’m going to go out,” said Edward Droste, the lead singer of Brooklyn’s Grizzly Bear, who was wearing plaid and camped out near the bar. “Fashion is fun!”

The party’s host, Shalom Harlow, stood out in a short, tight black dress with white pearls hanging from her neck.“I don’t look forward to much,” she said of Fashion Week, and was most comfortable talking about author Philip Roth (she’s reading The Counterlife).

Undoubtedly, the award for Most Enthusiasm belonged to VH1 hostess Mary Alice Stephenson, who wore enormous dangling earrings, a short gray dress, and a massive smile.“Who cares about the models?” she said with a laugh. “The writers look incredible!” Mm-hmm!