A drenched horde of revelers braved rain-slicked streets and waited not-so-patiently under a small stretch of tent outside the new Mondrian SoHo hotel for its opening party Thursday night. Entry gained, guests hurried through an arched walk, covered in green vines and lit by candle-filled hurricane lamps. Some partygoers were already warm and cozy inside, sampling the wares at the hotel’s restaurant, Imperial No. Nine, and its chef, Sam Talbot. Prabal Gurung, Sante D’Orazio, Brad Goreski, Fabiola Beracasa, Magnus Berger and Tenzin Wild were among the early arrivals, as was Talbot’s mother, who was later seen on the dance floor. “Yeah, you keep your paws off her,” the one-time reality TV chef said to a burly friend, who jokingly shrugged, “I can’t help it man, she looks like you.” Poppy de Villeneuve, whose short film “Love is Like Life but Longer” was premiering that evening in various locations on the property, including the hotel’s Crosby Street façade, didn’t show any nerves as she happily snacked away on butter-soaked crab legs with Yigal Azrouel, Russell Simmons and Zani Gugelmann.
The party was spread over multiple locations within the hotel. Guests trickled in through the lobby to the large, glassed-in garden space and neighboring dining room, and soon every inch of the space seemed crammed full of bodies. Jefferson Hack chatted up Eve over flutes of champagne, while Stavros Niarchos (bottle of vodka in hand) squired around latest-squeeze Jessica Hart. Richard Chai and Thakoon Panichgul arrived together and found Gurung, and the three were inseparable for the rest of the evening, later seen bopping around the dance floor near the stage. Susanne Bartsch arrived in spectacular fashion, sporting a gold dress and multiple-foot mohawk, with two bare-chested male friends in tow. Chiara Clemente, Andres Santo Domingo and Nur Kahn were all on hand, as were Ally Hilfigger, Charlotte Ronson and Ric Pipino. Harley Viera Newton manned the DJ booth until The Kills’ Jamie Hince and Allison Mosshart took to the stage in the lobby for their eagerly anticipated set.
This story first appeared in the March 14, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Representatives for Hince — who is engaged to Kate Moss — and Mosshart had informed press beforehand that they would be allowed a single question for both rockers (as long as it was not about Moss), but the offer was rescinded at the actual event. As WWD’s question would have most likely been, “Why only one question?” it was not a insurmountable loss. The prospect, however, did provide a topic of great interest amongst other partygoers, who began referring to the dance floor as a “Moss-pit.” Mosshart’s mother was in attendance, and was spotted lipsycnching along to her daughter’s songs amidst the crowd. Judging by the orgiastic gyrations of concertgoers, The Kills, perhaps predictably, killed.
Those not eager to feel the points model elbows in the pit could seek shelter on the 25th floor, where the Mondrian had opened a penthouse suite complete with Tequila bar. Jay McInerney rode the elevator up but mistakenly exited several floors too soon (and was not seen again), while Amy Sacco spent some time in the fire stairwell between the top two floors, unsure of how to gain access to the party. At 1 a.m., the penthouse closed, the lobby cleared and the party moved into the hotel’s bar/lounge, Mister H., where the dancing continued until 4 a.m. under the watchful eye of DJ Mia Moretti, before guests took to the still-soaked streets, kicking aside the broken umbrellas and heading to bed.