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“David certainly knows how to throw a party,” a husky drag queen, adorned in a frothy tutu and theatrically long eyelashes, purred on Tuesday night at the Soho Grand Hotel in Manhattan. The hotel’s brimming Club Room was where David Barton was holding his 11th annual holiday toy drive, the first he’s thrown since parting ways with his company in September.
“I can’t believe you haven’t been to this before,” Barton exclaimed while double-kissing a guest who just blew in. Alan Cumming, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and Patrick McDonald followed close behind. The drive, something of a standout on the holiday party calendar to a certain sect of downtowners, provides holiday toys for hospital-bound children throughout New York.
The room was a mix of male models in low-cut V-necks; drag queens (who, in their clunky heels, towered above the rest) and bewildered hotel guests who wandered in by accident. A glitzy Jesus-looking fellow, dripping in gold sequins, twirled and banged on a tambourine by a roaring fireplace much to Bill Cunningham’s delight.
In the next room, Barton himself took in the sartorial scene. “I mean, listen, people dress up, people dress down. I happen to be wearing a shirt from Ricky’s,” Barton laughed of the tank top cloaking his bulky frame. The back was ripped up in the shape of a skull. “Everyone loves this shirt, they’re like ‘Is that McQueen?’ This was from the Halloween store and it was $6.99.”