Friends and family braved the snow en masse Wednesday evening, trekking to Chanel's 57th Street flagship to fete author Jill Kargman's latest book, Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut. The book marks a departure for Kargman, as this is her first nonfiction effort -- a collection of essays and observations that range from her phobias (vans, clowns), to her science teacher from hell (who can't relate to that?), to her apartment building that she didn't know had a brothel upstairs, to first getting a tattoo at the age of 35. When I asked Kargman her inspiration for jumping into a different genre, she told me, in her typical candid fashion: "It actually wasn't my idea! My editor saw magazine articles of mine and a TV interview and approached me about doing essays. I wasn't sure at first but then began brainstorming and became so into it. It came SO naturally and was WAY less challenging than writing my novels -- it just flowed effortlessly."
One thing that remains consistent, however, is Kargman's wry humor, which has become a trademark of all of her writings. Indeed, she dedicated her book, with "non-stalkerish admiration," to Woody Allen. And she is not merely an "earlier, funnier" Woody fan, but a true die-hard who has also read all of his short stories. "I think all of his movies are genius," she tells me. "If any new filmmaker made one of his movies it would be hailed. He is brilliant, and no one makes me laugh like he does." It was Kargman's humor and ability to laugh at the sometimes not-so-funny things life brings you that pulled her through some tougher times, like when her dermatologist discovered that she had a rare form of skin cancer (for which she underwent a successful operation that is detailed in one of her chapters). When I ask her the inevitable question -- did the scare, experience, whatever you want to call it, give her more of a carpe diem attitude towards life -- she answers me in an interesting way. "It was more empowering," she confides, "in terms of NOT doing things, like showing up for things I didn't really want to do."
But everyone, it seems, wanted to show up to toast Jill that evening. There was certainly no arm-twisting to get the likes of Meredith Melling Burke, Bronson Van Wyck, Michele Gerber Klein, Shoshanna Gruss, and Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler to share a few drinks with their friend and offer her their sincerest congratulations. It was also a family affair, as Jill's three children were there, as were her parents, Arie and Coco Kopelman, as they watched their daughter, effortlessly chic in her short black leather Chanel dress embossed with camellias, sign countless copies of her book for friends.
After staying far longer than expected at Chanel, I ventured downtown to find quite a different party and crowd. Designer Aimee David, the self-proclaimed "Queen of e.vil," opened concept store Bond 666 (close enough to the E.Vil, I suppose), a 400-square-foot space that features collector's items like Barbie mannequins from Rootstein, Lucite rods, and a vintage Cruella de Vil "Barbie" doll business card holder, in addition to an all-black dressing room with a mirror that reads "vain" above the customer's head. David's art is also expressed in her fashion, and Bond 666 carries her signature collection of cashmere sweaters, gloves, varsity jackets, hoodies, leggings, scarves (baby, it's cold outside!) as well as horoscope tees and neon hair bows. Guests stopped by the store to check out these one-of-a-kind displays and also to pick up their tickets to the celebration that was happening simultaneously across the street, at the legendary Gene Frankel theatre. Notables such as Michelle Trachtenberg, Mandie Erickson, and social media expert Greg Littley enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres by The Smile while downtown darling Becka Diamond spun some retro vinyl tunes -- including the time warp! Indeed, it was a bit of a time warp to see things like candy buttons and pixie sticks decorate every table, not to mention drinks that came in brightly colored sippy cups. Even the invitation was a high school throwback: "Snobs + Bitches Unite." But if that is what it takes to bring out the crowds on these snowy days... then by all means, never fix what ain't broke.