Parties are something of an escape chute: the festive indulgences allow us to escape reality and enter a new world, even if just for one night. This is never more true than around Halloween, when the devilish and macabre enter the scene. As we prepare for the most surreal night of the year, we like to imagine what it would be like to be trapped in the haunted house of Lewis Carroll’s dreamlike, drug-altered Wonderland.
The connection between death and photography has been a conversation since the beginning of the medium itself. In 1976, Susan Sontag wrote simply: “Death is a photograph.” And, indeed, a hundred years earlier, some of the earliest photographs ever created used double exposure to show ghostly specters among the living.
On December 12, 1972, Baron Guy de Rothschild and his wife Marie-Hélène hosted a costumed ball stranger than fiction. Château de Ferrières was on fire, sleeping cats the size of men littered the staircase, and all-enveloping cobwebs lined the hallways.The acid-laced zeitgeist of the 70s had trickled up and finally reached the ranks of the Parisian elite in the form of the Rothschilds’ theatrical Dîner des Têtes Surréalistes.
Known for their technical precision, Candida Höfer’s large-format images of grand, surgically lit, and unoccupied interiors inspire us as we chase after the ever harmonious layout. Regardless of her subject matter—be it an ornate library or desolate school room—Höfer prioritizes her frame and an objective point of view over any single detail. Of these starkly honest interiors, her 2005 photograph of Paris’s grand opera house, Palais Garnier, is one of our favorites.
Earlier this week, we planned a meeting (read: collision) of two delightfully different worlds: 200 of the most fashionable people in New York were invited to the city’s favorite dive bar to toast our collaboration with Derek Blasberg. Always the inspired party-thrower, Blasberg had a vision of models, muses, and rockstars nibbling Hooter’s hot wings and sipping on Veuve Clicquot in a joint typically frequented by bikers and barflies. This tall request may have daunted the novice party thrower, but your faithful stationers were up to the task. Just don’t try this at home, kids.