“I mean, I don’t call her [Rachel Comey] with my problems,” said Parker Posey, donning a poodle-printed dress by the designer. “But I’m a big fan.” The actress was joined by an assemblage of editors, artists and devotees of Comey’s brand of offbeat chic — Jake Gyllenhaal, who tagged along with sister Maggie Gyllenhaal and her husband Peter Sarsgaard; Cindy Sherman, Arden Wohl, Garance Doré and a very pregnant Chiara Clemente — for the designer’s typically unconventional fashion show-cum-dinner party, held for the second season at Dustin Yellin’s Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, on Wednesday.
Inside, away from the slush puddles, partygoers were transported into the sprawling, flower-filled exhibition space where a uniformed waitstaff offered cocktails. Near the entrance, a few female guests changed out of snow boots and into stilettos. Gyllenhaal, sporting a bushy beard and low ponytail, perfunctorily shooed away even the most innocuous photographers upon arriving.
A wood-burning fire pit was projected onto the back wall (perhaps to evoke some sort of placebo effect).
Comey’s team arranged a car service for several of the guests, which made the outer-borough schlep far more bearable. “It was fun navigating the slush today,” said Posey, without a whiff of irony. “You have to be really careful before you step and be sure that you step solidly. You have to stomp. Everyone’s kind of struggling to stomp. I felt a little — I was getting annoyed with people today.”
Gaby Hoffmann, back in the limelight with a memorable cameo on Louis C.K.’s “Louie” last year and a new, recurring role on season three of HBO’s “Girls,” sipped a drink near her stepmother, Sherman. “I went to the dentist for the first time in three years today, which was actually really fun,” she said. “He gave me laughing gas and played really good music. He put a cushion under my legs and neck and gave me a neck massage. I was impressed. I was like, this is a spa. I’m ready to come back anytime.”
Another guest star on “Girls,” the artist Laurie Simmons — and Lena Dunham’s mother — was also on hand. “It was really fun to be so Satanic for a few minutes,” she said, referring to her part in a season two episode playing, as she termed it, the “evil art dealer. It was really fun because I don’t relate to myself that way. Lena says I wasn’t taking direction well [on set], but I felt superobedient. I was very well-behaved.”
After cocktails, a soundtrack of chirping birds welcomed guests into the dining room for a four-course dinner, prepared by chef Julia Ziegler-Haynes. Every 20 minutes, a band played, cueing a parade of lithe models weaving around the room in Comey’s fall collection. The performers, Amber Martin and Nath Ann Carrera of Witch Camp — a hybrid act of music and performance art — kept it kooky for the audience (at one point, Martin held up a machete, then a stuffed white dove).
“Welcome to Witch Camp,” said Carrera. “And thank you for coming.…We just want to say ‘thank you’ for joining us, and when you do decide to make haste from Witch Camp, you will find your broom sticks right where you parked them. Please be safe flying home, as it appears there is a thunder squall brewing.…And enjoy your witch snack.” Then, the duo broke out into a cover of the British folk song “The Trees They Do Grow High.”
Sherman, in awe of the performance, was waiting in line to meet and greet the musicians. “I can’t wait for Rachel’s store to open because I’m just going to order so much stuff,” she said. “This is the only show I’m going to this season, and it was the only show I went to last season, too. I just don’t like fashion shows. But her show is not like most fashion shows.”