Let me say just one thing : Parisians don’t party like New Yorkers party. And vice versa. After extensive analysis, I’ve got a theory… It comes down to this:
The Parisian night is private. The New York night is public.
I had to deal with the cultural gap even before I moved to New York. It happened when, one night, I was out at the Boom Boom Room and I told a friend about my project of moving here.
And then the next day, bam. It was up on a magazine’s blog. Someone had overheard our conversation and simply reproduced it. A few hours later, it had raced around the web and I only found out because I started getting tons of texts saying things like,
“Congrats on your move to NYC, Garance!”
And that’s how a totally personal conversation that really, after thinking about it, shouldn’t interest anyone but my friends and I, became a piece of news. That’ll teach me to go have drinks at the Boom Boom Room. I was shocked !
Because that kind of thing would never happen in Paris. Those types of blogs don’t even exist there. We don’t have Page 6 (the super gossip page in the New York Post that everybody reads). Plus in Paris, the concept of Vie Privée really means something. Which isn’t to say that gossip doesn’t circulate, but it stays pretty hush hush and in smaller circles.
The night is secret. And I can tell you, lots of things happen…
New York is different. New York is a planet onto itself. New York has its own celebrities, designers, entrepreneurs, sons of, wives of, all of which you wouldn’t ever talk about in Paris.
New York has its own magazines and each of the parties has photographers. Every party is dissected and analyzed like it was the event of the century – Who was there? And with whom? What dress was she wearing? What shoes, what jewelry? Wait what?! The same as last time? OH MY GOD, fashion faux-pas! I can’t believe it!!! Noooo, she wasn’t wearing her wedding ring? Wait, zooooooooooom in, let’s take a closer look!!!
New York invented socialites. You go out to be seen and take part.
The result in terms of fashion is two very distinct styles.
When the Parisian goes out, her goal is to be cool. The coolest.
It’s that simple. She’s not going to a party unless her friends are invited too and would rather die then be seen without her posse. You don’t intermingle too much in Paris. You don’t network and if you do, you do so super discretely: networking means you need others, and that’s just not cool. Don’t even try to do a seating arrangement at your dinner. People will just sit with their friends. She does everything she can to not be in pictures, because wanting to get your picture taken is the opposite of cool. She dresses in her eternal outfit of jeans and high heels and her hair down.
Because really, getting dressed just to go out, pfffff. She’s got better things to do.
But really, in truth, she spends an hour on each smokey-eye. But what she’s really into is having fun in small groups, pretending she isn’t looking at the other little groups over there in the corner. Not surprising that the most popular clubs in Paris are small, darkly lit, and full of hidden nooks.
The New Yorker on the other hand, when she goes out, it’s because she wants to be seen.
She gets her outfit ready a week ahead of time. She borrows a dress from a friend in PR who can’t wait for the next morning to count the number of mentions her little protégée got her. She books a hairdresser and makeup artist to give her the perfect effortless look and makes sure that she gets to the party with all the right people. If she can’t find them, she just goes alone.
Cause anyway, she’s just there to meet people and shine. So there, even better to be alone in the picture.
That’s not to say that everyone doesn’t have a good time, from one side of the Atlantic to the other. In New York just as in Paris, people like to party and people do it well. And when they all meet, that’s when it gets even more fun.
But you have to know a few of society’s codes before heading out into the night. Or else, in Paris, you’ll end up getting there in an evening gown just like it said to on the invitation (half the girls show up in jeans, the other half in mini-skirts) or in New York, you’ll get there in a tracksuit when it’s says “casual” (and everyone else is in cocktail dress, updos abounding).
Yeah, all that’s a little bit of a caricature, but it’s happened to me enough times that it’s not far off. It never stops me from enjoying myself. Still, it’s happened more than once where I’ve looked a liiiiiiittle out of place.
Okay, next time, I’ll tell you my secret to always making it work. Yep, just like that, bam! Works every time.
PS : What kind of party girl are you ? More of a Parisienne or a New Yorker ?