The first major party of New York Fashion Week took place Thursday night at the brand-spanking new Chanel store on Wooster Street in downtown Manhattan, where stars feted the store’s redesign by the architect Peter Marino. Ordinarily, shop openings are a drag, but this one had virtually every major fashion editor in town, along with a smattering of fairly big Hollywood talent.
Gallery: View Pictures of Chanel’s Big Party
There was Diane Kruger, darting around outside in a flouffy dress. Nearby, the supermodels Chanel Iman and Erin Wasson were smoking cigarettes. There was Vogue’s Grace Coddington, mingling by the watch cases. Rachel Bilson, Liv Tyler, Rachel Zoe and Alexa Chung, primped and posed at the entranceway as the paparazzi men went snap, snap, snap.
In walked Karl Lagerfeld, trailed by a group that included his friends Ingrid Sischy and Sandra Brant. Soon enough, Gossip Girl star Blake Lively had joined his mini-caboose.
A hop, skip and a jump and Sarah Jessica Parker was gamely posing for pictures with seemingly anyone who asked.
As far as the Sex and the City star was concerned, showing up for the Kaiser of Fashion was a no brainer. "I don't have a doctorate on him, I wish I did," Parker told The Daily Beast, "but there are a handful of designers that are still extraordinary, and every collection he does, whether it's his own label or Chanel is stunning in its own way. And he's fearless. He draws from an incredible historical point of view and he has the luxury to do what he wants and he's really smart with it."
• View our complete coverage of New York Fashion Week She first encountered Chanel as a consumer when she was "a very young person," and she thought it would be "awfully nice" to have a classic black quilted Chanel bag, so she bought one, along with a bouclé jacket. Decades later, she's still waxing poetic about the brand and its legendary designer. "He's somebody you could study forever. He's endlessly interesting, complicated, smart, inspired. And then I got the chance to meet him and know him and he's completely lovely."
Not to mention intimidating. Outside, Shalom Harlow was puffing away at a hand rolled cigarette. "It was like meeting the queen of England," she said of their first encounter. She's walked for him many times over the years, though she doesn't wear the line so much in her private life. "Only when it's free," she said.
Jacob Bernstein is a senior reporter at The Daily Beast. He has also written for New York magazine, Paper, and The Huffington Post.