with the ARMI400
What makes a great party? And, further to that, what makes a great party outfit? There's no exact science per se, but if anybody should know, it's this crew of girls—tastemakers and influencers like our ARMI 400 members, Nell Diamond, Lily Kwong, Lola Rykiel and more, who appear above in our debut photo editorial snapped by the talented Matthew Kristall. We're lucky enough to live in a time where evening dress codes are being reformatted, with black-tie's traditional statutes all but thrown to the curb; it's the era of the couture sneaker, the sports-bra for the cocktail, and the jean jacket over the brilliantly beaded gown. Here, these talented women, who all work as hard as they play (from landscape architecture to home goods designing!), reflect on the alchemy (and the rebelliousness) of a lasting, fabulously à la mode night on the town.
So let's start with question one: the key ingredients for a memorable evening. Brenda Diaz De La Vega argues for an element of the surreal: "The after-party for the Chanel cruise show in Venice in 2009 was noteworthy. We danced all night to an Italian cover band under the stars on the Lido beach." Having had her eighteenth birthday amongst the figurines at Madame Tussaud's in London, Diamond echoes De La Vega's sentiment. "We posed with wax sculptures and danced to Rihanna… the only downside was the ‘damages' notice we received the next day—apparently, one of my over-eager classmates was so enamored with the Queen's likeness that he decided to steal her handbag!" (Diamond also notes a spontaneous "vogueing" competition at around 4:00 AM on the night of her wedding, held at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Southern France.) One could, of course, always defend downright unapologetic fabulousness, like Colby Jordan, who "arm wrestled with Tom Ford at the Met Gala—I was 14. He was impressed with my firm handshake, so we decided to see who was stronger." And Kwong fondly remembers a celebration for Bulgari, which featured "finger food, golden-etched chalices and even a harpist… the scene totally transported you."
With glamor and magic established, what can one wear to chicly stand out from the crowd? We love Lola Rykiel's idea: "sky-high heels if I am in a black tuxedo." She also proposes getting dressed to the nines but wearing no make-up, especially if you're still aglow with a Spring Break tan. "I think that's chic," she concludes. Alessandra Brawn, whose hair is currently "bright pink—that about covers the rule breaking!" admits: "Embarrassing but true, I had a dream about marabou feathers recently—my next style experiment will be playing with new textures." Grace Fuller, simply, is relieved that "refreshingly, it's now accepted that ‘dress length' for black tie is not what decrees a formal gown."
So take the tips to heart; these women know what they're talking about. And don't be afraid to "go there"—the night is young, and never before has rethinking it felt so appropriate.
Story photographed by Matthew Kristall and styled by Karla Martinez de Salas.