Fashion’s Night Out: An Aristocrat’s Journey


Internationally high fashion icon, recovering agoraphobe, and special Hint correspondent, La Contessa Chantal von Wella seeks glamour and a cocktail at Fashion’s Night Out…


First stop: Bergdorf! Where else? I had the limo drop my dear friend Ms. Djbouti and myself off on Central Park South and as we rounded the corner we saw a mob. Not a Mother of the Bride, mes darlings, but a genuine mob. Naturally, as an aristocrat, when I see hoards of poor people standing outside palatial buildings, I start worrying my head’s about to roll, so I hightailed it out of there as fast as my Ferragamo flats could take me. Good thing, too, because it was only then that we caught glimpse of half a dozen food trucks parked outside. J’adore Bergdorf, but who signed off on food trucks at a fashion event? Not Anna!

Just as we were about to cross Fifth Avenue, twenty men in spacesuits materialized, seemingly out of nowhere. For a second I thought I’d confused my hormone replacement therapy pills with my peyote again, but then Ms. Djbouti explained they were Thom Browne spacesuits, so naturally I approved!

Fighting back the crowds with my bejeweled cane, we slowly made our way to Barneys. Madison was positively surreal, with thousands upon thousands of fashion students in their “fiercest” looks parading up and down the avenue. Along the way we peeked into the Calvin Klein party, which was an outright zoo! Someone said Bryan Adams was performing. Who’s he? I came for the underwear models.

At Barneys, a woman who Ms. Djbouti said is a fashion designer was handing out organic apples. More food? Non, merci! Desperately parched, I asked a waiter for a drink and he handed me a vitamin water. Really? Water + calories + apples = ennui. We dashed out, but not before laying eyes on the degorgeous dolls by a cute boy named Andrew. His Marc Jacobs doll made the evening.

Thirstier than ever, we dashed out of Barneys and nearly mowed down très petit Simon Doonan. Where oh where was the booze? Ms. Djbouti pointed to a store called Searle. Free mojitos in red plastic party cups? Would Anna approve? Certainly not, but the mojito quelled my crowd-frayed nerves and fortified me to keep moving to Gucci, where one of the salesmen bore a striking resemblance to a certain cabana boy I met at Oscar’s estate in Punta Cana. Caliente!

Ms. Djbouti and I decided to head to 57th St, only to be scared to death by a gang of dancing mimes in white catsuits. For a moment I thought I was back at Burning Man, but then realized I was wearing a skirt and the only mushrooms in my purse were truffles. Luckily, Dior Homme and the promise of Veuve lay just ahead.

We arrived chez Dior Homme, but alas, the Veuve was out! So we twirled over to Chanel. The temple of Coco overflowed with overdressed out-of-state girls lusting over quilted handbags. The staff looked as if they couldn’t decide whether to cry or scream. Can we all give a round of applause to the salespeople forced to deal with all those people pawing their merch?

Miu Miu was fabuleuse. No bridge-and-tunnel twerps, but plenty of champagne in tumblers and fetching felt flowers for your ankles. Praise Miuccia!

At this point I was desperate to head downtown, but Ms. Djbouti insisted we peek into Burberry, but all that plaid kicked my vertigo into high gear. We fled, only to stumble upon an Asian tranny who appeared to be locked in a window at Louis Vuitton. Poor girl. She managed to make it all the way out of a Bangkok whorehouse, only to end up back on display at a luxury house. Well, it’s progress, n’est-ce pas?

Après Vuitton, we finally went down, intent on saying ciao at Marni. But our limo was nowhere to be found—horreurs of horreurs!—and there were absolutely no cabs, so we took a romantic ride on the F train. Exiting at Broadway and Houston, we encountered a truly dedicated fashion fan who had transformed her ordinary white wedges into Givenchy op-art wedges with nothing more than a black sharpie—and probably a few bumps.

Soho was a haute mess. Prada was closed, Rag & Bone was having a BBQ (whatever that is), MAC was too jumping and, well, your contessa was pooped. We hailed a cab and nearly ran over Mr. & Mrs. Karl Lagerfeld (aka Baptiste) on the corner of Prince and Wooster. Karl was being chased by a gaggle of groupies, but took the time to shoot your contessa a withering look, indicating it might be time for another facelift. Merci, Karl!

Despite our exhaustion, we managed to make it to our last stop of the evening, Jeffrey. But they, too, were sans bubbly, so your faithful correspondent knew it was time to call it a night. I left Ms. Djbouti in the Meatpacking (she’ll be okay—she’s crafty, that one) and headed back to the Pierre, where a lovely gift from Gucci was waiting for me in my room. And he didn’t disappoint.

Abientôt!

La Contessa Chantal von Wella

Illustration by Jesse Trentadue @ 32 United

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