Weekend Update, #NYFW Style: Hanging with Peyton List, Travi$ Scott, and Happy Models

Peyton List and BlackBook’s Sara Spruch-Feiner at Nanette Lepore. Via @sarajanenyc on Instagram.

Alyssa: Hey girls!

Emily: Hello!!  What’d you get up to today?

Alyssa: It’s so bad but every time someone asks me that I have to look at my calendar. I’m losing my mind. Hopefully not really. Hold please. Where were you today?

Sara: Today has been insane. Honestly these are the moments I remember why I love fashion. There is a frenetic energy in this industry that is essentially inimitable. The people, their creativity is truly one-of-a-kind. I’m writing to you guys from Queen of the Night at the Paramount Hotel which is insane. We just cleared out table by THROWING dishes across a room. We are here for the new Noble collection by William Rast. It is a huge acrobatics show. The woman next to me is a horse vet and has been here before. She is showing me the ropes. It’s very interactive. We were fed short rib and wine and grapes. It’s an acrobatics show. The seats are upholstered in leopard velvet.

It was also the last day of Linda Honan’s FFF at the Highline hotel.  I dropped by Mary Helen Bowers’ Ballet Beautiful class. So that obviously necessitated a trip back to the Zappos braid bar and this time I got pics! #obsessed

Emily: Cute! I was at Alejandro Ingelmo’s presentation at Robert Miller gallery–the shoes were beautiful and it was awesome having the event at a gallery.

Alyssa: Ooh, a little art and fashion. Who was showing?

Emily: Peter Sacks. The shoes were so polished and it was cool to have them set against the backdrop of rough, texturized, modern art.


Alyssa: So cool. I started out with DKNY, which I love loved. Coolest shoes, kind of platform sneakers… great clothes that were sporty and street but chic. Styling was great. Totally a celebration of New York and real New Yorkers. Basically I want it all.

And then I spent some time with the dudes today… Mark McNairy then the men’s presentations at Milk. Mark McNairy was so fun. Everyone (models included) had a beer in hand, and Travi$ Scott opened and closed the show. Kid is energetic. There was also a shirt that read: M*A*S*H Potatoes — I mean… Fun vibes at McNasty.

Sara: That’s funny — I raced to William Rast from the tents where I saw Nanette Lepore. I was there with actress Peyton List who is just the best. (More on her later). She sat with the cast of Orange is the New Black in the front row. And then with Carmen Electra in the MBFW lounge.

Nanette’s final model was her daughter, Violet, who drew huge cheers from the crowd. The finale was a spectacular dance party/conga line led by Nanette and Violet. The models looked like they were having so much fun!!

Alyssa: Love a good model dance party. Everyone was having fun today, including the boys at Pyer Moss, who paused mid-presentation for the all important #selfie. Usher was there… if only we’d gotten him to dance, too.

Sara: I did not have my dancing shoes on today. My feet are killing me–I put on 6 inch heels to hang out with Peyton who still towered over me 🙂

We had so much fun! She wore a blue suit by Nanette Lepore and looked unbelievable.

Emily: I feel you on the foot pain (glamorous), I’ve sworn off them for the remainder of fashion week.  Pretty sure the only people wearing heels have drivers.  That or flip flops in their purse.

Alyssa: Today at Eckhaus Latta I saw a girl carrying Timbs in clear plastic bag, the kind I use to organize stuff in my styling kit. Not so chic… but practical? Ooh and our girl Hari Nef was there, modeling in the show. Hari was in Hood By Air before that, too. BlackBook on the runway, bbs!

(P.S. you can follow us through #NYFW on Instagram at @alyssashapiro@sarajanenyc. And of course, @blackbookmag.)

“Like Playing Deer Hunter, But with Celebrities” — NYFW’s Best Parties

Adult Magazine’s new issue at American Two Shot

Thursday night my buddy Corey Olsen; a photographer, and myself, whatever I am, decided we would hit some fashion week parties so you didn’t have to. After checking out the new issue of Adult magazine at American Two Shot we headed over to the Meatpacking because *we luv 2 party*. We met up with some friends to, you know, “paint the town red” or something and started making our way over to the Essential Homme party at Gilded Lily. Ja Rule was set to perform and I didn’t want to miss that. I also invited along my brother, Tucker, who works in finance and told me how he ended up at the Zana Bayne show earlier which sort of baffled all of us, including him.

We arrived at Essential Homme to a mob at the door and the news that nobody was getting in. By some grace of god, or perhaps just friendship with the PR, I managed to get our posse of nine in. However, once we got inside it became clear why the door was closed. The party was so full that despite getting inside there was no way of getting past the crowds of suave dudes. Our team decided that sadly this wasn’t the play, and turned back to the mean streets of the meatpacking.

Our crew dispersed with most of our friends heading to Chromat and ODD’s parties while Corey and I made our way over to Richard Chai’s after-party at Up & Down. The scene was vastly different — no insanity at door and room to breathe inside. We were quickly directed to the cool boy celebs we needed to take pics of — the Jonas brothers (Joe was DJing!), Darren Criss of Glee, and Richard Chai himself. I fancy myself a teen heartthrob so it was nice to be with my peers.

darren ashley richard Darren Criss, stylist Ashley Weston, and Richard Chai

Nick Jonas and friend

As I looked around for some of my actual peers I was surprised to not really recognize anyone until my girl Hari Nef rolled in looking gorgeous in green.

My babyI wore a logo-print presumably fake Dior cap all night

As more familiar faces rolled in we got to dancing and made our way upstairs (Get it? *UP* & *DOWN*, LOL) for Adult’s second party. The up became the down and the whole thing became sort of non-specific.

party girls dont get hurt“Party girls don’t get hurt” — Chandelier by Sia

david moses
Party girl David Moses

zak krevittParty girl Zak Krevitt

We eventually made our way to Boom Boom Room where all good parties happen. We couldn’t take photos but I’ll give you a couple fun facts and you will have to believe me. Outside I heard a guy scolding the door-girl, “Don’t stamp me, I have to model tomorrow.” RJ Mitte (another heartthrob, the son from Breaking Bad) was talking to Alessandria Ambrosio and they both looked real good. We sort of felt like we were playing Deer Hunter, but with celebrities, and whatever was cool that we could share with you was worth points. There wasn’t open bar so I paid $12 for their cheapest beer. We decided we were done running around looking for the best party/pum-pum/turn-up/jump-off and looked out over the skyline. Hari sighed in relief, “I’m living for the Freedom Tower; I’m living for the moon.”

All photos by Corey Olsen

An Ex-Wasp and an Anti-Wasp Go to Nantucket… And This is What Happened

Jack McCready: Nantucket has a year-round population of roughly 10,000. In the summer that increases to 50,000, and someone once told me on the 4th of July it’s closer to 100,000. That added 50,000 that come out for the 4th tends to be every kid that attended a New England boarding school and shot-gunned a beer at a Trinity frat. Against all of our better judgment, my friend and fellow BlackBook writer Hari Nef and I decided to head out there with my family to see the spectacle and escape from the city. We packed up our looks, booked our buses and ferries, filled our music libraries with Lana Del Rey and Sugar Ray, grabbed our friend Chloe Mackey, and headed into the belly of the beast for some fun in the sun.

Hari Nef: When I told Jack that I’d spent many summers on Nantucket, he was surprised. Jack and I had known each other growing up in neighboring Massachusetts suburbs, but our friendship really bloomed after we both moved to New York. In our past lives, we were both wiley gay teenagers, stylish but polite, outgoing but anonymous, gay but not queer. In New York, we reappeared to one another in new skin, he a dashing party boy in head-to-toe ACNE, me a browless actress two months on hormones and 22 awkward snaps into her tag on BFA. Jack and I created new mythology for our selves and our lives: a pair of hot young things who had cut lines and booked gallery spaces since the dawn of time.

When Jack invited me to Nantucket, I was surprised.

To stay in New York would have been a white flag.

To go to Nantucket would have been a battle cry, a guerrilla attack on a past life we never really felt was ours to live.

True to form, we chose the latter.


Hari: Jack, Chloe, and I have fun with clothes. We dress abrasively, bombastically, elegantly–committed to nothing and no one but our personal brands. When Jack picked us up in this look, he set the bar. His weekend style fell somewhere between “alleged heroine addict” and “Jasper Johns goes to Amoeba Music.” We were eager, perhaps too eager, to impress our style on the locals–and to document the ensuing fallout, madness, and fury.

Jack: At one point during the weekend I had titled one of Hari’s looks “Keg Ryan” but soon realized due to my penchant for beer and my less-than-polished looks I was probably the real Keg Ryan of the crew. The outfits became really important to the entire weekend, especially for Chloe who was turning about five different looks a day.


Hari: “So,” Chloe murmured. “What are we actually doing tonight?” This is one of those special Nantucket Questions asked over centuries of Nantucket sunsets (I knew this to be true because my aunt had a house near Squam Pond while I was growing up). No matter where you are or who you’re with, there’s nothing to do in Nantucket. Ever. But this weekend, we’d hoped, would be different: a deep cut from Ultraviolence come to life. We went over someone else’s house. There was tequila there, and a jacuzzi.

Jack: Luckily a couple of our friends from the city happened to be shacked up at a really beautiful house with a whole crew and were nice enough to have us over for a classic Nantucket night of King’s Cup and skinny dipping. In one round of King’s we had to quickly think of something we would never eat and Hari, in tribute to Gia Gunn, declared she “would never eat fresh tilapia because that would be cannibalism.”


Hari: By 4 a.m., I’d had a few beverages, one bad burrito, and a thorny exchange with Joe, some local guy I met Tinder. I love Tinder, but it’s not very intuitive for trans women. I toggle my Tinder Gender once every few days: a bid for equal opportunity between gays and breeders. Joe had some pointed words for my “delusions” and “deceptions.” Before I blocked him, I told him that he would die in a world ruled by trans people.

Jack, Chloe, and I spread out in a clearing and looked at the stars–which you can’t do in New York. We talked about how traumatic it can be to make unpopular life decisions for your own good. After a good cry, we went inside and attacked a pint of chocolate gelato. We were asleep by dawn.

Jack: The pum-pum-tun-up was ready to turn down for the night. I took my half drank Stella up to bed with me and it remained there on the bedside table for the rest of the weekend, warm and flat.


Hari: When we woke up, it was the 4th of July.

Jack: Despite predictions of storms and all hell breaking loose we decided it was pertinent for us to make our way over to the nefarious annual 4th of July day rage at Nobadeer beach. I was certainly excited (maybe a little worried) to see Hari Nef at a 4th party, where instead of BFA you have Barstool Sports.


Hari: Jack’s friend James picked us up and drove. He played some fabulous music, and I decided he was hot. I didn’t know where he was driving us, and I didn’t care. At several points, I stuck my head out the window and screamed, “Where’s the pum-pum!! Where’s the turn up!!” trying my best to locate or manifest the Independence Daytime Adventure of that I’d dreamed.

Suddenly, this man appeared on a horse.

Jack: At first I thought this might be Shania Twain on her way to grace us all with a surprise performance at the beach, but the outfit wasn’t glitzy enough and upon further inspection he was no lady.


Hari: We drove down a dirt path lined on one side by ticketed cars. Shirtless youth bore American flags on poles and bathing shorts. Packs of preteen girls squatted by the side of the road puking. Local police stood idly by, some on foot, and others in off-road SUVs. The clouds sat low in a gray sky.

“Why did we come to Nobadeer Beach on the 4th of July?” moaned Jack.

Jack: Part of me instantly regretted coming out to “Nobes”. Another part of me would’ve had crippling FOMO had we not stopped by. I’ve been coming to this same 4th party for a few years, and while I’ve never really had the time of my life it has always been it’s own brand of fun. However, growing up around Boston I realized over time that culturally there is a pattern of people going out less to find someone to sleep with and more to find someone to fight. The crowd that day seemed like it was ready to pop-off one way or another and I didn’t want to be around when it did.

Hari: What we discovered on the beach looked like the promo vid they would have shot for the Spring Breakers clothing line if the producers had partnered with Polo Ralph Lauren instead of Opening Ceremony. It was the kind of beer-crunching, chest-thumping, tongue-thrusting turn-up that would have terrified me as a queer teen, but which now seemed exotic, Bacchic–even a little tender. Some drunk bros crawled up to Chloe and gawked her hair. Jack frowned and paced around on his phone, taking breaks to greet the Beckys and Charlies he knew from summers past. The music got louder. The sky got darker.

Jack: The combination of overcast skies, anxiety induced by riled up drunken bros, and amazing American novelty clothing all made me feel like I was in the America that Lana Del Rey is always singing about. About five minutes after getting there, saying hello to all of New England, and snapping some photos of Hari sprawled on the sand with a backdrop of wasp debauchery, I was ready to head out.


Hari: By the morning July 5th, I’d found my way to this pool at the Summer House Inn.

It was a treacherous journey.

On the 4th, around 4:00 p.m., came Hurricane Arthur. We retreated to Chez McCready, where things took a dark turn. Siblings stumbled up stairs into cavernous bedrooms; the gale-force winds blew closed French doors ajar, Japanese horror movie style.

We’d expected the 4th of July on Nantucket to be an East Coast Fantasy: sun, sand, and salmon shorts. Lemonade and uppers! When Rosemary, Jack’s mom, came to the top of the stairs, the dream had clearly died. She announced that everyone–everyone–had to leave by tomorrow.

The power went out. My ferry was on Sunday.

I was homeless in Nantucket.

I called my aunt, the one who used to have the house. I asked her if she was on the island. She was. I asked if I could sleep on the floor of her cottage at the Summer House Inn. She said I could.

Jack: Just as as quickly as the nightmare began it subsided and we found ourselves in Sconset. Gone were the broz, babez, beerz, and bluntz. We were in the only part of the island exempt from the fratty bedlam of the 4th weekend, and it was sunshine, blue skies, and cable-knit sweaters.


Hari: I thought I’d seen the last of Jack after his mom kicked me out, but it turns out we were both invited to a garden party for Boston Common on the Summer House lawn. I was watching my cousin, who took this photo. There was an open bar from a vodka brand I’d never heard of. There were also bite-size lobster rolls.

Jack: At this point in the weekend my outfits had finally gotten more Nantucket appropriate, but less age appropriate, and I was going for a waspy toddler look. I wanted to crawl on the beach in little polo shirts with a sippy cup of beer. Despite being at a magazine party with a liquor sponsor, we weren’t back in New York yet. I was relieved to be rid of the storms and chaos, but starving for more than a penny-sized hors d’oeuvres. The weekend, for better or worse, was just about done. I stayed an extra day, got a sunburn, paid $40 for a $12 cab, drank a couple margaritas, finally read Monica Lewinsky’s piece for Vanity Fair, and found my way back to the city feeling cooled-down and hyped-up.

Hari: Jack and I had had it by 9 p.m.

We reclined in lawn chairs and sighed into the sea air. Trees, seas, and sand: Nantucket scenery is so quaint it’s perverse. I always associated it with the Hundred Acre Wood from Winnie the Pooh: a woodland paradise sprinkled with cozy little homes. One stumbles into a Nantucket cottage expecting to find Rabbit himself, or Piglet maybe (definitely not Eeyore). What one finds are liquor cabinets, seashell applique bathroom mirrors, and WASPS with their pants down.

Perched on the shore of this pretty New England limbo, I stared at the sea. First, I thought of New York. Then I thought of Nantucket. Had I spent more than a handful of past 4th’s on Nantucket? Probably. Did I remember them? No.

This one wasn’t the weekend I wanted.

I took a deep drag of my cigarette.

It was definitely the one I needed.

Koons, The Koons, and Me: An Encounter with the Art Star Jeff Koons

On Sunday, I sat for some portraits by my photographer friend Matthew Morroco. His signature move is to enter the frame with his subjects, then spoon them. Mid-embrace, I told Matthew I was heading to the Whitney later in the week for the H&M-sponsored celebration of the opening of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective. Michael winced, but didn’t blink.

“I’m assuming you hate him?”

The truth is, I didn’t know.

Jeff Koons’s reputation precedes him: an artist many times bigger than life with an historically personal brand. His mention elicits the rare sort of eye roll and wan smile reserved for the richest, most earnest, most flamboyant celebrities. Kim Kardashian earns them, as does her husband. They’ve crept up on Marina Abramović and Tilda Swinton after years of more solemn adoration. Lady Gaga holds at least a 35% stake in eye rolling and wan smiling.

Upon further reflection, Matthew’s question led me back to what I consider my first ever Koons opening: the album release party for Lady Gaga’s Artpop. Undeterred by accountants or questions of ROI on an album yet to drop, Mother Monster filled the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a platoon of Koons monuments commissioned for the event. Eager to rankle the atmosphere–though still unsure why–I drained a plastic cup of champagne and abandoned it on one of the display pedestals.

Screen shot 2014-06-26 at 2.56.31 PM

It was mean! It was nasty too. If it was funny, it wasn’t because I was saying any kind of meaningful “Fuck You” to Gaga, or even Koons. My clear plastic stink bomb was funny because it was useless: a tiny dent on the hood of an extraordinary machine. When a fan video surfaced of Lady Gaga, mid-performance, plucking a used plastic cup rather triumphantly off one of the sculptures, I wasn’t sure whether I’d won or lost.


That’s the thing about Gaga, and especially Koons: no matter how hard you want him to work for you, he’s always working a little harder for himself. As my girlfriend Brandon Serpas, a Whitney intern, walked me through the galleries last night, the psychic tug of war going on between The Koons and Me began to feel very much like some kind of foreplay. For every charming, Cliffordesque balloon dog he laid at my feet, he doubled down with a closeup of his dick sliding into an Italian porn star (at that point, one remembers the dogs go for $60 million). Making one’s way through Koons: A Retrospective is to get hot, then bothered, then both. Three plastic cups of prosecco didn’t help much.

But then, there He is, or was.

Beaming, suited, politely shrouded by a gaggle of onlookers: the Man himself.

Finally, a chance to make up my mind.

I whipped out my iPhone and scrolled over to Voice Memos, and pounced:

How do you feel about making new work in light of having exhibited a retrospective at the Whitney Museum?

Koons: It’s always about becoming, and following your interests. That’s a pursuit you have your whole life. I look forward to continuing to make work until, eventually, I leave this place. But that’s what you look forward to every morning: to experience the highest state of enlightenment you think is possible.

What is your estimate for the number of #KOONSSELFIES that will be taken tonight?

Koons: I really have no idea. There could be a thousand.

That’s a good number. What your favorite color?

Koons: Blue.

What’s Lady Gaga’s favorite color?

Koons: I couldn’t tell you exactly. I think she enjoys a lot of colors. I see her wear white a lot. She seems to enjoy white.

How do you feel about the Transgender Movement?

Koons: It’s fantastic. People should be able to experience life the way they’d like to. It’s fantastic. It’s wonderful.

I thanked him, and then I asked him for a selfie. He obliged:

Screen shot 2014-06-26 at 2.58.18 PM

He was nice: positive, professional, maybe a little curt (I’ve heard he used to work on Wall Street). His testimony taught me nothing I couldn’t have Googled or asked my dad. The same might be said for some of his work. But then, suddenly, one remembers the scale of things: the million dollar art and the billion dollar man. Everyone’s famous now, so it’s crushing and kinda hot to behold a Man & Work combo so utterly, historically, analogically massive—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

And yet, as I hobbled away from Jeff Koons and peered up into a colossal stainless steel party balloon, I saw myself–and only myself–at the center of whatever I’d come uptown to see.

I dug my phone back out of my wallet to check the #KOONSSELFIE tag on Instagram.

There were 12.

photo 2 photo 1 photo 4

Hari Nef is an actress and writer living in New York City.