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Hari Nef: After Dark at New York Fashion Week – #3

Partying at The World Trade Center and throwing one dollar bills at drag queens – Hari Nef charts her last moments at NYFW

Monday, September 8th 12:31AM • Calvin Klein celebrates the launch of CK Reveal at World Trade Center

“Yeah, I mean, I used to have this big contract with them.” Seated next to Sky Ferreira, I sip champagne on a pointy black couch. “One time they flew me to Mexico and I had to sit in a glass box in a public square.” I empathise, but I don’t know what to say. I smile and take a huge sip.

There’s more where that came from.

I’ve never seen a party like this one.

We’re in a big white room in the World Trade Center (The World Trade Center). There’s a performance installation to the right of the bar: a bedroom scene, two men and one woman. Adam Werner and I stare as the guys tumble around on the bed – not really touching, definitely not kissing. The woman peers at them from a corner, holding her own flute of bubbly. “MAKE OUT!” I shriek. They don’t.

Suddenly, the music cuts off, followed by live feed from a microphone. Time for a performance! Synth chords – familiar ones. A voice:

“First things first: I’m the realest…”

It’s time to go!

I grab the team: Adam, Chloe Wise, Niki Takesh, Alaia Baldwin, Alex Chapman, Joe Grun, and Jarlos: the irresistible, monogamous it-boy conglomerate of Carlos Santolalla and John Tuite. We’re all friends – newer or older – but something special happens during fashion week among the kids who wind up on the same party circuit as you. There’s a bond: warm, fuzzy, chemical – like summer camp with an open bar. We cram into an elevator.

It’s a long way down.

Tuesday, September 9th 1:45AM • Galore Magazine issue launch party at Queen of the Night •

I’m in a strip club in Midtown.

Swathed in pink light, Joe Jonas slouches over the decks at an elevated DJ booth. On my way in, I bump into Omahyhra Mota, my favorite model of all time, who obliges my request for a selfie. That was pretty cool (!)…but at this point, the open bar has closed. I slouch into the cushion of someone’s dry, forgotten booth. I yawn.

Suddenly: the opening chords of “It’s Raining Men” peal through the haze. I snap to attention.

A drag queen has taken the stage!

I grab Mike Bailey-Gates & Claire Christerson; we barrel through the swarm. Miss Thing – whoever she is (she was not announced) – twirls in a sparkly red leotard. She jumps into a split. I scream at the top of my lungs, yanking a fistful of one-dollar bills out of my purse and hurling them at the stage. When I realize no one else is doing the same, I’m livid.

You have to tip a drag queen.

I mean, fashion is super gay, but with gay comes responsibility! I don’t expect much, but I expected more.


They do.

Wednesday, September 10th 1:15AM • Jeremy Scott afterparty at Space Ibiza

“I can’t have that near my hair!”

Dascha Polanco stares me down – Amazonian, ***flawless. She flips her resplendent violet-gray mane and winks rather commandingly.

“Oh trust me,” I announce, smashing the Camel Blue beneath my kitten heel, “I’ve been there.”

Dash and I pour drinks and chat about the Path of the Actress (I’d entered the VIP area seeking advice, but couldn’t bring myself to approach to Whoopi Goldberg).

Eventually I find myself alone, smoking in relative peace and quiet (Mademoiselle Yulia spins trapped-out rerubs of hip hop classics, but that’s the white noise of fashion week after dark). Jeremy Scott is behind me doling out hugs; apparently Madonna’s somewhere; Anna Cleveland twirls in a scarlet dress. I stare out into the void, or maybe the abyss: flashing lights; thrashing bodies in gold chains and sportswear. I’ve lost track of how many good nights I’ve had in a row.

Sometimes I do it for money or for politics…but mostly I go out at night for fun.

My eyes meet another pair: onyx, intense. My stomach drops. They belong to DJ Geordon Nichol, of the Misshapes. I flashback to the press photo I had of him tacked to my bulletin board in high school – I collected scraps from the nightlife sections of magazines.

He walks over and shakes my hand.

“Hey,” says Geordon Nichol. “You’re Hari, right?”

I confirm.

“I’ve been reading your nightlife columns for Dazed. So fun!”

“Yeah,” I shrug, “they’re pretty wild.” That might have been it, but I can’t stop myself: “Yeah, I mean…I ordered the Misshapes coffee table book when I was like fifteen. I think we’ve been friends on Facebook for like 6 years. You and the Misshapes made me want to move to New York.”

Geordon and I gaze out at the crowd. The kids are raging like there’s no tomorrow. For New York Fashion Week, there is no tomorrow. It’s the last night.

“Well,” says Geordon, “here we are.”