The Last Night of Misshapes: Hip, Post-New-Wave and Through
At nearly 4 a.m. on Sunday a guy by the name of Tommy Hottpants was the subject of the last official portrait at the last weekly Misshapes party at Don Hill’s. Posed against a stark white wall, Tommy Hottpants, a sometime D.J. and nightlife promoter, wore a white T-shirt and mugged suggestively for the camera.
His was one of the 800 snapshots that Scott Meriam took throughout that night and morning, documenting the crowd at the reigning downtown It party. Hundreds more fill a new picture book, “Misshapes,” released by MTV Press. “It’s like a yearbook,” Mr. Meriam said.
That’s especially true because most of the regulars who made Misshapes the hot party are only a few years out of school. In 2002 Geordon Nicol, 23; Greg Krelenstein, 28; and Leigh Lezark, 23 — self-styled D.J.’s known more for their post-new-wave aesthetics than their turntable skills — started their nightlife careers with a one-off at Luke & Leroy. Since then Misshapes has worn its mantle as the ur-hipster party as snugly as (of course) a pair of skinny jeans. Though the Misshapes themselves will go on, as in-demand D.J.’s (up next: London fashion week), and as a marketing juggernaut (a clothing line is in the works), the weekly party came to a neon-tinged end in the SoHo nightclub on Sunday.
“It’s a good night — David Byrne and Cindy Sherman are inside,” Mr. Nicol said on one of his many trips to fetch his V.I.P. friends from the half-block-long line outside. “I’m happy. I’m celebrating.”
So was everyone else. There was nary a symmetrical haircut or wide pantleg to be seen. (Also scarce: body fat.) In line the kids passed their time smoking, checking one another out and eating free ice cream distributed from a truck sponsored by the clothing brand Diesel. Mark Hunter, the party photographer better known as the Cobrasnake, bopped around snapping photos of people like Andrew Tatreau-Sherwood, 19. Mr. Tatreau-Sherwood had a broken foot, but that did not hinder his style. Decked out in shorts and a bow tie, he had sheathed his crutches in gold lamé, made from a pair of American Apparel leggings snipped in half. Ms. Lezark, who has become a designer muse with mentions in Vogue, teetered around in an expensive-looking black frock and shiny gray booties.
“They came to New York and they set it ablaze,” Jimmy Webb, 50, the wiry manager of the East Village punk boutique Trash and Vaudeville, said of the trio. “I was around for the Studio 54 days, and this is the only thing that ever matched it.”
Inside the club the dance floor was never less than packed. Fed by a soundtrack of almost-new music (Bloc Party, Arcade Fire) and retro kitsch (Cher, “All I Want for Christmas”), the dancing crowd made full use of the stage, the tables, the banquettes and a stripper pole. In the D.J. booth, which the party’s founders often outsource to celebrities, the model Agyness Deyn took a turn, alongside other regulars like Spencer Product and the apprentice Misshape, Jackson Pollis. Judging by the scene ’80s spandex and ’90s stripes are hot (again) and marching-band uniforms are the new new thing.
Appropriately enough for a crowd hung up on the fashions and music of the past, the nostalgizing began almost immediately.
“It’s the end of an era, darling,” said Jonny Makeup, a devotee who will be writing a blog on a new online magazine at misshapes.com.
Added Eri Wakiyama, 20, a design student at Parsons: “I’m sad. I’m really, really sad. When they leave I’ll have nowhere to go.” Next Saturday, she said, “I’ll probably be at home. I’ll have homework or something.”
But since a central tenet of hipsterism is an avowed disdain for all things hipster, and since half the fun of Misshapes has always been making fun of Misshapes, some people were ready for the denouement. Jeremy Lipkin, a short-shorts-wearing art director from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and two of his friends left before midnight. “We’re all adults here,” Mr. Lipkin, 23, said. “It’s time to move on.”
“The new hot party is the dinner party,” he added.
For their part the Misshapes crew also seemed prepared to say good-bye. Though the three founders have become fashion and media darlings, their party has suffered a backlash. Sleep, Mr. Nicol said, is newly appealing.
Mr. Pollis, an 18-year-old who still lives with his parents in his childhood home in Williamsburg, agreed. Giving up the gig is “a release and a relief,” he said. “It’s good to be doing something normal. Normal people see movies on a Saturday night.”
Mr. Meriam was even more blasé. “A party can only happen for so long,” he said.
The lights at this one went on at 4 a.m., but the kids kept dancing, cheering and waving their arms. Mr. Meriam snapped more photos. For a few moments, the prevailing feeling was sincere, overwhelming fun.
The final song was “Disco 2000,” recorded by Pulp. From the D.J. booth Mr. Pollis sprayed the crowd with water. The Misshapes hugged; Ms. Lezark smiled.
Nearby a man in pegged jeans, pointy brown ankle boots and an oversize jersey vest looked forlorn. “Misshapes is so over,” he said, and sighed.