Who’s Your Best Dressed? Our Most Stylish Party Goers of the Week

Photo: Ben Rosser/BFAnyc.com

This week in parties, an Orange is the New Black star thinks black is actually the new black at the Alexander Wang X H&M launch, and Blake Lively properly shows off her baby bump with class. New York played host to a plethora of fabulous soirées with even more fabulous attendees. Which #stunning girl gets your vote as best dressed?

1. Natasha Lyonne at the Alexander Wang X H&M Launch in New YorkBilly-FarrellPhoto: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

2. Sara Sampaio at the Alexander Wang X H&M Launch in New YorkALEXANDER WANG x H&M Launch EventPhoto: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com 

3. Natalie Portman at Woodstock Film Festival & Cointreau Pre-Awards Dinner in New YorkBen-RosserPhoto: Ben Rosser/BFAnyc.com

4. Cynthia Frank Hosting a Dinner with Elle Décor in New YorkELLE DECOR Dinner Hosted by CYNTHIA FRANKPhoto: Madison McGaw/BFAnyc.com

5. TK Wonder and Cipriana Quann at & Other Stories Store Opening in New York& OTHER STORIES OPENS FIRST U.S. STOREPhoto: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFAnyc.com

6. Katie Lee at T Magazine’s 10th Anniversary Celebration in New YorkBilly-Farrell-5Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

7. Blake Lively at God’s Love We Deliver 2014 Golden Hearts Awards in New YorkGODS LOVE WE DELIVER 2014 GOLDEN HEART AWARDS CELEBRATION HONORING LESLIE MOONVES, ANNA WINTOUR AND RICHARD E. FELDMANPhoto: Ben Rosser/BFAnyc.com

8. Daria Strokous at God’s Love We Deliver 2014 Golden Heart Awards in New YorkGODS LOVE WE DELIVER 2014 GOLDEN HEART AWARDS CELEBRATION HONORING LESLIE MOONVES, ANNA WINTOUR AND RICHARD E. FELDMANPhoto: Ben Rosser/BFAnyc.com


10. Halle Berry at God’s Love We Deliver 2014 Golden Hearts Awards in New YorkGODS LOVE WE DELIVER 2014 GOLDEN HEART AWARDS CELEBRATION HONORING LESLIE MOONVES, ANNA WINTOUR AND RICHARD E. FELDMANPhoto: Ben Rosser/BFAnyc.com

A Glittering Evening Exploring Africa With Waris Ahluwalia

An evening set at the Explorers Club on the Upper East Side already has a certain feel to it. Aside from being uptown, you’re surrounded by relics gathered from far-flung adventures, flags that have traveled both to the summit of Everest and the depths of the Mariana Trench (thanks to James Cameron’s deep ocean dive) and a roaring taxidermy polar bear, (the roar unfortunately disabled for cocktail hour). Members have traveled the globe and to the moon, so the headquarters were a helpfully dramatic setting to imagine the African travels of jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia, who Forevermark took to Botswana and South Africa to see firsthand the sourcing of the diamonds used in their collaboration.

Waris’ glittering creations were displayed on the second floor while we looked on with champagne, ogling through glass as security loomed nearby. It’s not as if the guards had to worry much, guests like Vanessa Traina, Liya Kebede, Chelsea Leyland, Cynthia Rowley or Natasha Lyonne weren’t likely to stage a heist, though I’m sure we wouldn’t have objected to trying on a few pieces.

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Eventually the party moved on to dinner, Waris seated near designer Olivier Theyskens and Forevermark execs, the designer’s sweet mother hosting another table, seated close to heir Jamie Johnson and writer Glenn O’Brien. Before the meal began, Waris showed a short film of his African expedition, saying “This spring I went on a journey of discovery. To the origins of my materials… To see with my own eyes where diamonds come from and the impact Forevermark has on the people and the land. An experience that’s going to stay with me forever.”


After a dinner where the waiters continued to refill the wine glasses endlessly, the party moved downtown to Bar Naná (previously Double Seven)… post which the after after party took place at the just-opened Paul (Sevigny)’s Baby Grand at the back of the Tribeca Grand Hotel. Fortunately it was a Friday, as the celebration for Waris went all night.

Photos courtesy Julio Gamboa/BFA

Seriously, It’s All About Don Hill’s

A very famous man, who no one can remember, once said “There are no words!” I never met him, or him me, unless we did meet and I just can’t remember a word of what was said. Anyway, for arguments sake, I’m going to ignore what he did say, didn’t say, or I can’t remember him saying, and say it: Don Hill’s leaves me speechless. We all know that can’t happen, so I’ll just continue. Don Hill’s is beyond-words-great. There, I said it.

They really killed this week, and I don’t even know what happened yesterday, ‘cause I was too tired to go go go. Thursday opened with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and a tone was set. I immediately started spewing out accolades faster than a Jersey Shore Bimbette gets rid of her hotdogs, tacos, and vodka after a night out. Don Hill’s is a purge of all that wasn’t, because nobody had the balls or the talent to do it. Twenty minutes into the place, I knew it was real. I knew about Friday, but couldn’t tell you without the wrath of Khan (Nur) and Paul Sevigny. Iggy showed up, and the scene knew it. It was Woodstock on Spring Street, as everybody wanted in. My entourage of Q-Tip, Mercer/Standard door god Richard Alverez, and my lovely didn’t get there in time. I was lucky to slip in with Erik Foss, and his lovely. Don Hill’s isn’t actually a venue. It certainly can be one, if it wants to, but the scene it attracts goes well beyond waiting for the show, seeing the show, leaving after the show. Slick DJs like the Misshapes and DJ Rock 1 keep the cocktail conversation lively, and it’s a to-be-seen scene. The beautiful, the artsy, the credible mix with the famous, and it’s more fun than anything in recent memory. It’s been a whirlwind, so if my celeb sightings were actually on another night, please forgive me. I’ll just mention the ones I brushed into: Andre Balazs, Adrian Grenier, and Selma Blair, who introduced herself so sweetly: “Hi, I’m Selma.” She was hugging and jumping up and down with Village People Cowboy Randy Jones, who she met when she was an 8 year old backstage in Chicago. Randy didn’t remember, but thought it was so fabulous that she did. Mary-Kate Olson, Chloe Sevigny, I think with Natasha Lyonne, Perry Ferrell, Jon Varvatos, and Terry Richardson. Patrick and Liam McMullan snapping shots. It was a 2-McMullan affair. I heard Britney was there, and Gwen Stefani, but I didn’t see them. It was marvelous mayhem, so maybe, but I’m not a gossip columnist, and all that.

Iggy hit the stage hard looking like a Viking Iguana, or one of those Time Machine Morlocks. He was older than when I last saw him. Well, I guess everyone is. He was still naked from the waste up. I never saw him with a shirt on. Probably owns two. He was blonde, tan, and ripped—in great shape for a man his age. He assaulted the crowd, pouncing, prancing, dancing, threateningly physical. A mad dashboard troll, with demonic bulging eyes (no wisecracks please). His face contorted into 15 emotions in 30 seconds. He points to people in the crowd, begs them to join him onstage, and we all surged to touch him. Iggy is very touchable. You know what he played. He played his songs. “I Wanna Be Your Dog” was great. It was amazing, and the next day the 300 people who experienced it will be joined by a thousand more, who said they were there. By next week, it will be 5,000. The crowd stayed after, as they know it’s a club, and you don’t leave clubs after the act. I returned Saturday night for Courtney Love. I’ve been seeing her around, being her fabulous self. I had never seen her perform live. She was brilliant. “Sympathy for the Devil” won me over, and then she shocked me senseless. Her cover of Gaga’s “Bad Romance” was super sweet, even though she apologized for hitting us with it. She closed the show with, “Thirteen,” this time without the band, save for an acoustic guitarist. It was as jaw droppingly gorgeous as the shoes and couture she featured. I’m a fan. I buy into Courtney. I think she just gets a bad rap, overly persecuted for the bad things she has done, the bad breaks, the bad hair days. I’m sure she can be problematical but aren’t we all? Nobody is perfect, but she was Saturday night. I thought I saw art legend Jeff Koons saunter by, and was told it actually was him.

I went back on Sunday for Crystal Castles. The streets were dead, like any given Sunday, but Don Hills had its following. It was jammed again. Nur promised me a bed in a back room, or a busboy job, as I’m there so often. I think I’m going to need one. Crystal Castles hit the stage in a tornado of sound. Alice Glass was a strobe light of frenzy, it was a dancier, younger, more hipster group for this night. My iTunes says it’s electronic and they are surely right. The crowd was dancing and bumping as they played their anthems. I was just hoping Alice wasn’t going to hurt herself as she plunged and jumped and climbed around.

Last night it was Michael H. and Andy Hilfiger, and I was told ZZ Top was trying to make it. I don’t know what happened. Read about it someplace else. I may say yes to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs tonight after the Lavo opening.

Don Hill’s has arrived for a scene so ready for it. Somebody wrote in that maybe it was too soon to proclaim greatness. I say it’s about time. It’s not about the acts. It isn’t great because the acts play the room, it’s great SO the acts play the room. Each night was different. The crowd’s nuanced, appropriate for the happening. Rock and Roll has many layers, many scenes, many gurus. Don Hill’s will have it all. It’s all about the pursuit of happiness for a crowd that hasn’t had a joint to hang in for more than a minute. It’s DJs and vibe vibe vibe. I walk in, and the vibe hits me like a pie in the face. Bang! I’m having fun, I am surrounded by people who are into art and fashion and pushing the envelope. Sure there are the familiar starlets, debutantes, and models. Sure there are the trust funders looking for meanings and tangible distractions. Those people are everywhere, and so the fuck what? The snarkers have nothing to say. Don Hill’s is providing it. Don Hill’s is answering the call of the wild, the bored to death, as well as the enlightened. It is a 100-watt lightbulb in the darkness. It is the hub. It is the answer. It’s the best joint in town. Am I being too subtle or do you get what I’m saying?

The Sky Is Absolutely Falling: Nightlife Preservation Community Launches

On June 22, an organization called the Nightlife Preservation Community (NPC) is hosting a huge event over at M2 (formerly Mansion). At stake is preserving nightlife as we know it. The event is a sort of Bartenders Ball kind of thing, open from 9pm to 1am to club owners, club staff, promoters, DJs, and industry-related peeps. The public can come after 1am. Chloë Sevigny and Natasha Lyonne will host the event. DJs including Q-tip, Marky Ramone, Junior Vasquez, Danny Krivit, Peter Rauhoffer, Paul Sevigny, The Misshapes, Louie Vega, Berrie, The Martinez Brothers, Alex English, and more have donated their time and considerable skills for the cause. Admission is by invitation only; there will be an open bar from 9pm to 1am for all, and food for owners in a special section. The purpose of this event is to create a sort of political lobbying front so that politicians take the issues affecting nightlife seriously. With the help of Jon Gabel and Joonbug and the great people of Track Entertainment/ClubPlanet, we are in the process of organizing email and text lists of at least 700,000 people who attend nightclubs regularly. Promoters and marketing entities have millions of names and instantaneous reach to a voting-age clientele. There will be considerable overlap, but we will be able to contact maybe 50,000-plus people in a flash in a district where a friendlier politician is running against a foe. The NPC will be heard, just as other political groups have been suddenly heard in the past.

In the elections held in November, candidates are chosen, and in this town it’s usually a foregone conclusion. Often democrats win by margins of 95 percent; however, in the primaries held in September, turnout is very small. The margin of victory is often less than a couple thousand votes. It is here in these primary elections where the NPC marketing lists will be effective. I, for one, am often not aware of the platform of many candidates when I’m in the booth, and it becomes a sort of guessing game. The NPC will let voters know the names of the good guys and especially the bad guys. This marketing platform will also be made available to police who want to disseminate information about how to protect yourself from pocketbook thieves, date-rape drugs, and various other schemes and predators who see clubs as their hunting grounds. Community groups may also have their agendas broadcast to our lists when they need to promote something. A website is now being set up for the nightclub community, which includes operators, employees, and patrons as well. Bartenders and such will be able to register and post resumes, and management can pick a proven and compatible staff without the massive Craigslist-type open calls.

The NPC is chaired by myself along with Paul Seres and co-founders Matthew Isaacs and Ariel Palitz. We are supported by and answer to the New York Nightlife Association (NYNA) and the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA). Nightlife attracts more patrons than the Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Knicks, Devils, Islanders, Broadway shows, and the opera put together. It generates twice as much revenue as the film industry, yet a Law & Order producer can ask the “film czar” to close down a city street for a week, and the czar will provide cops and give total support; yet if a patron lights up a joint in some club, it can be shut down with little or no due process. Nightlife provides jobs, generates tax revenue, and attracts legions of tourists, but it often finds itself in mindless conflict with groups whose agenda seems to be to sanitize New York — to change it from the city that never sleeps to a bedroom community. Indeed the long-term goal of the NPC is to have a cooperative effort like Las Vegas has with its entertainment community. The “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” campaign is an example of how a city recognizes the revenue potential of its nightlife assets. We propose nothing short of changing the motto of New York from “The Big Apple,” which has little meaning, to “The City That Never Sleeps,” promoting eons of 24-hour culture and the best nightlife in the world.

The NPC website, www.nightlifepreservation.com will be live sometime today and will improve daily. If you are an operator of an New York City club and want you and your staff to attend our event next Monday, go to the site or feel free to email me at {encode=”plannedout@yahoo.com” title=”plannedout@yahoo.com”}.
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Snobbery and Entitlement at All Points West

VIP access to this weekend’s All Points West Music and Arts Festival means hanging with the artists, but not actually watching them perform. Ignore the tempting buffet because there is too much beer to drink. Score a bunch of free shit and feel very important because of it. At the entrance, unimportant and important people alike wait in long-ass lines while their are bags checked. But we very important folk waltz right in.

Pass the Brazilian Girls and one gay man of CSS on the second stage, ignore Underworld on the main stage, and go straight to the VIP tent/area. Once inside the haven of exclusivity, I can breathe again, finally amongst my very important people. But when I go for a beer and the bartender has the gall to ask for money, it became very clear, very fast, that the whole thing was a sham, a put-up. Even the food had prices — a cardinal sin in VIPville. My lungs pinched up and the Statue of Liberty laughed at me. I’ve been had by promoters looking to grant concertgoers a quick fix of upper-crustery. I had to get out of this make-you-believe world and into the real, which meant only one thing: backstage.

Passing security is no big deal — I belong there, after all. Beyond the metal railing, behind the stage, is a world of artists golf-carting to and fro, and celebrities picking at fruit plates. Vice co-founder Suroosh Alvi hangs out with the hipster set. Natasha Lyonne (looking a little plump these days) is flanked by Animal Collective. There’s Liv Tyler bringing her son onstage to watch Kings of Leon (probably dating the whole band). Jessica Stam just walked by. Rosanna Arquette eats cantaloupe. Mary-Kate Olsen watches the show. Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon are there too. Miso too salty, chocolate cake too decadent. And when headliners Radiohead finally start playing, their music sounds so much better from behind the stage, muffled as it may be. It’s the music only very important ears get to hear.

Partying With Chloë (Again!)

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image Scene queen Sophia Lamar at last night’s Opening Ceremony celebration.

People everywhere—and by people, I mean bloggers—keep announcing that this is going to be one of the best Fashion Week weeks ever, and it has nothing to do with the clothes. The writers strike may have struck the Golden Globes, but it promises to leave New Yorkers star-struck. The glitterati have so few lines to memorize these days that they’ve come to flood the tents and fêtes with their shiny Hollywood presence.

Last night was a great taste of what the speakeasies and clubs are bound to look like this week: crammed. We came early to Webster Hall to help Chloë Sevigny celebrate her new line for Opening Ceremony, but it seemed as though our help was not required. What seemed like all of Williamsburg was there to applaud Sevigny’s quirky cool new line, so we were in good (if not excessive) company. Waiting (im)patiently in the dreary weather, we watched as Natasha Lyonne and Andy Samberg had a bit of trouble getting past the larger-than-life bouncers. Andy’s hair apparently had no trouble and went right in. Once inside I pretended to wait in yet another long line for the ladies’ room while really just checking out my hair and James Iha, who seemed to be doing the same in the boy’s line.

As I searched for Andy Samberg’s hair, I had to take stalking breaks to refill my drink. I ended up abandoning both impossible missions as Andy’s hair seemed to be on every boy’s head and the line to get a drink was long and filled with people who felt like stepping on my new shoes.

The highlights? Smoking openly, the cute guy in a beanie at the end of the bar, and seeing Sevigny walk up the street in a fabulous ensemble, the slick street her own personal runway—and we were front row.

Photos courtesy Patrick McMullan Company