Sunday night is always quiet at the Lewis household. It’s dinner with parents then Boardwalk Empire and Eastbound and Down. Then it’s an early bed. During the week sleep is scarce. I grab what I can. This past Sunday was an exception. The Patricia Field Halloween Party was overshadowed by the sudden death of Field’s disciple, the legendary Codie “Ravioli” Leone. The party held at Rick’s Cabaret (50 West 33rd Street) was amazing. The Patricia Field crew took a deep breath, dried their tears, and knew that Codie would have demanded a blast. Now no quips from the peanut gallery are called for. People who live in and around the downtown scene live hard. When they leave us at unreasonably early ages it is sometimes unreasonable to be shocked. Lou Reed’s passing shocked so many but the reality was he was 71, and can we expect rockers like that to be around at 80? I guess loved ones do. Paul Sevigny called me to discuss. I told him when my time came to throw me a party. He told me it would be a blast, and that at one point he’d stop the music and observe a minute of silence. I told him 15 seconds would do. I had 15 minutes of fame two and a half times, and I was almost relevant a minute ago. I understand that I belong to another era. It has never been like 1981 for me again. Sure ’96 was amazing and 2005 a blast and last night was a WOW, but my time early ’80s was the best. When I was nine I dreamed of a time like I had when I was 25. Yeah, I caught the bug the first time I saw Casablanca. I always wanted to be Rick and operate a Café Americain. Now that I’m old(er) and getting grey, I still enjoy the evening to the max, but my max ain’t what it used to be.
I didn’t know Lou Reed although I know people who did. I opened for him with a fashion show at the Ritz once. I met him a bunch of times, saw him and kept my distance many others. He was always kind of unpleasant when I saw him. I figured he had a lot on his mind and had no time for small talk and gawkers. Well, after all is said and done, he spoke to you and me in volumes with his work. He leaves a legacy that helped define the era and the attitude that owns my soul. I looked at the downtown royalty of this era gathered at Rick’s, and I remembered The Factory and Andy Warhol, and Ronnie Cutrone, and Lou Reed, and all the others that defined the life we live, that pioneered it, that took the risks and partied hard. It was almost like what Isaac Newton supposedly said, “IfI have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” We all took a walk on the wild side and live the lives we want because of the genius of so many. Paul said, “Dust in the Wind,” and I vowed to enjoy my moments a little bit more. I may not belong in this time but refuse to dwell in the sugar coated past. I’m going out tonight and tomorrow and the next night… and well, etcetera. Oh and everyone should observe a minute of silence or at least 15 seconds in remembrance of the many people who died, were injured or lost so much one year ago today when Hurricane Sandy hit us.
So there I was at Rick’s, which is part of a publicly traded company. That company owns a bunch of Rick’s all over the nation and also other joints under umbrellas like Club Onyx, Jaguars, Temptations and, well, you get the idea. These people are pros. I never go to strip clubs. They abhor me. I don’t have anything against the gals, figuratively and literally but all the young dudes and the older ones as well skeeve me. Yet Rick’s was very different. It’s a thing called vibe and they have it. The layout, the décor, and the way the door, coat check, and staff treated me and mine relaxed me. I didn’t understand the location when the always-dapper Patrick Duffy told me where Pat’s party was, but Rick’s was real. Patricia Field is an icon. She is a legend, an entrepreneur, the mother to the House of Field, a boutique owner, a renowned stylist and an old friend. She got 5 Emmy award nominations for her costuming of Sex and the City, and six Costume Designer Guild nominations with four wins. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for The Devil Wears Prada. Patricia Field has credibility both in the real world and in the streets we live in. Her newly expanded boutique will costume half of NYC this Halloween. She chose Rick’s and underlined her genius. When Patricia Field throws a party, well you better come done. Me and mine chatted up Samantha, a sexy employee in an ill-fitting dress. It never seemed to have enough fabric to cover her entirely. I meant to ask Pat to help her with her outfit but alas was distracted by other creatures that go bump and grind in the night. The beautiful people swayed and chatted. All were sad about the loss of dearest Codie, but grasped that the party must go on. There’s an amazing track by a band called Tuxedo Moon that all of New York’s scene turned out to see a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The song is “No Tears For The Creatures of the Night” and you must YouTube it now. The life must be continued. Codie would have demanded it. So many commented that they felt she was there. I asked Patricia Field to tell me all about it.
The death of Codie shocked us to our core, so the Patricia Field Halloween party became something else. Tell us about that.
Anyone that really knows Codie, and may I say, I knew Codie since the early 80’s… Codie is in the tradition of House of Field, a super party girl. The most fitting way to celebrate Codie is in the way that she lived and celebrated her lifestyle. I couldn’t imagine Codie not being at that party. Her sudden passing made it all the more imperative for me not to leave her out of this party and our celebration style of our happy lives. For this reason, I edited the Strippers vs. Vamp’s to The Codie Ravioli Party. She was there with us that night, as it should be, and I certainly hope for many nights to come. We will all be out having a drink and be talking about the time that Codie did this, or that, and we will all have a good happy laugh together. Codie will be there with us.
Upon the recommendation by Patrick Duffy, of having our party at a stripper club, and then upon the suggestion of Rick’s by Ingrid. I visited Rick’s and found the most gorgeous club that I have been to in a very long time. It was the kind of place that you want to hang out in… beautiful decorated, beautifully lit, great architecture, the music I love to hear. As I stood at the bar and I said to myself that I liked this place and I want to hang out here, let’s have the party here, it’s like no other that I have seen before. The management has bent over backwards in support and was very happy to have us. I felt welcome from the very beginning. This is why we chose Rick’s, and now that the party has happened and we had a great time, I feel that our choice was a good one. I certainly intend to go back to Rick’s again. My favorite spot is the first floor bar.
Is Halloween more or less special for people who really dress up most nights to go out?
For people who normally dress in a festive and creative style I believe that Halloween could be a bit more special, as it is specifically thematic. However, my experience in my shop has told me that all the other people come to us for Halloween costumes. I learned that they think of us as a costume shop and I find that sweetly amusing, as to me this is how we dress all the time.
What are you up to these days?
Lately, I am up to several different projects. One of them of course is my shop, which was recently enlarged. Another work in progress is the possibility of my own feature film (still in the early stages of gestation). A third project is a Sex and The City world tour of iconic costumes, etc., etc., etc. The main thing is that all of my future projects are independent, and not heavily hooked into the dictates of the big time entertainment industry. Keep it simple, keep it cute, keep it mine.
Images courtesy of Santiago Felipe