"This party is so 'Buffy.' I don't mean like the T.V. show Buffy, I mean like these people might all be named Buffy. I'm surprised they didn't bring their tennis rackets," a rumpled cigarette-smoker was saying just outside the party for the second book in "The Upper Class" young adult series at Tailor last night. Well, sure: The party partly was a reunion of sorts for kids who went to Hotchkiss, the posh Connecticut boarding school the books' three authors attended. But party cohost and Heatherette designer Richie Rich had also brought with him a strong contingent of people who work in fashion or at the very least have been on a reality show about working in fashion. And holding court in a corner was the party's other cohost: The most popular boarding school girl of all time, Tinsley Mortimer. The exhilarating ripple of her voice was like a wild tonic in the rain. But Tinsley herself was less like a tonic and more like one of the bubblegum vodka martinis ("bazookas") being dispensed by the open bar: Totally sweet and not at all horrible like maybe you'd expect! Nikola Tamindzic captured the moments.
Appearances can be deceiving. The book we were celebrating, 'Miss Education', isn't about tennis lessons at all. It's much more Francesca Lia Block than 'Gossip Girl,' full of sentences like "Parker in black and white Adidas high tops with the gold tongue and a raccoon coat she found in her basement. Blue with no jacket and no hat, just I Ching cards stuck into the spokes of his wheel. They ride, speeding and skittering on the icy shoulder of the highway, occasionally letting out a full-moon howl for the hell of it. Dangerous, and alive."
Likewise, you'd expect Soapnet's "Fashionista Diaries" starlet Bridget Helene to be shoving herself in front of the cameras all the time and reticent in front of someone who writes for a website, but: No. She stood at the corner of the bar, away from the flashbulbs, and expressed relief that the show was over. Now, she can live wherever she wants. "During the show, we had to live on Canal Street, and that was horrible. I mean, it was up high, so you couldn't smell or hear anything. But as soon as you'd come out onto the street, there would be, like, 1000 Chinamen— 'Prada!' 'Gucci!' Hey, is that Russian Navy by O.P.I. nailpolish? That is my absolute favorite," she said.
Publicist Kristian Laliberte came late to the party in a designer bomber jacket bearing the legend "John Lennon Loves On" and eyeliner. He's not eating carbs right now. I asked him to introduce me to his friend Tinsley Mortimer but he demurred. "Things are a little dicey with Tinsley right now, because of Peter [Davis]," he whispered.
So I went over to Tinsley's rarefied corner of the room alone, feeling as if I was bringing my lunch tray to the popular kids' table uninvited.
Her blonde ringlets shone in the bar's semidarkness, and her eyes registered nothing more than mild confusion when I told her why I'd come. Her tiny nostrils and her long black lashes fluttered as she spoke, and her voice was deliciously husky and just the tiniest bit Southern-accented.
Tinsley was happy to hear that someone had enjoyed the recent Styles profile of her relationship with her husband Topper, who she first married when she was 18. That bond was annulled, and the two were later remarried at a in a more socially acceptable way at a more socially acceptable age. Still: Romantic!
"Well, I feel like I might be really cheesy to say this, but you have to fight for love. You have to do whatever is necessary! I feel like people are too scared to say, 'I'm crazy about you! I'm obsessed with you! But when you feel that way, you should go for it, absolutely,' Tinsley said, widening her already-wide eyes.
It must be hard, though, to have been with the same person for so long, from such a young age. Seriously: Eighteen!
"Well, yeah," she said, "I mean, Topper was my first sexual experience! Sorry! Too much information?"
No, Tinsley. That is the exact perfect amount of information.
"But he'd been with other girls... I mean, he'd gotten it out of his system." She smiled. "I'm so glad I've never had to be single in this city. My sister-in-law is single, and it sounds awful!"
Oh, it is. But being in a long relationship with someone with whom one no longer has anything in common is worse.
"But I feel like it's actually really important to have separate lives, and that's what keeps your relationship strong in the long run," Tinsely said. "Most of all, you have to believe in love."