Masks in the gallery, please, a Brooklyn Museum security guard said.
It was last Wednesday night and the museum was celebrating the return of New York Fashion Week with the opening night of Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, a retrospective of the French luxury house.
Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of Diors, stood inside wearing a black mask, which she sometimes removed to be photographed with figures like singer Lorde (dressed in Dior from head to toe).
When the big parties returned to New York three months ago, it seemed like enough when organizers demanded proof of vaccination at the gate. The Delta Variant and Revolutionary Infections threw it all on a loop.
Would last week’s guests feel comfortable socializing indoors without a mask? Would immunization cards be looked at more carefully? Or would revelers, including many aspiring fashionistas who treat dressing to go out as a profession in its own right, behave like the pandemic is yet another trend, now over?
Like the fashion shows themselves, reviews were mixed. Vaccination cards (or proof of negative Covid-19 tests) were usually verified and sometimes cross-checked with government-issued ID. They were rarely, if ever, scanned for fakes or duplicates. People of choice often passed without showing them at all.
The masks were largely removed once inside.
The music was loud, the dance floors were packed, and the jewelry was big and bright (frosted gold watches from Audemars Piguet! Headdresses dazzled with diamonds!). So much for a more inclusive and egalitarian post-pandemic New York.
Even at the Brooklyn Museum’s tidy and low-key event, security guards who ordered non-famous guests to turn on their masks were likely to give celebrities a free pass.
This included Prince Nasir Dean, the 20-year-old model, actor and son of music producer Swizz Beatz. Mr. Dean did not wear a mask during a tour of the gallery run by Anne Pasternak, the director of museums. Congratulations, Ms. Pasternak told her, as her transgression was seen by a reporter.
Other guests, including Kacey Musgraves, Yara Shahidi and Maye Musk, were more accommodating.
Later that night, revelers converged on the Boom Boom room at the top of the Standard High Line hotel, where Bulgari celebrated their new collection of B.Zero1 jewelry. While the vaccination records were checked by people with clipboards, this journalist slipped in without being asked to present one.
Upstairs, a pandemic, what pandemic? the mood prevailed.
Who are these people, said James Reginato, the Vanity Fair writer, standing in a booth near the dance floor, which was filled with slender, maskless models, including Shanina Shaik, Lily Aldridge and Kylie Vonnahme.
At the bar, Dove Cameron, a former Disney star and actress, wore a hot pink Alex Perry dress and hung out with a group of friends. I shot a full TV show, pilot and movie, she said, when asked how she coped with the pandemic.
Nearby, R&B sibling duo Chloe x Halle were set to perform. They wore slip-on dresses by Peter Do, accessorized with dazzled Bulgari headwear. They weren’t sure they could keep the jewelry.
Vaccination cards were checked more closely the following night at Saks Fifth Avenue, which hosted a party at LAvenue, its ninth-floor restaurant. Paris Hilton arrived in a Dark Escalade at around 10 p.m. and was taken upstairs.
The dance floor was packed, few wore masks, and one of the most recognizable people in the room, aside from actress Sarah Paulson, was a pillar of Keeping Up with the Kardashians whose very name is confusing. .
It used to be Jonathan Cheban, but now it’s called Foodgod. I had it changed legally, he said, wearing a vintage Aerosmith t-shirt and a large, sparkly necklace that said Foodgod.
Kanye designed it for me, added Foodgod, who arrived from Nobu 57, where he was treated to a series of caviar-laden dishes. It was awesome! he said, as a sea of people behind him raised their phones to record Ms. Hilton DJ
The anthem of the evening, played shortly before performances by Kim Petras and G-Eazy, was I love it, a pop song about shameless hedonism. (Sample lyrics: I crashed my car onto the bridge, looked, I let it burn. I don’t care. I love it.)
Partygoers sometimes questioned their own judgment. Yes, they have been vaccinated, but what about epidemic infections? Should I wear my mask in the elevator, but take it off at the crowded bar? Do I have to report someone for using a fake vaccination card?
At a party for CR Fashion Book on Friday, celebrity hairstylist Sally Hershberger said she held her breath as she walked through a crowd. George Cortina, fashion consultant and creative director, said he tries not to hug or kiss people. (None of these measures will prevent you from being infected.)
But most attendees were happy to explore Cipriani South Street, a new event space in the historic Battery Maritime Building at the southern tip of Manhattan. There were terraces overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. The bars were full of Gray Goose vodka.
Discussions centered around the Met Gala and what people were planning to wear.
I wasn’t invited, said Carine Roitfeld, the party host and former editor-in-chief of French Vogue whose icy relationship with Anna Wintour was barely romanticized in Le Diable wears Prada. Never mind that for 26 years, Ms. Roitfeld was the primary creative partner of Tom Ford, who made a cameo appearance at the party and was co-host of this year’s Met Gala.
It’s OK, said Ms Roitfeld, who wore a zippered black leather ensemble featuring pieces from Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaa and Rick Owens, and was on the patio, smoking a Dunhill cigarette. I’m going back to Paris on Monday.
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