Half a dozen white limousines, the kind with windows lit around the edges in pink neon and vanity plates that read kingno1, may be idling noisily in the valet queue snaking out of a Water Mill driveway tonight, but in the house’s basement garage there’s not a single car. Instead, this enormous space is filled with beds, each made up with a white down comforter and on rollers for an easy heave-ho. After all, a place to sleep in the Hamptons is usually a more valuable commodity than a ride home.
This multi-terraced, seven-bedroom, built-this-year behemoth with the horizontal heft of the 42nd Street library is known as the Synergy Spa. It’s a strange hybrid of share house and crash pad and craven branding opportunity. Except, of course, that none of these terms would cross the lips of Synergy’s spokesperson, Cygalle Dias. She prefers to call it “a showcase for the millennium.”
As in a Hollywood blockbuster, every object in the Synergy Spa is a placement by one of the house’s myriad corporate sponsors – the chilled bottles of Evian in the rooms, the Jodi’s Shortcuts that rest on night tables, the tingly Weleda foot balm in the bath, even the oversize Jonathan Adler pillows that grace one of the house’s many hang-out corners and still have tags attached.
“This whole concept is so sexy and hot,” says Dias, in a voice that tries to be chipper but is just exhausted, as a fluffy white dog parades before her into a blaringly white, hotel-clean bedroom designed by Shary Poushin (the Spa’s Über-decorator is S. K. Chow) and crammed with hip Balinese artifacts. “It’s all about the A-list bonding with product,” she continues, her inflections making all of her statements sound like questions. “Touching, seeing, feeling, drinking, eating? Interfacing?”
All this interfacing by the A-listers can be done in chauffeured cars hired from Exotic Car Rentals, on the tennis court, or perhaps in the Jacuzzi, while clinking glasses of champagne – excuse me, Taittinger champagne.
The house, which comes complete with not only chauffeur but also chef and housekeeping crew, is available too for promotional events, product launches, and a mysterious activity a press release describes, opaquely and/or inanely, as “Internet-working dinners.” Here, on a recent night, the publisher of Detour meets the creative director of Coach meets the editor of Hamptons. While the boldface names may not to this date have been in great abundance at the house – Chloë Sevigny came for a sleep-over with her brother early in the season, and model friends of Team Synergy, like Carmen Kass, have proven to be extremely interested in free lodgings – weekend invitations have been extended to quite a number of celebrities, including Robert De Niro, Guy O’Seary, Leo DiCaprio, and even (they can dream, can’t they?) Steven Spielberg.
Still, the party does go on. At a long white-tableclothed bar set up the length of the house’s tennis court, Dias inspects a decorative martini glass that has a goldfish swimming around in it. “Okay, that’s really scary,” she says, giggling. “What if someone drank that?” A moment later, an overbuff guy in a Celtics T-shirt runs up to her with a tub of red glitter. “Let me put some of this on you,” he says, applying a little on her cheek. He giggles. “See, now you look so sexy and hot.”
Sexiness, hotness, interfacing, “Internet-working” – sometimes even the A-List needs some R & R. That’s why there’s a special meditative spot for VIPs on the house’s rooftop terrace: what Dias calls the “Celebrity Bed,” a Jamson Whyte canopy bed covered with dreamy mosquito netting. “We like to put them in there,” says Dias. “Like Chloë. Chloë went in there.” However, right now the Celebrity Bed is empty, and Dias’s cell phone is ringing once again. “Tommy Mottola has an eight-o’clock rez at the Palm. I’m hoping he’ll be here by ten,” she says, and gazes back out at the partying swarm. “Oh, I just wish I could just have the house to myself.”
Nevertheless, she presses on. At a time when the city’s most dynamic social scene revolves around the opening of a designer boutique or the launch of the hot new dog collar, it was only a matter of time before the superior branding opportunities of the Hamptons revealed themselves. Rumors even circulated this winter that Yahoo! was planning to wire a mansion with Webcams à la Big Brother, and Nike considered a house for the season before paring down its plans to a weekend at Synergy. “Nike really wanted to bond with the Hamptons,” explains Dias. “It was really the sharing-of-worlds concept that attracted us,” agrees the Nike publicist.
Whatever worlds may be out there, they do not particularly seem to be colliding at Nike’s raucous launch party over the weekend for its new SuperFreak sneaker: Most of the attendees are part of the same Hamptons Are for Partyers clan that’s more than willing to dance the night away anywhere with an open bar. “I was just like, ‘No way am I going to Tavern tonight if I’m not on the list,’ ” declares a woman in a glittery leopard-print pantsuit to her identically dressed friend, as they spoon guacamole from a bowl on the pool’s diving board. A rangy man with a video camera circles them as they chat over the booming sounds of the real Slim Shady – Nike, Shooting Gallery, and a British documentary crew are all at the house filming this historic moment.
“Everywhere we go, people know us,” explains the British director. “We’ve kind of replaced the Chanel bag as the must-have accessory of the summer.” In one corner, a crowd forms around a very tall man who was promised to be Michael Jordan but is actually only Nike’s “Brand Jordan” athlete Randy Moss.
Despite the din, the Nike sneakers get their moment. “Love!” gushes one Nike employee to another, as she models some snazzy shoes. “I’m into the color, but I’m kind of not so into that shape.”
Outside, a lone man in leather pants and a wife-beater paces the driveway. “There’s no room for me here tonight,” he wails. “Think I can get one of those limos to drive me back to the city?”