The Assembly New York A/W 2014 presentation took place last night at the National Arts Club, an ornate old (money) institution in Gramercy Park. Founded in 1898 by an arts critic of the New York Times, the private club then sought to, “stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts.” These days, if those members present last night are taken as the norm, the NAC serves to foster alcoholism among old, rich, white folk.
My companion and I arrived five minutes after start time to an already restless half-park-long line. Forty-five minutes, two cigarettes, and some mannered bitching later, we could see the mansion door — just as we stepped under the entrance’s awning, we started hearing whispers that no more bodies would be let in. Then, a blonde boomer tripped out for a smoke. She held a tumbler of amber in one hand--a liquor jacket, her only one. She lit her own cigarette and started to talk, first loud then raucous then ringing—
What do you people want? What do you people need? Look at you--waiting out here in the freezing cold, in the dead of winter. For what? For some show? Tell me, tell me, what I can do? What? Do you want inside? Do you want to party? Do you need a drink? Tell me. Do you want a drink with the designer? What about money? I have money. I have enough to do anything you...
That’s when we skipped past the college junior volunteers manning the guest list and into the manor’s amber foyer, up a flight of Oriental carpeted stairs into the somber main hall. There, I saw eight, maybe nine looks — all black and white. Some chinoiserie, some pussy bows. Floppy hats like LA and Paris girls wear to channel one another. Dries-worthy suits. It so wasn’t the Assembly I’ve come to love, which is accessible and easy and generous, in feel and in form — as the night would suggest. And as my best pretentious friend likes to say: wie schade.