New York received a sorely needed jolt of neon-hued energy on Thursday night as Soho was converted into Stephen Sprouse land. To celebrate its new collection based on works by the late designer, Louis Vuitton transformed its Greene Street boutique into a graffiti-covered clubhouse. The glow was just as bright a few blocks away at Deitch Projects, which simultaneously debuted the Sprouse retrospective Rock on Mars. (Among the many highlights: the "scan line" dress he designed for Blondie's "Heart of Glass" video, his fluorescent-tinted sketches, and a wall of his Polaroids of the eighties downtown set—Debbie Harry in oversize Wayfarers; Francesco Clemente, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Duran Duran back when they were cute enough to incite riots.)
Joanne Sprouse, the designer's mom, was the center of attention at both fêtes. "He would be so happy with this," she said. "He'd be crowded, but he would be proud." Crowded was an understatement: The line for the store portion of the party—the VIP section, if you will, with a guest list that included LVMH bigwigs and celebs—was littered with would-be crashers, while the queue to get into Deitch Projects snaked all the way down Wooster to Canal Street.
The crush continued at the third and final stop on the Sprouse celebration circuit: a performance by Debbie Harry at the Bowery Ballroom. "This place has never seen so much mink," the new wave icon shouted from the stage, as Sprouse's rose motif—a discarded design idea from his 2000 collaboration with Vuitton, which Marc Jacobs revisited in the new collection—was projected behind her. Perched in the club's balcony was Jacobs himself, clad in his now trademark kilt with Sprouse tights tucked into combat boots. "He's a true hero of mine, and of fashion," he said as he greeted a stream of cross-dressers, buff men in tiny tees, and the likes of Peter Marino and Donna Karan. "A true artist and a brilliant thinker." And what did he expect the response to the collection to be? "People are going to love it or they're going to hate it. And I'm fine with either reaction."