“Going grey never looked so glamorous,” read the invitation to Linda Fargo’s Grey Gardens–themed birthday party held March 31st in New York City. Inspired by the Maysles brothers’ 1975 cult classic documentary, Hayward House was transformed into the Beales’ dilapidated East Hamptons compound. Cohosted by Marin Hopper and John Goldstone, the occasion called for decadent attire that followed suit. “In the spirit of Edie Beale, this is all DIY,” Fargo said of fashioning a black turtleneck into a turban and a mink fur coat around her waist like a ball skirt. “I think that’s what everyone remembers about Little Edie—how she took her old finery and recycled it. And brooches with everything.” Fargo made the look her own with custom mink earrings: “These are Ranjana Khan, and speaking of, here are Ranjana and Naeem Khan now,” she said just as the designer husband and wife walked through the door.
Upon arrival, a pair of drag performers masquerading as Big Edie and Little Edie greeted guests. Little Edie took turns reading horoscopes, while Big Edie pointed out table assignments that had been given such names as Mother Darling and Cat Land. Past the replica of Big Edie’s rickety twin bed (where several lifelike kittens and cats slept, naturally) waiters carried trays of sesame tuna tartare lined with East Hampton Star newspapers that read “The Mistresses of Grey Gardens Evade Eviction—Again!” among other sensational headlines of the era. Bartenders disguised as gas station attendants poured cocktails: The Grey Garden was served with edible flowers and The Little Edie came complete with miniature American flags for stirrers. Meanwhile, guests admired the impressive department of memorabilia on display, sourced from Eclectic/Encore Properties (Fargo’s favorite). The walls themselves were covered in framed black-and-white movie stills superimposed with Fargo’s face in place of Little Edie’s.
“I’ve always been a practical joker and I love to get a rise out of people,” Fargo admitted. “People tell me, ‘Oh, you always look so elegant,’ but I’m also very tongue in cheek.” A sense of humor would no doubt prove essential once it was time for dinner to be served in the adjacent room. There, among mismatched china and vintage flatware, Putnam & Putnam created centerpieces made of dead arrangements that were withered beyond recognition. In fact, Fargo requested that the florist save all of their day-old stems for two weeks’ time in order to bring the Grey Gardens unkempt landscape to life.
“The theme let me tap into my history as a display artist,” Fargo said, who, during her 11-year tenure as the senior vice president of Bergdorf Goodman, has seen her fair share of store and window displays. The occasion also seemed to showcase her theatrical side. Once the Côtes de Provence, or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s personal brand of rosé, was flowing, a ring of the doorbell brought out a line of “delivery guys” armed with A&P brown paper grocery bags. “I’ll pay you next week,” joked Fargo, apparently in character as Little Edie.
Fried chicken, tomato tarts, scalloped potatoes, and corn on the cob were served in foiled TV dinner trays along with a few faux bugs and rodents for added fun. “I like to make things joyous and I see it in my friends’ faces tonight; they’re all feeling kind of bubbly,” Fargo said. Then again, the pints of SoCo vanilla ice cream that rounded the tables for dessert also could have had something to do with it.
story via Vogue | images Vogue + Picasta