New York is not kind to those disposed to nostalgia, and, frankly, it shouldn't be. But after the sad and unceremonious demise of Florent, there's been keen sense of wanting to treasure those few places that, without them, the city's modern history might have been considerably more, well, dull.
Indochine's 25th anniversary party, New York. Photo credit by Kristen Spielkamp.
Indochine, it could be reasoned, ushered in the post-disco-age by completely re-defining the nightlife-destination-restaurant (and veritably introduced fanciful Asian cuisine into the American food lexicon). From the time its front doors first swung open onto Lafayette Street in 1984, it came to epitomize the contemporary urban-urbane spectacle, with debauched rockers, louche models, ostentatious drag queens, and movie stars who called the swinging city, not vapid old Hollywood, their home all sharing mod spring rolls and sexified cocktails--and nearly everyone spending a suspicious amount of time in the bathroom.
No surprise, then, that we arrived on a November evening for it's buzzed about 25th anniversary party to a sidewalk scene that looked like it was transported straight from the Weimar Republic: leggy, emaciated beauties checking their lipstick by streetlight, gender-defying gents in top hats and kabuki makeup, and more haphazardly applied glitter than could be found in any kindergarten art class.
New York's Indochine restaurant dress up to celebrate its birthday - image by Kristen Spielkamp
Amidst Indochine's nonchalantly glamorous French Colonial interiors, the dazzlingly flamboyant and star-studded crowd slithered past one another, occasionally lunging at passing cocktail trays; and naturally, the only things hotter than all that body friction, were, as ever, the restaurant's preternaturally gorgeous and calculatedly exotic waitresses, one of whom appeared to be clad in nothing more than several strands of cleverly draped silver beads.
The worlds of art (Casey Spooner, Andres Serrano), fashion (Narciso Rodriguez, Zac Posen) and indie film (Willem Dafoe, Naomi Watts) were all comprehensively represented. But in truth, it was somewhere between the lascivious, ad hoc drag performances and gyrating to the sounds of Malcolm McLaren's timelessly groovy "Buffalo Gals" that one truly connected with the wild, outlandish and glittering spirit of Indochine, that which has made it indisputably New York City's hippest, sexiest restaurant...EVER--and ever. Indeed, one imagines a 50th anniversary party is already in the works.
To celebrate their anniversary Indochine have released a book "Indochine, Stores Shaken & Stirred" - the perfect Christmas present for a party-loving friend.
Photo Credits (main) : Getty Images
Photo Credits (Inside) : Kristen Spielkamp