The invitation requested “circus chic,” and guests stepped right up in a spirited mix of make-up and costume that begged and borrowed from notions of vaudeville, cabaret, burlesque, even mime. In the end, Friday night’s party resembled a great rock 'n roll glam circus, and the birthday honoree Negar Ali held court as a sparkling ringmaster in bold striped tights and a lock box worth of diamonds on loan from pal and fine jewelry purveyor Neil Lane.
Such are the kind of friends kept by a gal like Negar, a costume designer and stylist (whose clients have included Beyonce, Diddy, Robin Thicke, Sheryl Crow, Tom Hanks and Naomi Watts).
So it was no surprise, really, that the celebrations filled the alfresco living room of another fashion world connection, that of Kiki de Montparnasse, the still relatively new lingerie salon on Melrose. Born Alice Prin, Kiki is the legendary muse and entertainer who defined the audacity and freedom of 1920s Paris. Nearly six decades after her death, she continues to inspire, in this case a commercial enterprise that at least pays artful and luxurious tribute to her legacy.
And, in the flattering glow of the many candles and outdoor fireplaces, Kiki certainly prevailed in memory on this evening. Guests could roam the shop, of course, taking in the haute and naughty looks on mannequins or brass racks, the glass dildos, the fingerless leather opera gloves, the 10-feet of strung pearl restraints and the French lace blindfolds. It all made for a charged atmosphere.
Like its east coast counterpart in SoHo, the L.A. KDM presents a sensuous array of fine art photography. And on view (and sale, of course) is Sam Haskins’ iconic “Cowboy Kate” series, which I for one, never tire of staring at (and which served as inspiration for this month’s Nylon Magazine cover of Mischa Barton).
Outside again, a musician named Douglas Lee, dressed in an elaborately trimmed coat, the kind some Eastern European gypsy might wear, kept the packed patio entranced with his mind-blowing rendition of Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love”—performed with fingertips sliding over the edge of a couple dozen bulbous wine glasses!
Another equally turned-out creature, the bean pole-tall Christof Certik wandered the scene, performing with a vintage concertina and banjo.
It was truly a kick to see so many fabulous looks through the night. I went as a lion in need of tamer, a collar of feathers by Wyeth over a vest jacket my artist pal Bettina Hubby slashed and stitched up with metallic thread, a Lagerfeld pencil skirt I could scarcely walk in and a feathered cat mask I had in one of my many boxes of tricks.
Perhaps fueled by the bottomless glasses of Champagne with St. Germain, the birthday girl's friends decided to throw an impromptu costume awards some time after midnight. No doubt, Kiki would’ve approved.
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