Ashley Longshore: ‘All the real magic happens after midnight’
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“I’m from New Orleans, where we don’t need a reason to celebrate,” says the artist Ashley Longshore of her more-is-more philosophy. “And while I find the Southern rituals that I grew up with too stiff, I do like to host fantastic – but not pretentious – gatherings at my SoHo gallery.”
For her party for HTSI, Longshore opts for a technicolour setting: paintings of pop-art icon Andy Warhol are juxtaposed with vibrant, profanity-laden melamine plates and bejewelled purses. The results are jaw-dropping – “where anime meets mild perversion meets comedy”, says Longshore in her Southern drawl.
Hers is a tight-knit crew that includes the shoe designer Brian Atwood, fashion dynamo Christian Siriano and the MSNBC producer Ron Dodd. “The best part is conversation – madness always ensues with this group,” she says. The stage is set with ice buckets full of Champagne À L’EST Rosé, dramatic candelabras and fuchsias – arranged by Longshore and the fashion photographer Harol Baez – atop an ebony centre table, and with a Spotify playlist that includes Róisín Murphy and Ella Fitzgerald.
In a nod to her roots, Longshore loves to use “proper” linens such as embroidered cocktail napkins and tea towels. She carries a Polaroid camera to create a portrait series throughout the evening, and wears a bespoke red satin-damask cape by Jonathan Cohen, which is itself a dramatic conversation piece. The tattoo artist JonBoy is unable to attend this party, but permanent mementoes in ink are often part of a Longshore event.
Alongside the rosé champagne, Longshore serves tequila, caviar with crisps and crème fraîche, and jelly shots in Aperol Spritz and Lychee Martini flavours (“a real crowd-pleaser,” she says). She also serves crostini, oysters, pigs in blankets, and decadent cakes and sweets. “When I have a drinks party it’ll often go until 4am; all the real magic happens after midnight,” says Longshore, adding: “My general approach to a party is ‘carpe fucking diem’.”