Reuniting The World Nightclub

A Facebook friend asked me if it wasn’t time for a World reunion. He was referring to a joint I ran during its best incarnation back in the day. It had been around before me and survived a little while after I moved on. The World opened, I believe, on September 17th, 1987. That’s a little more than 25 years ago. I’ll quote some poet and say "Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now." I was so sure of what I was doing, knew everything I needed to thrive. The place was famously "gangstar.” Long before hip-hop and house were breaking mainstream, we went with it. We booked Public Enemy for the opening (my notes say I paid them $1200). I was paying big acts of those early years, like Kid and Play and Big Daddy Kane, like $400 to perform. My main floor DJs were David Morales, Frankie Knuckles, and David Piccioni (Black Market Records).

I declined being involved with the reunion thing. Three of the four owners are scattered to the winds, and the 4th, my friend the great Arthur Weinstein has sadly passed. Last I heard, Paul Garcia (who I never dealt with) was up in Martha’s Vineyard or someplace like that. Peter Frank was practicing law up in Kingston, NY, and Frank Roccio had fallen on hard times. He has a Facebook page that says he is living in Brooklyn. I wish him well.

Although I remember it fondly, I have no desire to go back and relive it – even for a night. It might be nice to see a few old friends, but Facebook allows me an occasional "hey, how ya doing," and that’s enough. There will never be another club like The World unless it’s post apocalypse. It was dangerous fun in a wild west kind of hood that was the Lower East Side of the late ’80’s. During the day, you could buy drugs and guns right there in front of the place. The buildings up and down the block were abandoned, and dealers would often cement themselves in and drop their products in tin cans to the needers below. That sort of atmosphere has been outlawed, at least in Manhattan, and although an underground scene still survives in the outer boroughs, it is comparatively safe, almost saccharine.

I wrote a story called “Five Easy Pieces," which named The World as one of the top five places of all time. The others were Studio 54, Area, Max’s Kansas City, and the Paradise Garage. Here’s The World excerpt.

"The World (254 East 2nd Street) was a mess. It was my fault, as I helped run it. It was where house went from the Paradise Garage crowd to the hipster crowd. It’s where hip hop broke out from the streets to everywhere. Public Enemy played, plus Salt-n-Pepa, and Beastie Boys, but also Bowie and Sinead and Bjork and even Neil Young. One night Pink Floyd rolled in unexpectedly and wowed us. It was a place where Keith Haring was arting up the bathroom stalls and Andy Warhol was calming me down. It was dangerous and smart. It was Caroline Herrera wearing a zillion dollars worth of emeralds while project kids popped and spun. Owner Peter Frank says, "The true stars of The World’s universe were the club kids and patrons … when they came through the doors, they became anyone they wanted to be." The building was torn down some years ago. Today the East Side Tabernacle resides on the first floor, while upstairs East Villagers listen to music that broke there  back in the day. Setlist: “Paid in Full” (Eric B and Rakim), “Yo Bum Rush” (Public Enemy), “Saturday Night” (Schooly D), “Open Your Heart” (Madonna), “Brass Monkey” (The Beastie Boys)."

Here’s an piece of an obit I wrote for Arthur after he passed:

"Art passed yesterday, after a courageous fight with cancer. Known to everyone with clout in the nightclub industry, Art was a familiar face for a few decades. He owned and operated some of the best clubs in history. The World, Hurrah, The Continental, and The Jefferson provided thousands of extraordinary nights for thousands of hipsters long before the word was unfortunately popularized. Everybody loved and respected him, even those who were over him. Even years after he had operated anything he could still get Calvin or Ian or Grace on the phone. Grace Jones recently paid a visit to him as he lay dying in his Chelsea Hotel apartment. He told me of hanging with Ian Schrager and David Bowie, who he called the White Knight. He never ceased to amaze me with stories of life in the fastest lane. It wasn’t the drugs or the booze that killed the beast, it was, as Carl Denham once said, beauty that killed him. He was trapped by the drug called clubs, its  kaleidoscope-like enchantment, its vision and pitfalls, and by his camera and his art. Arthur ignored the pitfalls, as he only saw the possibilities."

Consider this a reunion.

A Ghost from Christmas Past: Frank Roccio Is Alive

Its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, everywhere I go. As I sipped a Stella last night, the first alcohol I’ve had in many a moon, a cold wind swayed the Christmas lights decorating the food truck at Union Pool. We were there giving hugs, kisses, and presents to our friend Julia Jackson on the occasion of her birthday. The calendar swore it was still summer although the weather was decidedly un-August like, more like December. Most of the huddled hipsters were getting tight on the requisite PBR’s and cheap shots, as the chill told us that this particular summer of discontent had only a few weeks left in it. I, officially, am looking for a place to live not far from that particular cold hot spot in Williamsburg. Manhattan, with all it’s charms, will soon become a nice place to visit for me and mine. It isn’t the rent that’s driving me to the hinterland, but the relevance. Ten years ago I only went to Brooklyn for a Coney Island hot dog or an occasional steak at Lugers, but now I’m likely to be found at Don Panchos, or Café Collette, or Dumont, or a hundred other satisfying spots. Last night I had the best brownie and cup of coffee I ever had at Teddy’s. Tonight I’m going to play softball with strangers. The community boards have won, as far as I’m concerned. They have managed to turn the Big Apple into a bedroom community. They have managed to make Manhattan nightlife so sanitized, so predictable, that adventure must have a bridge or a tunnel involved. As I walked home across the bridge last night, I wrapped myself up against the fall-like easterlies coming from Manhattan and beyond, and thought that “the CITY’ was mostly cold these days, while Brooklyn is always cool.

As I talked about my new furniture and proximity to subway stops with my darling, part of my mind was distracted by a ghost of Christmas past. He flashed before my eyes yesterday while researching a story you will read in a week, or a few. It was a name forgotten by most. I was reading about an ancient sales tax case involving the Peppermint Lounge, a club that I frequented before I became Steve Lewis. It was a wondrous place of rock and roll and nefarious creatures. It was here that I first met Frank Roccio, who owned the Peppermint during it’s second incarnation. I worked with him at The World on east Second street when it was the best joint around. Everyone I know thought that Frank had passed. Yesterday, I found him on Facebook, and started to chat with him. He wants to be my friend and I decided I would accept if he could prove to me he knew the meaning of the word. Negotiations are ongoing.

It is impossible to make a list of the best clubs ever with out considering the Peppermint Lounge. It’s best days, or nights, were well before my time, although I was a wide-eyed patron in its later incarnation. The first Peppermint was small, with a capacity under 200. Located at 128 west 45th street, it was a favorite hang for Jackie Kennedy—who once made a temporary version of it in the White House. Michelle Obama ain’t going to do that with Beatrice. It was the early sixties when legends like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland, Capote, Sinatra, Liberace, and even Garbo came by to dance to that crazy faze,The Twist. There were movies (Hey Let’s Twist) and songs (The Peppermint Twist, Twisting the Night Away) and bands of note like The Beatles (yes those Beatles), The Beach Boys, and Liza Minnelli playing the room. It was gayer than straighter, and hip way before the word was invented, back when plaid was found mostly on kilts. According to everyone, as well as Wikipedia, the joint was operated by Matty “The Horse” Ianiello of the Genovese crime family. Back in the day, it was sort of, kind of, known, and accepted, that somebody connected to somebody or something was behind most joints in NYC.

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When the fad faded, the joint was converted to gayer than gay joint “Hollywood,” then to my favorite old haunt “G.G. Barnum’s Room.” Matty the Horse was still in the background, as transsexuals mixed with drag queens, wannabes, nobodies, and know-everybodies, and top models who hid amongst the crowd. I was captivated by it all, and developed my “gaydar” and club chops fast. In 1980 the name and place was resurrected, and I hung at the new Peppermint Lounge. It was there that I first saw and met Grandmaster Flash, Billy Idol, The Go-Go’s, Afrika Bambaatta, Joan Jett, and I think Bananarama. A different generation of celebrities twisted their nights away, including Bowie, Jagger, and all the rockers, stylists, sex pots, and fabulous of that time. The place moved to 100 Fifth Avenue, and Frank Roccio and Tom Goodkind became the faces in front of the faces. As the fabulous drank and snorted indictments — and eventual convictions — stories enthralled commuters as the tabloids told of sex, drugs, rock and roll, and the mob that masterminded the whole affair. It was big news and exciting to people like me who warmed themselves on the heat of the scandal, and ached to rub shoulders with the real deal players who lurked in corners and behind the scenes.

Roccio found me a few years later when he was opening the World. He eavesdropped on a staff meeting I was having in the back room of the Holiday on St. Marks. He tapped me as his right hand, and I learned a business from him that is no longer recognizable by today’s partiers. The powers that be have rightfully changed the stuff that dreams are made of. The action has been banished to boroughs and foreign countries. After distractions led to failures, Frank Roccio dropped out, and no one I know had heard of him for years. When he didn’t show up for his old partner Arthur Weinstein’s funeral or The World, reunion, most assumed the worst. For some, it was felt to be for the best. I had many a big beef with Frank over the years, as he crossed me, and seemed to have crossed so many others. I remember some of the bad, but also a great deal of the great times I spent with him. We were once fiends. The World can sometimes twist a soul and make it dance to a tune that they never liked, or never wanted. Sometimes you just get caught up in it, and you become someone you don’t recognize, as you take your morning shave. I’ve been there. I debated this yesterday as I shivered my way over the Williamsburg Bridge—whether or not to reestablish a dialogue with this ghost of Christmas past, to fly by the candle again. My wings are still singed form getting too close to the heat when I, and the scene, was hot. It’s a double edged sword. On one level I wouldn’t mind talking someone who was actually there, about a time, and old friends, and places that my memory sometimes struggles to remember. On the other hand, I don’t need the grief that has always, eventually resulted in my encounters with Frank. I’m a big boy and can generally take a punch, generally take care of myself, so I guess I’ll buy him lunch and fill in some blanks

Uncle Steve to Father Steve: Club Dads Over the Years

I spent yesterday in Queens with my family celebrating Father’s Day. It was real nice, underscoring what is important in this world, at least for me. Dad is my reality star, having fought in World War 2 and survived a Great Depression that makes our own woes seem trivial, and raising us kids with his old school and honest values. Mom and him have been together for over 60 years. When I got back to Manhattan, it was off to Goldbar to say goodbye to Natalie Glanzman, who has been my assistant for a bit. There was a birthday party for a friend as well, and everyone was to wear lingerie or bed clothes. Seemed like a good idea on paper, but looked quite odd in reality. Goldbar honcho Jon Lennon told me that he always considered me one of his club fathers, me and Mark Baker both. We’re his co-dads. I got a lot of that yesterday on Facebook, and in texts from people who see me in this light. Uncle Steve might graduate to Father Steve if I stick around long enough. After 2 marriages and no kids, I just assumed I had been shooting blanks.

Survival in club-land isn’t all that easy, and it’s arguable that I didn’t actually survive my club career as I was put out to pasture by the powers that be a bit earlier than I wanted. Still, I had a good run and am proud of much of what I have done. So many of our city’s owner/operators worked with me over the years. I hope I was a positive influence. It is nice to have bright, successful people give me props. I, myself, have many fathers besides dad to thank.

My first club father was Rudolf. Under him I learned the value of “fabulous” at Danceteria, and later, the Palladium. His partner at Danceteria, John Argento, taught me to temper the “fabulous” with a common sense, bottom line focus. I learned from them that almost anyone can actually make money in this business—just look around at the fools doing it today. Also, almost anyone can make the place fun, exciting and well, fabulous—but to do both, to make it fabulous and make money, is an art. I approached all my club endeavors with this attitude. Rudolf is in Brazil having opened over 75 joints, and John has a place in New Jersey making money, selling booze.

The greatest club dad I ever had was Steve Rubell. I was the director of the Palladium under Steve and Ian Schrager. Steve’s Rolodex of bold face names was unparalleled. He new everyone. He was always the brightest, most charismatic guy in the room. He taught me how to spend money to make money. He taught me the importance of detail. He personally hired every single employee. They represent you and your brand. I could write for hours about what I learned form Steve and Ian. Steve passed years ago and Ian has a hotel empire.

Maurice Brahms and his partner Angelo were pure grit. They taught me to watch every dollar, and the importance of people you can trust. Maurice had Infinity, the Underground, Redzone, and eventually the Palace de Beaute. He is largely forgotten, even though his joints were often the best in town. He rarely stepped on my toes. He wanted to know why, but let me and mine run it, recognizing that is what we were good at. He was the most honest man I ever met in the world of clubs, and I learned that honesty with staff and in business has rewards far beyond the bottom line. He works with a national health club chain and we remain friends

Peter Gatien built an empire with Michael Alig, myself, and a cast of characters that books and movies rarely describe correctly. At our peak we had Palladium, Tunnel, Limelight, and USA—four clubs that should figure in everyone’s top twenty. Unfortunately, Peter was the greediest of them all. His drive took him to the top of the heap, but his need to have it all left him empty. I learned how to delegate and the importance of the door under Peter. He valued sound, lights and a great DJ in coordination with the social/promoter scene I had mastered. He made me better at my job. Peter is living in Canada. An exile, not on main street, with his club Circa taken from him. I hear he is not well, and I wish him happiness and peace of mind.

Frank Roccio, Arthur Weinstein, and Peter Frank were also some of my dads. The World on East 2nd street was one of the top 5 joints there ever was. I was its director. Frank Roccio pushed me out front, where I dealt with guns, creeps, wannabe’s and real be’s. It was violence waiting to happen, and deals were made with the devil just to open the doors. Frank helped me grow my balls. There was no backing down for me, I stood up and fought the good fight and learned from him that the street is where it all comes from. The music, the fashion, and the ideas all come from the gutter. Arthur took nothing for himself that he wasn’t going to give back to the crowd immediately. He taught me about the lights, and the importance of the show. He was always comfortable with the little people and made the rich, talented, and powerful prove themselves everyday. Phrases like “What have you done lately?” or “So what?” dressed blustering swells and pseudo celebs down. Peter Frank was aware he was swimming with sharks, but managed to keep the unmanageable afloat. In the end, intellect will get you through when experience and balls aren’t enough. His thought process, honed at Harvard, defined my future. Arthur passed and everyone assumes Frank has as well. Peter’s fate is almost as bad. He’s a lawyer in upstate New York.

There were many others that I worked with who taught me so much. Barry Gutin and Larry Cohen in Philly, Suzanne Bartsch, Steven Greenberg, and many more showed me better ways to operate. But these were my club dads. They taught me more than I taught them, and I am always thankful. I had a good run in clubs. I saw a list the other day of the top 10 joints of all time, and I ran 5 of them. It’s nice now, looking back and being called Uncle Steve and such, and the Fathers Day greetings were cute. Any success I may have had was owed to the people I’ve learned from, because of the opportunities I had working for so many brilliant men. Isaac Newton said about the physicists who preceded him: “If I have seen further than other men, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

I’ll Give You the World

On August 7th there will be a reunion for the World, a club that I have declared one of the 5 best of all time. My part in the history of the World came when I was a thin, unstoppable, whirlwind of substance and fluff with the requisite model wife and an ego that jostled with my reputation and anyone that got in my way. I weighed a buck thirty-five with bugged blue eyes and I was having a meeting with my staff at the Holiday on St. Marks Place. The Holiday was my “office” back in 1986. The owner—Stefan—never minded. I’d sit there for hours sipping Cokes and meeting models and promoters, building my little empire on beer- soaked wood tables and café chairs. The meeting was about some fashion extravaganza we were hosting at Danceteria —or was it at Café American? Or was it Café Americano? Anyway, it’s Nobu now. We were organized. We were doing 100 shows a year. Ivy Bernhard was doing hair and makeup. Cee Cee Borisovitch was putting the right ass in the right dress with the right shoes. We had a PR team landing us in important papers constantly and a promotional team bringing thousands to everything we did. We were bringing events in from London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam—and Houston and New Orleans as well.

What I didn’t know was that I was being watched. A man with long gray hair in the corner booth was listening to every word. He had a joint that almost always made it but never really did. In this business almost anyone can make money and almost anyone can do cool, but to do cool and make money requires a certain type of smarts and a certain type of cool and few can do both. A few months later the gray haired man asked me to run The World. His name was Frank Roccio and he’s a man who might still be alive but nobody is looking for him—and that includes people he owes money to, which some say would sell out Yankee Stadium. He doesn’t owe me loot. He tried that once, and I explained how bad an idea that was to him. I was feisty in my youth. The World was a club on East 2nd Street near Avenue B that had an on-again, off-again history with moments of magnificence. It was sometimes opened and almost always closed soon after.

Making money on Avenue B and 2nd in those days came mostly from guns and drugs and a few bodegas. It was a burnt-out block which hosted an open air flea market where anything illegal could be purchased from the fleas. Frank booked a flight to L.A. and me and my lovely, and his daughter checked into the Sunset Marquis to plan a club that would matter and make money. Frank felt going West would give us room to breath and think.

Our plan was to embrace the social scene, the fashion scene, the gay and not-too-straight scene that I was hooked into. Back then I could draw a thousand people to watch me eat lunch. We would couple my following with music being played in underground clubs like Black Market and Choice and the Paradise Garage. We were going to shove this sound up their tight asses. It was like Obi-Wan Kenobi, ”You will like hip hop… you will like house music.” And so they did. Everyone paid to get in back then unless you were in a band, worked at another joint (club courtesy), or told us you couldn’t afford to. If they couldn’t pay, but liked the place enough to keep coming we gave them a job. We always had room for a busboy or coat check or a go-go dancer or a flyer distributor.

We opened in September 1987 with Public Enemy onstage. I paid them $1,100. I followed with Kid and Play and krs1. I was paying bands that would become national acts $300 bucks because it was young and we were hip. We moved Frankie Knuckles in from Chicago and gave David Morales an opportunity to play House instead of the freestyle I was used to hearing from him.

We were, in the words of legendary co-owner Arthur Weinstein, “a hit.” The “Dean Johnson Rock and Roll Fag Bar” was the best Tuesday in town. We added Larry Levan to our Wednesday to keep the juggernaught moving forward. Bowie played the room and Neil Young and Sinead and Bjork and even Pink Floyd. Celebrities slummed with the kids from the projects and the club kids, who were just finding their niche. After the first year we smashed through the walls into the tenement next store rousted the addicts and called it “IT” and it was 3 floors of grand: Caroline Herrara wearing legendary emeralds while hip-hop kids mouthed lyrics that should have made her nervous, is a fond memory. It was Madonna, Brooke Shields, Stephen Sprouse and Prince surrounded by paupers, fashion addicts and drug addicts. It was sometimes dangerous but that was very much a part of its charm. Andy Warhol would pop in and a tuxedoed Steve Rubell. I learned from him to often wear a tux even if you weren’t coming from somewhere. It made them think you were just from some swell uptown affair and that was the conversation for the evening. Assholes lurked in the shadows and games of cops and robbers were always a part of the challenge.

The club died as newer slicker joints embraced the 90’s. I moved on to do Redzone when the money could never be enough to cover the legit expenses and the ever expanding special needs of those involved. The reunion will be one of many slated for the next few months. There’s a Mudd Club shin-dig coming up and a Save the Robots soiree’ too. The Nells crew will get a night at their old space once it’s completely redone for the new decade for the new wonderboys Scott Sartiano and Richie Akiva. It has a name and I’m just dying to tell you but alas that’s another story. Nostalgic revivals of long extinct spots wont bring back those days or make us any younger. It won’t justify our actions or apologize for our misdeeds from years ago or raise the dead or rekindle romances. However, we learned from the Danceteria reunion that it’s nice to catch up with people we crossed paths with a long time ago on our way to today.

Industry Insiders: Michael Ault, International Spy

Michael Ault, owner of the Pangaea clubs in Austin and elsewhere and the man behind legendary New York clubs like Spy and Chaos, checks in with the scene (New York) where he once reigned.

How did you start in the nightclub business? Growing up in Palm Beach in the 1970s, every night was a party. All the families on the social scene were expected to host large events at their homes, mostly charity balls and large dinners. Both my mother and father’s family took this ethos to extreme lengths. So as a child, most of what I recall were large parties, planning, logistics, caterers, florists, car parkers, bands, guest lists, phone books, and fun. No one ever considered them “businesses,” because they weren’t, but they were extremely complicated productions to produce and promote. To be completely frank with you, I’m not certain that I was ever really a component of the nightclub business. In many ways, the concept of a business and “party” are often mutually exclusive. If you’re concentrating on the business, you’ll often lose sight of the party. And naturally the reverse is invariably true. But to answer your question, my first clubs as an owner were Merc Bar and Surf Club.

What are the places you have owned or been affiliated with? During the 1980s, I promoted virtually every major club in New York City. I did a lot of openings, or closings, mostly one-offs. I can’t recall them all, but certain rooms stand out; The World, Tunnel, Palladium, Area, Visage, Club A, Regine’s, MK, Zulu, Maxime’s, Mars, Au Bar, and Tavern on The Green. By the mid-1990s, however, I really felt that the scene was missing something. The excitement of the 1980s was gone, no one was dressing up, no sense that anything could happen or would happen. The mix had evaporated, and everything was quite flat. I wanted to try something really outrageous, a synthesis of Blade Runner, a haunted house, a New Orleans bordello, and the Soho loft none of us could afford. That was the birth of Spy Bar. Spy changed everything. Spy had such a sublime aspect to it; the energy, the way people moved and mixed. Spy really launched the international lounge craze. Although, so few really got it right.

When we built Chaos, the next year, it was really a product of Spy, plus two fresh concepts, house music and bottle service. We went on to build other Chaoses in Sao Paolo and South Beach. Towards the end of the Chaos run, the concept had drifted somewhat, as had the city. Nightlife was fairly pedestrian. I needed something new, something super-intimate, wacky; something that transported me to another world, that might bring us all together again. So two weeks after 9/11, I opened Pangaea. It was a smash. I don’t think anyone has had that much fun since. I went on to build one at The Hard Rock Casino in Florida, Marbella, Spain, and Austin, Texas.

What do you feel has changed? For better, or worse? The scene has changed so completely, it’s unrecognizable. There are very, very few really creative people in the business. It’s mostly about making money, which they most often don’t. Most operators would not know a great party if it fell on them. The bottle concept was ruined and taken to ridiculous lengths. When you bring bottle service to a city, as we did in New York, Miami, Sao Paulo, and Austin, you must remember: it’s not about the bottle, it’s about service. It’s about creating an intimate party where people can pour their own drink, and more importantly, others. It’s the best way to meet someone — “Hi, would you like to join me at my table, what are you drinking.” Sadly, the concept was squandered. Now it’s a tool to rip people off. Greed and excess can destroy everything, as it has the club business.

What has affected nightlife most? The wrong people are driving the bus. And the regulatory environment is absurd.

Is there another city that you think may have better nightlife now? Definitely. A few cities that come to mind: Berlin Barcelona, Marrakech, Amsterdam, Oslo, Moscow, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Kiev, Cape Town, Milan, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Krakow, Madrid, Shanghai, and many in between. Although I think New York has some very good operators, and a few extremely creative and talented hosts. Generally, the restaurants are much more fun.

What are your current projects? We have two very large clubs at the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida: a Pangaea and The Gryphon. In a few weeks, we’ll be starting our fifth year. We’ve been blessed with a fabulous team in Florida, and both clubs continue to rage very hard indeed. Since we opened, we’ve seen a few generations of South Beach clubs come and go. South Florida will always be a great market, but with the economy in such dire condition, one must be very careful. I also have an enormous Pangaea in Austin, Texas. It’s by far my most beautiful space. It really is a complete African safari lodge, within a 9,000-square-foot 1860s brick warehouse. And of course, Austin is a wild party. Great-looking kids that really are determined to have fun. The combination is truly a spectacle.

Projections: I’ve been looking at spaces elsewhere in Texas, California, Arizona, Europe, and flying to Dubai next week. I like East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Traveling to new cities, discovering the complexities of a market, meeting everyone, designing, staffing, building, and ultimately, operating nightclubs is incredibly exciting. I’ll do it anywhere. Secretly, I am plotting to come back to New York and take a fresh swing at it.

Is there any person or place in New York that you feel is doing it right? Nur Khan always does a great job. His opinions and perspective are purely authentic. He knows what he likes, what his friends like, and he keeps his eye on that goal. Wax was so much fun. Studio 54 can never be topped, and the same is true of Area, but the Golden Age was Spy and Wax. However, with that said, there are so many people in the business that I sincerely love. I’ll go out generally just to see them all. It’s a wild, dark world, and as you might imagine, some bizarre people inhabit it. Most of us have been competitors over the decades, sometimes partners. And although most of us have been deeply scarred by the business, usually by each other, there’s still a lot of love between us all.

When you are in New York, where do you go out? I love bouncing through the restaurants. It’s easier to see and speak to people. If you see me at a club, I’m likely to be building a new team for the next adventure.

Lagerfeld Fashions Desert Homes

imageTry crowning the fashion capital of the world — cases can be made for London, Milan, Paris, or New York. But a collaboration between Karl Lagerfeld and a Dubai developer is looking to seal the deal for the burgeoning emirate. With a little help from Lagerfeld, “Isla Moda” will literally serve as the fashion capital of The World. One of the islands in Dubai’s global-replica island chain will feature a collection of 80 “limited edition” homes designed by Lagerfeld. Say hello to haute real estate. “Isla Moda has tremendous potential to be the style icon of the future,” says Lagerfeld, “and I intend on driving the island to high style stardom.”

Along with financial backing and the island canvas, Lagerfeld will be supported in his quest by the fashion fans and architectural artistes of Dubai, and will be followed by four more designers contributing to the construction of this fashion microcosm. Isla Moda will not be the first locale to rise to the top of the purebred-eat-purebred world of competitive couture, but it’ll be the first place built from the ground up with high fashion in mind every step of the way.