Some moments are hard, if not impossible, to live up to. Flashback to 1978: the halcyon days of Studio 54, Bianca Jagger, Truman Capote, and launch of Yves Saint Laurent's sexy and groundbreaking fragrance, Opium. Nostalgia for that disco-hazed era has become beyond cliche; nonetheless, the Opium launch party of 1978 - on a docked boat in South Street Seaport with Capote himself at the helm - set the standard for the glamour and hedonism that defined the era. Cher, Diana Vreeland, Nan Kempner, and Grace Jones were among the legendary style icons and entertainers who made this one affair to remember.
Of course, we have our own glamour stars of today, and rather than recreate a moment of a bygone era, why not set our own standard for the next generation? That is exactly the thought behind Opium's relaunch. Now called Belle D'Opium, the fragrance launches this fall, and held its own unforgettable premiere party this past Thursday. Stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Alexis Bledel, Ashley Olsen, Alexa Ray Joel, and Olivier Martinez graced the specially created YSL soundstage on Manhattan's West Side for an evening of holograms, juggling acts, and other sorts of "experiences."
Indeed, "how was your experience?" became the unofficial tag line of the evening, as the fete was chock full of sensory diversions. Upon entry, guests were immediately given a special Belle D'Opium iTunes mix created by Alexandra Richards and Alexa Chung (who both held down the DJ booth, natch). Next, it was on to a special gallery of giant Opium-filled bottles, then into a moving theatre with bursts of fragrance and screens that displayed sneak peeks of Belle D'Opium's sensual, erotically charged new ads featuring French actress Melanie Thierry (who flew in especially for the occasion), and choreographed by Akram Khan. "Good thing I haven't had anything to drink yet," noted one partygoer, whilst we were being twirled round and round in the theatre in awe of the sultry images. It was a bit like going back to Disneyworld - if Disneyworld were on acid.
Once off the magic carpet ride, it was back to the main stage where notables and tastemakers the likes of Katie Lee, Derek Blasberg, Byrdie Bell, Fern Mallis, Shoshanna Gruss, Whitney Port, and Tinsley Mortimer continued to file in. Which brings us, most naturally, to that ubiquitous kind of celebrity that has defined our generation: the reality star. While the High Society cast members enjoyed a welcome respite from the camera - as did at least one New York City Housewife - The City cast members Port and Samantha Swetra were in full work mode. Producers and camera crews set up shop in the main cocktail area, and, as the filming continued, more than a few attendees were inevitably asked to sign press releases (including yours truly - I think the camera may have accidentally captured a lock of my hair on film - so keep your eyes peeled, folks!)
Those with the stamina to stay past the witching hour (in this case, around 11 p.m.), got treated to another "experience" - this time in the form of fire breathing performers who - having decamped to the downstairs stage - wowed the late night revelers with their dancing and flame tossing, heating up what will already go down in the books as a sizzling evening. But for those who missed the revelry, fret not. This week also marked the launch of www.whatisyouropium.com, a website that will allow consumers to watch the party and share what inspires them. Let the experience continue for everyone!
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