The Unknown Hipster

Philosophy on-the-go-go at Indochine party

Posted in Parties by unknownhipster on November 25, 2009

Andy and Jean-Michel

I like to think that once upon a time at Indochine people like Warhol or Basquiat were sitting in these very same booths, beneath the banana leaf murals and eat the very same delicious entries. (Althought I don’t know if they were really into eating).

It used to be a place for artists, my friend Glenn told me.

Carine, André, and Anna

Then the artists were joined by the Fashion people, but as he pointed out, nowadays, Art and Fashion are more or less the same.

And it’s true that people who think of one at the exclusion of the other are usually not very funny, or much artistic. This works both ways.

Friday night was Indochine 25th anniversary party and I skipped a philosophy lecture to arrive early.

The charming Nadine, orchestrating the guests.

Some people in amazing costumes were already waiting anxiously outside the tent, and then once inside we queued in front of the stairs into the restaurant where most of the action seemed to happen. At irregular intervals the charming Nadine would appeared from behind the curtains, and with the magnaninous power of a blond goddess saved a few human beings by letting them in.

The tenebrous Lady Fag

Once saved, I elbowed my way to the center of the booming crowded room. But most of the guests were too gorgeous –or too tall, as is the case with some of the superstar drag queens – to be pushed on the side, and I finally had to retreat in the basement bar and dance floor, which some insiders refers to as Under-chine and had not seen open for decades.

Todd’s straw hat state of destruction is far more sophisticated than one would thought.

Casey, one of the best dressed men of the night, was wearing a thrift store $10 suit

The elegant and cool Jean-Marc, hero of the party.

The amazing Sophie-Anne, from Paris.

With a moustache, Hamish revealed an entirely different personality.

Gabi and Adi wearing their own extraordinary designs

I’m not so much of a dance person. I would rather read a book, or talk to someone, so I went up to the go-go dancer poles and asked one of the prettiest go-go girls if it would bother her if we had a little chat while she was working. I had  to shout over what I recognized as an old  B52s tune, without the certainty to be heard. She shooked her head, but it was not clear what the answer was.

From Art, or Fashion, I insisted, what do you think is… It seemed she meant go-go dancing is an Art form, like everything else.

For those who missed the party, a commemorative book has just been published by Rizzoli : Indochine, Stories, Shaken and Stirred. The limited edition available at Indochine even comes with a free set of labelled paper napkins and two pairs of chopsticks.

Will Bakery

Posted in Art by unknownhipster on November 12, 2009

WillCotton_L Will with his bakery apron and “Candy Clouds” painting.

Will Cotton is a painter, and when he is not making his voluptuous and airy paintings he bakes delicious sweets and cakes, which transformed the viewer in an eater–able at least to satisfy his desire to be locked in the Ice Cream Cavern, bite into a candy cloud (or the irresistible tender parts of a pale model), by bringing home a real meringue or a pink macaron.

For this purpose, he has set a pop-up bakery in the back of Partners and Spade.

WillBakery_L Rose and all the aids were wearing funny diadems

I know many tedious installation artists who, if they’d indulge themselves in doing something else, would rather built a mock-up hardware store in a museum space and sell nails and bolts. The more theorical ones would install a video recording studio, where viewers would be encouraged to tell shameful stories.

The more socially and polically concerned artists would forced visitors to sip a full bowl of a soup made with heterogeneous ingredients ten thousand viewers from various communities would have been invited to bring.

An emanciated, successful young artist from east London, with feverish eyes, dark long hair, and an animal skin dress would lead a taxidermy workshop, with birds and mice found in an abandoned barn covered with graffiti.

And think of the Art some full-time patissiers would do… Gloomy neo-expressionism? Post-Koons? Naïve-Peyton? One thing is sure, the most hazardous attempts would be if they tried to imitate Will…


(Will Bakery is up on 2 more Sundays, November 15th and 22nd)

Bill and the pumpkins

Posted in Street by unknownhipster on November 1, 2009
Farmer's market_L

At the Farmer's market

So I went to the Union Square farmer’s market this morning. I really don’t like going there so much, but I thought it’s the only place I could find rhubarb this time of the year. The place is a bit ridiculous: people have the same exaggeratedly receptive, wide-eyed expression as when they are walking into a Chelsea art gallery, as if buy smoked bacon from the Flying Pig Farm has the same authority of an Art critic selecting a new artist’s monograph. Not to mention those couples who block the path with dogs and baby-strollers. They spend hours trying to single out the perfect carrot, or the most organic apple pheasant sausage for their non-vegan dog.

It’s worse during Fashion Week, when young models with rubber boots, infinite legs, and big knitted sweaters hold bunches of fresh-cut flowers tightly against their chests, as if they were in the working garden of a Scottish estate or a Moscow suburb dacha, straight out of a Tim Walker story for Casa Vogue.


Bill's blue eyes

Although this week was not Fashion-Anything, I immediately spotted the famed cobalt blue of Bill Cunningham’s work wear jacket. He was strolling down the crowded stands, looking equally at humanity and vegetables, with the same gentle and amused smile.

It was so comforting to see such an original and authentic character as the legendary Bill, with his discreet 35mm Nikon, in such an artificial surrounding !


Bill Cunningham and his 35mm Nikon

I asked him if I could take a snapshot, he graciously obliged, and then slipped away after a little pat on my shoulder.

BillCunningham 4_L

Bill's smile

Minutes latter, as I was plotting my escape route through the back of a farmer’s stand when I saw Bill suddenly aiming his camera at a stack of pumpkins that was in front of me. For a second, I saw him have that unemotional stare of a predator, while shooting at light speed. Most fashion celebrities and famous socialites photographed by Bill are probably too self-focused to have ever noticed this cat-catching-a-mouse stare; they would have felt like an ordinary orange pumpkin.