When I was a little girl, my grandmother would take me to Gump's. It was the kind of errand that involved wearing ladies suits with gloves and she treated this particular department store like she was wandering through the Met.
I've always thought of Gump's as pillows with embroidered koi fish on them, boxed coaster sets and caftans. And I think that's still pretty much the case, in addition to $4,500 ceramic fruit. So you can imagine my excitement at worming my way into a Gump's cocktail party. Myself and a guest were invited to preview the work of some artiste I've never heard of and needless to say, Brock and I swirled with glee.Due to the whole embroidered koi fish/golden Buddha Chinois vibe of Gump's, I chose to wear a $15 pajama top I purchased in Chinatown and cropped cigarette pants. It was only as Brock and I walked arm in arm into the majestic palace that is Gump's, I realized I looked like a nut.
The whole main floor was packed with pashmina types and we grabbed the requisite wine glasses of water before standing awkwardly near a $5,000 stone frog wondering what to do next. We ended up chatting with Katherine, an interior designer who recognized me from the Literary Death Match! Any nerves I felt about my stupid outfit or my lack of Gump's grace went right out the window when this stunner asked me, "Were you the girl that knocked over the Christmas tree?"
Yes! Yes, that's me!
I spotted Drew Altizer, society photographer to, like, everything. Brock and I went over to say hi and beg him for gossip and glamour shots. Drew photographs everyone (if you consider random rich people everyone, which Brock and I do) and has generally nice things to say about them, which was a little disappointing.
We did spot some crashers, and I have to say, society party crashers are my new favorite obsession. How they even know about these events in beyond me. There must be some underground network of freeloaders and I want to infiltrate their ranks. Easily spottable, these folks are bizarre, mysterious and wonderful. And of course, as dictated by Hollywood, there was a woman with a dog.
At each turn, Brock and I oohhed and ahhed, so excited to finally be included. It felt like the time in high school I got to go to a cool kids party in the ballroom of a Pacific Heights mansion because I agreed to be a designated driver.
Lo, the irony.
Overheard favorites of the night include, "My wife was not receiving guests that particular evening" and another, having just returned from fashion week in Paris, "Lenny couldn't attend the Chanel show because, you know, they scheduled the Oscars the same week."
My genius line of the night was to the charming and friendly CEO of Gump's, to whom I asked, "So do people ever buy, like, a $4,500 jade apple?"
Apparently they do.
Are these people more fabulous than us, standing around congratulating themselves on appreciating expensive nick nacks? Technically, no. Was I delighted to be there, wonderfully uncomfortable in my own skin and rubbernecking plastic surgery mishaps?
Indeed I was, dahling...
*all photos are by Mr. Drew Altizer