PAPER‘s Halloweekend kick-off with The Misshapes was an assortment of tricks and treats: sweet performances and gruesome costumes alongside some of NYC nightlife’s finest. Inclement weather couldn’t keep party hosts or VIPs away from The Box in downtown Manhattan, including Cara Delevingne, Christian Siriano, Leah McSweeney, Ava Max, Antoni Porowski, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson and Soo Joo Park.
Inside, the venue’s self-declared “theater of varieties” was on full display: guests dressed in their finest Halloween fantasies, sipped on SKYY Vodka signature cocktails, and watched performances by Drag Race alums Violet Chachki and Gottmik, following a full live set from the one and only Azealia Banks.
Costume parties are always such fun expressions of polarity, where extreme opposites can be seen side by side — like Teddy Quinlivan coming through in her best Princess Diaries eleganza next to a sinister princess dressed like Black Swan, or all the angels standing around devils and nurses partying with the wounded and gashed.
Elsewhere, history was well-represented by two sets of John Waters and Divine combos, an Andy Warhol and even La Veneno taking on the dancefloor. Sophia Lamar, who actually starred in HBO Max’s VENENO, looked like a spectacular pink cloud, with tulle bows and blue face paint. “It’s a pink fantasy,” she explained. “I hate when people ask, ‘Who are you supposed to be?’ I just say, ‘It’s too complicated for your brain to understand.’ It’s not a costume — just a fantasy.”
Real Housewives‘ McSweeney gave a VMAs red carpet history lesson, dressed as Madonna in Tom Ford for Gucci from the 1995 awards show. “I’m wearing the iconic VMAs look from when Courtney [Love] threw her compact at Madonna,” she confirmed, flanked by boys asking for pictures and a couple from Colombia. “My boyfriend tells me you’re famous,” one said, before another round of photos. Posing like the Queen of Pop herself in the same platinum half-updo, McSweeney worked each camera. “That was the longest photoshoot ever,” she laughed.
Then, party host Yves Mathieu couldn’t be missed in a catwoman suit with moves to match; Parker Kit Hill served “evil victorian biH;” and Jerome Lamaar dressed as “the spirit of the Super Bowl” in custom blinged out football gear. There were Fembots from Austin Powers, a few nuns and even the Cynthia doll from Rugrats.
Around 2 AM, Banks’ voice finally emerged over the speakers. “Is anyone gonna open this curtain?” she asked from behind it. Then again, once the stage lights hit her to screams from fans: “What’s going on, bitches? Let’s go bitches!” Opening with her triumphant new song, “Wings of a Butterfly,” the artist freely bragged, “All the boys go crazy for me.”
Photo courtesy of BFA
The set moved through Banks’ canon of bangers, from “Fuck Him All Night” to “The Big Big Beat,” and into classics like “Liquorice” and “Fierce.” Rather than a costume, she wore a cinched, double-breasted minidress with doubled hoops and tall boots. “I love Azealia,” someone gagged from the audience. “She dances, bitch! She dances, honey!”
Equally excited was Delevingne, who joined Banks on stage to sing her praises and into the mic. “She’s the first person that actually speaks the truth,” the model and actress yelled into the audience, before positioning her head ever-so-perfectly during Banks’ iconic “212” lyric, “I guess that cunt getting eaten.”
And while Banks’ performance ended at the height of the night around 3 AM (“It’s fucking done,” she said), the evening continued with throngs of people planning a weekend full of other parties and frights. Somewhere near the exit, a guy wearing circular glasses and a zig-zag scar contemplated Saturday night’s costume: a playboy bunny complete with a “bow tie and bunny ears,” he plotted, “but with a thong.”
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