It’s been quite a few years since we attended our last Sweet Sixteen party, but we’re pretty confident that whatever it was, it had nothing on PAPER magazine’s fête last night for their 16th annual “Beautiful People” issue. They decked out the Top of the Standard Hotel with shimmering confetti sculptures and larger-than-life balloons, and parked an impressive spread of pastel-frosted cupcakes in corner for partygoers like Thakoon Panichgul, Padma Lakshmi, and Cory Kennedy to Instagram (and, yes, eat) to their hearts’ delight.
There was also less teen-friendly fare, like the cocktails and electronic cigarettes (passed out by candy stripers, for a bit of unhealthy irony) from sponsor NJOY — yes, the very same company for which Courtney Love is now the raspy-voiced spokesperson. But birthdays aside, we were also there to celebrate British songstress Jessie Ware, the issue’s cover girl and well-dressed woman of the hour.
We spoke to Ware before she took the stage to serenade the crowd, and had to ask if being photographed as a certified Beautiful Person might be just a teensy bit nerve-wracking. “I felt a bit under pressure, I’m not going to lie,” she laughed. “I was like, ‘God, this is very generous of them.’ And I was a bit scared that I’d look horrific in the photos.” Of course, now that the issue is out on newsstands, it’s pretty clear she doesn’t, and even she has to admit the shoot went well in the end.
“Really, it was wicked,” Ware continued. “We shot it in London and it was all very exciting, and I got to work with my stylist, which is really nice, because it meant that we could do exactly what we wanted.” As for whether she’s being pushed to break out of her shell, style-wise, now that she’s on stage all the time, she confessed that she’s still drawn to black, although, “I think I’m having more fun with it and I’m learning what I love and what works for me. Plus, you get a bit bored of wearing the same thing all the time, so I’m switching it up more now between androgynous and feminine.”
Last night, this meant a figure-hugging, graphic dress and some killer nails to match, but she’s not a snob when it comes to designers, naming everyone from Dolce & Gabbana (“they always make me feel sexy”), to newcomer Alexandre Vaulthier, to Sandro and COS for more everyday picks.
Pick up Jessie’s album Devotion in the U.S. on April 16, and flip through the gallery below for a look at some of the “Beautiful People” milling about at last night’s party:
this is some kind of spaceship or something.