Tomorrow night, Patricia Field, Mao PR, Roxanne Lowit, Susanne Bartsch, Kenny Kenny, and Joey Israel will host a benefit at Amanda Lapore’s Big Top for Larissa. Joey Arias and Amanda will perform. I am leaning heavily on Patricia Field’s website for my background, as Larissa, although very familiar to me, always remained a mysterious denizen of so many fashionable days and clamorous nights. I never asked questions about her, I just accepted her rank as one of the most important people in downtown culture. I would book her birthday at a club back in the day, or she might grace an invite, but as was my way, I kept my distance. It’s a combination of my skewed sense of chivalry and a shyness that most, except those who know me well, don’t believe exists.
Michael Alig would always drag me from whatever I was doing to chat with her. I was to reward him with a handful of drink tickets for the introduction. I was always shocked she knew my name. She was glamorous, bitingly witty, and catty as well. She was always a lady, except sometimes, maybe when she drank, and that was, well, often. Even then in a pickled state she was charming and mannered. She was easily recognizable to the hoi polloi with her trademark eyebrows, and cheekbones sharp enough to cut through bread, and a coif of the darkest, manicured black hair. She was impeccably dressed at first, with her own creations, and then with Mugler. She was known as his muse. She could size up a person, and discount them, or elevate them with a breath. She was always surrounded by the bestest of the best, the most down of any of the downtown set. At Max’s Kansas City she might be at a table with Nico, or Andy Warhol, or any of the bold faced names of that era—or of any era. Once, when I was clamoring with the masses to get into Thierry Muglers Fashion Show in Paris, she grabbed me from the crowd and walked me in. Doors parted like the Red Sea from Moses, as Larissa defined chic and everybody needed her around. When we were doing Club USA, it was Larissa who captured Thierry’s talents for the design of the Mugler Room. To say she was the candle of the aspirations of so many moths, and other creatures of the night, would be an understatement.
She was part of the Andy Warhol Factory crowd. She once said, “I studied Salvador Dali in art school, and there I found myself standing in a room with him while he paid me compliments. It was something.” According to the Patricia Fields website, her customers included “Miles Davis, Margot Fontaine, Egon Von Furstenberg, Jimi Hendrix, Gloria Steinham, Lauren Bacall, Dustin Hoffman, Betsy Johnson, Cicely Tyson, Lina Wertmuller, and Giancarlo Giannini, just to name a few. Her coats were sold at top stores like Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and Ultimo in Chicago. They will be feting Larissa at a benefit tomorrow night at 13th and University. Those who never pay will gladly contribute 10 bucks for a lady who gave us all so much.
On another note that so often wanted and discarded space on the corner of Essex and Houston may be changing hands once again. According to my source, a deal has been made and is pending community board approval. It has been home to the seminal club Chaos, a strip joint, a goth club, and so many other things. It has never really been on my radar of fabulousness but has always been around surviving, mostly I feel, because of it’s location, rather than good programming. I read that it was, at one time the studio and home belonging to Jasper Johns. Now it will be something else.