(Not my proudest moment: With Nick Hissum at the Box, photo by Patrick McMullan.)
Nick Hunt, one of Patrick’s photographers, was a little more specific with his advice for posing. At the after-party for Friends with Kids at the Boom Boom Room, the handsome blond would bark directions before taking a photo. “Stop sticking your leg out! Elbows IN!” he winced, exasperated, as I tried a cocky hand-on-my-hip pose. Only once he had successfully maneuvered me into position did he deign to take my photo.
Patrick’s eye is not that discriminating when it comes to poses. “When I look around a room, I’m looking for pretty girls,” he said one night at at the Park Avenue Armory, pretty much summing up the party philosophy of most single men. “And people who dress well,” he added, pointing and clicking at a woman sporting a stunning red dress. I felt slighted: Hadn’t I bought this very expensive Tommy Hilfiger blazer just that evening to add a dash of sophistication and class to my wardrobe? But compared to the women at the art fair, I felt like I should be handing out pot-stickers and collecting empty wine glasses, not posing with Jonathan Farkas.
Clearly, it was time to get freaky. After checking out the lookbook for designer Gemma Kahng, I stopped by her showroom in midtown and decided on a corset with a foot-long collar that rose over the shoulders with a neckline that plunged halfway to my bellybutton. Imagine Lydia from Beetlejuice if she were a SuicideGirl. That night at the MoMA benefit for the Armory show (Armory week is as confusing as Fashion Week), I was stopped at the door by a bevy of photographers. I couldn’t walk two feet without someone asking for a photo. Maybe I had finally figured out how to get noticed at parties: dress like an insane person with a nice rack.
On Thursday, I was to accompany Mr. McMullan to the Museum of the City of New York’s Winter Gala at the Plaza Hotel. Now, I had never been to the Plaza, but I had seen Home Alone 2 so I knew it was a fancy place. This would be a black-tie event, so I decided I had to be absolutely stunning as I made my entrance into society on the arm of its favorite photographer. Gemma had provided me with another amazing outfit for the evening—one that highlighted my…er…assets but added a touch of class. It was a sweeping black train skirt with a punky leather and lace demi-jacket and a tight velvet camisole.
I expected Patrick to be impressed, but he gave a fatherly cluck when he saw how revealing my dress was. “Don’t get me wrong, you look great,” he assured me. But it was the women I needed to win over that evening, not the men. And no lady likes to be confronted on her home turf by some newbie who is turning her husband’s head. “You want to be invited to sit on committees with these women, and they won’t ask you if they find you threatening,” Mr. McMullan explained. “That’s why ingenue look was created: for girls to enter society attractively, but not dangerously so.”
So from frump to high-class hooker in just two days. That’s got to be some sort of Pretty Woman record. Still, I barely had time to be mortified. As soon as we arrived, Patrick jumped out of the cab and started doing his salutations: twirling the women and putting on a mock British accent. “You look faaabulous my darling,” he would say to a societess like Melissa Berkelhammer. “Let me get a picture of you with my date, Drew Grant from The New York Observer.”
By the end of the evening, I had been photographed with Roosevelts, Mirsepahis, and a parade of other names much bigger than my own. The next day, I Patricked myself: 36 results. Not bad for starters.
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