New York Fashion Week pre-shows began on an elegant note Tuesday afternoon with the New York City Ballet’s Annual Luncheon at the David H. Koch Theater. While not technically part of the sartorial festivities, its setting mere steps from the tents at Lincoln Center added a note of anticipation to the air—and there were enough quilted Chanel bags and Birkins to merit a handbag convention.
After a panel discussion and performances themed around “Iconic Roles” (no pressure, dancers), guests like Olivia Chantecaille, Jennifer Creel, Nina Griscom, and Julia Koch nibbled on grilled chicken and kale salad. The proceedings weren’t entirely apparel-free. Towards the end of lunch, co-chair Donya Bommer announced that the company spends $600,000 a year on toe shoes. Puts those Louboutins in perspective, doesn’t it?
Speaking of fancy footwear, there was plenty on display that evening down in the village, though it was of the chunky, towering, black variety. Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld presented the exhibition Ouattara Watts: Vertigo in a vast, chilly concrete space that served as a nice foil to Watts’ colorful multi-media canvases. Black-clad girls sporting top knots and leather mixed with scruffy guys in knit caps and thick framed glasses. In one corner, Salman Rushdie did interviews, while PC Valmorbida, Lily Kwong, Stavros Niarchos, Eddie Borgo, and Jen Brill checked out the art. Rachel Roy found herself distracted by another colorful sight, Giovanna Battaglia, who arrived with Restoin Roitfeld in a rainbow striped, white collared dress.
“Oh my god, I have to take a picture of her,” said Roy, who did just that before telling Battaglia, “You are all over my mood board.”
French label Sandro’s Evelyne Chetrite has her own muse in Dree Hemingway, with whom she hosted cocktails at the French brand’s relatively new West Village boutique. Hors d’oeuvres courtesy of Silkstone (owners of the Fat Radish) circulated amongst a crowd including models Heidi Mount and Aurelie Claudel, Harley Viera-Newton, and actress Rose Byrne, a longtime fan of the brand who had mixed feelings about its arrival on American shores. “It’s too bad it’s here,” she joked while admiring the goods. “It used to be the cool thing you’d bring back from Europe that no one would have.”
The after party was, coincidentally, at another cool Gallic import, the New York outpost of Le Baron. The bright red papered walls, black octopus sconces, disco ball, and fog machine-induced smoky haze had a louche feel. The waitresses were dressed in red cheongsams (a nod to its neighborhood). Vodka and champagne were consumed in appropriate quantities, and Zoe Kravitz and rumored boyfriend Penn Badgley made an appearance.
Taxis proved a rare commodity at the night’s end, given the club’s far-flung Chinatown location, but that particular transportation conundrum should sort itself out.
“If you build it, they will come,” quipped one patient partygoer as she waited.
Photos: NYCB: Paul Kolnik; Sandro: BFA