Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lookonline Celebrating 20 Years On-Line

Press Release: Gala Cocktail Party Sunday, December 7th Celebrating Lookonline.com's 20 years online from 2PM-5PM at place to be announced. Contact: Ernest Schmatolla 212-734-9747

The "Godfather" of Fashion Websites

Original Invitation to the 1994 launch party
Over 800 attended the event at Sony Plaza

Lookonline.com is the longest running on-line fashion publication (of any kind) in the world. Before there was Style.com, Hypermode.com, FashionInternet.com, NYstyle.com, Fashionmall.com, Elle.com, hairnet.com, Hintmag.com and even Fashion.net, there was us. We have not always garnered the attention, funding or notoriety of some of these fashion sites, but those in our industry, who have followed Lookonline's development over the years, know we helped pioneer the use of the Internet in providing real-time coverage of fashion events, regularly scheduled video reports, fashion blogs (DFR: Daily Fashion Report has been in blog format for almost 14 years and is recognized as the first fashion blog), market reports, editorial cartoons and original runway and event photography long before there were sites like Style.com or Fashionweekdaily.
Our guiding editorial principle: "It is not how many people read us but who reads us that counts"
Since our official launch was on December 1, 1994 as a dial-up service (does anyone even remember what a BBS service is or was?), the Lookonline has been on-line "officially" for 20 years. Our first subscriber was Harper's Bazaar in 1994,, but it was not until December of 1994 we began a website (hosted under another domain name) in addition to our BBS site. Later in 1995, we discontinued our BBS service and concentrated on developing our website using our own domain name 'lookonline.com'.

I want to personally thank our many contributors who, over the past 20 years, have helped support our site. First and foremost my editor-in-chief, Marilyn Kirschner, whose fashion expertise and determination has set the tone for our editorial coverage. And former editor Bernadine Morris for many years lending her name, expertise and guiding hand. Also special mention goes to Randy Brooke, an exceptional photographer who is always there when we need him; and Diane Clehane for providing us with first class coverage of major fashion and entertainment events. Also special thanks goes to Susan Sommers for her timely suggestions including coming up with the name "Lookonline".,

Kudos to our senior writers, Rhonda Erb, Lieba Nesis and Laurel Marcus for their great work covering the many shows, parties, press events and special assignment reporting required to give our editorial greater depth. Also a special shout out to photographers Udor Rothenko and Isabelle Erb; writers Stacy LommanTricia Kenney, Eila MellMelanie McKinzie, Adriene Weinfeld-Berg, Alexander Erb, Anna Bayle, Muriel Geny-Triffaut, Logan Bentley Lessona, Tobin LevySally Lourenco, Sarah Valdez, and Laurie Schechter for their past contributions and to Grace Mirabella, the former editor-in-chief of Vogue, for hosting our first three 'Master of Fashion Video Interviews'.

Additionally, I want to thank our sponsors Ty Yorio of Citadel Security Agency and Eddie Mullon of FashionGPS for their generous support. Finally, a special thanks to my wife, Deborah Brumfield, who all these years has sustained me in my efforts. Without her, none of it would have been possible

- Ernest Schmatolla

New York Fashion Kool-Aid

Shirtstorm: A Tempest In A Science Lab?

Mr. Matt Taylor in offending shirt
(Photo: AP)

Many years from now (or knowing how the internet works, maybe tomorrow) the time we are presently living in will naturally acquire a moniker. I propose: "The era of the Global Attire Apology." Lately it seems that sartorially speaking, we are a culture of extremes that just can't be pleased. No matter how ill advised an item of clothing or an entire outfit may be, should we be shamed into apologizing for it? My first case in point would have to be the aptly named "Shirtstorm" brought on by one particularly clueless British physicist, Dr. Matt Taylor. This no doubt brilliant, yet tatted-up-with-sleeves-and- thigh design-of-the-Rosetta-mission, man managed to engineer the comet landing of the Philae space probe but couldn't figure out that a bowling shirt printed with voluptuous scantily clad women toting space guns (even though it was made and gifted to him by a female friend) might send the wrong message to those on earth, particularly the increasingly verbal Gamergate and Tumblr feminists who are, shall we say, "having a moment."

After the outcry reached a critical mass and basically overshadowed the scientific achievement, Dr. Taylor decided to make an apology on a Google hangout where he cried and called the wearing of the "offensive" shirt a "big mistake." And what was he wearing for that appearance? He took one out of the "Mark Zuckerberg Normcore Uniform" playbook and wore what I'd like to call, the "hoodie of shame" although it had the Rosetta logo on it making it completely appropriate. See Video click here to play In an interesting twist of further "misogyny," a similar shirt known as "Gunner Girls" with the same fabric as the objectionable one, quickly sold out online and has been placed on an eight week reorder. See website here.

Dr. Taylor has been accused of promulgating the "good old boys" network of science or STEM, however it doesn't seem to have phased his female colleagues at the ESA (European Space Agency) who probably just know him as a quirky guy perhaps along the lines of Doc Brown in "Back To The Future," who wore Hawaiian shirts. Otherwise it seems likely that one of these women (or even a slightly media savvy male) might have suggested he "rethink his wardrobe" especially for an important TV appearance, much like Julia Roberts as mini skirted Erin Brockovich was told to do when she joined a law firm and needed to be taken seriously. (Of course, she wasn't having it and retorted that her boss might want to "rethink" his ties and that as long as she had "one ass instead of two" she would continue to wear what she wanted).

Urban Outfitters Kent State Sweatshirt

Other recent apologies have come from several mass market clothing chains who either employ morons or sick jokesters. Examples of these are the Urban Outfitters Kent State red tie-dyed sweatshirt which resembled a bloodied mess reminiscent of the shootings there in the '70s and a Zara's children's striped shirt emblazoned with a large yellow star recalling a holocaust prisoners uniform. Both companies apologized once outed for any "unintended similarities" to that which they were compared and quickly withdrew the errant items. In an apparent attempt for a quick laugh which was supposed to be renamed before going live online, Walmart had to eat crow for featuring a line of plus-size Halloween offerings as "Fat Girl Costumes."

Katy Perry

Then there are the "cultural appropriations," those who don an outfit indigenous to another culture than their own ie. Katy Perry in Geisha clothing for her performance of "Unconditionally" at last year's American Music Awards which was termed "racist." It's ironic that Madonna did that many decades ago and it was just called art or a tribute. Similarly, Selena Gomez took heat for wearing a sparkly bindi (a Hindu religious ornament) during a performance of "Come and Get It" during the MTV Movie Awards, also last year. To my knowledge, neither of these performers ever addressed the backlash and I don't think they should as it seems clear that these performances were both beautiful and done in a spirit of honoring the cultures that they were accused of "appropriating." Is it too farfetched to think that a woman wearing a fabric with an animal print will soon be accused of "species appropriation"?

I suggest that the logical conclusion is that we all start apologizing for everything we've ever worn that could be construed as offensive, off-color, insensitive, tacky or just butt-ugly. I'm sure that there are plenty of bad prom dresses, leisure suits, bell bottoms, "obscene" fish ties--hell, how about any of the fashions from the entire '80s, that we should be doing penance for. A friendly reminder: brace yourselves for those soon-to-be trotted out abysmal yet campy, hideously ugly Christmas sweaters that someone should be atoning for.

Roselyn Sanchez 

On the other hand, I wonder what it says about those who leave off an article of clothing particularly undergarments, as well as donning entirely sheer dresses (Rihanna at the CFDA Awards, Roselyn Sanchez at the Latin Grammys, Kim Kardashian just about every day) that they never feel contrite. This is the last offshoot of the "wardrobe malfunction" as demonstrated by Janet Jackson who may or may not have meant to expose her breast to the entire Super Bowl audience, thereby coining the term and the 5 second broadcasting delay (which will most likely be deployed during Iggy Azalea and J-Lo's "Booty" performance this Sunday at the AMA's).

J.Lo and Iggy Azalea

Once we went down that slippery slope it seems not a day goes by that some actress/singer can't keep her breasts under wraps or her privates private. They are allowed to show or celebrate the female form whereas it's termed as sexism if a man does it. The fact that they are unrepentant attention whores certainly gets the "haters gonna hate" juices flowing and inspires yet a different type of ire. Where's that spare hoodie when you need it?



- Laurel Marcus

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Apollo Circle Benefit & The Cubism Exhibition - A Perfect Combination


The venue
(All photos Lieba Nesis)
Click on images for larger views

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Apollo Circle held its eleventh anniversary gala from 9PM to 12AM in the Temple of Dendur wing at the museum. The Apollo Circle, which was founded in 1997, is a membership group for young friends of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, ages 21-39. The black-tie event included dancing, cocktails, and hors d'oeuvres with flowers and special lighting illuminating the grand room of Dendur. The funds raised support the Metropolitan Museum of Art's conservation department.

Daisy Yu, Kristi Kirksey, & Ashley Roth

This year the sold-out event was immense with many commenting on the unprecedented crowd. The importance of this evening cannot be underestimated as it gets young people involved in charity work, and gives the museum a way to reach out to future donors and court the progeny of current contributors. The sponsor of the event was Maiyet, the luxury fashion brand which was founded in 2011, and makes ready-to-wear clothing, jewelry, handbags and shoes with an emphasis on masterful workmanship in their products.

Tamara Zhukova & Dmitry Razin

This night celebrated the Cubism exhibition donated by Leonard A. Lauder, and being shown at the museum from October 20-February 16, 2015. The collection contains paintings, collages, drawings, and sculptures by the four preeminent Cubist artists: Georges Braque, Juan Gris, Fernand Leger and Pablo Picasso.  The references to Cubism were omnipresent in the apparel of the night's attendees with numerous women appearing in black & white gowns adorned with square shapes. Furthermore, Maiyet is offering a special collection of scarves in an ode to the Cubism exhibit and there will undoubtedly be numerous references to square shapes in the showings of many designers.

Leandra Medine & Abie Cohen

The crowd this year did not disappoint with their fashion choices, wearing elegant gowns from Badgley Mischka, Valentino, Maiyet and Ralph Lauren. Leandra Medine, from the fashion website "Man Repeller," joined the event as a guest of Maiyet, clad in one of their beautiful red evening dresses. This was Leandra's first time at this affair but she was excited to celebrate Maiyet whose designs she loves because she said, "they are unfussy and highly elegant." Unlike the women who came dressed in multicolored, vivid evening wear, the men were in classic tuxedos with only a select few spicing it up with silver vests and sequined suits.

Tessa Morehouse, &  Steve Karan

There were many on hand to observe the fashion at this significant event with Refinery29 Senior Style Editor Annie Georgia Greenberg in the crowd trying to assess whether the attendees had achieved the ultimate goal of appearing "dressed up with effortlessness." One person who fit this description was Amazonian designer Tessa Morehouse, of the fashion label "Velvet Antler," who was striking in a feathered black dress. Morehouse lamented the absence of women with flair and attitude at this gathering, preferring to play it safe with beautiful and demure attire. Despite the current lewdness displayed at celebrity award shows and in numerous magazines, the crowd this evening was surprisingly modest allowing the beauty of their varied shapes and styles to take center stage.

Sam Kidd, Ruth Mauldin & Samantha Lynch

There were some fashion trends on display that were worth noting. First, black & white was ubiquitous and by far the most prevalent color combination of the evening with few solid black gowns in the group. Secondly, scarlet and blood red was abundant, with dresses lightly accessorized so as to highlight the drama of the gown. Thirdly, white, even in its summery version, remains a viable fashion choice, even for one of the coldest nights of the year. Lastly, women come in all shapes and sizes, and there were many voluptuous women who were dressed in colors and sparkles refusing to remain invisible in black ensembles (thank you Adele and Lena Dunham).

Rachel Besser & Annie Georgia Greenberg

As the clock struck midnight, the crowd began to thin while DJ Brendan Fallis and Hannah Bronfman continued to spin their tunes with a more manageable dance floor.  The attendees were waiving their napkins and yelling the tunes with a friend observing how special it was to dance around in the midst of a 2,000 year old temple.  This evening remains one of the premier events in the social calendar of the elite young New Yorker because it combines history and modernity, not unlike the Cubist collection being celebrated at this unique gathering.





- Lieba Nesis

Pratt Institute’s Legends 2014


All photos Patrick McMullan Company/Owen Hoffmann
(Click  images for larger views)

On Thursday, November 20, I, along with fashion designers Mary McFadden and Catherine Malandrino; Paper Magazine’s David Herschkovits and Mickey Boardman; Elle’s editor-in-Chief Michael Boodro; New York Magazine’s design editor Wendy Goodman; editor in chief of Architectural Digest Margaret Russell; publicist James La Force; Fern Mallis, filmmaker Albert Maysles (his latest is a documentary on Iris Apfel), and many others, attended Pratt Institute’s Legends 2014. Chaired by Pratt Trustee David Waltentas and his wife Jane (they founded Two Trees Management Company), the annual scholarship benefit honors icons of art and design whose “works have helped shape our cultural landscape”. Held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the gala (cocktail reception, dinner and award ceremony) raises funds for merit and need-based scholarships, which is important because 80 percent of Pratt students receive financial aid to pursue their education.

Pratt Trustee, Gala Chair and founding principal of Two Trees Management Company David Walentas, NYFW Creator Fern Mallis

Since their inception in 1990, the Awards have traditionally celebrated those individuals in the worlds of art and design, whose accomplishments and values resonate with those of Pratt. Past Legends Awards recipients (individuals in the worlds of art and design whose accomplishments and values resonate with those of Pratt) include Laurie Anderson, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, David Easton, Pete Hamill, Marc Jacobs, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Meier, Beverly Pepper, David Rockwell, Margaret Russell, Patti Smith, Julie Taymor, James Turrell, Bruce Weber, William Wegman, Robert Wilson, and Eva Zeisel.


Irish Apfel, David Yurman & Kim Hastreiter

There were three very deserving honorees this year: Iris Apfel, David Yurman, and Kim Hastreiter. The tireless 93 year old style icon and interior designer Iris Apfel arrived with Nigerian fashion designer Duro Olowu, who also presented her award. Fittingly, the designer is known for his exuberant use of prints and color, and while this can also describe Iris’s personal aesthetic, last night she was quite subdued in a black Mongolian lamb accessorized with her signature bangles and necklaces.

PAPER Magazine Editorial Director Mickey Boardman,
PAPER Mag Creative Director Drew Elliott, Honoree Kim Hastreiter,
Henny Garfunkel & Albert Maysles

Designer and CEO David Yurman, a sculptor, artist and artisan whose jewelry can be thought of as a work of art, received his award from Paul Greenhaigh, director of the Sainsbury Center for Visual Arts). PAPER magazine co-founder and editor-in-chief Kim Hastreiter accepted her award from Padma Lakshmi, the award winning author, model, and host of Bravo’s Emmy Award winning show, Top Chef.  Speaking of which, you must be living under a rock if you don’t know what’s been ‘cooking’ with Kim and Paper these days. (Does Kim Kardashian and her celebrated high gloss rear end, ring a bell?)

Edgar Battista & Fashion Designer Mary McFadden

I chose a beloved vintage Geoffrey Beene architecturally shaped quilted short coat for the evening, one which never fails to elicit oohs and aahs. (Of course, it’s impossible to think of great design without thinking about the late great designer). And coincidentally, in my mind, Kim and Paper are always inextricably linked. I'll never forget the time I interviewed him at his 57th Street atelier in 2002. I noted that the only magazine he had on his desk, was Paper. He actually admitted that he didn’t look at any fashion publications other than Paper. When I asked him why, he told me “The reason I like 'Paper' is I don't know who the audience is. I know Kim (Hastreiter, its editor and founder) very well and I respect her. She's probably the most open-minded of editors - whatever her magazine is. It's the only one I advertise in, and Kim knows that. I've just taken out a double page for May and I haven't advertised a dress in years. I don't know who her audience is and that sort of fascinates me."



New York Magazine Design Editor Wendy Goodman,
& Artist Alexander Vethers

Their long mutual admiration society was solidified when he wrote her a fan letter in 1988 after Andre Walker wrote an article in the magazine and borrowed a dress from Geoffrey which he proceeded to style in a very “unorthodox way”, which he loved. Still, I could not help but wonder how Geoffrey (the epitome of refined taste) would feel about the Kim Kardashian cover and inside pages, which, according to Ms. Hastreiter, came about with one goal in mind: the staff of Paper wanted to "Break The Internet" with their winter 2014 issue (it hits the newsstands next week). But then again, he was ultra-modern: the ultimate rule breaker with a divinely wicked sense of humor, so needless to say, he would probably love it (or at the very least, “get it”) which is precisely what Kim said, when I posed the question.





- Marilyn Kirschner

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In the Market: FGI's Tastemaker Series

Ralph's "ALT"er Ego

Maybe FGI (www.fgi.org) should stand for "Fashion Group Intelligence", rather than Fashion Group International. Is it my imagination, or do the powers that be at FGI have some sort of prescient, divining powers? In this past month alone, they have shone the spotlight on designers who were not only deserving of the honors, but who, as it turns out, had found themselves in the center of things, extremely of the moment, and newsworthy.

Case in point, at their annual Night of Stars held on October 31, one of the star fashion honorees was Peter Copping. While he had originally been selected, (months prior), for this work at the helm of Nina Ricci in Paris, just 4 days before the evening, Oscar de la Renta passed away, and Peter would be formally named the company’s creative director by Eliza Reed Bolen (Oscar himself had actually made this selection). The event turned out to be a fitting tribute to the beloved Oscar, and a formal welcome to New York/coming out party for Copping; a designer who had been under the radar on this side of the Atlantic (in fact, many in attendance admitted they did not even know what he looked like).

The most recent example was yesterday’s Tastemaker Series (the bi annual event centers around breakfast or lunch at an iconic restaurant and features an intimate conversation between a revered fashion designer and a famed editor). On the menu at yesterday’s lunch at Le Cirque (along with risotto with pomegranates and sea bass) was a talk between two fashion icons and good friends: Andre Leon Tally and Ralph Rucci. What kept it from being predictably interesting, informative and entertaining, and made it quite topical, is that just about one week ago, Ralph had announced that after 30 years as designer at the helm of his eponymous label, he would be leaving the company. It was obvious this would be a topic of conversation and jumping off point for the discourse. Indeed, when I spotted Ralph chatting with Linda Fargo and Constance White, I couldn’t resist asking him how long before the formal announcement was made, had he actually contemplated this move. He diplomatically answered that he really could not address that. But he was quick to say that there is something “very exciting” in his future, and while he wouldn’t divulge exactly what it was right now, he promised he would in the near future.

FGI President Margaret Hayes noted that this was only the 2nd Le Cirque lunch and as a stickler for keeping to schedules, she joked that everyone should eat and drink quickly (“you have 25 minutes” she said), after which she promised a conversation between two “charismatic icons” (“on different but converging paths”). Not that they needed introductions, but Ms. Hayes introduced Ralph Rucci as both an accomplished artist and world renowned designer and couturier, and Andre Leon Talley, who she described as an expert on all things fashion. As she put it, “Andre is often quoted as saying that he is usually always right”. This got a laugh: the first of many during the course of this lively, impromptu love fest which was unlike the others. Instead of being a true one on one interview conducted by an editor with a designer, each equally got to ask questions of the other, and they both shared intimate, revealing, often wonderfully funny recollections from the past (after Ralph posed some questions to Andre, the latter quipped: “I thought this was about you!”).

At one point Andre admitted, “Do you know what it’s like to have to get up and be me? The ALT that you see is many rivers that run deep. It’s a constant struggle to get up and tackle the constant struggles. You cannot judge a book by its cover. It’s not just about what you wear and what you look like on the outside. It’s a constant struggle. It’s easy to be bitter (especially in fashion where the corporate heads don’t get the creative side of fashion). My house now looks like a bookstore. To maintain my life in fashion is very difficult at this point, but I get through it.”

Ralph offered, “Everything has to have a certain level of expertise or I don’t do it. I’m proud to say that in my 30 years, I have never compromised. You have to go to bed with yourself, nobody else!” This got a round of applause from the guests. He continued: “I consider the first part of my life to be part 1. I hope that part 2 will be more refined, more clear, and more enjoyable. I am clothing the content of a woman which is why it is spiritual.” As for unforgettable moments, he recalled Elsa Peretti (in the 1970’s) wearing a cashmere bodysuit and carrying a brown paper bag as an evening bag. “I live for those moments. Without humility, there is no style. None!!” (He emphasized the word “none”).

The key moments from Andre’s professional life: learning how to analyze clothes without taking notes (he learned this from WWD’s John Fairchild in 1975), and learning (from Vogue’s Diana Vreeland) about the luxury of clothes, and the narrative behind what the designer is making. Karl Lagerfeld was the first great designer he met and he recalled that meeting in May 1975 (it was at the Plaza Hotel, with Andy Warhol). “I was always prepared. For one week prior, I read everything I could about him and learned everything about him. We became great friends.”“I learned a lot about the history of the culture of fashion from Karl”. Andre received a degree in French Literature from Brown University and observed that it has been very useful. He also talked about Vogue Magazine, a great learning place where all the top editors had a strong “point of view”.

Ralph asked Andre to describe his key fashion moments.  “The best collection I saw was designed by Karl Lagerfeld for the house of Chloe in Paris” (he couldn’t recall the year). He described how the show venue was made to resemble a prison cell with the models wearing fabulous hats and outrageous rooster pins on their v neck sweaters. In January 1978, there was Saint Laurent’s “Broadway Collection”, which he hailed as “landmark”. There have been many memorable Chanel shows, and then there was Marc Jacobs’ “train collection” for Louis Vuitton in Paris. “I cried, as did Grace Coddington, when the girls got off the train that actually moved.”

He was quick to point out: “It’s important to have a life at home that is the opposite of fashion. You must!” (he emphasized ‘must’). “At home you must cultivate your own garden. It has to be the opposite of fashion. You don’t want to become a fashion victim. This is very important.” He talked about how he had been very inspired by the fabulous, strong women in his family (he grew up in the south), and by nature. “Nature gives me great inspiration. Trees, the sky, books. You can’t get enough books.”

As for the ladies they both adore: Sao Schlumberger was number one on both their lists. Andre recalled that when he was the Paris editor of WWD, Sao was the first one to invite him to lunch (“nobody else did, and I don’t know why”). “She had great unorthodox taste. She was a very smart woman. It was amazing to see how she selected her clothes. I learned a lot from the way the ladies (which included Nan Kempner) bought their clothes.”

Ralph reflected on the 5 couture collections he showed in Paris and noted that his goal has always been “to make a garment that has no weight at all. And no superficial adornments.” His three favorite customers: Jacqueline de Ribes, Deeda Blair, and rock legend Patti Smith, who he proudly boasted has been invited by the Pope to sing at the Vatican (she will be performing at the Holy See’s Christmas concert this year, which means that he will be making something for her to wear).

Speaking of women, Andre mentioned that he brought his good friend Whoopi Goldberg, to Ralph’s spring 2015 show in September. “She bought 11 pieces and paid for all of them” he announced. “I love to watch people at a Ralph Rucci show. The way they respond to the beauty of his clothes” (and the enduring joy and beauty and will bring). He then mentioned that Lee Radziwell also loves Ralph’s clothes. At this point, Ralph said he had to share a remembrance from his fall 1999 collection when it was presented at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills. He was invited to Elizabeth Taylor’s home and he described how he smoked pot with the “teeny tiny star who wore no makeup”, and who then “absconded with a violet sable”.

Margaret then asked if anyone in the audience had any questions. Someone asked Ralph: “What do you think are the biggest hurdles with regards to fashion relationships?” His response: “Treat people with kindness. That’s what gets success.”

Another asked, “Why did you leave, Ralph?” “I needed to take a step in the future to revisit the past, so I can do the future.” This was met with a round of applause. It ended with loving words by a guest to Ralph about his enormous contribution to fashion.




- Marilyn Kirschner

New York Fashion Kool-Aid: Reserve Magazine Party

"A Grand & Reserved Evening"

Reserved Magazine's shrine to cover model Helena Christensen

It's the coldest night of the season so far and I'm fighting off sinusitis and a twitching left eye. I'm also in a cab ($30 fare) on my way to the Reserved Magazine 2nd edition release party, ready to mingle with the beautiful people at Paul's Baby Grand (owned by Paul Paul Sevigny) in the Tribeca Grand Hotel. Figuring I would never make it past the discriminating doorman on an actual club night (waaay too old, not a size 0, blah-blah-blah you do the math) tonight is my chance to glimpse the netherworld of downtown after dark. I'm in full regalia--basic black (leather) with skulls (crystal Butler & Wilson choker, earrings) so let's do this. Courtesy of the young PR girls freezing their buns off whilst checking names and I'm in! "What a feeling (I can really have it all)..."

Helena Christensen & friend
(Photo: Laurel Marcus)

Past the red velvet curtains and down the stairs lies the small eclectic, Miami beach meets Victoriana space complete with palm fronds. The room is filled beyond capacity and yet the party is in its infancy. I make a quick circuit while I still can move, noting the  "hostess of the evening" and Reserved cover model Helena Christensen chilling on a banquette with a female friend. She looks lovely at 45; it is indeed hard to believe that she is from the dawn of the '90s supermodels, along with Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington, who ruled the pack back in the day. When I try to take her photo beside official photog Patrick McMullan's son, an angry woman in an orangey red jacket appears. "Who are you with?" she demands. "We have our photographer already. Please don't bother her (indicating Ms. Christensen). I just want her to relax." Oookay...but a) as a model I'm sure she's used to having her photo taken and b) this is a press party...you invited me and ostensibly you would like the coverage and photos are a large part of that, no? I take a few random shots of the crowd and another minion is upon me, this time a smaller yet imperious chap. "No flash allowed!" he says despite the fact that I witness flashes going off all around me. What is this, a museum? It's so dark that nothing will come out without a flash. I am told once more that I can't use my camera but obviously I'm not playing by the rules tonight.

Photo: Laurel Marcus

The crowd is a mixed bag of those primarily in their 30's and 40's, models, modelizers, those who remember the golden days of clubbing (Tunnel, Limelight, maybe Studio 54)and look worse the wear for it, as well as a Brooklyn version of Paul Bunyon, hopefully without his axe. Mitja Bokun, the editor-in-chief of Reserved is holding court near the bar. DJ Mick Rock is jamming an eclectic mix of mostly older/classic hits and some remixes while the thick air reeks of cigarettes and weed making me cough. I stake out a standing space, semi out of the way of the drink waiter's path and am alternately taking in the scene/fighting the urge to GTFO and hop right back into another $30 taxi.

As I'm standing there trying to decide what to do other than loom awkwardly, a woman who reminds me of a silent film star but with an eastern European accent which I'm having trouble decoding in the din approaches. "I don't know you, but I feel you" she begins and proceeds to nuzzle my neck. "I love that perfume. What is it?" Her blonde friend looks on slightly bemused. I just nod and try to look nonchalant. "Please go sit over there with us" she nods slightly to a space in the middle of the section of banquettes. "We will be back." I blink and try to regroup as they walk off to the bar or ladies, thankfully never to be seen again. I come to perch on an empty banquette lining the wall across from the bar, in relatively easy reach of the exit and people watch undetected for a while. I guy comes in with a bowl cut black wig and full length sable coat accompanied by a stylish woman in a black and white striped fur jacket and sparkly pants. He turns repeatedly, winks and waves at me. I smile back.  A couple comes in bearing huge Kurt Cobain books. I guess there was some sort of '90s retrospective going on from whence they came.

A young Geoffrey Holder type perches next to me at the adjoining table and I shift slightly so as not to be in his way. "You don't need to move. I've got room" he says with a twinkle in his eye.  We talk...it seems that he is quite the nightlife king and has skipped Diddy's taping of the Global Swing DJ's Awards to be aired next month, in favor of this event. "Since it's just a taping who knows if there'd be drinks or food?" he reasoned. He tells me he was "checking me out" and apparently it is not a bad thing to resemble a cross between Liza Minelli (I've heard that before), either Shirley of "Laverne and Shirley" or Joyce DeWitt of "Three's Company" (it was unclear which TV show reference he meant) and a school teacher (I was wearing my glasses). In an aha moment I suddenly remember my eye twitch...maybe everyone thinks I'm winking at them?!? The urge to bolt finally wins out and I flee into the cold air and thankfully, my getaway car aka a warm taxi that's dropping more people off at the party.

Right: Mitja Bokun co-editor

Reserved Magazine was originally launched on Indiegogo in 2013, raising just $1,650 of its $15k goal.  It is the brainchild of Vanity Fair's Photo Producer Richard Villani, and currently lists Whitney Mercurio and Mitja Bokun as Co-editors in chief. The first edition, out last year, billed itself as "The Magazine for Some People." The press release for this edition claims "We dig people with a lot of bandwidth. Our aim is to disseminate quality content on visual arts, film, fashion, photography, music, writing, design and anything and everything else that we and our readers fancy, that's just the baseline. We don't comply with any specific standard or format.  Our kryptonite is boredom. We stand alert, scanning the horizon for creatives looking to contribute and share their work, be it visual, literary, gastronomical, musical or whatever. But it better be interesting!" See edition here.




Laurel Marcus