I am in Paris. The lighting is dim - always generous - and my hair smells like smoke.
Hotel Costes on Rue St. Honore lives in a state of permanent midnight. It is saturated in sweet scented candlelight, blaring mood music and deepshades of red. No matter when, it is forever sexy sexy midnight at the Costes. There's a pool in the basement lit by candlelight and the hotel has it's own chillout soundtrack for sale at global hotspots. My pal Bruce and I are in heaven there.
We are within walking distance of the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, Picasso museum and Pompidou, which has some sort of Scorsese retrospective. We've skipped them all and have been on a mad search for a store we heard about which sells nothing but Madonna-related products.
No trip to Paris is complete without a stop at Colette - a sort of fashion superstore with books/media/knickknacks on floor 0, it's own soundtrack for sale, and hyperdrive fashion upstairs, a la Jeffrey. Where better to be completely insulted and raped of Euros by anorexic homosexuals?! Je t'aime, Colette!
This week Colette is showcasing a full line of apparel from Comme des Garcons covered in the classic Rolling Stone lips icon pattern. Dresses, pants, shirts, and shoes range from hundreds to thousands of Euros.
I can't imagine anyone buying these (Gaudy? Awful) Commes des Garcons fashions but I'm the guy who laughed at those Ralph Lauren shirts with oversize Polos all summer.
"Who would buy those ridiculous Polo shirts with oversize polos!?" I pleaded to anyone within earshot. I spent the summer in a state of boycott - very upset and offended by them. They were everywhere and by the time I went to the US Open and saw every hot tennis fan and ballboy wearing them, I almost folded in line at the onsite Polo store. Shockingly, my pride showed up and told me not to. I will not buy one of those ridiculous shirts, but will I fold and appear at the Project Runway finale looking like an ass in a Comme de Garson Rolling Stones Lips blazer and pants?
I oddly went mad for throw pillows on this trip! I don't know why but everywhere I went I fell in love with a pillow. I made each store owner promise that these were one of a kind Parisian exclusives. The moment I see these in the window of a west village boutique, I flip. I also bought Amy Sedaris a birthday present.
We finally found the Madonna store buried deep in the Marais. I don't know what made us happier - finally finding it or being home amidst a melange of Madge-A Palooza. They had every limited edition remixed remastered Japanese b-side you ever haven't heard of plus posters, every magazine on which she's graced the cover, vinyl, buttons and more. We bought posters and will most likely never be able to find the place again.
Bloomingdale's mens fashion director Kevin Harter took Bruce and I to the real epicenter of Paris fashion. It's called Davé, a Chinese restaurant at 12 Rue de Richelieu. Presided over by owner Davé - think an Asian Isaac Mizrahi with a manic laugh, red labcoat and broach - pictures cover the red walls of every designer, model, muse, and A-list star who've hung there. Vogue Editor Anna Wintour hosted Helmut Newton's memorial service at Davé. You don't need a menu, Davé just sends what's good, which is everything.
At the table next to us is Ford Model titan Katie Ford, a very blond and beautiful Avril Lavigne eats spring rolls nearby, and in the corner we spy the beautiful Bravo superstar "Project Runway" judge and Elle fashion director Nina Garcia. Bruce has seen his share of celebs - last November he dirty danced with Madonna (another blog entirely) - but he is flummoxed by the sight of Ms. Garcia. Will she like his clothes or will she dub them "aesthetically not pleasing!"
We make our way to Nina who is full of enthusiasm and kisses on each cheek. Always well known in fashion circles because of her important job, Garcia is now stopped everywhere by "Runway" fans and she's tickled. What's better is her report that hard core fashionistas - the toughest crowd to please - are mad for the show. We make plans to catch up at the Valentino show, make sure to kiss both cheeks, kiss our new friends at her table on every cheek, kiss Davé on each cheek (and make sure to keep it at that), and head to Maxims.
Maxim is a Paris institution of class and taste where those with class or those who think they have class meet to eat and drink. But we happened upon gay night at the landmark (how'd that happen?) and the three who'd by day be the youngest at Maxim by night were the oldest. We didn't mind.
The place was empty at midnight and packed by two. When "Hung Up" came on there was a stampede to the dancefloor. Pandemonium. No matter what country - Madonna will make the people come together. It's a given. I asked a French youth what the chances of hearing another Madonna song was. "Zero chance," he spat back. "You're lucky you heard any. Absolutely none, you should go somewhere else if that's what you want."
About an hour later, they played "Hung Up" one more time. Another stampede. More global unity. I spied the nasty naysayer....on the dance floor.