Last night I was invited to the opening of a new downtown boutique called…Butik. I wish I could say that I was invited because of my great friendship with its owner, Danish model Helena Christensen, whom you may remember from the Chris Isaak video “Wicked Game,” but noâa friend was organizing the event.
The long and narrow store is at 605 Hudson Street, but I could tell when I was getting close because of the crowd of smokers standing around outside. (Fashionistas are one of smoking’s last holdouts in New York, perhaps the last upmarket profession where people still consider it chic to puff away.) Inside was a bar serving apple martinis and bottled water. The place was so crowded, I picked a spot and tried not to be moved.
I am a terrible guest at such things, because mostly I just stand around and gawk. But truth be told, there was a lot to gawk at, especially for someone who works from home most of the day. At 36âdecrepit by model standardsâMs. Christensen is still stunning, and for a while she was standing with Iman greeting guests. (A gay man next to me was obsessed with Iman’s voice, so I encouraged him to introduce himself. “I loved her in ‘Out of Africa,'” he raved.) Every other guest seemed to be a model, which has the effect of making one realize just how much one does not. Even the men were models…or guys who looked like they make so much money, they don’t need to be handsome to date models, which is another well-defined New York genre.
As for the merchandise…I couldn’t see very much of itâsome wrought iron chairs, a couple of old skirtsâbut from what I could see, it looked like a lot of stuff that I’ve thrown away over the years. (Well, not the skirts.) Nonetheless, I am told these objets d’art are very glam right now. If you’re in the market for it, and price is no objectâor if you just hope to catch a peak of Helena Christensenâyou could do worse than dropping by Butik.
After about half an hour, Iman left, and the spell was broken. I pushed my way through the crowd, past a harried waiter holding a tray of salmon tartare above his head while a horde of men clambered hungrily through the door. (Question: What kind of hors d’oeuvre do you serve a room full of models. Answer: No thank you, I’m not hungry right now.)
“I admire you for that,” I told him. He winced and said, “It’s not a very admirable position.”
On finally getting outside, I passed a group of four men who looked like investment bankers just as one was saying, “Show me the moneyâI couldn’t agree more. Show me the money. Show me the money.”
New York! It’s a great city.