After the Met Gala, the Parties Lasted All Night


One reason the Met Gala after-parties are nearly as famous as the Met Gala itself has to do with an incident that took place 10 years ago at the Standard Hotel in the West Village of Manhattan.

On that night, Beyoncé was a star of the red carpet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with her husband, Jay-Z, and her sister Solange Knowles. Afterward, in an elevator car headed to the Boom Boom Room, the club on the top floor of the Standard, Solange attacked her brother-in-law while Beyoncé stood watching and a bodyguard tried to restore order. The security-cam footage leaked to TMZ and the internet, and a family fight became the stuff of New York social lore.

Things were less dramatic this year and less star studded at the annual Standard after-party. Just past midnight, the most famous person at Boom was the designer Christian Siriano, who had arrived with his date for the evening, the model Coca Rocha. Connie Fleming, the hotel’s longtime doorwoman, reflected on the changes in the social atmosphere since the heady days of 2014.

“I think the Met Gala has peaked in its base of being about real fashion and real fashion people,” said Ms. Fleming, who became one of the trans community’s first stars in the 1990s, when she walked runways for Thierry Mugler.

Ms. Fleming pointed out that a decade ago, at the time of the Solange-Jay-Z fracas, an appearance on the cover of Vogue was a key marketing tactic in the rollout of an album.

“Now you can promote it on your freaking TikTok or your Instagram,” said Ms. Fleming, who was decked out in a sequined lavender dress from Marc Bouwer. “The power balance and the influence balance has shifted.”

It just so happened that Mr. Bouwer was on the dance floor, wearing a silver jumpsuit and a headdress made from organza and ribbons. “I’m vegan,” he said, as the D.J. played a slew of ’90s house tracks. “I think feathers are cruel.” The designer added that he had dressed a Met Gala attendee: “Haley Kalil. She’s a YouTube superstar.”

Around 12:30, the room got some liftoff when Jeff Bezos entered with his fiancée, Lauren Sánchez.

Earlier, Ms. Sánchez had shown up at the gala wearing a strapless Oscar de la Renta gown with a corset top and a ballooning bottom adorned with what looked like shattered glass. For her appearance at the Standard, she was in a form-fitting gown that had paint strips running down the middle.

She was ushered to a banquette near Mr. Siriano. But without a lot of people to talk to, Mr. Bezos and Ms. Sánchez quickly made an exit.

Closer to the bar was the singer Sam Smith, who was wearing a black suit embellished with a massive rose in 24-karat gold. Who designed it?

“Him!” Smith said, pointing at his boyfriend, the fashion designer Christian Cowan.

A few feet away was the designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, who had recently left his post at Valentino. To Mr. Piccioli’s right was his daughter Benedetta. “My date,” he said, before making it clear he would not be giving interviews on what he was doing next.

Nor would he discuss the reasons for his departure from Valentino — although he did point out who had designed his daughter’s dress.

“Versace,” he said.

On the dance floor, the singer FKA twigs was wearing a nude dress and dancing to none other than Beyoncé.

A week before, FKA Twigs had made an appearance before Congress, where she had testified about the threat of deep fakes. Now she was doing hosting duties at an official Met Gala after-party.

“I feel very lucky to be looked upon kindly and to be given spaces in different places in the world to speak and express myself,” she said.

The crowd began to thin out.

Another party was taking place at Silencio, a basement club on West 57th Street. The host was the rapper Cardi B. At 1:45 a.m. she had not yet arrived. So the most famous person in the room was, once again, Mr. Siriano, who was seated with Ms. Rocha at yet another banquette.

While a D.J. played vintage Dr. Dre, waiters served potato chips topped with caviar.

“Where’s the girl?” Mr. Siriano said, referring to Cardi B.

She popped in shortly after 2 a.m., having changed out of the black tulle dress whose train had been carried up the Met stairs by a team of more than half a dozen people. At Silencio, she was wearing a reddish dress with conical breasts that recalled the style of Jean Paul Gaultier more than three decades ago.

If this dress was easier for Cardi B to manage than her red-carpet concoction, a cast of many was nevertheless required to escort her to the D.J. booth, so that she would not have to glad-hand hoi polloi.

Almost everyone in the crowd took out their phones and took videos of Cardi B in the booth. Pushing her hair out of her face, she did a bit of free-styling on the mic to whoops from the crowd.

By that time, Mr. Siriano and Ms. Rocha were already leaving the affair hosted by Usher on the roof of the Edition Hotel in Times Square. They did not stay long.

“In and out,” Mr. Siriano said. “It’s cute up there, but it’s hot.”

The Usher party was crowded with famous faces. The lineup included the supermodel Naomi Campbell, the actor and hip-hop legend Queen Latifah, the singer Leon Bridges and the actors Taraji P. Henson and Tisha Campbell. There was also a power couple — the actor Gabrielle Union and her husband, the former N.B.A. star Dwyane Wade.

By chance or by design, many of the celebrity guests followed the same protocol: Greet Usher with a hug and make a beeline to the dance floor.

Stilt walkers parading across the room gave the party a bit of a circus atmosphere, and hot dog carts lent a New York touch. Usher, who was the headliner of the Super Bowl’s halftime show in February, was not one of those hosts who makes himself a wallflower and watches the goings-on from afar.

He joined D.J. D-Nice onstage and danced to Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love.” He mouthed the lyrics to “Because of You” by Ne-Yo, who sang alongside him. He pulled the designer Michèle Lamy into a dance circle for his song “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home).” And, along with the actor and musician, Janelle Monáe, he was part of an attentive audience for a magician who did card tricks.

Usher compared the Met Gala to the Super Bowl in its cultural influence.

“That’s why I’ve always admired it from afar,” he said. “You hope that you’ve done something well enough, and you’d like to be invited first. And then the rest of the world can see who and what you have to offer.”

Deeper into the wee hours, the last grand entrance was made by the singer and songwriter Erykah Badu. Cameras swarmed her as she posed wearing a large brimmed hat and a black bustle dress. When asked what the bustle was made of, she said in jest: “It’s made out of the souls of Black women.”

Around 3 a.m., Usher took his leave as Ms. Badu danced her way out of the hotel and into a sprinter van. Even at this hour, there were onlookers gathered at a barricade. She gave them a wave.

Another late-night event took place at Casa Cipriani, a private club on the southern tip of Manhattan. There, the New York nightlife connoisseur Richie Akiva grabbed a microphone by the D.J. booth.

“We’re just getting started,” he said at 2 a.m.

He called out to his famous friends in the crowd: “Teyana Taylor in the house, we see you! Shout out to my man Sam Smith in the building! I see you, Sam.”

The D.J. and music producer Kaytranada joined Mr. Akiva, playing a remix of Jay-Z’s “Show Me What You Got.” At a table nearby, Doja Cat, one of the party’s co-hosts, wearing an entirely sheer outfit, cozied up to Guram Gvasalia of Vetements. The two have seemed to be everywhere together since making their Instagram debut a few days ago.

At another table, Ms. Monáe and Serena Williams, both co-hosts, chatted and posed for photos. When Ms. Monáe and Doja Cat noticed each other, they screamed in unison. Then they danced and vogued together.

The model Imaan Hammam, wearing a silver mini dress, said she was inspired by Carrie Bradshaw for her after-party look. She had worn a dazzling gold top and matching maxi skirt to the Met Gala, and now she wanted “something a bit more fun — something to dance in,” she said.

The model Alton Mason wore a white fur shawl — no shirt — with low rise jeans, accessorizing his look by stacking four silver chains against his bare chest. When asked to describe his mood, he had one word: “Sexy.”

“Actually,” Mr. Mason added quickly, “I want to change my word: opulent. It comes from within.”

Throughout the night, models took cigarette breaks on a balcony overlooking a crowd of people trying to get inside. “This is not a regular club night,” a security guard shouted to the group of hopefuls. “If you’re wack, you’re wack.”

Past 3 a.m., the designer LaQuan Smith shimmied in a white tank top and baby blue sequin pants. He said he had been to the Boom Boom Room, as well as a few other places.

“I’ve been bouncing around New York,” he said.

Was this his last stop?

He shrugged, as if to say he would see where the night would take him.





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