I’ve been in search of rainbows ever since Valentino came up with the world’s happiest rockstud purse. (Grazie mille, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli). In preparation for the dangers of rainbows (what kind of rainbow needs a “stud” anyway?) I bought myself a Valentino-cum-Blade Runner clear plastic trench.
Chasing rainbows, yes, that’s the name of the elusive game of easyjetsetting to gale-force wind London, after a friend rang, summoning me over to share her posh suite in Mayfair with the promise of dinner with one of the world’s more controversial filmmakers, Harmony Korine. What?! I booked the ticket on Friday morn, flew out at noon and felt … 15 again. Like one of Harmony’s kids, but much less sexed. Much less. (Harmony wrote the screenplay for Larry Clark’s Kids when he was 19.) More like Dorothy. Call me somewhere-over-the-rainbow Dorothy.
The rainbow, after all, as you know by now, is making its comeback – and not just as a symbol for same sex sex. In certain circles it is even rumored that Apple has decided to replace that cheerily colored death wheel with shades of gray to give the rainbow its goody two-shoes feeling back.
Speaking of goody two-shoes, three shoes, four or more, I give you these:
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And if you’d rather be emptying your pockets, certain that a pot of gold is just ahead, then these Saint Laurent sneakers will do the trick. Reality rainbow shoes, they’re also Golden-Goosed-Up-Dirty.
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, and she’s always gone too long.
No other city in the world expresses individuality like London. I think. I mean, it’s been a long time since I was in New York, so hey, woman, I could be wrong. Paris, no. You don’t feel that kind of wild-thing energy. Meet young painter Luke Bacon, for instance, who’s less than half my age and he offered to let me don his pink Ray Bans after I complimented him on them. The English? They’re so freakin’ polite!
I found a tame, pretty, Christiane Arp lookalike and a Japanese man in a top hat, high-heeled boots, and (wait) a lady’s Balmain blazer with a brooch that makes Miu Miu look tame. His pointy shoulder pads were ready for spaceship take off. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, was nice. Friendly. Fun. I got tons of smiles on the street and lots of flirty looks from men in skinny-fit wool overcoats. Another man dressed me in Vivienne Westwood’s take on the rainbow (a “gold label” shirt of which only six exist) and told me I could wear it home for a little more than 500 quid and I’d get a free Westwood squiggle t-shirt to boot. Free t-shirt? Holy pot of gold! In the streets of Mayfair, I fondled crazy pom-pom Mary Janes from Dolce & Gabbana, and these beautiful silk jabots (new bib deco!) at Prada, and flowery rhinestone blazers from Alexander McQueen – and felt all the more, well, queeny for it. In the end, I shoved a great ten pound bespoke button-down that I found secondhand on Marylebone High Street into the tiny backpack I brought on my luggage-free flight. Whoo-hoo.
I’m riding home on a wave of hungover joy, not the headache-hangover kind, but the really tired-because-I-had-fun-last-night kind. There’s a rainbow between me and the world today and I’m in love with everything London.
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Monday late night at the after-party for Harmony Korine at the Chiltern Firehouse: talking to actor Gerard Butler (Hugo Boss’s “Man of Today,” aka between me and you, the guy I call Braveheart Gladiator), he asked me, “Who is this guy?” pointing out the dude who’d been rather brash in conversation. I thought, weird! You don’t know? You’d figure Butler would have known him if only for his (ex)relationship with top-model-maker Heidi Klum. “He’s the son of a very famous painter,” I said quickly, humdrum. Vito Schnabel corrected me, adding “and filmmaker,” as I’d forgotten. And then he added his most recent thing, telling us how he’d acquired Bruno Bischofberger’s gallery in St. Moritz. Weird. Wow. I guess. Weird.
The young guy (Helly Nahmad) who had been talking about knowing the guy who bought the Picasso (nothing like pinning a friend of “who’s who” in the room like that) asked Larry Gagosian who he’d be showing next. “Alex Israel,” he said, and as though Tourette’s had taken over my tongue, I interjected, “Ew!” And by way of further explanation when Larry looked at me askew, I said, “I mean, um, boring.” (I think it was the yellow culottes. They make you gutsy. Or maybe just trite.) Maybe I was trying to compensate. Something like “dress envy.” Korine’s wife (insert Spring Breakers actress name here: Rachel Korine) sitting near was wearing the almost-rainbow-striped Gucci dress I’ve been drooling over. It looked fucking great on her. You need boobs and I ain’t got ‘em. But I do have gold shoes!
Earlier that evening, at a dinner given for Nate Lowman by Massimo de Carlo, I was seated beside the next interior architect of the cosmetics department at KaDeWe. Rainbows? I doubt it. But I am sure whatever he does, it’s going to be good. Richard Found and I bonded over a love of food, downward dog, Venice, and the ability to rain tears instantly when looking, for instance, at the newspaper. “Anything to do with the refugees,” he said, and I wholeheartedly agreed, and it brings me to tears. Other people are steeled and neither of us could figure out why.
Again, it’s Bill Withers between me and the page: When I wake up in the morning, love, and the sunlight hurts my eyes, I know I’m not really in Berlin, and still, I’m in search of rainbows. Despite the fact that the pot of gold is already on my feet!
P.S. Katy Perry, send us the name of your hairdresser, please!
Shop the Rainbow
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April von Stauffenberg is an American writer who moved to Berlin in 1998. As a journalist, she has written about art, architecture, and fashion (under her maiden name April Elizabeth Lamm) for artforum.com, frieze, Weltkunst, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Sleek, and the German edition of Vanity Fair. She has curated shows at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt and the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin, among others, and is currently working on her art-world novel, The Collector.
Portrait: Semra Sevin