The man in the suit pulled back the curtain and the deep hum boomed out from the Park Avenue Armory, a porcelain bar glowing faintly in the middle of the darkness, ten screens lit bright with the projected images. It’s how W editor-in-chief Stefano Tonchi and artist Steven Klein had chosen to display “Time Capsule,” a video installation Mr. Klein had screen-shot in the September issue of the magazine. It displays model and actress Amber Valletta in different stages of extreme aging, her skin drying and folding over itself, her body shriveling, yet always with an exquisitely dressed man placing his stubbled cheek near hers, for a kiss.
As if this wasn’t jarring enough — the hushed gala in a stadium-sized lit only with these images of a model’s mortality — Ms. Valletta herself was present, slinking her delicate frame through the crowd of fashion editors and fashion designers, artists and art collectors, the same crew from all the other parties, only now draped in the light of the silver screens. Where really was she — on the floor, on the screen, both, neither.
The Honourable Daphne Guinness, who has aged in years before the eyes of society — though not in beauty, and certainly not in personal style — gazed up at Mr. Klein’s moving stills above her.
“I think it gives everyone hope!” Ms. Guinness said to The Observer. “There’s nothing wrong with getting old, it happens to everybody. We’re all headed to the same place.”
“That’s a bit morbid,” we said.
“I do that occasionally,” she responded.
After a few more cocktails and one or two of the, um, trout macarons — sounds fishy to us! — we had a quick smoke beside the giggling Courtin-Clarins sisters, and then soon hopped a cab to the yet-to-open Hotel Americano, where W hosted a small, late-night get-together. The artist and muse sat around; Andre Balazs showed up, as did one presumably uninvited guest.
“You see her, right there, the brunette?” a attendee told The Observer. “I know her. She’s an escort. My friend knows her or something…”
“Is that so,” we said.
We didn’t recognize the man who brought her, but we did end up standing next to them as we got another glass of Casa Dragones tequila. We didn’t say anything — why spoil the illusion?
And Courtney Love, who we’ve discovered is probably always the smartest person in the room, came as well, with director Paul Haggis in tow. After we had ran into Mr. Tonchi, whom had to leave relatively early, conversation turned to magazines. She was astute, as usual.
“But honey,” Ms. Love said to us. “You weren’t even alive when Spy was around.”
We told he we’d read the issues on Google Books, but she still shook her head, saddened by what we had missed.