By Lauren Matison Posted September 8, 2008, 12:51 PM EDT
Last night on the far west side, Calvin Klein hosted one of Fashion Week's most-hyped events, celebrating the label's 40th anniversary. A temporary pavilion designed by architect John Pawson was built specially for the affair next to the High Line, a one-and-a-half-mile-long abandoned railway being transformed into a public park. The guests, who left the party around midnight, wore black and white clothing and hailed from the fashion, beauty, and entertainment industries. Most were completely surprised by the magnitude of the event, and some even plucked white roses to take home as a memento.
A longtime supporter of the nonprofit organization Friends of the High Line, Calvin Klein dropped $3 million for the party, a sum The Daily News reported also includes a donation to the development of the elevated oasis. We asked guests whether the birthday bash was indeed the biggest event of the season.
“When they donate millions of dollars and erect the great wall of Calvin Klein, it’s pretty amazing.”
—Molly Sims, actress and model
“The food was amazing. I loved the tuna tartare, and there was a little ginger cookie that was delicious.”
—Dani Stahl, accessories director, Nylon magazine
“As of right now, this is the biggest event. I have something for Louis Vuitton next week, but I feel like I’m standing on the steps of some great monument. The party was hot—Estelle performed, which was a surprise, and sang 'New York, New York.' On the High Line itself was a paved path lined with beds of white roses and willows on each side; it smelled gorgeous. I couldn’t smell any of New York City; it was amazing. The highlight of the event was seeing the High Line, seeing how it goes for miles, seeing all the flowers and the view along the Hudson. It wasn’t too crowded; people were either inside or outside. I loved the pasta with truffle sauce and the codfish. Nope, no birthday cake.”
—Jane Mayle, fashion designer
“It was actually very good. Probably the biggest event. Lots of celebrities like Brooke Shields, Jared Leto, a lot of fashion people, obviously. There were so many people; we are slipping out early. We just checked out the railroad, it’s amazing. The High Line looks like a long runway, beautiful, with a lot of flowers. This event was very American style, the bigger the better.”
—Gabriel, Elite Milan, model management company
“This was one of the greatest Fashion Week events I’ve ever been to. In the gift bag, they gave us sunglasses, perfume for women and cologne for men, a book about the High Line, and a candle.”
—Aiko, Nylon magazine Japan
“This is not the biggest fashion event of the week for me, but I had a very nice time.”
—Alan Cumming, actor
“The event was great, lots of fun, fantastic crowd. The brand is still going strong, and it’s exciting to celebrate 40 years with the launch of the new fragrance, Secret Obsessions.”
—Jean Mortier, senior vice president of commercial, Coty Prestige
“This will clearly be the party of this week, no question. Being able to walk onto the High Line, and what they built for one night. It’s so beautiful to see this and on such a gorgeous night. There's not an ounce of branding anywhere, except the billboard outside. The event is simple and minimal and gray and white. Calvin [Klein] wasn’t there, and Francisco [Costa, the creative director] left early to work on fittings for his collection. They didn’t ask the guests to donate. John Pawson is an extraordinary architect. Inside felt like an exhibition, with blues and an empty field that looks like a painting. It’s completely confusing, it’s like you’re walking into a real gallery but it’s there for this one night. Unless there’s a gallery on the side street I don’t know about. It’s a mirage; you just can’t believe that it’s all just built today. It’s terribly impressive. You wish they could leave it open, especially the High Line. There were bouquets of flowers and lots of plants and weeds along the side. Sections of it are crowded, but you just walk to the end and it’s quite magical.”
—Fern Mallis, senior vice president, IMG Fashion
“Absolutely, this is the biggest event for us. Calvin [Klein] is all about minimalism. So this is a very simple, elegant party. The presentation is exquisite. Lots of white flowers and lit candles everywhere. There were male model-waiters wearing black slacks and tight black T-shirts. It’s very crowded inside, but also very well attended—Eva Mendes, Martha Stewart, the cast of Lipstick Jungle.”
—Anonymous executive, Calvin Klein Inc.
“From the High Line, you can see a beautiful view of New Jersey near the Hudson River. The only branding you could see was outside. It was very Calvin Klein, very simple, minimal. The outside passage along the Hudson River is crazy. The best part was the passage. Certainly this is one of the biggest parties of Fashion Week.”
—Masako, Harpers Bazaar Japan