Fashion insiders like Lorenzo Martone -- a.k.a. Mr. Marc Jacobs -- flocked to Club Monaco's Flatiron hub last night to fete Bert Stern, the iconic photographer behind The Last Sitting, a collection of intimate Marilyn Monroe portraits shot just weeks before the starlet's untimely death.
And while the 80-year-old Stern remained elusive to the press, his work did not: boldly on display throughout the flagship store were his latest black and white snaps for the brand's Spring 2010 collection.
Merriment was on the menu too. DJ Angola provided a soundtrack of sun-kissed disco, and a steady stream of Hendrick's gin and Martini & Rossi Prosecco flowed from the bar. Downstairs in the men's department things felt mellower, with men (and some bold women!) playing pool and sipping whiskey. But of course Stern remained the evening's focal point.
"I'm a great admirer," said Martone, allowing his voice to trail off as he gazed up at the larger-than-life stills. "I came with two clients, Jessica White and Irina Shayke, and they're both in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and Bert shot Sports Illustrated like 20 years ago, so I really think there is a good DNA to all this. I'm very happy to be here and see the work."
Speaking of those two stunning clients, they both spent much of the evening happily rifling through the line's latest looks, proving that even swimsuit models like to cover up in a little more than a string bikini every now and again. Each is a client of Martone's new venture, ARC NY, a boutique talent and PR agency with a very specific mission.
"We're a niche business because we only work with models," he said. "And the bottom line is we believe in the comeback of supermodels and that's what we've been working toward. It's interesting because people forget that models also have personalities. You don't see them in the movies, but you see a lot of celebrities in fashion. But models should be modeling."
How appropriate, then, that Martone found himself celebrating the art of Bert Stern, a man who has captured more than a handful of oversized personalities on film.