Over the weekend, Virgil Abloh shared the DJ booth with Hotel Garuda and AKKI at the Montauk Beach House. This round, valet parking, brunch and glasses of champagne weren’t among the perks of the evening. However, the scenery was worth the experience. When we arrived, we found parking under a tree near shrubs. Less than a block away from the venue, we walked to the entrance and were asked to identify ourselves. After a few minutes of unsuccessfully finding ‘Richardine Bartee’ on the media list and contacting my point of contact, I found my name. There it was. As pretty as ever, just sitting pretty and ready to be checked off.
Next, the middle-aged security guard checked my guests (plus 4) and me off of the list. After showing our IDs, we entered the boutique-slash-lounge area. As I put my passport into my bag in front of the ‘Kill Hype Love Summer’ mirror, the point-of-contact welcomed us. There was reserved seating for talent, a sanded area to get a bite to eat and then, there was a branded photo booth. Cheery ‘Corona Girls’ approached us and shared the details of winning a hat, shades, or t-shirt. We complied, followed the simple directions and soon, a young man printed out my post from Instagram. Hashtags and all. At that point, I earned my Corona dad hat. I chose the hat for several reasons.
I’ve always admired dad hats and campers. I designed and produced a few some years ago for GRUNGECAKE. Fortunately for me and unfortunately for my entire readership, it sold out before I could promote them online.
Under the impress that we could swim in the pool — because of how the event was advertised in an invitation email — we decided to hang out poolside after we eat. Luckily, we found a table for 4 and started to reorganize our belongings to make room for our new prints, hats, sunglasses, t-shirts, and to locate bathing suits. A waitress came to our table and specifically asked me to sit down and order food.
I was appalled by her request. I couldn’t believe it. Subsequently, we knew we didn’t want to eat there or be there. Before we exited the venue, I asked a young employee if we could go to the pool. In short, the pool wasn’t for everyone to enjoy. You could only enter that area if you booked a room at the hotel. We left the venue. (Before we left, I asked to see my point-of-contact. I don’t think the gentlemen saw him, so I sent a text message to ask if what I heard was true. He responded with ‘Think so.’ It wasn’t his call so I didn’t hold it against him.)
As we searched for a place to eat, a man who stood at 7-feet-tall interrupted his phone call to tell me that I was beautiful. What a way to boost my confidence again, right? There I was: The person who invited fellow industry professionals to drive more than 2 hours away for a day of poolside fun with Kanye West’s Creative Director Virgil Abloh and that wasn’t going to happen. As we entered a generic shop in The Plz that sold fried seafood and hamburgers, my phone powered off.
Surprisingly, a friend of a friend stayed at a hotel nearby. We ate. We went to the beach together. We interacted with people near us, listened to music from a wireless speaker, and dipped in the cold Montauk water.
As 4:30 approached, I walked around the neighbourhood alone. I wanted to get a sense of what it is like. Plenty of people lined up to get into local venues, and it smelled good. Yes, no kidding. It smells like flowers in the Hamptons. I changed my clothes in the restaurant bathroom and walked back to Montauk Beach House. Abloh was there, and preparing to start his set. He played mashups of Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West, and old Rock classic, in pursuit of pleasing the crowd. I appreciated the Nirvana drop. It was unexpected and “Lithium” is one of my favourite songs ever. And Tom Petty’s “Free Falling” doesn’t fall far from that ‘favouritism’ tree.
As a selector, Abloh is alright but my party of 5 did an unofficial poll — we think Hotel Garuda (Candle Weather) is a better DJ. He played better tunes, his mixing was seamless and he was super friendly. We also appreciated his consistency in tempo. We didn’t have to stop shortly after a song when he was on.