The midweek party at Gilded Lily in Chelsea, where the hosts are fashionable and glamorous.
The Style Section runs another installment in its ongoing “Boite” series of articles about places to drink in NYC. This time it’s the Gilded Lily, a new club on West 15th St. in Chelsea.
The problem with this series isn’t that it’s about places to drink — I’m enthusiastically pro-drinking, and guiding people to great NYC watering holes is a public service. The problem with the Style Section’s “Boite” series is that it’s really about great places for assholes to drink. That much is evident from the first line of the Gilded Lily piece. To wit:
Hedge-funders and scions may keep the extravagant bar tabs afloat, but the bottle-service universe always expands toward downtown for cool points.
I’m pretty sure I don’t know what that sentence means. But it does mention bottle service. And suggests that the Gilded Lily is part of the “bottle-service universe”.
Oh dear God. Everyone please repeat after me: Bottle service isn’t drinking. Bottle service is a way that rich dudes employ expensive booze as a metaphorical penis.
The Gilded Lily piece gets at this indirectly: it notes that the bar will sell you a bottle of 1985 Dom Pérignon Oenothèque Brut for a cool $2,925. Think of what motivates the hedge fund or trust fund guy who shells out nearly $3k for said bottle. He wants to cause a stir. He wants the spectacle of having the bottle delivered to his table, and the waitstaff making a huge fuss over him. And then having the bottle sitting on his table. And all the girls appraising him with sidelong glances … because in the pit of endless expenditure that is New York City, a guy who can drop $3k on a bottle of doubly-overpriced champagne just … because … is a valuable commodity. $3k is like a month’s rent on a shitty East Village fifth-floor walkup one-bedroom with no sink in the bathroom.
Again, bottle service isn’t drinking. It’s douchery. And so the Style Section’s Boite series is really about places to be douchey while drinking. What’s the French word for that?
Nicole Hanley Mellon and Matthew Mellon decided early on in their relationship that they would collaborate on clothing, adding to their collective history in fashion.
Here’s the story: The heir to the Mellon banking/industrial fortune meets a woman at a wedding in Palm Beach, FL. He experiences a “metaphysical overtaking” and proposes marriage. She says yes; they move into a grand apartment in NYC’s Pierre Hotel; have two kids (including a son improbably named “Force”); and then decide to take a break from being merely moneyed to become moneyed entrants to the fashion industry.
The fruit of their labors will be a small line of clothing for 0.1%ers, each article named after a city in which that crowd tends to congregate. So don’t look for a “Cleveland” crop-top or a “Schenectady” A-line dress. Inevitably the NY Times, which pays attention to labor issues only episodically but does obsessively cover the doings of the haute monde, is there with a fawning interview.
There are so many precious 1%er moments in this article. But it’s Ms. Hanley-Mellon’s musings on her “affinity for Africa” that win top honors: “I’ve never been to Africa, but I feel like I have this deep affinity for it,” Ms. Hanley Mellon said. “I’ve read every Hemingway, we collect Peter Beard, I’ve watched ‘Out of Africa.’ It touches your soul to visit and smell the smells, and you can’t recreate the experience without immersing yourself.”
It’s hard to beat this paragraph for sheer density of unawareness. The reference points that Hanley-Mellon uses are (1) a guy who wrote about Africa mostly as a place to shoot animals; (2) a photographer distinguished for his fairly exploitative pictures of naked African women and his 5-year marriage to Cheryl Tiegs; and (3) a movie about a Danish aristocrat who liked Africa because the Africans who worked for her treated her like an aristocrat.