INDOCHINE. NOHO. 10 P.M.
Peter Dundas—the creative director of Pucci and the latest darling of the international style set—has brought me to a party I otherwise have no business attending. It’s a 30th-birthday bash that Carine Roitfeld, French Vogue’s famously chic (and recently departed) editor in chief, is holding for Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, her famously chic daughter. The music is deafening; the cigarette smoke is blinding; champagne is flowing copiously; canapés are being shunned. The dancing falls into two camps: conga line (Carine) versus on the banquette (Julia). So does the attire: supershort and sexy Pucci (Julia) versus long-but-slit-way-up-the-thigh Pucci (Carine). The guests are A-list almost to a man (or woman): Joseph Altuzarra, Riccardo Tisci, Alexander Wang, Lara Stone.
As a rule, gatherings of the professionally gorgeous feel to me like a circle of hell in which bitchiness, not brimstone, is the torment of choice. And tonight is no exception. For instance, when I explain to the hostess that I am writing a profile of Dundas and that I’d be grateful for a quote about the dress she’s wearing, she glares at me, then answers extremely slowly, with the labored patience of a teacher addressing an obtuse child: “Peter made. This dress. For me. It is Pucci. PUCCI.” Retreating to the DJ booth, I praise his musical taste aloud to no one in particular: “Old-school Michael Jackson! Gotta love it!” At these words a nearby wraith fixes me with cold, dead eyes and asks, “Are you, like, older than he was when he died?” Yes, reader, that happened.
Something else, however, happened too—something far stranger. When the wraith departs, I steel myself for the arrival of my self-loathing, which always joins me for my fashion-world forays. (The opposite of Visa, it’s everywhere I don’t want it to be.) But tonight self-loathing is nowhere to be found. Nor is its constant companion, wounded ego. Then I remember: They ambushed me in Peter Dundas’s hotel room, where I interviewed him before the party and where, eventually, I left them both behind. How on earth did I manage that? Well, as a renowned editor once told me: “Pucci. PUCCI.” Let me explain.
MERCER HOTEL. SOHO. 6 P.M.
I am sitting half naked beside Dundas in his hotel room. Our interview is winding down, and I am petrified about what’s going to happen next. I am a professional, I declare inwardly. No matter what he throws at me, I can handle it. Against my better judgment, I cast a furtive glance at his bronzed washboard abs—over the course of our conversation, his T-shirt has drifted steadily north—and at that precise moment he brings up sex.
Him: “The truth is, it’s something that’s incredibly important to me.