When I heard that Astrologyzone.com's Susan Miller was giving readings at Henri Bendel on Fashion's Night Out, I felt destined to get some astrological advice. Unfortunately, the scene was such a clusterfuck my moon was in someone's anus.
The store was chock-full of special events. Ric Pipino was doing hair on the first floor. Shoppers could "be beautified" by makeup artist Molly Roncal. Handbag designer Lauren Merkin was showing off her clutches; supermodel slash jewelry designer Erin Wasson was presenting her collection of baubles, Olivia Palermo was giving styling tips on the 4th floor in the Frédéric Fekkai salon. There were employees holding trays of booze everywhere, and the store was packed.
I arrived at 5:45pm and had some trouble figuring out where to line up for Susan Miller. When I did see the line, I realized that even though I was early, I was 12th in line. Miller had promised that each person would get 10 minutes. So if everything went smoothly, I already had a 2 hour wait ahead of me. Still, I hung around for a while, hoping other people would give up and I'd move ahead in line. One woman sighed and left, making me number 11. At 6:15, a store employee ushered our line through the store, and I got excited: I'd wait for a while, and then my future would be revealed!
Except when we got to the little alcove where Susan Miller was giving readings, we discovered that there was another line.
This line wrapped around the stairs going down to the second floor. Susan Miller was already giving two ladies a reading. There were at least ten or twelve people in front of her table filling out information cards with their star sign and question. It did not look good.
"The thing is," said the woman in front of me, with an agitated look in her eye, "she's only here from 6 to 10. if she gives everyone 10 minutes, she can only see 24 people." Fuck. I looked around, but it was now impossible to tell how many people were in front of me, because there was a line in front of my line and a line to the right of my line. The organizers — and I use that term loosely — were not very forthcoming with information; it seemed that they were going to alternate, taking one person from my line and then one person from the other line, but, of course, that would be after the women who were already lined up in front of the table had gotten readings. Oh, and did I mention that the readings were not free? After waiting in line for at least 2 hours, I'd be paying $25 to find out if my Venus was in the shitter.
I did not even stop at the Svedka "lounge" for a drink. I just wanted to get out of the store. It was too crowded, too chaotic, and while there were lovely, lovely things for sale, I knew I couldn't afford any of them.
I had to weave, scoot, shuffle and sidestep to make it through the crowd, the tables laden with sparkly jewelry, the ladies in poufy strapless dresses and top hats, and guys with trays of cocktails. I squeezed past a camera and a bright light, filming a crowd of folks trying to buy what appeared to be cheese.
When I finally got to the elevator and pressed the "down" button, I saw this sign and realized the dudes with the dairy products were The Fabulous Beekman Boys.
As I snapped the photo, a random woman said, "Excuse me, you can't take a picture of that." I looked at her blankly. The elevator door open and I jumped on and pressed "door close."
Out on 57th and 5th Avenue, there was more chaos. Across the street at Tiffany & Co., there was a yellow carpet blanketing the sidewalk and yellow carts with yellow treats — in celebration of some yellow diamond. But it was hard to walk — and get anywhere — because there were so many folks clogging the sidewalk.
My friend had emailed that he'd be at the Miu Miu store down the block, so I waded through the throngs — past Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent and Burberry — all of which had gentlemen just inside the door with trays of champagne, and milling crowds.
Miu Miu was relatively quiet inside, gold and carpeted and museum-like. The music was good — with an '80s vibe — but no one was talking. The shoes were displayed in such a way that I felt afraid to touch anything, and I saw an impeccably dressed saleslady smile at me with a clenched jaw as her eyes traveled down my outfit (Old Navy dress, Urban Outfitters shoes) and then turned away. A black guy in a dinner jacket offered me a cupcake the size of my thumbnail. I declined. My friend was nowhere in sight, and when I texted him he replied he was still at work. It was 6:45 and I was over it.
As I passed the side entrance of Bergdorf, a man came out; he was walking a tiny beige chihuahua wearing an electric blue mink shrug. It was definitely time to go home.
Later as I was lounging in pajamas and drinking a Diet Dr. Pepper with my feet up on my couch, I got a text from my brother: