“Are we not supposed to be embracing?” Marc Jacobs pondered aloud as he entered Indochine last night for a dinner celebrating Sotheby’s partnership with Dior Men artistic director Kim Jones.
The evening began with a reception at the auction house’s Upper East Side headquarters, where cocktail hour small talk centered upon the coronavirus and waiters took antiviral precautions by wearing black rubber gloves to dispense Champagne and communal bowls of pretzels.
Jones, a noted collector of art, objects, furniture and clothing, served as guest curator of Sotheby’s spring contemporary sale and plucked out 20 of his favorite lots to be highlighted. The preview drew a fashionable crowd uptown including Victor Cruz, Brian Donnelly (also known as Kaws) and Melanie Ward.
Jones recently moved into a new home in London, one room of which is devoted to “Star Wars” figurines that the designer said he “had as a child and lost and bought them back.”
A self-described “organized hoarder,” Jones said he likes collecting “things with authenticity, I like having that energy around me. I go through phases where I edit, I am not afraid to get rid of things — I give it to friends, I don’t sell stuff. I just let it migrate.”
Despite travel concerns resulting from COVID-19, Jones’ demanding schedule as artistic director remains business-as-usual. “I am not going to stop what I’m doing, I have a schedule I can’t stop. If my whole studio was quarantined we could communicate and work together, thanks to technology,” he said, sitting at Indochine for the evening’s private dinner.
Jacobs was equally steadfast about the pandemic’s spread. “We were out at an event last night and I was witness to this for the first time. I thought it was very ironic no one would touch hands or embrace the way they ordinarily would and yet there was shared food that was coming from a kitchen that people were breathing on and using their own fork to take it off the plate. I think we can all do what we know is the right thing but I’m not going to stop living out of fear that I’m going to catch the virus,” he said.
As dinner-goers like Michael Stipe, Ryan McGinley and Daniel Arsham passed around communal plates of fried rice and dumplings, 1017 Alyx 9SM designer Matthew Williams remarked that his kids’ school in Northern Italy will be closed for the next month. “We had to move some of our production back to Italy that we were doing abroad, you don’t really know what the effects will be yet,” Williams said of the virus’ toll on his business.
Model and “Project Runway” host Karlie Kloss may not be facing designers’ troubles of missed production windows and waning consumer confidence. But she remains vigilant nonetheless. “I’m so much more aware of sanitizing my phone. It’s all the little things. I took for granted how dirty your phone is and I’ve become much more conscious of that,” she said.
According to Jacobs, though, there are larger issues damaging fashion’s business affairs: “I think it’s affecting people but I don’t think anything has affected our industry as much as the Internet. There is a bigger problem and it’s not the virus.”