What's this? A fete champetre midst the chrome and strobe lights of Studio 54? If it wasn't the 18th century run amok, just what was going on at the reigning star of New York's discos?
Just a party, of course, the latest brainchild of Jacques de Bascher. Once again, de Bascher was honoring designer Karl Lagerfeld, who has just introduced a fragrance for men. Another party for friends Lagerfeld, this one in Paris about six months ago, helped earn de Bascher his credentials as a party planner. That event, at Le Main Bleu, had a punk/leather/(pseudo) sado-masochistic theme.
Waiters at Studio 54 usually wear satin boxer shorts, sneakers and bare chests. De Bascher left them bare-chested, but put them in powdered wigs and britches. Tables were festooned with huge vases of fresh lilacs. And le tout monde of fashion was invited, including New York luminaries Scott Barrie, Diane von Furstenberg, Bill Kaiserman, Italian designer Gianni Versace, Paris designers Emanuel Ungaro and Michel Klein, British designer Bruce Oldfield, and the models in town for the fall shows. So were Studio 54 habitues - Liza Minnelli, Halston, film producer Larry Persky ("Equus" and "Shampoo") and perhaps 2,000 more - punks, hairdressers, suburbanites among them.
Observed New York socialite Nan Kempner, heading off for the dance floor, "You can give up gyms, you can give up everything. This is the best place for your figure."
Lagerfeld arrived with actress Patti D'Arbanville, who appeared with the designer in the Andy Warhol film "L'Amour." Lagerfeld dismissed as history the much talked-about Paris punk party of a half-year ago. "We're into other things now," he said smiling. "Quite the opposite kind of parties," he said, referring to the recent drag party in Paris given for Kenzo's birthday.
What do Gerry Solovie (of Elizabeth Arden) and Helen O'Hagan (of Saks Fifth Avenue) talk about on the dance floor at Studio 54? "The music is so loud, we don't have a trade secrets," they said.
It's no secret that Didier Grumbach, once the enterpreneur manufacturer of Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Givenchy and other ready-to-wear collections, has given all that up to lure American designers to Paris. He had hoped to lure Scott Barrie and Stephen Burrows for the most recent showings, but both bowed out, mainly for financial reasons, at the last minute.
Barrie and Burrows were still on the schedule when buyers and press from all over the world converged in Paris earlier this month. "We had many phone call from those waiting to see their collections, so I know it will be a success," said Grumbach's sister Sylvie (who wore Kenzo's floor-length tuxedo shirt to the Lagerfeld party). For the next round of Paris shows, six months from now, Grumbach would like to nab Perry Ellis.
Bill Kaiserman was explaining the S-and-M style jewelry in his fall collection. "You see," he began, "I was looking for some nice jewelry for my wife, Millie, for her birthday, and everything looked so hard and stiff to me. So I decided to stud leather with stones instead. Yes, it is S-and-M style, but I think that it is futuristic." He feels the same about his quilted leather chest-protectors, and predicts black leather as next fall's look for evening.
The latest tale of woe from the New York fashion runaround: Buyers lined up outside the Julio building next to the restaurant 21 and inched in one-at-a-time for his show Tuesday night. Inside, even the rum and soda didn't ease the pain of the hour and a quarter late start of the show. Then models walkked on the runway - one at a time. Buyers began to walk (out of the show) themselves. First a few, then in droves. "In 45 minutes, we got to see one dress in six versions," one Washington buyer complained. "If this was the first week of the shows, I could have survived. But we've been going at it for one month, and I can't believe I haven't seen it all before, anyway."
Bloomingdale's senior vice president Murray Friedman has the French Hairdresser-of-the-Year medal, complete with red and white silk ribbons. He wasn't wearing it - he didn't earn it. It's among the collection of medals he and his team have been scouting in Paris flea markets as a way of bringing the military message to the store.