Two nights ago, my friend Rachel took me as her plus-one to the glam launch party for Preston Bailey’s new book, Celebrations. It was held at The Armory in New York City’s East Side, but instead of military weapons, the lofty space contained an ultraviolet floral menagerie. In a word, the mood was opulent.
Upon entering the building, I daydreamed that I had left the winter cold of New York, and entered a more highly evolved and modern-day Pandora. Everything was bathed in neon hues of purple and blue light. The energy was festive and electric with excitement. I imagined that I had entered a mysterious and alien outdoor space as I emerged from the tent-like entrance alcove into a space so wide with ceilings so intangibly high.
Preston Bailey, an event planner and interior decorator to the stars, assertively divided the room in half with a vertiginous runway that seemed to take flight as it sloped upward in the distance. Moving images projected on its surface filled the room with color and media, while calling to mind a conveyor belt in a Warholian factory. Later, models clad in blue satin flowers would adorn the brilliant runway, moving their exotic bodies and becoming one with the spectacle and the revelry.
Lucite willow trees bathed in indigo light lined the walls parallel to the runway, adding to the open air effect of the event. Among the futuristic foliage rose vast tables covered in desserts and foreign flowers. The booming house music paired with a constant flow of wine, caipirinhas, and trays upon trays of pastel macaroons completed the bacchanalian chic vibe that characterized the party.
As a grand finale to a deliciously opulent evening (both visually and gastronomically) we were serenaded by Martha Walsh of “It’s Raining Men” fame, and disco queen, Gloria Gaynor. The retro dance music melded beautifully with the feel of Bailey’s decoration, punctuating the sense of blithe escapism through beauty and performance.