Award-laden stylist/costume designer PATRICIA FIELD not only inspired a global fashion revolution with her imprint on Sex and the City (the series and movies), but continues to change the fashion scape with her ground-breaking styling, crazy-cool ecom site, and countless other creative coups. Lucky for us, she recently stopped into Montreal for last summer’s Festival Mode & Design and granted Diary a generous gal chat. Bucket list check.
Patricia, party is our obsession at Diary of a Social Gal, but so is “dressing the party.” In your expert opinion, how do good party-going Social Gals and Gents style for the party to ensure optimal entrance making?
For me, life is a party, and everyone’s life should be a party. A party signifies socializing, fun, music: all the good ingredients of life. That’s why I’m drawn to the party. The way I style for a party is the way I style for life: via a mix-up, i.e. elegance with street. Because that’s the way it is today. High-low. And it’s not hard to achieve. You can take some really great vintage piece, pair it with jeans and a wife beater, add a tiara – or whatever item you’re feeling for an accessory – and you’re ready for the party, as you’re ready for the day. Party dressing – all dressing – is about self-ex- pression, which is becoming more and more important now because these days, “fashion” is a big bore; so conventional, so global.
Having attended some of the most glittering and, no doubt, interesting parties and events on the planet, from globally revered Fashion Week catwalk dos to the more eclectic Burning Man, can you dish a bit about which stand out and why?
The parties, events, and clubs that remain in my mind – because of their quality and what they had to offer – were the small clubs in New York in the ‘80s, and the big ones, which were more dance, like Studio 54 or 12 West.
The smaller ones had great intimacy and soul, like Club 57 and Boy Bar. Boy Bar was housed in a former hair salon, with a master of ceremonies who would present a new show every week, with clothes done by a couple of kids. These were largely kids that hung out, groups that would veer into my store together, like drag queens putting on shows at small venues where we would all congregate. The parties were unfamiliar, strange, with no identity in a good way, and the souls would feed each other.
The bigger clubs of that era, like Studio 54 or 12 West, were the kind of clubs where you would walk in and they would just … take you over. You didn’t have to get high or drunk to warm up to the music. You walked in and boom! You were on the dance floor! Music is extremely important. When people want to dance; that’s when they’re happy.
Speaking of potent parties, if you had to host a dream party with three fantasy guests, dead or alive, who would they be?
I would definitely have all the members of Plato’s Symposium, which was the party, set against the backdrop of Ancient Greece in classical Athens, during the time of Socrates and Aristotle, attended by all kinds of friends, artists, and intellectuals, lounging on sofas, eating, drinking. Then I would invite Cleopatra. She has to be there because she’s gorgeous and glamorous, and as unbelievable as it is for a woman dating back 2,000 years, we still know who she is today. I would also invite all the drag queens I know to come dressed, and pull my favourite DJ from heaven, Larry Levan, who would play the music and make us happy all night long. Just to let you know, when we have parties, the city comes to them because we have great parties. We’re party people! We love to party. We party organically.
Anyone else? (Though we’re well past three.)
The fun people I know. The ones who love to party. I would invite Miley, who I respect, and Missy Elliot, who I’m in love with!
What would you serve at this epic gathering, and how would you prep décor?
Well, I’m not sure of the food yet. But I would definitely ask Scooter (Laforge, the artist, her friend and collaborator) to come and decorate, and a few others I work with a lot. But you know, the people create the party. I like decorations, but it’s the people who create the energy of a party.
Amen to that.
For more on Patricia and her incredibly inspiring world and creations, head to patriciafield.com.
FAB FOOTIE: I asked Patricia if she would consider styling my pilot sitcom, Diary Of A Social Gal, if it ever went to small and – dreaming BIG – big screens. She didn’t say no. Bucket list check, round two.