“I’m the happiest person in life right now,” squealed Tracee Ellis Ross. The “Black-ish” actress floated through a colorful sea of downtown club kids who flocked to New York’s China Chalet. The lower Manhattan dim sum restaurant-cum-dance club — a well-preserved relic of the Eighties — served as the backdrop Wednesday (and well into Thursday) for Pat McGrath’s “Mothership” Vogue Ball, a New York Fashion Week kick-off party to toast her first full product collection.
McGrath, dressed in all black, held court at the center of the smoky ballroom as DJ MikeQ pumped remixed tunes from the Nineties. “I’m here to celebrate my mother,” exclaimed “Game of Thrones” actress Gwendoline Christie, calling McGrath by her common nickname.
The guests included Hailey Baldwin, Suki Waterhouse, Pamela Anderson, Amanda Lepore, Ladyfag, Shaun Ross, Winnie Harlow and Sofia Richie, who joined in watching an effervescent voguing competition — the evening’s main focus. A group of mixed-gender models strutted down the improvised runway, dramatically delivering looks from Lanvin, Mugler, Balenciaga and others.
Judges of the knockdown, drag-out competition included McGrath, of course, along with Ross, hip-hop artist Cardi B., actress Teyana Taylor and Naomi Campbell, who arrived fashionably late at 1 a.m. as the competition was well underway.
“Just from [Pat’s] organic energy of positivity and organic energy of love, we are today launching Pat McGrath’s next line in makeup,” announced emcee Jack Mizrahi to the boisterous crowd.
“This lady brought color and hues back into the game,” he added as her friends began clapping and chanting,“Thank you, Pat.” Amidst the revelry, Mizrahi took a serious tone by addressing the coming tropical hurricane, “Say your prayers for Florida because Irma’s on her way.”
Rihanna’s creative director Ciarra Pardo helped move many of her family members to safety in Puerto Rico earlier this week and revealed a collective nervous excitement about the Friday launch of Rihanna’s own Fenty Beauty line.
Ross, gathering the generous hem of her Ronald van der Kemp floral dress, exposed a pair of thigh-high Manolo Blahnik boots from his collaborative collection with Rihanna. “Emmys are coming up so cross your fingers,” she said of her “Black-ish” best actress nomination. “Voting is closed, but prayers mean everything.”
A disco ball on the ceiling projected drops of light throughout a mirrored hallway connecting the front ballroom to a makeshift backstage in an adjoining dining room. “We started with just 15 [people], but that number grew and grew,” noted one of the party’s many makeup artists, who nimbly applied glitter and eyeliner to eager members of the crowd.
Summarizing the upbeat, accepting spirit of the party — and of McGrath’s loving social circle — Mizrahi toasted the lady of the hour with a glowing speech. “You brought color back into the world and it is our honor to give back to you.”