“Naomi Campbell needs champagne,” a harried waiter screamed furiously into his headset.
Trouble was, so did everyone else who managed to force their way through the drastically — some might say dangerously — overcrowded Louis Vuitton store-opening party on Tuesday night.
This story first appeared in the February 12, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
LVMH’s heavy hitters — Bernard Arnault, Yves Carcelle, Sidney Toledano, Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs — and celebs such as Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, Eve, Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Angie Harmon careened into socialites like Helen Schifter, Vanessa von Bismarck and Gigi Mortimer, while the store’s architect, Peter Marino, looked on in horror. “It’s scary to see so many people in the store. I feel like saying, ‘Get off my carpets,’” joked Marino.
“Christ Almighty!” squealed Karen Elson, navigating through the masses with Michelle Hicks in tow.
Others took the crowd in stride. “When I got my first big check, I ran to the Paris store and bought myself something,” Iman reminisced.
But Patti Hansen, dressed in head-to-toe LV, waited for retirement to indulge her Vuitton cravings. “I didn’t buy any Louis Vuitton because it would be stolen on shoots,” she said.
The after party, held at Lincoln Center in a massive tent Vuitton plans to cart around the globe, provided a spectacle of a different sort: a multimedia show featuring butch construction workers and not-so-butch acrobats, and a gospel choir that belted out the hymn,“Oh Happy Day,” while a mock Eiffel Tower made of LV luggage rose to the ceiling. “Jesus must love accessories,” said one onlooker.
Just a few blocks away at the beautiful new restaurant Per Se in the Time Warner Center, guests confronted a mountain of meticulously crafted delicacies at a dinner for Narciso Rodriguez hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker and Jessica and Jerry Seinfeld.
Star chef Thomas Keller herded a flock of food-dazed guests, including Nathalie Kaplan, Jeanne Rohatyn, Tory Burch and her adorable daughter, Pookie, into his bright, white kitchen, where the sous chefs prepared delicious morsels to be eaten on the spot. “The dining room is the heart of the restaurant,” said Keller. “The kitchen is its soul.”
Damian von Stauffenberg fed an itsy-bitsy brownie to his wife, Lillian. Parker angled for another caviar-topped bagel chip. “Are you in line for the bagels?” she asked, squeaking past a pair of party-goers blocking the way.
Claire Danes, having eaten her fill, escaped, only to be sent back again. “Have you been to the kitchen yet?” Keller demanded.
“I went,” said Danes, “and I conquered.”
The only one left hungry was Jessica Seinfeld. “I haven’t had a chance to eat yet,” she sighed. “I’m playing hostess.”