"This place looks like it could be in a Cassavetes film, no?" Carine Roitfeld said on Saturday evening, gesturing around the room at Westway, a former strip joint near the West Side Highway where she was celebrating her collaboration with Barneys for the fall campaign. "I wanted to dress and look like a Cassavetes woman, so I went for vintage tonight," she said of her shimmering gold dress. "I would love to be a Cassavetes actress tonight. And singer," Roitfeld told The Cut. "I'm going to sing."
We smiled and nodded, thinking this was idle party chatter.
Fashion folk poured into the party as the evening progressed; we spotted Stefano Tonchi, Bruce Weber, Klaus Biesenbach and Cathy Horyn in the crowd. Alexander Wang stopped by before heading to his own party, across the street.
And later, as promised, Roitfeld jumped on the runway — undoubtedly used by the strippers in the club's previous incarnation — to launch the karaoke with a gleeful rendition of George Michael's "Careless Whisper." Roitfeld's bravery loosened up the crowd and Simon Doonan followed, rocking "Nasty Girl." Stefano Tonchi joined Anna Dello Russo in a duet. (Actually, Dello Russo joined almost everybody on duets.) Karolina Kurkova wasn't surprised; she said Carine likes to have fun. She's funny, for sure," Kurkova said. "We're having karaoke at a strip club; how awesome is that? I said to my husband this is our first time together at a strip club."
Around 11 pm, Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti swept into the party with an entourage, and, yep, Valentino got on the stage and sang "My Way." For an encore, the designer belted "Unforgettable."*
Meanwhile, a few people told the Cut about their first creative encounters with the formidable Roitfeld.
The first time I met Carine it was in Paris, four years ago. She styled a Prada boutique, and it was the opening of the new store and she had me in a leotard with snakes, dancing around this boutique. She knew that I did ballet, and she had me dancing ballet with snakes around this boutique. Live snakes. It sounds like something out of a dream, but only Carine could make something like that happen. Yes, it was the first time I worked with Carine, and I was dancing with snakes.
She came into my showroom about six years ago and of course I was star struck; I was left breathless. She knew exactly which look she wanted from the runway, she was like, 'You're going to make this for me so it's knee-length.' I go, 'Of course!' That was the first time. It's been a very fruitful relationship ever since.
How could I forget it? We ended up in a barn up in Montauk with this beautiful girl who was a stripper, and we were doing clothes. And all the animals were watching.
I used to live in the Rifat Ozbek showroom, under the racks of clothing, and Carine came by with Mario Testino and we all had dinner, it was really fun. And she was telling me how Mario makes her wear high heels all the time. This must have been the late eighties. That was before girls wore high heels, and even then, Carine was in a tight skirt and high heels. And she has essentially the same look [now.]
*An earlier version of this post incorrectly said that Valentino sang "My Way" after "Unforgettable."