Having spent the last two weeks on a whistle-stop tour of American hotspots, I now have a very clear understanding as to why illegal immigrants continue to storm our borders with such persistence and verve. It is, quite simply, because they still think America is the most enticingly fabulous place on earth, and they have not yet heard about Dubai.
Herein, a recap of my travels.
Los Angeles: Courtney Love, looking every inch the rock star in a cinched Lanvin satin trench, wandered into the Barneys Beverly Hills shoe salon. Her veiled cocktail hat suggested that she might be on her way to a fancy luncheon of some description. Nonchalantly picking up a spiked heel, she handed it to a salesperson and drawled, “I could rock this shoe.” She immediately grabbed another shoe, adding, “I could rock this one too.” Quicker than Denise Richards grabbed Richie Sambora from Heather Locklear’s trashcan, I stole this expression and have now integrated the random use of the word “rock” into my vocabulary.
I had come to L.A. to rock the annual Rape Treatment Center benefit, hosted by Barneys and the house of Nina Ricci. Courtney was not in attendance, but Lindsay Lohan was. We chatted briefly. I admired her loosely tied locks, a contemporary take on the old Mary Pickford silent-movie hairstyle that is making the rounds among the more stylish Hollywood gals. In contrast to her youthful appearance, the doll-like Ms. Lohan has an unusually mature, gravelly, actressy voice—the result, I suspect, of rocking one too many cigarettes.
San Francisco: More than ever in this town, celebs are taking second place to food innovators. Alice Waters is the primordial pate from which all these earnest folk have emerged, but new foodie kings and queens are being crowned every minute.
The most striking thing about the new S.F. food aesthetes is their extreme adulation of provenance. One minute you’re eating Dingleberry Farms organic potatoes, the next minute it’s Snaggletown Valley kumquats. It’s awfully hard to masticate and keep track of it all without the aid of a map.
A significant number of the foodie stars are, I am delighted to note, gay women. It’s great to see lesbians finally abandoning their relentlessly underclass outlook and grabbing the entrepreneurial bull dyke by the horns. A Frisco-based friend of mine calls them the “Cathy Waterman lesbians,” as in: making enough dough to buy restrained but high-priced Cathy Waterman jewelry. Provenance-crazed restaurants of note: Delfina, Bar Tartine and Boulettes Larder in the newly renovated Ferry Building.
Palm Springs: This was my first visit to the Parker hotel, formerly the Merv Griffin–owned Givenchy Spa, which has been redesigned by my talented husband, Jonathan Adler. (Brad and Angelina had their first shag here, allegedly.) Everyone and his Madonna was there for the Coachella Music Festival. I didn’t make it to any concerts; I was too busy rocking the celebs poolside.
Strutting round the grounds, I took full advantage of my husband’s wattage and launched myself at celeb after celeb. Like a proud mother hen, I would just walk up to them and blurt out, “My Jonny designed this hotel. Isn’t it fabulous?” This is exactly how I made the acquaintance of my new best friend, Paula Abdul. Snuggling on her lounger, Paula and I chatted about all aspects of American Idol, from Chris Daughtry’s chances to Simon Cowell’s “bitch tits.” She too was rocking the Mary Pickford ’do.
Las Vegas: Of all the cities I rocked on my tour, Las Vegas is the most intriguing and insane. Arriving at the Venetian, we asked the concierge, “Where’s the Grand Canal?” “It’s on the second floor,” came the reply.
First stop, the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, where my husband’s name was in lights! He is probably the first potter to see his name flashing on a casino marquee, supplanting non-potters like Buddy Hackett and Engelbert Humperdinck. The occasion? A store called Blank Space hosted a signing and cocktail party for his book, My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living (ReganBooks, $22.02 from Amazon.com). At this festive get-together, I chatted at length with two of Vegas’ 3,000 hotel concierges, one of whom had serviced Britney Spears during a recent stay at Caesars Palace. Britney’s request? Nothing elaborate: Ms. Spears was touching up her own roots and needed a selection of hair bleaches brought to the room. We all agreed that this made her seem very “down-to-earth” and “appealing,” until we realized that she may not have been addressing the roots on her head.
Re Britney: The tabs now allege that she is no longer prepared to fund hubby K-Fed’s debauched buddy trips to Vegas. Here’s a tip for Kev: If you want to gawp at strippers but are on a tight budget, simply head to Neiman Marcus! I saw many of the local lissome lovelies mincing through the shoe salon wearing pancake makeup and very little else. One young lady left escorted by three Neiman sales-broads, who sherpa’d an astounding number of purchases towards her waiting Corvette. When, over dinner at Mix restaurant, I marveled at the spending power of these gals, a local pal told me that the average pole dancer makes $300,000 per year, cash. In just over a year from now, these surgically enhanced man-pleasers will be spending their dosh at the new Barneys. Yes, Barneys is opening a fab megastore in a new development called the Palazzo—named, one assumes, after a well-known pant.
In a thinly veiled attempt to make things more classy, everything new in Vegas has been given this kind of European slant. “European” is, in fact, the mot du jour. It can have many meanings. The pool at the Wynn is described as “European,” which means it’s topless.
The co–mot du jour in Las Vegas is “Dubai.” Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Vegas-ites (Vegans?) cannot stop talking about it. In their agitated voices, one can detect an appalled fascination: They cannot believe that there exists a place so pornographically luxurious that it already makes their own town look like Peyton Place.
I can’t wait to rock it.