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FIRST DAY: On Thursday night, a little past 10 p.m., the faces of modeling, past and present, headed to New York’s No. 8 to cram in one of the penultimate parties of the night, W magazine’s.
Some of the most beautiful faces to have ever graced the pages of the magazine were in attendance, a bevy of today’s “It” girls — Karlie Kloss, Jourdan Dunn, Doutzen Kroes, Karolina Kurkova — and yesterday’s, like Isabella Rossellini, Helena Christensen and Jenny Shimizu.
But the person who commanded the room’s attention was a runner-up on the drag queen TV contest “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
A crowd that included society types like Marjorie Gubelmann that likely didn’t know the meaning of the word RuPaul, or “Drag Race” for that matter, was stuffed into the snug No. 8, but suddenly parted to make way for Carmen Carrera, who made her entrance, under a spotlight, shimmying and lip-synching to Ciara’s suggestive “Body Party.” Carrera was immaculately made up, hair in a bun, and wore a skin-colored bodysuit adorned with what looked like wilted flowers.
“You guys know who made this for me? Come on, you’re fashion people. You guys don’t know?” Carrera asked, incredulous. “This is custom Lanvin,” she said, and paused for effect. “I mean. Hello. I wanted to come and serve some fashion.”
Despite Carrera’s best efforts to steal the spotlight, the star attraction of the evening was still, even in absentia, Steven Meisel.
He was the reason all the mannequins, editors like Carine Roitfeld, Vogue’s Hamish Bowles and André Leon Talley and, of course, W editor in chief Stefano Tonchi, and all the aspiring photographers years Meisel’s junior, like Johan Lindeberg, had come, though no one expected the reclusive photographer to actually turn up at his own event.
Carrera, a transgender performer, is a fixture in the work of the photographer. Meisel photographed her for a series of fake advertisements that appeared in W in 2011 and again in the most recent September issue, where Carrera is decked out as a Vegas showgirl, or maybe a burlesque performer, sashaying through the streets of New York flanked by hunky male models.
Rossellini was impressed by the stylings of the young, gyrating whippersnapper.
“She’s so feminine. I thought she danced better than us. Maybe because she had to struggle with her identity she studied women more,” Rossellini offered, though she said the performance wasn’t exactly groundbreaking. “I transform myself into an animal or hermaphrodite. So I take it a step further.”
Still, not everyone was clueless about the esteemed rotating cast-members of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
“I’m obsessed with Carmen. It’s someone that I love — love, love, love. I absolutely a-d-o-r-e her,” said the French stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, dragging out the syllables even more than usual.
Cerf de Dudzeele is a hall of fame fashion week marathoner. She was sitting down at No. 8 because she’d just arrived from an earlier party held uptown at the Four Seasons for the Wall Street Journal’s luxury magazine, WSJ. The magazine, created at the height of the recession, was celebrating five years. At the Four Seasons party, the photographer Terry Richardson turned up with the singer and model Sky Ferreira who sported the latest in street urchin-wear, a backwards cap, jean shorts and a tattered T-shirt. They did a quick lap, air-kissed editor Kristina O’Neill just in time to be caught by a party photographer and jetted elsewhere.
“I think they’re just buddies,” said O’Neill of the pair. “I mean, who knows.” Martha Stewart too notched an appearance, but vanished soon after posing for pictures.