The Wages of Fashion Week

Four nights of Fashion Week parties left The Observer with plenty of notes, a few hazy recollections and very little

Four nights of Fashion Week parties left The Observer with plenty of notes, a few hazy recollections and very little energy to tell the tale.

There was Derek Blasberg, fashion writer, screaming, “Julia! Julia!” stretching out the first syllable as if it might catch the attention of Julia Restoin Roitfeld, the daughter of Carine Roitfeld, until lately editor of French Vogue. Graffiti art was the theme; it was RETNA’s after-party, and the host was Ms. Restoin Roitfeld’s brother Vladimir. There was New Wave, overdrinking and indoor smoking. It could have been Indochine in 1985, but it was Indochine last Thursday night.

The screams went on until Ms. Restoin Roitfeld relented, and The Observer joined her in a booth, along with Mr. Blasberg, Byrdie Bell and Genevieve Jones. (On the same table, Ms. Restoin Roitfeld’s mother, Carine, would later be dancing, drink in hand.) All we had to offer Ms. Restoin Roitfeld was a cigarette, but she declined, so we decamped to the booth over, where Mary-Kate Olsen was holding court.

Same old faces in this town, different booths—there she was again at Zac Posen’s Purple magazine party Friday at the Standard, cozying up in a Boom Boom Room booth with her sister, Ashley, and Jared Leto, in that purple, full-hoodie turban frock of his. More cigarettes, too: Olivier Zahm chaining them as if he couldn’t see through his permanent sunglasses that he’s not in France; Paz de la Huerta mumbling, cooing and puffing in The Observer’s face. And the same old songs, Alexander Wang bopping his head to “All of the Lights” by Kanye West, who was there, too—we see the guy everywhere—roped off in a corner of Le Bain behind a wall of bodyguards.

So we went to Chinatown. Behind any door, no matter how nondescript, there could be a party. People dancing, good-looking people, drinking vodka. It might even be smoldering. The Bungalow 8 doorman Armin Amiri just opened a joint like this, in the Shanghai style, called Mister H. He’ll try to keep you out if you’re not beautiful, but that can only last a few months. The Observer went in and saw a red neon sign bleeding into a dug-out back room: “This is not a brothel there are no prostitutes at this address.” Thanks anyway.

It put us in the mind of naked ladies. So we went to the Westway, the “faux strip club” from Matt Kliegman and Carlos Quirarte, who throw the Jane Hotel parties. People wait a long time for places like this to open, then soon enough forget about them. That night the designer Rag & Bone booked the glitter-happy space, not yet open to the public, and brought in pretty kids content to grip the stipper poles themselves for lack of actual exotic dancers. We asked the comedian Aziz Ansari when actual skin would be shown. “Twelve thirty!” he responded. He was giddy. “We’re almost there.” Soon enough, “Paradise City” came on, and the strippers came out. In minutes, they were topless, and dollar bills started sliding into G-strings. If they keep this up, they’ll have to drop the “faux.”

At the end of the night, The Observer saw daylight peeking through the sky, and the light was about the same when we woke up the next evening. It was time to drag ourselves back to the Standard, where the pretensions now include an ice rink. Alpine après-ski cocktails are another way to drink vodka, in this case with apple cider. Johnny Weir was there prancing and spinning around the rink, the Lady Gaga of figure skaters, you might say. Judging by his outfit, if they remade black Black Swan as science fiction, they could cast him beside David Bowie.

Charlotte Ronson’s party was good for a few flutes of Champagne. The Observer ran into Andre Saraiva. He said his Paris club Le Baron will open a Mulberry Street branch in March, so that’ll be another place to go.

It got too late, much too late. At the United Bamboo party at the Jane Hotel around 5, everyone was dancing on the tables, and members of LCD Soundsystem, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Grizzly Bear were all singing along.

Sunday night was unholy. The Observer recalls going to Kenmare for the Vs. magazine party, Soho Grand for Timo Weiland’s after-party, Le Bain for the Y-3 party—but none of the details. At some point, we were inside a limousine. And then, apparently, back at Kenmare. 

To think it was only last Wednesday, at Cipriani for the amfAR Gala, that Anna Wintour tipped The Observer off about the runway shows she was most looking forward to.

We didn’t make it to any of them.

nfreeman [at] | @nfreeman1234 The Wages of Fashion Week