For all the intense pressure, heated arguments, and hot young things we’ve seen over the past eight days, we kind of expected New York Fashion Week to go out with a bang. Instead, it went out with a night spent watching Lady Gaga get tattooed inside a giant bottle of her new perfume, “Fame.”
The party was a “black tie masquerade” held in the atrium of the Guggenheim Museum, but it was not quite the Eyes Wide Shut bacchanal that description might suggest. Not that the ingredients weren’t there: guests were greeted by a line of shirtless, harness-wearing sentinels, after which we were offered jalapeño margaritas served in smoking goblets, and invited to gawk at the oversized egg that was the focal point of the room. Partygoers like Marc Jacobs (in bejeweled devil horns) and Yoko Ono (in a tall top hat) got into the spirit of the evening and abided by the invitation’s instructions to wear a “mask, hat, tiara, crown, or lobster.” Even queens of debauchery Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan were allegedly in the house, though they spent the night tucked away from the crowd on one of the museum’s upper floors.
Alas, the evening wasn’t quite as wild as you might think. Following a screening of Steven Klein‘s arty, creepy promotional short for the fragrance, Gaga appeared in the life-sized “Fame” bottle (“the world’s first black eau de parfum“) and remained there, ostensibly sleeping, for an hour as people were invited to come up and grab her hand to shake her awake. When she finally did rouse herself, it was for precisely 15 minutes of David Bowie‘s “Fame,” after which she re-entered the egg with a team of hair and makeup artists to touch up that freshly-shaven head of hers. Once that was done, Gaga called in a tattoo artist and got a cherub inked on the back of her head. Oh, and did we mention all of this was being live-streamed on a giant screen for all to see?
The response was mixed. Many onlookers bandied about Marina Abramovic comparisons, however, while some gave the performance rave reviews, others felt mostly bewildered. Although, to be fair, bewilderment is pretty much a common thread through all performance art pieces we’ve ever witnessed. In any case, the subdued scene did give us the chance to mingle with some of the fashion folk in attendance, including the very handsome Olivier Theyskens and a fresh-off-the-runway Jessica Stam. At first we thought Theyskens might have just exhausted his creative energy working on his latest Theory collection, since his mask was basically just the invitation with holes cut for his eyes and nose, but it turns out he had a slightly more legitimate excuse: “I did not know that, in English, ‘masquerade’ means a party wearing masks,” the designer explained. “In French it means something else, like to make a big, theatric performance. It’s very different.” But, being a resourceful kind of guy, he made do with what was on hand. “I saw at the entrance a lot of people with masks and I felt too much out of the club so I quickly made this.” It was pretty cute, actually. Definitely cuter than Alexander Wang‘s executioner mask at least (which he swapped for one of the surgical variety inside the party).
Stam, on the other hand, was one of the party’s most elegant attendees, in the the wispy Marchesa gown she wore on the runway earlier that day, paired with Lorraine Schwartz jewels and an intricate headpiece, all of which she said took “pretty much all day.” And though she admitted to being somewhat underwhelmed at first, the model came around to the unusual entertainment. “You walk in and you’re like, ‘This is what I cam all the way up to 88th street for? And got all dressed up?’ But then the performance starts and the music kicks in and it’s great.”