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Riccardo Tisci didn’t live in the downtown demi monde of New York City in the eighties – but that doesn’t mean the culturally fluid designer isn’t immersed in that culture. Givenchy and Tisci reincarnated the post-punk post-glam Warhol New Romantic feeling of performance art clubs like Area so completely – that for those of us who were actually there – it was like an acid flashback of Danceteria, the Peppermint Lounge, the Mudd Club and of course, the garage-sized Area with its glass-enclosed dancer/artists, all at once.
The Delancey Street multi-level garage the party was held in featured fabulously appointed drag queens posing in cars, drag queens vogue-ing in cars and drag queens dancing on cars – with a heavy dose of London’s Leigh Bowery and Boy George eighties influence in the makeup and costumes. Even the cocktail waitresses (who appeared to be women, but in this crowd you’d never know) wore giant multi-colored pom-poms on their heads. “This is sewn into my hair,” one waitress proffering champagne told us. “But it’s so hot in here I can’t even feel it.”
For once, Kim Kardashian wasn’t the most exotically dressed and most gawked at person in the many rooms of what might be fashion’s – both Europe and New York’s – most dramatic after party of all time. Yes, that sounds like a hyperbolic exaggeration – particularly after Louis Vuitton’s funhouse crash cars in Palm Springs this past spring – but that didn’t have the goth glam of this all-dark, all-black clothed moodiness mixed with the mirth of pounding disco and eighties remixes. If Tisci was the Prince of Darkness when it comes to clothes, he’s now the King of Drama – established by both the amazing post punk fete and his all black-and-cream colored spring 2016 runway looks. He might have been channeling nineties era Galliano in his collection – but it was all eighties avant garde Vivienne Westwood/Malcolm McLaren Kings Road flash at the party.
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Though Kim K did show up in a voluminous goth black slip style dress – her pregnant swelling belly much in evidence with a lace torso in the gown – and sheer fabric at the thighs. Not subtle. What else is new? Perhaps bellies are the new butts? We wouldn’t put anything past her and her now-myriad clones. Meanwhile, Kendall Jenner – who walked the Givenchy runway – came in much more subtle fare. And who better for the K crowd to arrive with than nineties post-punk queen Courtney Love? Talk about an entrance.
But there was so much to see at this soiree. The crowd ascended levels of the garage and kept witnessing increasingly more outrageous visuals. It really was hard to discern the gender these much-made-up figures vogue-ing in scenarios choreographed as to reincarnate eighties performance artists — male, female or gender zero. But no matter. They teased the crowd, which included Steven Tyler (in a pinstripe Givenchy suit like what was shown on the runway earlier) and daughter Liv Tyler, the now ubiquitous Laverne Cox, Frankie Raydor, Brooklyn Beckham, Hailey Baldwin, Hollywood stylists Maryam Malakpour, Ryan Hastings and Brad Goreski, writer Jacob Bernstein – son of Nora Ephron who’s producing the HBO doc on his famous mother (and probably half of Paris and Milan) were along for the crazy ride. “I’ve seen it all,” laughed Malakpour, in her beaded Libertine army jacket (she’s styling that show). “But honestly, I’ve never seen anything like this. I lost all my friends in the crowd – and don’t care!”
Outside, Delancey Street was abuzz too – a huge neon sign was strung up on the street reading “I Believe in the Power of Love” with multi strings of lights strewn high in the sky. Down below, there were Mexican food trucks, a zillion black Range Rovers to transport the tony crowd, and more New York cops than you’d see at the Macy’s Day Parade. Even the requisite little brawl took place, as the craving crowd thickened and got a little more aggressive. Yes, the power of love is pretty great –but so is the power of cool. And the power of money.
And where was Riccardo in all this revelry? The quiet and relatively shy Italian designer was of course tucked away in the cool VIP behind the scenes room ensconced with Kim and Kendall – but that didn’t stop enthusiastic guests from seeking him out on at least four floors of writhing figures, some in giant black and white bubble outfits and multi-color face makeup. Maybe the semi-disappearing act was the point. Of course he could have been there dancing in full makeup. You’d never know. He was like Gatsby at one of his own giant parties – the mystery man host disappearing in the mix, watching from a perch, like some party puppet master.
Where does all this wild revelry and multi-mega-dollars spent excess lead when it comes to European big brand after-parties? What can follow LV and this? (both of course financed by glam giant LVMH). Sooner or later, in this vain of largess and fantasy, someone will surely resurrect Studio 54 for a night – or Le Bain Douche. But for now, this is one for the record books. It was a night to remember and then some.
Long live the King of Drama – darkly and dramatically may he reign.
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Jamie Lee Curtis
Monday Night Football