"Are we here about art?," André Leon Talley mused, early Sunday afternoon. "Are we here about film? Are we here about hose?"
In fact, the answer was all three. Talley was holding court at the studio of artist Stephan Weiss, the late husband of Donna Karan, on the occasion of the premiere screening of Haven't We Met Before, a new short film directed by Anjelica Huston that showcases the Donna Karan Hosiery Evolution Collection. The film stars two of our favorites, Felicity Jones and Huston's Smash co-star Jack Davenport, as a pair of stylish Brits meeting for the first time—or is it?—at the bar of The Surrey Hotel in New York.
Karan couldn't have asked for her hosiery to grace a lovelier pair of legs than Jones'. "In fairness, it's a terrible life I have," Davenport laughed, as guests nibbled on brunchy hors d'oeuvres in the studio's upstairs salon after the screening. "I seem to have been doing quite well lately in the sense that my entire working life at the moment, really, is with extremely attractive women of many generations."
Davenport demurred, however, that it's not all as sexy as it seems. "Even the most apparently intimate scene—honestly, it's like playing Twister, but with loads of people in the room," he said.
As for the shift in Huston and Davenport's relationship dynamic occasioned by the film—from co-stars to director and actor—both insisted it came naturally. "I take orders from her on TV, so I just did it in real life; I just segued very naturally from one to the other," Davenport said. "I've been practicing taking orders from Anjelica pretty much my entire life!"
"Oh, I just like to sort of imprint him with a false sense of empowerment," Huston said. "For me, it was kind of a no-brainer. I'm working on Smash, and I was looking for a beautiful man to play my hero, and there he was..."
"And I was lurking by the craft-service table!" Davenport exclaimed. "The dude with the toasted bagel."
Though we'd never dream of suggesting Donna Karan's hose are susceptible to runs, we were curious whether Huston had ever had a bad experience with a lesser brand. "I've had stockings run away with me!" she said. "Yes, I've had horrible experiences with stockings... I remember, when I was playing Morticia Addams, I had these stick-on nails, and the stick-on nails would get caught between the leg and the stocking. That could really get in the way."
For Bernadette Peters, the same question set off a little nostalgia trip. "Do I!," she said. "I was in an off-Broadway show which had a very low budget, and we'd wear our stockings over and over. I had big holes in mine."
Karan herself, chic in an all-black ensemble, has become known for her hosiery—but explained that it was originally borne of necessity. "The reason I started with black hose is because I was doing skirts that were just opening up all over the place, and I had to cover up what I didn't want to show!," she said.
When a friend came by with a glass of water and a cocktail for Karan, it became clear that although she was happy to take some time out for the film, she's dead focused on her upcoming Fall/Winter 2013 collection, showing at Lincoln Center this Monday. "No bellinis for me!" she said firmly. "I've got to work today, remember?" —Alexandria Symonds