Shock Treatment

Partying With the Pioneering Graffiti Artist Futura


Andy Valmorbida, Futura, and Nemo Librizzi   
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There were more neck tattoos and skateboards at the opening of Futura's Future-Shock last night than at your typical vernissage. Unveiling his first show in about a decade, the pioneering street artist (who was born as Leonard Hilton McGurr) wouldn't have had it any other way. Nor was he concerned about a little competition from Fashion's Night Out. "I pre-date those types of names of nights," he told between photo ops with swarming fans.

The latest project of Andy Valmorbida—who's now organizing pop-ups without his former business partner Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld—Futura rose from outlaw obscurity into prominence in the eighties. His abstract graffiti changed the game, and he toured with the Clash and later collaborated with labels like Nike and Bathing Ape. "Going to RISD and getting a degree and then having a show in a big gallery is nowhere near as cutthroat as graffiti was," Nemo Librizzi, the show's curator, explained. "You had 500 critics Monday morning if your painting from Saturday night rode on the subways and wasn't all that." And to think, that was before anyone was buying.

The after-party at the Electric Room—models galore, Courtin-Clarinses—catered more to Valmorbida's pals than to Futura's. Many of the latter's crowd were probably down at Westway, where Supreme was throwing a free-for-all that included a performance by Three 6 Mafia. Spotted through thick haze: Pharrell Williams and Nate Lowman. But this was the rare fashion event at which guys like them might actually gain, rather than lose, some street cred.

Richard Chai wrapped his show not long after noon yesterday. By nine, he was ready to celebrate—and "on three hours sleep!" Friends like his favorite model, Miles McMillan, party hostess Ladyfag, and NBA baller (and newly minted Olympic gold medalist) Russell Westbrook braved Fashion's Night Out for a dinner at Catch, surely the only fish restaurant on earth with its own bouncer. Westbrook, for all his NBA bona fides, looked every bit the fashion editor in a leopard-print shirt and owlish glasses. Though he's a fashion week virgin, you'd never know. "It's my first time, but I'm enjoying it," he said. He's made headlines for his preference for Prada and the like. Easier to indulge those tastes in New York than Oklahoma City, where he plays? He just laughed.

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