The Covid-19 public health emergency officially expired in the United States in May, and it seemed the celebrations were nonstop.
Night after night, a cohort of shiny and (and often deep-pocketed) city dwellers escaped into lavish, invite-only parties, galas and benefits that gleamed like 2019. These elaborate fever dreams were made all the more feverish and dreamy by looks often spun from the runways: fire-engine reds, overblown silhouettes, yards of tulle and a grab bag of bijoux.
Whether at a Fashion Week party at Gracie Mansion or a benefit for Elmhurst Hospital at the American Museum of Natural History, guests swanned around in looks so surreal that they transported us somewhere beyond the pings of the push notifications that typically mark our time.
Below are some of the looks and themes that made us smile or smirk or take a second look. They all provided a bit of glimmering levity to the year.
Guests couldn’t swing a coupe, it seemed, without bumping into another partygoer’s oversize skirt, sleeve or coat. Call it an extension of Covid comfort dressing: Exaggerated silhouettes in touchable materials made for larger-than-life entrances (and, undoubtedly, tricky rides home).
Perhaps as a reaction to last year’s ubiquitous electric lime, perhaps as a reflection of the fall 2023 runways, blaring reds seemed to be everywhere — including on the equally omnipresent Mayor Eric Adams.
With plastic gloves and groceries sprayed with Lysol now marking a certain moment in time, statement-making gloves made with rich satins, supple leather and even sheer fabric signified retro chic rather than contagion.
Nothing says Surrealism like slinging a sparkly cartoon face around your neck, or adorning your brows with bejeweled paper clips, or having two unblinking Schiaparelli eyes dangle from your earlobes. Needless to say, we couldn’t look away.
A shorthand for sugarplum fantasy, tiers of tulle and flouncy ruffles graced benefits across the city, turning venues like Cipriani into something like Cinderella’s castle. At the very least, it was a sweet nod to innocence.
And then there are those whose looks evaded neat description but demanded tribute. What to do with a rainbow balaclava inspired by the film “Monsters, Inc.,” or a metallic get-up meant to resemble a “bureaucratic office wizard,” in actor Julio Torres’s telling? We raise a glass.