Karl Lagerfeld, who called his diet book “3D,” now has another D to add to his résumé.
“I’m the doorman of rue de L’Ile,” said Lagerfeld Tuesday night, as he welcomed guests outside 7L, his bookstore there, for a cocktail in honor of Grace Coddington’s new book “Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue.”
Inside, co-host Anna Wintour talked with the who’s who of fashion insiders in Lagerfeld’s photo studio, where the walls had been plastered with thousands of images from the book — discarded pages from early printing tests. The vast collage gave the impression of the world’s most high-class — and, knowing Vogue, most high-priced — scrap book.
“It’s my life in pictures,” Coddington said of her hefty tome. “Or my dream life, really.” Friends including Valentino, Donna Karan, Arthur Elgort, India Hicks, Max Wigram and Phoebe Philo, Coddington’s former assistant Sophie Hicks and stylist Joe McKenna gushed over Coddington’s body of work and especially its signature romance and fantasy.
“I’m not sure they influenced me,” said McKenna of first seeing Coddington’s photos, “but they certainly led me to want to be a part of this whole world.”
Despite the 30-year perspective of the book, Lagerfeld insisted that it not be called a retrospective — Coddington is still hard at work. And she’d better not plan on retiring any time soon.
“Everybody wants to work with Grace,” said Wintour. “Everybody.”
Later, Coddington and some 60 friends arrived for dinner chez Karl, where the intensely lit dining room had more than a few guests reaching for their Chanel sunglasses.
“It’s movie lighting,” explained Lagerfeld. “No shadows. Everyone looks great, no?”
As guests helped themselves from the buffet, one guest said she had found the real secret of Karl’s diet. His dinner plates were no more than 6 inches wide. Hamilton South said one looked like an ashtray.
After dinner, dancing ensued to the sounds of a Venezuelan band. Lagerfeld and Oscar de la Renta burned up the dance floor for a protracted hot tango — hot enough that Oscar appeared to be blushing.
This story first appeared in the July 11, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“No,” he insisted later, “I was only flushed.”
Either way, his wife, Annette de la Renta, brought the curtain down on the evening — which was Oscar’s last dance at the couture, after all.
“That’s the end of the Karl and Oscar show,” she declared after sitting quietly all evening. “Time to change partners.”
Meanwhile, across town at the Plaza Athénée, Marjorie Gubelmann and Cornelia Guest — young socialites of the old school — mixed a few of their old friends like Deeda Blair and Jimmy Douglas with a few of their new friends like Naomi Campbell and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.
Never let it be said that the two crowds lacked common ground.
“Oh, show me the ring,” cooed Naomi, when she caught site of Gubelmann’s massive canary yellow diamond. (The men in the Gubelmann family have nicknamed it “chow mein,” since its shape and size recall a Chinese takeout carton.)
Guest, meanwhile, bonded with Combs over two of their favorite things — caviar and face cream, when she handed him a goodie bag with La Prairie’s Essence of Skin Caviar Eye Complex.
“It’s good for morning puffiness,” she told P. Diddy.
And no doubt Combs would need his morning-after remedy after the night he went on to have at Les Bains Douches, where he hosted a hot, sweaty, fabulous party straight out of the Donatella Versace playbook.
“Welcome to the best party of your life,” shouted
P. Diddy, when he took to the mic to shout out to his guests. “If you’re here tonight, you’re part of the Sean John family.”
Then he let the crowd in on a family secret.
“Next fall,” he called out. “Sean John will be coming to Paris.” (His New York p.r. said the decision to show the Sean John men’s collection in Paris had not yet been finalized.)
Mick Jagger, the Hilton sisters, Pat McGrath and, of all people, Ivana Trump, jammed to the news.
And, proving once again that’s he’s one of the hardest working men in the fashion business — even on the party circuit — Tom Ford made his third appearance for the night and somehow still looked cool as a cucumber in his fierce YSL suit.
After dinner at Lagerfeld’s, and after hosting the gala opening of the new Boucheron boutique on Place Vendôme, Ford had come to Les Bains to wind down — or crank up — the evening.
“I’ve been coming here for 20 years,” he shouted over the music. “It hasn’t changed.”
Except that now, unlike then, Ford has fans in the crowd — P. Diddy for instance.
At one point in the night, Combs came up to Ford at the bar, raised his hands over his head and started to bow in the full-on Wayne’s World “I am not worthy” position.
Ford burst out laughing — and started bowing right back.