THE SUN HAD NOT GONE DOWN outside the Gramercy Park Hotel when Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan started talking about their leather.
“It’s the fucking leather,” Ms. Mulligan said, touching Ms. Kazan’s slit-laden Valentino dress.
Ms. Kazan made a deep purring noise and knocked her pointed heels at the ground.
“You’ve never done that,” said her boyfriend, actor Paul Dano. “I like that…”
“You could do some serious damage with those shoes,” The Observer pointed out.
The actress flung a mischievous look back.
“Don’t you think I’m not thinking about it.”
“She’s so spiky when she’s wearing leather!” Ms. Mulligan, also in Valentino, said. “I’m wearing demure leather.”
“I’m demure with my—”
“There’s nothing demure about that dress.”
Ms. Kazan and Ms. Mulligan had come to the hotel for the Lincoln Center Institute’s Junior Spring Benefit, which they were hosting with Rightor Doyle, Mamie Gummer and Lily Rabe, other regally cumbersome names that catch eyes when they pop up in playbills and film credits.
As the rest of the committee found their seats among the faux-botanical terrace above the penthouse, Ms. Mulligan and Ms. Kazan, along with extra man Mr. Dano, had happened to walk outside as The Observer made a late arrival.
“Is that a prop?” Ms. Kazan asked us, grabbing at the magazine in our jacket pocket.
The Observer explained that we were enjoying an article on Arthur Rimbaud.
“That’s pretty gay,” Ms. Kazan said.
“Carey,” The Observer redirected, “aren’t you in a book adaptation coming up?”
“What book adaptation?” Ms. Kazan gasped.
“Oh, I’m doing this little known thing, The Great Gatsby.”
“Oh my god that’s amazing!” she said. “Are you playing Gatsby?”
“Yes,” Ms. Mulligan said. “I’m playing Jay Gatsby. It’s a really big role for me, I’m gonna wear a sock down my trousers, give it everything.”
The future Daisy Buchanan said filming would start in September, in director Baz Lurhmann’s home country of Australia.
“In Australia, that’s where the book is set, right?” Ms. Kazan said.
Ms. Mulligan nodded.
“It’s a great Australian novel.”
Eventually, the crowd of women grew, all of them seemingly in Valentino. (Was that a photographer in Valentino? A server in Valentino?) They greeted their fellow league board members, hugged, pecked on the cheek. Lunch plans were made.
“Do you want to go to the Colony Club?” said a young woman to a few other women, over cigarettes. “We’ll have the best table. Considering you’re my only friends who are members, we should probably go.”
And later, The Observer found a piece of jewelry.
“That was my grandmother’s!” Ms. Kazan informed The Observer, as we plucked a silver and opal bracelet from the ground and fastened it to her wrist.
It was time for dinner, but before they could sit down, Ms. Mulligan and Ms. Kazan had to have one more talk about their Valentino dresses.
“You’re not allowed to wear anything but leather,” Ms. Mulligan said. “I really like leather, Zoe.”
She again started grinding and smacking her heels.
“Yeah, yeah, lean over,” Ms. Kazan said to Ms. Mulligan.
“I think it’s bend over,” said Mr. Dano, suggesting the more common parlance.
“Lean over!” Ms. Kazan repeated. “Lean over!”
“Bless you!” Ms. Mulligan said, in a high-pitched English church-girl voice. “Lean over, please.”
“Arch your back in the convex position!” Ms. Kazan said.
Mr. Dano, who had not yet addressed The Observer, bent near our recorder.
“Print all that,” he said, smiling.
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