Arts Club Honors Heatherette — But Why?

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Raines and Rich arriving in Vienna last month.Photo: Getty Images


What was Heatherette duo Richie Rich and Traver Raines doing being honored by the stuffy old National Arts Club on Gramercy Park South last week? To be honest, no one was quite sure. "I was so taken aback when they called me," Rich said, looking around him. "It's like going to Naomi Campbell's house. I was like, 'Wow. I'm actually doing something with myself.'" Club president O. Aldon James Jr. explained the rationale: The club wants to be hipper. "They do not need this award," James said. "Our award needs them." But were the risqué fashion designers — Heatherette recently brought buttless pants to the runway — the best pick for an institution so unfashionable as to have an old-style dress code? "Oleg Cassini would protest that," James indignantly replied. "He was a member for 40 years!"

Plus, James noted, the dress code was recently relaxed from coats and ties required to coats and ties requested. "When we say black tie, it's not uniform," he explained. "The night we honored Edwin Schlossberg, he came in an Armani jacket, not tuxedo. The night we honored Louise Bougeois, Ingrid Sischy came in a motorcycle jacket, with no problem." James was wearing red-tinted glasses and a bow tie, and he confessed eyeing some Heatherette accessories for himself. "I'd love a leather belt or a vest," he said. "I thought a Heatherette gold pendant would be very exciting in formal attire." Exciting, indeed. —Jada Yuan