Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


In New York, when you’re over, you’re usually the last to hear about it. At aRude magazine editor Iké Udé‘s gathering at the Lower East Side’s Pink Pony, I ran into a crowd that included new-media art legend Laurie Anderson, doodle artist Tom Schreiber, and SundayStyles fixture Patrick McDonald, a modern-day dandy, Baudelaire’s flawlessly dressed style rebel still exalted by male fashion editors. McDonald looked amazingly stylish—brows penciled to heaven, hat tipped sharply to obscure one eye. Clutching a chalice of red like it was absinthe, he described how designer Zac Posen, W‘s new pet fashion star, had coldly turned down an interview for his “High Brow” column on I lamented how quickly things change in this town—fashion’s beautiful freaks of the past decade were slowly losing the war in this new era of over-accessorizing and Alicia Keys. Here was one of the casualties.

Others, it seems, have thrived. Sophia Lamar cemented her ties with the new style breed in Williamsburg by walking for Andy Salzer‘s Yoko Devereaux label two weekends ago—wearing nothing but a wristband and belt. YD is a gussied-up echo of the current style that’s emerged from the indie-rock culture of Billyburg—I saw it for myself standing among an army of grubsters at the Rapture concert at Warsaw last Friday. Arriving late, I tapped a girl violently puffing a cigarette to see what I had missed. “Idontknow,” she breathily shot back, resuming her darting glances through the crowd. On another night I would have cussed the bitch out, but I was taken with what I saw: Girls in mossy feathered hair and hoop earrings and boys in messy tufts of bangs and dirty, greasy denim. While they looked intimidatingly cool, they all scurried away like frightened rats during the electro DJ set. Nothing freaks out sullen rock kids more than a little bit of rhythm.

I have to be honest with you: I’ve never been to the Hudson Hotel, so I wasn’t exactly prepared for the massive array of celebs who flanked the Godmothers‘ (DJ Jauretsi and Amber Clapp) veranda-garden shindig for Ian Schrager‘s annual Spring Party. I just have to give you a really short list, there were so many fucking names: Jeffrey Wright, Tara Subkoff, Valery Prince, Devon Aoki, Shalom Harlow, Adrian Grenier, Tara Reid, Carson Daly, Helena Christensen, Gisele, and—mmm—Mr. Big (a/k/a Chris Noth). In the midst of all this booming, shimmering chaos was current YSL face Liya Kebede. She’s truly the most stunning woman I’ve ever seen, and nice, too.

Cavorting in YSL boots and Chloé dresses, everyone here looked like last month’s Vogue: Brits, Frenchies, Italians, and my new favorite category of obnoxiously chic foreigners—Y.M.A.s, or Young Mexican Aristocrats. Hot on the heels of Gael García Bernal and 14th Street taquería vans come these last vestiges of our Southern neighbors’ cultural invasion (dude, I am sure you’ve met some already). They wear Prada and Chanel, take film classes in hopes of becoming the next Gabriel Orozco (or at least in hopes of finding a way to continue pipelining Papá’s dinero), all with classically snotty airs that make even the most hardcore New York snobs look like pussycats. One of them got up from chattering with his pals to use the floor’s single toilet, blankly looking me up and down before realizing there was a line and he needed to step his ass to the back of it.

There’s something very telling about a place where the “library” is lined with books 20 feet above, impossible to access. Adam Bly, editor of Seed, a mag aimed at hip science geeks, had been staying at the Hudson for a week. He hates the place. “After a while, you kind of want someone [on staff] who knows something, as opposed to someone who looks good.”

I’d only been here two hours and I was starting to see what he meant. Hip-hop hits pumped over the speakers, which some people rocked along clumsily to, but for the most part it was kind of a lame party, where everyone stood around balancing cocktail glasses, engaged in overfabulous small talk. Except for Roc-A-Fella chief Damon Dash, who was getting jiggy in a model sandwich with Carmen Kass and Jaquetta Wheeler, but it wasn’t exactly Be Yourself—just one party where wildness and abandon pops to fluid life every week. It’s not the celebs’ fault. Smart people just party harder.

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