Last night, W Magazine held a Fashion Week-friendly soiree on 54th Street, not far from the Museum of Modern Art. It was supposed to present "the new global generation of savvy art stars, style setters and all-around scene stealers," or so it was stated in the press release. Elizabeth Moss was there, with platinum blonde hair, as was Anna Dello Russo from Vogue Japan, and some guy with braided copper hair and a giant beard who only goes by the name "Duffy." The pianist and composer Nick Paul was performing on the first floor, but since the piano was tucked near the stairs few seemed to linger to see him play.
The event was in partnership with Jaeger-LeCoultre, a watchmaker which bills itself as offering the "finest Swiss haute horlogerie tradition" available. This ridiculously pompous description and whole scene made me think of the late David Rakoff's essay on Paris' Fashion Week, and his encounter with Karl Lagerfeld:
All of the designers I have met up to this point have been very nice, although upon being introduced to Karl Lagerfeld, he looks me up and down and dismisses me with the not super-kind, "What can you write that hasn't been written already?" He's absolutely right, I have no idea. I can but try. The only thing I can come up with right now is that Lagerfeld's powdered white ponytail has dusted the shoulders of his suit with what looks like dandruff but isn't ... Seated on a tiny velvet chair, with his large doughy rump dominating the miniature piece of furniture like a loose, flabby, ass-flavored muffin over-risen from its pan, he resembles a Daumier caricature of some corpulent, overfed, inhumane oligarch drawn sitting on a commode, stuffing his greedy throat with the corpses of dead children, while from his other end he shits out huge, malodorous piles of tainted money. How's that for new and groundbreaking, Mr. L.?
Upstairs, the rooms were already at least ten degrees hotter than outside, causing artfully dressed patrons to quickly develop upper lip sweat. The old house, which was built in 1896 and landmarked in 1981, held a room with a large dining table that was filled with the most exquisite desserts imaginable. A group of thin, fashionable people stood around the table in a ring, making small talk and drinking complimentary drinks in slender glasses. No one touched the food. No one.
Perhaps this is because the cake wasn't cut. One would have to take action and slice it with a cake knife (placed near the cake in question), but who would be so bold? While I looked around, surveying the scene, two Adonnis-like young men brought in two giant urns filled with dry ice and set them both on the table. Smoke began to fill the display, rolling over the gorgeous desserts that filled the table the size of my living room. And then it became clear that this was an aesthetic display and was truly NOT for consumption. How silly of me to think the food was for eating. Milagros Schmoll was standing nearby, and she remarked that the cakes looked delicious, but never ventured closer to the table.
The table became a work of art -- untouchable, and treated with reverence. Where was Kent Bellows amid this scene? I imagined him sitting there, slouched in a chair, recreating "Self Portrait with Wine Glass (Gluttony)."
In another room I spied a cupcake was missing from the three-tiered display stand near the champagne set up. I grabbed the nearest waiter and demanded to know who dared to eat the chocolatey treat. He sighed, saying, "A woman took a bite and then set it down." When asked what would happen to all the desserts at the end of the night, he laughed, saying, "I'll eat them!"
At least the food was going somewhere. I imagined them all tossing the glistening cakes into the nearest dumpster, repeating Kate Moss's mantra, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." Maybe this display was the pièce de résistance I was waiting for all week, because right now, all I'm seeing from these parties is fashion and no art.