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July 23, 2009 5:42 PM

Eye, Fashion

Fun Dip

A look from the Matthew Williamson collection shown at Soho House. COURTESY PHOTO Pool parties have been a hot ticket since the days of elementary school, and on Wednesday night Soho House hosted a grown-up version -- though at...

A look from the Matthew Williamson collection shown at Soho House.
COURTESY PHOTO

Pool parties have been a hot ticket since the days of elementary school, and on Wednesday night Soho House hosted a grown-up version -- though at this one, nary a splash was heard.

As part of the club's Wednesday night "Skinny Dip" rooftop party, nattily attired members and their guests -- some reclining on chaise lounges, others eating supper at nearby tables -- watched as Matthew Williamson's pre-fall fashions were paraded down a poolside runway. But not before the dance duo House of Ninja performed a cross between a Tibetan warrior dance and Eighties-style voguing. (This was intended to tie in with the collection's "Tibetan warrior meets rock 'n' roll" conceit.) There was also a vocal set by Valerie Geffner, which began with some vigorous throat singing. However, a promised acrobatic burlesque troupe did not appear.

Love them or hate them, it's hard for Williamson's riotously patterned designs to take a backseat to anything. But book-ended as it was by outrageous performances, the show came across more as entertainment than fashion. The host, drag queen Flotilla DeBarge, led the crowd in a series of call-and-response cheers. Meanwhile, a group of men who seemed straight out of a Bret Easton Ellis novel could be overheard providing snarky commentary, dismissively referring to the models as "catalogue action" (and rating their attractiveness on the standard 10 point scale).

However, a cheer did go up from everyone, even the self-appointed critics, when one lass, who sported both a Mohawk and a long braid, vogued her way down the runway with self-conscious sass. And while the chaos may have eclipsed the clothes, the company is clearly hoping to appeal to the rooftop set -- upon leaving, attendees were presented with 20 percent off coupons, which contained directions to the designer's store several blocks away.

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