New York Diary part 2
Friday morning was pouring with rain and it didn’t stop all day. After a tour of the contemporary art gallery district in West Chelsea (the shift from the old galleries of Soho is now interestingly moving to the Lower East Side, including the New Museum on the Bowery – www.newmuseum.org), we headed to a one of the runway shows for New York Fashion Week. Up-and-coming menswear designer Carlos Campos was showing his Fall/Winter 2008 collection. It seemed to be the look for the models to wear heavy make-up especially around the eyes, making them look a little tired – sorry boys!! I had noticed in several of the department stores [even Bergdorf’s!] that some of the menswear salesmen were wearing makeup. I was quite taken aback. I mean I’m all for a bit of male grooming [but if he takes longer in the bathroom than me that’s too long]… but makeup? No way José! Or as Anthony said in a very New York way when choosing Charlotte’s wedding dress, “hates it!”
I met the assistant to the designer after the show and said I wasn’t sure about the makeup. She told me that the male models were mostly Eastern European and all smoked and would be continually going outside in the rain to have a cigarette and thus their makeup was running and the make-up artist was getting in a flap. BGF managed to get us front row tickets (with goody bags!] and I was sitting next to my NBF the very talented Gabriel Rivera, business partner to hot Mexican womenswear designer, Christian Cota (www.christiancota.com). Look out for this rising star!! Gabriel told me his collection will be available in the UK shortly.
That night Mark’s friend and suave man-about-town Robert Kean III [pronounced Kane and known to his friends as Roy] was throwing a party. At this juncture I should elaborate on American dynasties. I always wondered why in S&TC Charlotte’s husband was called Trey. I mean a tray is for serving drinks on, right? Well apparently it is customary to name your first-born male son the same as you, which after a few generations may get a bit confusing, so the third generation bearing the same name as his daddy and his grand-daddy often gets the nickname ‘Trey’. BGF told me that one of the most eligible bachelors in New York comes from a South American dynasty and is called Trey Chique [clearly a snappy dresser!]
Roy’s party was a riot. Gay/straight, young and not so young, fashion and interior designers, playwrights and writers. Fran Lebowitz, famous wit and friend of Andy Warhol’s came and so did Michael Douglas’s ex-wife along with a fair sprinkling of New York glitterati, but the star of the show was Roy’s 83 year old glamorous Cuban mother, Beba, who captivated everyone both in conversation and on the dance floor.
The next day was Saturday and Mark suggested we have brunch in the Village, which has transformed from the old gay quarter to an expensive and chichi area and is now one of the prettiest neighbourhoods in Manhattan with houses [they call them brownstones] on tree-lined streets, with cute cafés and boutiques. We passed the house on Perry Street which was used as the set for Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment in S&TC and had brunch at Extra Virgin http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/extra-virgin/ [BGF said “Extra Virgin? So not us!”]. As we tucked into yummy Eggs Benedict and sipped Bloody Marys, Mark leant over and gave me the scoop on the people at the next-door table. [Gossip: it was David Lauren – son of Ralph – and Lauren Bush – niece of George. So if they get hitched she’ll be Lauren Lauren…]
We then had to prepare our costumes for that evening’s Futuristic party at Cindy’s. [See her apartment on www.cindygallop.com] The main reason I came to New York this week was to go to Cindy’s party, which I was sure would be amazing, and I didn’t want to disappoint on the dress code. So we headed to the costume shop near Union Square. I was going to go as a galactic warrior and needed a space gun and as BGF had a penchant for his cowboy outfit! I suggested he silver it up and go as a space cowboy. We arrived at Cindy’s party that night, me in my D&G khaki paratrooper dress with gold jacket, gold boots and space gun and Mark with silver cowboy hat, space age silver sunglasses and silver sprayed ripped jeans. We were met at the door by two gorgeous bare-chested waiters serving replicants, an absinthe-based cocktail that is LETHAL!. Btw Cindy chooses her waiters from model agencies rather than catering companies [check out the photos, girls!]
The party was one of the best ever, with an real mix of people including many that had flown in from other parts of the world, fab drinks and canapés served by gorgeous waiters and bar tenders, with the best music by a DJ who spins his tables at Bungalow 8 [more about that later.] BGF and I spent quite a bit of time discussing who we thought was the hunkiest waiter or bar tender and of course we didn’t agree. But the one who got the über hunky and supa nice prize was Paul [see me with him in the photo] who, believe it or not, is straight and who I invited to the TBW NYC launch party [exact date TBC.] After several hours of grinding down the dance floor the party began to wind down and BGF and I thanked Cindy and headed off.
As it was my last proper night [Sundays don’t count] in New York BGF suggested we drop in at the famous Bungalow 8 [http://nymag.com/listings/bar/bungalow_8/. When we arrived there was a short queue of “Letmeinabees’ and two extremely large black bouncers. Luckily Mark was on good terms with Disco, the man with the ‘ok-you-can-go-in’ nod. The décor consisted of wallpaper depicting Californian bungalows and fake palm trees. After Mark got us a couple of watermelon Martinis, I decided to get to get my camera out to show TBW members what it looked like. I took one picture and was swooped on by a really aggressive member of staff who had obviously missed a career opportunity in the Stasi. He demanded the camera and when we said we had no idea there was a no-photo policy and we would happily delete that picture he wouldn’t take no for an answer and stormed off saying he would get the manager. Luckily the manager turned out to be Disco and all was resolved amicably. I now refer to Bungalow 8 as Bungalow Rude and wouldn’t go there again, even if Disco was a sweetie.
My last day in New York was absolutely gorgeous and felt like spring had sprung. Mark had arranged for us to have brunch [yeah, brunch is big in NY] on the roof terrace of the Gramercy Park Hotel [www.gramercyparkhotel.com/] with some friends. The GPH is one of the most glamourous urban hotels I have ever seen, full of art [Loves it! ] and the décor is what I would call eclectic chic. As we sat on the 21st floor warming up in the sunshine with a glimpse of the Manhattan roof tops through the sliding windows [which apparently come off in the summer] and surrounded by exotic vegetation, Mark commented that we really could be anywhere, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, but it didn’t feel like New York. You only had to stand up and look out the window and see that unmistakable skyline to know exactly where you were. I definitely want to go Ny-Lon and with the launch of TBW NYC in May hope that will be possible not just for me…