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And So It Begins…

 

New York fashion week officially starts today. However, last night, in order to ease the international style set’s transition from the beaches of the Hamptons and Ibiza to the front row, Style.com decided to throw a low-key fete. OK, not that low-key—we were also celebrating the forthcoming relaunch of our website. But thanks in part to the magical setting—a secluded Nolita garden that had been unforgettably transformed into a sylvan wonderland by the Absolut Elyx event team—the party seemed the perfect, laid-back way to kick off a month of runway shows. “I’m sitting here barefoot with a fucked-up T-shirt in the grass. It’s beautiful,” mused cohost Johan Lindeberg, who had recently returned from Burning Man. “That relaxed me more than anything I’ve done in 20 years!” he said of the desert festival. “I was up until 7 o’clock every morning dancing.”

Upon arrival, partygoers including a gang of designers (Humberto Leon, Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, Rag & Bone’s Marcus Wainwright and David Neville) and models (Saskia de Brauw, Anja Rubik, Kati Nescher, Catherine McNeil, Binx Walton) were greeted by a copper portal that transported them from the hustle and bustle of Elizabeth Street to the aforementioned secret garden. The enchantment was amplified by the fact that a copious flow of pre-dinner cocktails was served in teacups, and that model and singer Jamie Bochert was perched at a piano, crooning a medley of heady, original songs. Despite her moving set (not to mention her experience strutting down countless high-profile catwalks), Bochert admitted that she was terrified while performing. “But now I feel great because it’s over!” she laughed.

After doing a fair amount of schmoozing (come on now, as Zen as its setting may have been, this was still a fashion week party), such guests as Nate Lowman, China Chow, Harry Brant, Lisa Marie Fernandez, and Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz sat down at long wooden tables to feast on a series of exceptional vegetable-based dishes prepared by Phil Winser‘s downtown eatery, The Fat Radish. Looking particularly relaxed (especially for a designer whose show is mere days away) was Phillip Lim. “You just have to surround yourself with amazing people. You’ve got to keep it real,” offered the designer when asked how he stays sane during NYFW. “Though it helps to have this drink here,” he chuckled, before promising that his Spring collection will be “very sexy.”

Naturally, the conversation gravitated toward what everyone was looking forward to seeing this season. Artist Richard Phillips and musician (and Hedi Slimane muse) Liza Thorn are most intrigued by Gareth Pugh’s event. “I love the spectacle of fashion week,” said Phillips. “Fashion is art, and I often remember fashion shows more than art shows because of the way they’re pieced together.” Style.com editor in chief Dirk Standen was quick to concur. “Our goal with the new Style.com is to explore the way fashion intersects with culture, because fashion now occupies as central a position as music, movies, or even art.”

Just back from a jaunt in Montauk, an Opening Ceremony-clad Dree Hemingway stressed that she can’t wait to see what New York’s designers come up with. Although, due to the model and actress’ starring role in a new Logan Sandler-directed film, which she’ll begin shooting this month, Hemingway has to skip most of the action. “I’ll be visiting Style.com so I can stay in the loop,” she said. “Actually, this is the only fashion week party I’m going to this season. I’m really missing most of the festivities, but I’m happy that I got to celebrate with Style.com.”

The evening’s celebratory drink of choice? Absolut Elyx, naturally. See how the “luxury vodka” is made here.


—Katharine K. Zarrella

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