Book parties tend to be circle jerk affairs: sordid Chardonnay-and-canapé-fueled minuets of self-congratulation. Last night's New York mag Look Book book party at Bergdorf Goodman, however, was amazingly a creative act. Characters who'd otherwise only rub shoulders when on adjoining pages were actually in the same room with each other and in some cases even talked! This was great! And Nikola Tamindzic found that these people were eager and comfortable photographic subjects.
On 5F, the contemporary fashion wing of Bergdorf's, Hall and Oates' Private Eyes was playing quietly over hidden speakers. Middle-aged women dressed in all black were passing around little falafel patties and the most stylish New Yorkers, at least in a Look Bookian terms, were schmoozing.
The idea was that all the Look Bookers would wear their original outfits. But some of the photographs are years old and fitting into the same dress, for many look bookers, proved an untenable position. But they were there all right. In one section, near a rack of blouses, Alex Kennedy-Grant, the self-proclaimed guitar virtuoso, was saddling up Andre J, the tall self-proclaimed muse. Their afros—one rouge the other noir—bobbed together like buoys above the sea of people. Alex, who it turns out doesn't live in Williamsburg (Prospect Heights, represent), is still unsigned but unflaggingly virtuosic. André tried to take off my shirt. That interaction was made even more awkward because Vanessa Grigoriadis, the New York mag writer who is working on the forthcoming "exposé" on Gawker, was standing right next to me as I struggled to keep André's hands away from my abdomen. Later she borrowed a page from my notebook to scrawl some cryptic notes that I'm sure read: "JDS shoved Andre's hand away. What is he hiding under there?" Dig, Vanessa, DIG!
Her boss, Adam Moss flitted briefly into throughout the room in a dapper striped suit.
By the signing table, Look Book queen Amy Larocca's family was hanging out. Her ma, Dale Larocca, a professor at the New York Institute of Technology, looked like she could have been in the book itself, but, "If you know Amy, there's no way you're getting in." Dale was talking to Joan Copeland, Arthur Miller's younger sister and a Larocca family friend. Turns out Jim Larocca, the author's father, was in state politics most of his life but later on, the silver-haired fox turned to regional theater. In this capacity he directed Ms. Copeland. "So you're an actress?" we asked. "Yes," said Mme. Copeland, "I'm very famous too!" And the funny thing is that she wasn't being arrogant at all. She is actually very famous!
In another tiny circle, Bobby Zarem, the PR macher, was chatting with Ben Widdicombe who was in a much better mood than he was at at Tenjune. Zarem, who sported a Hillary button, had just come from a Clinton fundraiser at the house of Paul Berne, where Bill spoke to much applause. "I had a better time there," said Zanem. "The people were easier to much easier to talk to."
In another small cluster, Nicole Brydson and Michael Calderone, the inseparable Observer duo, were chatting with Page Six's Corynne Steindler and Page Six magazine's Entertainment editor Rachel Syme. And was that former Gawker editor Doree Shafrir we saw with a special glow? It was. Why the glow? "I have a phone," she said excitedly. "And an office! And a computer! The other day, I actually took a source out to lunch!"
Whoa. She has sources now.
An old New York magazine ad sales lady was kind of hitting on Calderone who, it happens, has an avid interest in cougars. But later she caught us gently gently making fun of her inebriation. "Are you making fun of me?" she asked. We laughed like a bunch of guilty kids and I opened beer bottles with my teeth to try to distract her.