Sophomore Effort

Until she moved this past fall, designer Chrissie Miller of Downtown chic-basics label Sophomore had a second gig, hosting her tight-knit group of friends (and their ever-growing posses, sometimes famous or notorious, sometimes totally weird) in her East Village apartment. The alumni of “Club Chrissie” gathered last night at The Box for the premier for the designer’s latest project and the lastest reinvention of the “club”: a ten-minute film-cum-Spring lookbook shot by LA-based photographer and frequent collaborator, Cass Bird.

Miller is a native New Yorker—which you can hear in her voice, which brassily mixes cigarette smoke with, well, cigarette smoke—and appropriately, the film is set in New York’s legendary hang-out Coney Island. It’s there, in the summer dens of the New York kids who didn’t have the money for the Hamptons, or were slumming it, that a cast of Miller’s friends, shot documentary style, and telling stories about their lives past and present. Lesley Arfin, Genevieve Hudson-Price, Nick Ackerman, and Athena Curry—each champion residents of Club Chrissie—they flirt, flick cigarettes and muse about their first kisses, first arrests, on the inevitably romantic boardwalk. There’s even a new generation of acolytes, among them Lucien Smith and Lauren White, who tell their beach stories.

Inspired by a 90s documentary about the tough broads of Wildwood New Jersey (long before the days of Snooky and J Wow, but with a similar kindred energy), the film captures the nostalgia and the insatiable mythologizing of fleeting teenage moments. “It reminds us what it’s like to be that age and how that period of life shapes who you are,” says Chrissie, who herself makes a brief appearance on film during a smooch session with boyfriend Leo Fitzpatrick.

“Sophomore as a brand is really about being comfortable and being honest. And being OK with who you are, living on the edge,” said Cass after the showing. “And Coney Island is on the chipping block right now and you can see the expiration on sight. That’s what youth is really all about. It ends really quickly.”