Recently, on my way to Paris, I stopped for the night in New York, to visit with my daughters, as I always do. I usually arrive at dinner time, and go to some simple restaurant with them. I wear my travel outfit which looks innocuous and feels like pajamas, black jeans or pants of some kind, a black turtle neck and big black hooded sweater, because I always freeze on airplanes. And I don’t want to waste a minute I can spend with my girls, so I don’t bother to change for dinner. We talk, we laugh, I spend the night, and the day with them the next day, and then I leave for Paris. My whole focus is on them, and every minute that they can spare me is spent with them, so I haven’t seen friends in New York in years. I miss them but I miss my kids more. And my night with them in New York is never glamorous or social. But that wasn’t the case by any means on my most recent trip New York. Wow!!! I had so much fun.
They warned me a few days before I arrived that we had been invited to a party to celebrate the opening of the New York film festival, and the dinner was being hosted by Chanel at a restaurant downtown (Tribeca, Soho, the village, somewhere). Very cool. And the message from my daughters was clear. They were going and taking me with them, and Chanel meant I had to dress up and not wear my shlumpy airplane outfit. I got the message. Okay, okay, guys. My life in San Francisco is all work and no play, and all my decent clothes were in Paris. Definitely a dilemma, but I had a couple of possibilities to wear that wouldn’t totally embarrass my girls, and since both work in fashion, I knew I had to look decent to pass muster. Once upon a time, I was out in cocktail and evening clothes every night. I was young(er), they were little, I was married to their very handsome, very glamourous father, and he loved going to parties. I used to say that I had the wardrobe of a cocktail waitress: all evening clothes, and nothing to wear in the daytime. All of that has changed, the world has changed, and my life along with it. I’m no longer married, everyone has gotten less formal, I don’t go to those kind of fancy parties anymore, I run two foundations, got involved with the homeless, and I still dress nicely at times, but like a lot of people, most of my time is spent in jeans, and I only go to black tie parties once every year or two now. And the last big deal evening gown I bought two years ago, I haven’t had a chance to wear yet (although one of my daughters has already borrowed it and worn it, and looked better in it than I ever will). The world has gotten more ‘real’, particularly lately. And going to a jazzy party in New York, given by Chanel, required some serious thought about what to wear (and a small degree of panic). I go to dinners in Paris given by friends, but no one there is going to think about what I’m wearing. That wouldn’t be the case at a party hosted by a major fashion house, in New York!! Zoww…..
I managed to come up with an outfit I thought the girls would approve of. (They are tougher than any fashion critic—-you’re wearing THATTTTT????? Uh oh….I’m in trouble….and I have begun to rely on their advice for fashion.) This time, since I wasn’t meeting up with them until the party, just like a big girl, I dressed myself. I played it relatively safe with a pair of skinny black pants, long sleeved black tee shirt, and a relatively exciting new acquisition, a little gold beaded/sequined bolero jacket by Dries (a Dutch designer I really like), and a really ‘hot’ pair of (very, very) high heeled shoes by Lanvin (a French designer, whose shoes I can rarely resist). These were black patent leather, with beige ribbons across the instep, open toed, and with a row of rhinestones on the heel. Very cool. (In fact the high point of my night was when I came home, and the doorman said “Hot Shoes!!!”—-I was so thrilled someone noticed. He made my night. They are very ‘hot’ shoes, and pretty sexy). So I got dressed, met up with my girls, both of whom looked fabulous in very chic understated outfits, which involved boots, sexy high heeled sandals, leather jackets, a dress in Vanessa’s case, and baggy pants in Victoria’s case. They had their look down pat, both blonde and gorgeous, and they approved of my outfit—-a major plus!!! Whew!!!!
We arrived at the party, and immediately saw a mob of photographers outside, at a French restaurant in downtown trendy New York. I was there for the thrill of being with my girls more than for the party, and figured I’d be bored as I usually am at big parties, but happy to be with them.(When not with my kids, I prefer small dinners with lots of good conversation, and I’m too shy to really enjoy big parties, but being with my girls gave me courage for an evening of several hundred strangers) Starlets and well known actresses were lined up on the red carpet outside the restaurant being photographed, while press shouted questions at them, and we politely shoved our way inside after being given escort cards at the door with our table assignments. I was not seated with my girls, and in we went to the party. There must have been two hundred people in the restaurant, having drinks and talking loudly. It was a ‘scene’, not just a party, and the people were beautiful, many of them well known, of all ages, and mostly engaged in all forms of the arts. There were well known photographers, models, famous actors and actresses, (I found myself staring at Robert de Niro, Matthew Modine, and several others), there were famous artists, journalists, and probably other famous writers, or maybe I was the token writer. There were beautiful people and interesting people, and people were really having fun. The room was loud and lively. I didn’t know a lot of people and didn’t care. It was just fun to watch, and to see people sweeping my girls up in their conversations. They knew far more people there than I did, it is their scene and their city, and no longer mine. And it was all so lively and happy that I actually enjoyed it. Eventually we were shepherded to tables, where each person was given a different coffee table art book, (really great books), and we were seated. I sat between the President of Chanel, and Matthew Modine, the actor, and the conversation was great on either side. I had a ball. Matthew was great to talk to, and the President of Chanel was charming, interesting, and equally fun. His wife also at our table was adorable. People wore great outfits, which is pretty to look at, and many of them were great looking people, but the best part was that they all had a lot to say and brought something or even a lot ‘to the table’. The topics of conversation were varied and intelligent and interesting. It really was a fantastic party, and I had a ball. The food was delicious, and the atmosphere was even better. I had a terrific time, and I was so proud of both my daughters. Cards and email addresses were exchanged, promises were made to call, write, and meet again. The Chanel people thanked everyone for coming, took wonderful care of their guests and handed out gift bags at the end. I felt like a kid who’d been to a really great birthday party, and I didn’t expect it. I left with a new art book, a bag full of Chanel cosmetics, having talked to several interesting people, enjoyed my dinner partners and genuinely hope to see both again, and I got a peek at my daughters’ New York scene. It was sooooo cool, and I loved it. They went off afterwards to meet other friends and I went home with a treasured memory of a fun evening. It inspired me to get dressed up more and go out more often. I had a ball!!! It reminded me of when evenings like that were standard fare for me, and I should do more of it, instead of getting down to the business of living, and the grind of working. My promise to myself at the end of the evening was to go to fun events like that more often, and it was infinitely better and more fun for me because I was with my daughters. I just loved it!!! And the girls promised to take me out again to similar events…..so I’m getting ready and shopping for more ‘hot shoes’, so I’ll be ready whenever they want me. I had soooooo much fun!!!