Our friend’s friend is mad because we’re an hour late. “It’s not my party and if we reach capacity there’s nothing I can do to get you in,” he tells him. This is what people say to those not important enough to get into a party on their own merit. But we all know that there’s no such thing as “at capacity.” There’s always room at a party; you just have to be the right person.
Sergio – I think his name is Sergio – pushes us towards the entrance. “Go, go, go, go,” he says from his place on the smoking patio. Mason and I brush past security guards and a line of people not getting in until we are inside, hidden from the street and an angry man until we are surrounded by all of the right people.
This is the fashion crowd.
It’s already packed inside. Beautiful people chain smoke cigarettes between four walls covered in tropical wallpaper harkening back the long lost days of Bungalow 8. Late night coke binges, palm fronds, Heather Graham in roller skates.
Everyone here is beautiful. Everyone here is awesome. The problem with this seemingly winning recipe for a raging good time is that each and every person in this place holds onto the core belief that they are the most awesome person in the room. There is no hidden hierarchy of betterness; everyone here thinks they rule more than the person next to them, whether or not the person next to them is their best friend. People wander the crowd like satellites, boys crashing into girls without apology, girls waving their lit cigarettes around with blatant disregard for the surfaces of others – skin, hair, expensive clothing. Burn it all.
When Mason gets scratched in the eye by the claw of some anonymous wench, I can’t say I’m surprised. She holds a candle up to her cornea. “Can you see anything?” she asks, her left eye squinted and watering, wanting to know if she is bleeding or otherwise visibly harmed.
No one in here is badly dressed. Strangely, yes. Over the top, certainly. But badly? Never. Even the girl dressed up like a glorified cobalt blue beetle somehow manages to pull it off.
There is a recipe for why certain bars and clubs do better than others and it depends on the crowd in which it panders to. The fashion crowd, for instance, requires an open galley in which to strut through, where they can see and be seen in whatever outfit they painstakingly threw together that night. This is unlike the Hollywood crowd, which requires dark and hidden corners, big cushioned sofas and places where they can hide from prying eyes. Fashion knows no privacy. If you can’t be seen, what’s the fucking point?
Waitresses do their best to hold onto trays of food that nobody eats: spring rolls, some chicken satay thingies, red boxes of Chinese takeout. “Care for anything?” they ask, smiling with an admirable believability. Other women in chic interpretations of ethnic clothing wander the room dropping buckets of champagne on ice at tables surrounded by more chain smokers. I haven’t inhaled this much second-hand smoke since 1998.
I am introduced to a man/boy who looks like a poor man’s Brad Pitt cast to play Kato Kaelin in an HBO special about OJ Simpson’s life. “Hi, I’m So And So,” he says, without looking me in the eyes, scanning the room to find someone recognizable to take a photograph with.
More flashing cameras. More lights.
Olivier Zahm arrives with his entourage. He’s wearing the same thing he wears in every single photograph I’ve ever seen of him: a plaid shirt, a leather jacket, jeans, a pair of aviator glasses sitting under a curly mop of hair. He holds a camera above he and his friends, taking pictures of himself while another person in his entourage takes pictures of the pictures. People circle him like sharks, hoping to get drawn into the fray and immortalized on his online Diary.
Some skinny girl with long brown arms and an orange dress swigs out of an abandoned bottle of champagne, putting a cigarette to her lips with one hand as soon as the big glass bottle comes down with the other. On the opposite side of the room, a perpetually chic European editor dances on a chair wearing some 90s Versace-esque cutout dress while cameras flash violently from all angles.
I think I’m going blind.
“Theodora Richards is wearing the jumpsuit I just bought,” Mason says. I scan the crowd trying to find her even though I have no idea what Theodora Richards looks like. Later, unknowingly, I end up dancing behind the DJ with a wisp of a girl wearing a lace-up version of a Halloween cat costume, so much so that I nearly apologize for sitting on her tail when she’s reaching for her handbag. This is apparently Theodora.
I wait in line in the bathroom for a stall to open up and listen to two women talking to each other in Russian while one pees and the other – presumably – stands awkwardly above her. They continue to talk to one another in front of the only sink while I stand patiently, waiting to wash my hands.
Back in the main room, girls throw their hair up into messy buns because it’s 100 fucking degrees in this place, the subtropical climate matching the subtropical wallpaper. Sweaty boys in the front get progressively more drunk and dance on the floor to oldies but goodies and newbies but baddies and I’m staying later than I planned on staying because I ran into an old friend in a suit and tie and why the hell not.