Thursday, July 23, 2009

East Side, West Side

The other night TD and headed over to Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side to an art gallery opening for my friend artist Richard Haines. I first met Richard Haines in 1983 when I worked as the chauffeur for fashion designer Perry Ellis. I had just arrived in New York, and I had a short-term temp job driving Perry and his partner Laughlin Barker from their home on the upper west side to their Garment District offices in a bottle green Jaguar with a buttery beige leather interior.
Richard Haines was one of the designers working in Perry’s design room; he was the tall charming one from Virginia. The colorful, ebullient designer was Isaac Mizrahi. Richard went on to work for Calvin Klein and Bill Blass, and had his own shirt company where he made me two beautiful shirts. About a year ago he started a blog, What I Saw Today, featuring his fashion drawings -- his true calling. Before long he was illustrating for In Style magazine and J. Crew.
At the art gallery opening, his drawings were pinned to the white walls.
Richard draws stylish people on the street. His work has an immediacy and a spontaneity. He really captures the simplicity of a silhouette, the graphic essence of an outfit, the line that runs from head to toe.
We bought the drawing in the middle. I like the red color and the curving line, and Richard said that he saw this guy at Union Square which is near our apartment.

Then TD and I hopped in a cab and went over to the Meatpacking District on the west side to a party for H & M at the new Standard Hotel hosted by my friend James Laforce. We took an elevator up to the third floor where the party was in full swing on a deck cantilevered over the new High Line Park and the West Side Highway.

Of course we have watched the construction here but TD and I were still slightly stunned because we remember when this neighborhood was completely deserted and considered to be at the end of the world. That year that I arrived in New York, I didn't know anybody and systematically explored a list of gay bars, hoping to find a hang-out I liked. One club was listed on Little West 4th Street and so late one cold Saturday night that winter I found myself alone wandering around this spot exactly which was then entirely desolated. I was in snow up to my waist and the wind was whipping around. I remember thinking to myself, "I hope I don't get killed looking for some gay bar."
Times have changed.

At the H & M party I noticed that the New York girls of summer this year are wearing short shorts and strappy, bondage-y high heels. Lots of leg. Very sexy. No one is more beautiful than the New York girls of summer.


Laura said...

What a wonderful night! And those illustrations are wonderful, they have quite a unique feel to them, not the typical fashion sketches at all. I do envy your night at the Standard...that is my favorite new building at the moment!

designerman said...

Thanks for the lovely mention and more importantly your friendship and support over the years. Can't wait to see the drawing framed in your apt. X