Vionnet Launch Party at Barney’s New York

Friday night a cocktail party was held in honor of the launch of the new couture collection by design director Sophia Kokosalaki for the house of Vionnet. The founder, Madeleine Vionnet, was famous for re-inventing bias cutting and draping in the 1920s.

Hosted by Julie Gilhart, the fashion director for Barneys, over two hundred guests sipped on Champagne on the second floor salon while viewing the collection that is being offered for sale.

We spent time chatting with a number of familiar faces including publicist Mary Loving, Mary Lou Luther, FIT Museum director Dr. Valerie Steele and curator Patricia Mears. Others we recognized in the crowd were Mickey Boardman of Paper, Virginia Smith of Vogue, Hamish Bowles of Vogue, Amanda Cutter, and the always conspicuous Simon Doonan.

The UPTOWN and DOWNTOWN of Fashion

In a city where addresses normally dictate lifestyle, the collection week kickoff party venues reflected the many different worlds of fashion. The kick off parties were in full swing both uptown and downtown.


Roger and Mauricio Padilha threw a fun bash all the way downtown, at the Broad Street Ballroom in 41 Broad Street, last Wednesday, January 31, 2007. This twice-a-year party was held to launch Fashion Week and the release of their 8th issue. The party was hosted by Deborah Harry and around 10:00 pm, there was a special performance by Kembra Pfahler & The Karen Black Girls. After that, was a very entertaining and visual performance by The Ones. Paul Alexander of the club classic single, “Walk For Me” was singing with The Ones.

The ballroom was packed to the brim. A huge video screen featured the works of artists featured in this issue of Mao Mag. In attendance were Lady Bunny, Amanda Lepore, Patrick McDonald, Julie Fredrikson of Coutorture, Alva Chinn and many more originals.

This 8th issue featured people who constituted a History of Cool: Deborah Harry, Peter Max, Kenneth Jay Lane, Kenny Scharf, Pat Mcgrath, Marisa Berenson, Zac Posen, Lydia Hearst, Brigid Berlin, Jane Forth, Ann Magnuson, Joey Arias, Tseng Kwong Chi, Michael Vollbracht, Devon Aoki, Hamish Bowles, Norma Kamali, Patrick Mcdonald, The Pyramid, Kezia Keeble, Francois Nars, Michael Musto, Brad Kroenig, Andre J, Mae Alexander, Larissa, Caio, and Julie Newmar.

It is a great limited edition issue. If you happen to see MAO MAG being given out at Bryant Park, grab it.

Chris Royer, the famous Halston girl, who now runs a consulting firm, said “The Padilha brothers are the only ones still doing something great for New York pop culture, art and fashion”. It was a fun party because like every successful party…… it is all in the mix.

HARPERS BAZAAR Kick-off party

In contrast, on Feb 1, Thursday, the Harper’s Bazaar kick-off party was held midtown at the Chambers Hotel on 56th Street (the hotel where Alicia Keyes stays) with almost all the men and women wearing suits. It seemed very corporate but everyone was busy talking. It was a buzzing affair, with Glenda Bailey, editor-in-Chief, holding court.


Earlier in the day, Valerie Salembrier, publisher of Harper’s Bazaar was the most eloquent speaker at 3rd annual Anti-Counterfeiting summit held at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 80 Columbus Circle. New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was the guest speaker. Executive Director of INTA (International Trademark Association) moderated a panel of speakers involved in the anti-counterfeiting drive.

Miss Salembrier made a plea for help in educating consumers about counterfeit goods. “Counterfeit goods fund child labor, terrorism and drug cartels.” Harpers Bazaar also came up with the slogan, “Fakes are never in fashion” and will be putting in place a dedicated website for increasing public awareness. (


You couldn’t miss the Mercedes Benz/IMG party downtown as they had a gold Mercedes Benz sportscar at the entrance of at 189 Christie Street, the edge of Chinatown. This party was swinging, as well, but you would have to navigate nooks and crannies of The Box to find your friends. Parties within a party; it was the kind of party one should go to with friends.

I was surprised to see the charming designer, Naeem Khan, who will be showing his collection in 3 days, out late at night. I jokingly commented “Shouldn’t you be working?” and Naeem Khan replies,”That’s because the others are not ready. I am.”

-Anna Bayle



Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.

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