Constant Motion, Elusive Point

AND so there was Carine Roitfeld being stopped at the door of a West 54th Street town house where the W party was held — one event among scores, or hundreds even, that made it feel during the New York Fashion Week continuum that one had wandered into a glossier version of “Groundhog Day.”


“I’m on the list,” the perennially sex-kittenish French fashion editor was saying to a doorkeeper holding aniPad and … well, if Carine Roitfeld has trouble getting past the velvet rope, what hope is there for hoi polloi?

And inside the town house Stefano Tonchi, the W editor in chief, was explaining how this season he wanted to take the magazine’s party down a notch from his last big splash-out, which filled the entire cavernous Park Avenue Armory with mobs of shiny fashion people.

And it is hard to say in quite what way this week’s party could be considered, as Mr. Tonchi termed it, “very bourgeois.” But never mind.

And a smaller segment of those selfsame shiny fashion people disported itself, tipping Champagne flutes and hovering over a table of luscious cakes with the cold-eyed hunger of sharks around a diver’s cage. And it is a given that no would eat a cake at a Fashion Week party, and so the shiny fashion people merely circulated and emitted brittle enjoyment sounds, and perhaps it was these that set off an alarm that drew the fire department. And as firefighters climbed the stairs with helmets in hand, a guest was heard saying, “It’s not a party if the fire alarm doesn’t go off!”

And an artist who had been hired to draw the assembled remarked that, “The problem here is that no one stays still.” Naturally, they wouldn’t because, like sharks, shiny fashion people must remain in constant motion.

And then it was no longer night, but a crisp morning presaging autumn, and, at the J. Crew presentation in the Lincoln Center tents, Joanna Coles, the newly named editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, a cool blonde, turned up wearing form-fitting black leather and looking like a contemporary version of Emma Peel.

And Ms. Coles, though she had been on the new job just a day, was saying how she had already turned her attention to the Cosmo girl’s eternal dilemma.

“We all want more sex, and no one is getting enough,” Ms. Coles was saying, noting that the problem is perhaps more exaggerated here than elsewhere. And the reason, she said, may be that in New York people are so busy they forget to bookmark sex time in their day planners. Whereas in England, where she is from, people routinely head out in the evening with the expectation of drinking a great deal, going home and making love, although the term she used for the sex act was vintage Austin Powers.

And in New York and especially during Fashion Week, Ms. Coles, expanding on the subject, was saying, you can easily form an impression that the majority of people have altogether forgotten that one of the primary purposes of looking good in clothes is to attract the amatory interest of someone who might wish to help you remove them. “I’ve been thinking about this a lot,” Ms. Coles was remarking. “People don’t appreciate enough that sex is free. You don’t have to be rich to have great sex.”

And these observations called to mind a Thom Browne fashion show held earlier in the week at the New York Public Library, one in which models wore garments that, like insect carapaces, projected from their bodies, armoring them.

And Linda Fargo, the Bergdorf Goodman fashion director was saying after that presentation, as she scampered down the library steps in her stilettos, that Mr. Browne “needs a museum show.” And it occurred to an observer some time later that the designer might also benefit from a gift subscription to Cosmopolitan.

And then backstage at another fashion show the seasoned casting director James Scully, the man who in that label’s glory days helped Tom Ford bring sizzle to Gucci, was decrying the dominance on this season’s runways of a familiar, asexual type of woman. “As long as that ghoulish, Edie Sedgwick thing is what people want,” Mr. Scully was saying, referring to the casting employed for the show of Marc Jacobs’s graphic collection, one whose Bridget Riley Op Art geometrics were like advertisements for the existence of blogs like Man Repeller.

“We’re never going back to the healthier type beauty,” Mr. Scully was saying, perhaps a bit prematurely because there on Wednesday, backstage at Anna Sui’s show, was a passel of the gorgeous young types the designer has favored since the days of Christy, Naomi and Linda.

And there was Karlie Kloss, the leggy 19-year-old beauty discovered five years ago at a charity fashion show in suburban St. Louis and now known as “the Body;” star of major designer runways on two continents (she opened Ms. Sui’s show); No. 2 on list of the industry’s Top 50 faces; host of the revived MTV’s classic “House of Style,” a show that put curvy, All-American Cindy Crawford on the cultural map a century ago.

And the young Ms. Kloss was laughing and saying her life right now is almost too good. “I just moved to a new apartment in the West Village,” she said as the model Hanne Gaby Odiele did a pogo to the New Wave music playing backstage and the model Joan Smalls (No. 1 on the top model list) darted giddily between the racks of clothes and hissing Jiffy Steamers and a posse of young French comers like Aymeline Valade (No. 6) struck Barbie poses for the photographer Greg Kessler, a man of modest height but outsized Casanova stature among the occupationally beautiful.

“Oh, I’ll take over the world later,” Ms. Kloss added, referring to reports her new agency, the sports and entertainment powerhouse IMG, had plans to turn her into that dreariest of all things, a brand.

“Right now I’m just happy being backstage and walking in the Anna Sui show in a blue wig.”

And then Ms. Kloss tilted her head forward and gave the coquettish smile that has launched a thousand (well, maybe 10) major ad campaigns and said, “I know you’re jealous!” And then, pausing — count one, count two — she added, “Of the wig!”

And then across town on Fifth Avenue, guests at a special screening of the movie “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” were filing along a carpet laid between The Paris theater and the famous temple of retailing, where a party was being held to celebrated the store’s 111th anniversary.

And people were still muttering in shock about a particular revelation in the movie, the one involving a long-ago $400,000 Christmas sale to John Lennon and Yoko Ono of 80 fur coats in a single two-hour private shopping spree.

And Betty Halbreich, the indomitable, irascible and semi-legendary personal shopper at Bergdorf’s, a woman who has shaken money from the pockets of half the plutocrats in this town, headed through the portals of a store that for decades has been her second home and throne of power.

And one of the other guests was remarking that perhaps the liveliest quip in a documentary that has its share of funny moments is Ms. Halbreich’s response to the filmmaker Matthew Miele’s question: “What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t doing this?’

“Drinking” Ms. Halbreich replies in the film.

And there, as previously mentioned, she was on Wednesday evening, another shiny fashion person in a long line of them patiently shuffling toward the jewelry counter, temporarily turned into a bar.

And Liliana Cavendish accepted a Fuji Apple Fizz cocktail from a waiter and remarked that fashionable women in this city have become so obsessed with looking chic in the eyes of other females they have all but eliminated the need for men. “We’ve become sexless, with all the Botox and lifting and filling,” she said, as the socialite and stylist Michelle Harper teetered past in a Zac Posen dress with a fishtail train.

And Ms. Cavendish’s friend, the multidomiciled painter Hunt Slonem, who to his portfolio of houses in upstate New York and Louisiana has recently added a Manhattan loft in a space once occupied by the sex den Plato’s Retreat, begged to disagree. “I’m having lots of sex,” Mr. Slonem was saying. “And when I tell people there is a 30-year age difference between me and my boyfriend, they say, “Oh, is he 90?”

And late on the following evening at the Calvin Klein dinner at the Beatrice Inn, the Olympic gold medalist Conor Dwyer, a man young enough to make Mr. Slonem’s 30-year-old boyfriend look like an antique, was wedged into the restaurant’s narrow subterranean bar area alongside Emma Stone and Ms. Kloss and Diana Kruger and Amar’e Stoudemire and (why?) Bianca Jagger.

And the swimmer was talking, or trying to over his publicist’s attempts at ventriloquism, not about the revealing swimsuit he wore to win his medal in the 4-by-200-meter relay, the one that generated roughly five billion Google hits, but the necessity of training hard if you want to to stay in the game.

“I treat my body like a machine,” Mr. Dwyer was saying, at about the time guests, by then in a state of near-starvation, were summoned to table and served a wedge of iceberg lettuce, a dish that only in the loopy world of New York Fashion Week could be considered power fuel.

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