“A Grand & Reserved Evening”

Reserved Magazine’s shrine to cover model Helena Christensen

It’s the coldest night of the season so far and I’m fighting off sinusitis and a twitching left eye. I’m also in a cab ($30 fare) on my way to the Reserved Magazine 2nd edition release party, ready to mingle with the beautiful people at Paul’s Baby Grand (owned by Paul Paul Sevigny) in the Tribeca Grand Hotel. Figuring I would never make it past the discriminating doorman on an actual club night (waaay too old, not a size 0, blah-blah-blah you do the math) tonight is my chance to glimpse the netherworld of downtown after dark. I’m in full regalia–basic black (leather) with skulls (crystal Butler & Wilson choker, earrings) so let’s do this. Courtesy of the young PR girls freezing their buns off whilst checking names and I’m in! “What a feeling (I can really have it all)…”

Helena Christensen & friend
(Photo: Laurel Marcus)

Past the red velvet curtains and down the stairs lies the small eclectic, Miami beach meets Victoriana space complete with palm fronds. The room is filled beyond capacity and yet the party is in its infancy. I make a quick circuit while I still can move, noting the  “hostess of the evening” and Reserved cover model Helena Christensen chilling on a banquette with a female friend. She looks lovely at 45; it is indeed hard to believe that she is from the dawn of the ’90s supermodels, along with Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington, who ruled the pack back in the day. When I try to take her photo beside official photog Patrick McMullan’s son, an angry woman in an orangey red jacket appears. “Who are you with?” she demands. “We have our photographer already. Please don’t bother her (indicating Ms. Christensen). I just want her to relax.” Oookay…but a) as a model I’m sure she’s used to having her photo taken and b) this is a press party…you invited me and ostensibly you would like the coverage and photos are a large part of that, no? I take a few random shots of the crowd and another minion is upon me, this time a smaller yet imperious chap. “No flash allowed!” he says despite the fact that I witness flashes going off all around me. What is this, a museum? It’s so dark that nothing will come out without a flash. I am told once more that I can’t use my camera but obviously I’m not playing by the rules tonight.

Photo: Laurel Marcus

The crowd is a mixed bag of those primarily in their 30’s and 40’s, models, modelizers, those who remember the golden days of clubbing (Tunnel, Limelight, maybe Studio 54)and look worse the wear for it, as well as a Brooklyn version of Paul Bunyon, hopefully without his axe. Mitja Bokun, the editor-in-chief of Reserved is holding court near the bar. DJ Mick Rock is jamming an eclectic mix of mostly older/classic hits and some remixes while the thick air reeks of cigarettes and weed making me cough. I stake out a standing space, semi out of the way of the drink waiter’s path and am alternately taking in the scene/fighting the urge to GTFO and hop right back into another $30 taxi.

As I’m standing there trying to decide what to do other than loom awkwardly, a woman who reminds me of a silent film star but with an eastern European accent which I’m having trouble decoding in the din approaches. “I don’t know you, but I feel you” she begins and proceeds to nuzzle my neck. “I love that perfume. What is it?” Her blonde friend looks on slightly bemused. I just nod and try to look nonchalant. “Please go sit over there with us” she nods slightly to a space in the middle of the section of banquettes. “We will be back.” I blink and try to regroup as they walk off to the bar or ladies, thankfully never to be seen again. I come to perch on an empty banquette lining the wall across from the bar, in relatively easy reach of the exit and people watch undetected for a while. I guy comes in with a bowl cut black wig and full length sable coat accompanied by a stylish woman in a black and white striped fur jacket and sparkly pants. He turns repeatedly, winks and waves at me. I smile back.  A couple comes in bearing huge Kurt Cobain books. I guess there was some sort of ’90s retrospective going on from whence they came.

A young Geoffrey Holder type perches next to me at the adjoining table and I shift slightly so as not to be in his way. “You don’t need to move. I’ve got room” he says with a twinkle in his eye.  We talk…it seems that he is quite the nightlife king and has skipped Diddy’s taping of the Global Swing DJ’s Awards to be aired next month, in favor of this event. “Since it’s just a taping who knows if there’d be drinks or food?” he reasoned. He tells me he was “checking me out” and apparently it is not a bad thing to resemble a cross between Liza Minelli (I’ve heard that before), either Shirley of “Laverne and Shirley” or Joyce DeWitt of “Three’s Company” (it was unclear which TV show reference he meant) and a school teacher (I was wearing my glasses). In an aha moment I suddenly remember my eye twitch…maybe everyone thinks I’m winking at them?!? The urge to bolt finally wins out and I flee into the cold air and thankfully, my getaway car aka a warm taxi that’s dropping more people off at the party.

Right: Mitja Bokun co-editor

Reserved Magazine was originally launched on Indiegogo in 2013, raising just $1,650 of its $15k goal.  It is the brainchild of Vanity Fair’s Photo Producer Richard Villani, and currently lists Whitney Mercurio and Mitja Bokun as Co-editors in chief. The first edition, out last year, billed itself as “The Magazine for Some People.” The press release for this edition claims “We dig people with a lot of bandwidth. Our aim is to disseminate quality content on visual arts, film, fashion, photography, music, writing, design and anything and everything else that we and our readers fancy, that’s just the baseline. We don’t comply with any specific standard or format.  Our kryptonite is boredom. We stand alert, scanning the horizon for creatives looking to contribute and share their work, be it visual, literary, gastronomical, musical or whatever. But it better be interesting!” See edition here.

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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