A simple plan, a velvet rope, an open bar—it doesn't take much to throw a party in Manhattan, particularly during Fashion Week, when the practice of hanging on springs to life as a full-fledged cottage industry and the shimmering oddities of the city's night life get thrown into high relief. Thus, the party at the SoHo Grand on Thursday night—a gallery opening for a photographer named Jeremy Kost—wasn't a Fashion Week thing so much as a happening at the downtown-art-hipster fringe thereof, just another scene at the intersection of the image business and the Champagne industry.
The SoHo Grand is a hotel, and if you've picked up a glossy magazine in the past five years, then you've heard of it. Pop Star X strides into an interview, turning heads. … Action Hero Y chews his salad with surprising humility. … The daytime decibel levels in the lounge are conducive to audio recording, and the place is so luxuriously bland that a celebrity profiler counts himself lucky when Starlet Z makes a joke about a stray bread crumb. The hard-core fashion crowd would rather be at the Gramercy Park Hotel—or at least someplace where they don't put a plastic band on your wrist as you enter a party, as if this were Spring Break in Myrtle Beach.
It happens that Kost's new photographs—blown-up Polaroids with a mythic tilt, a tawdry grace, and a Nan Goldin glow of terminal decadence—are fun to look at. But the party was all about the pictures being snapped within the SoHo Grand's gallery. A dozen photographers swarmed and roamed and clicked away. Furiously. At anybody, everybody. If the subject was actress Mena Suvari, then so much the better. If it was some random gallery assistant or a friend-of-a-friend or a 15-year-old, then so what? The Web has given the street-style photo new life, and all the new kids are adept at striking this decade's party-page pose—chin angled coquettishly, mouth cryptic, eyes smiling with knowingness, best foot forward.
I expressed my bewilderment at being photographed to a woman from the New York Times: "I'm nobody." She said, "You don't have to be anybody."
A guy came up trained his lens on the space between my chin and sternum. Click click click. "I think he shot your scarf," said the Timeswoman.
So, your correspondent must confess that, like a poser, he was wearing a scarf indoors. When in Rome, right? Right? It was really pretty harmless, considering claques of men in fur jackets, the stray women in stockings that cost more than shoes and shoes that cost more the month's rent.
The photographer pointed his lens at another photographer. Click click click.