Last night, upstairs at Rihanna’s Fashion Week party at the Edition Hotel, I happily sipped a flute of Champagne. I have been told that Rihanna’s people will go berserk if I interview anyone. So I don’t. It wasn’t yet 11 p.m.
“Oh. I smoked a joint,” says Lindsey Wixson, 21, the model famous for having a gap between her teeth. She lets out a mature giggle, passing the rollie back to Peter Brant II, 21, famous for being supermodel Stephanie Seymour’s son. The boy the New York Times called one of the “New Princes of the City” in 2012 takes a great puff of marijuana. His younger brother, Harry, the other Prince — they aren’t, but stand to inherit billions — is in the next room, I believe, a black ribbon tied around his neck. Perhaps Wixson speaks for my benefit. For I am staring at them, and they at me. I could reach out and finger her tiered, cut-away top or tell her that she looks like an upscale peasant girl with that black straw hat jauntily arched so as not to cast a shadow over her little visage. Ah, what pretty emerging adults we have here in America’s city!
We orient ourselves back to the light source from which we have been momentarily deprived: our lady Rihanna, 27, in a long, bright-white velvet V-neck gown. Six feet away. Softly barricaded by burly bodyguards. I count five of them, and six golden bobby pins holding up her updo, and one too many photographers, amateur and professional both. Fashion Week, we meet again!
I turn away because my own hair is being fingered suggestively by the man I call the Parisian Cowboy. (I’ve heard he’s a fashion designer but to me he will always be just another urban cowboy, refusing to take his wide-brimmed black hat off during the summer, or even dinner, as was the case when we were seated next to each other at Lucien. A year ago today, I believe it was, probably to the day, as that’s why he’s in the Big Apple again.) He does not let go of my head, from two heads away, which is less awkward than it sounds because I’m 6’3’’ in my Prada platforms — the better for watching celebrities, my dear! — and he’s even taller; though, more to the point, I’m only just now beginning to believe he in fact does “work with Kanye.”
“You never called me back,” says the Parisian Cowboy. Wixson is listening, but then gets attacked by a gaggle of models who aren’t quite famous enough to be recognized by name, but just recognizable enough that I won’t call them a gaggle of women. “You never called me!” I say, though I have no idea who calls me, the ringer on my BlackBerry broke. He gets close, and breathes into my ear, “I’m with Rihanna’s crew,” he says, and shrugs. “I have to go.” He turns, walks three feet away, and pushes through a sea of people to stand next to a man in a NEW FUCKING YORK hat (whom I previously saw tell a petite, underage beauty he was also “with Rihanna.” A myth I found hard to debunk, but more difficult to verify in the affirmative. Bravo, young sir!). Pharrell, in a black beret, is pushing past me to get closer to Rihanna. The bodyguards open, and he pays his dues. Wiz Khalifa, seated hazily across from RiRi, doesn’t take out his headphones, but extends an arm to Pharrell. The bodyguards close.
I actually totally space on Pharrell’s name and turn to the little old white man in a suit near me and ask who wrote that song about being happy all the time if you just say you’re happy all the time. He doesn’t in fact know what I’m talking about (“like from Sunday school?”), and is too short to see Pharrell for himself now that he’s ensconced in Rihanna’s inner circle, but was anyway all of a sudden, and since the cowboy’s visit, much friendlier once he knew I know who he knows. Whoever the cowboy may in fact be. The little suit points and asks me if I’ve seen Jay-Z’s best friend, which is something you can Google apparently and his name is “TyTy.” I had seen him, hours ago, which I only remember because he was one of the 30 or so in Rihanna’s entourage in a sectioned-off VIP area outside, in the pouring rain, under a clear tent 30 feet from the concert. And I asked this dapper teen with a golf umbrella from the Beverly Hills Hotel who he was, because he really seemed to be shaking all the hands. You know? Like he said hi to Timbaland. He actually interrupted Wiz putting his number in Timbaland’s phone.
“That’s Emory Jones,” said my teen. “That’s Travis Scott.”
Sorry. I forgot to mention that there was a concert, outside on 24th Street. In the pouring rain. And that we civilians stood in the rain, on all sides of the VIP tent, watching the VIPs greet each other and listening to Young Thug. It was miserable and fun. I got drenched. A kid in a skull do-rag I had not thought would now be in the VIP section smoking pot — and might for all I know be a “famous” or famous-adjacent person or at least not a kid — had told me, when I asked what his shirt said in line at the bar: “I don’t know. I have so many clothes. I can’t remember.”
Anyway: An amped-up security person is weaving haphazardly through the crowd telling everyone to quit smoking. “Tell that to the celebrities!” shouts a girl I think I would call “famous on Instagram,” which to me means, I dunno, Matt Sukkar takes her picture at lot. (If you don’t know who he is, I would say this: The Daily Mail has pics of him kissing Scout Willis in a fur coat. Okay, maybe not enough to make you care.)
Rihanna leaves. Then she comes back. Then she leaves again. On her second pass, I reach out and touch her. Because I can. A member of her entourage — tall, handsome, in a long black T-shirt almost to his knees over jeans — gets shoved into me.
“I like you,” he says, fingering the dagger (necklace) around my neck as he waits for bodyguards to clear him a path.
“Can I come with you?”
“Nope,” he says, and pats me gingerly on the butt.
So I tried. Such is journalism’s loss.
I go into the next room, where Gigi Hadid, 20, is sitting on the pool table, Joe Jonas, 26, aft. The two are dating; I know this from the papers, and it is true, I watch him touch her thigh. They didn’t have any bodyguards, and I would have gotten you some dialogue, but they all swiveled around and gave me “who are you?” faces, to which I wasn’t about to say: a reporter! Since I wasn’t allowed to report anyway. So I didn’t. I left, only I couldn’t find a cab, and it was still raining, so I asked to get in an Uber with two girls who left in tandem with me. “We’re 21!” they say. I question this free fall of information, because I’m a journalist. Turns out Margaux is turning 21 in October and Marina is still 19. Or the other way around. Anyway, they give me their Uber. “Our parents are paying for it. It doesn’t matter.”
The Big Apple! You know?