"With how much people are expected to survive on bread and circuses these days, the least we ought to do is be entertaining clowns."
NYC - Metropolitan Museum of Art
This year's Gala theme has been the source of some ruffled feathers and unhappiness among its usual attendees, none too pleased with the idea that they should dress for bad taste rather than to look as glamorous as possible. Still, /some/ people are /reveling/ in the ostentation, and Ryan -- never one to shy away from an opportunity to be brazen -- is in his element as co-chair tonight. On arrival he's blown exaggerated kisses to the anti-mutant protesters trying desperately to make themselves heard over the crowds of spectators and paparazzi, and vogued his way down the red carpet in couture that he is vocal about showcasing comes from an up-and-coming young mutant designer by the name of Taylor Marinov. His flamboyantly monarch butterfly patterned themed capelike outer garment swirling around him before peeling partially away on his final death drop (executed, like all his walk, with a flair that suggests he has done all this plenty before.) (Beneath, his skimpy barely-there shorts and slinky shirt have an almost militant pattern to their design though the slinky practically see-through fabric distracts somewhat from the guerrila aesthetic. In plain black with one single red star on the shoulder the clothing underneath has far less glitz than the bright and bold fluttering outer cape.)
In the party, he has been every bit as much a social butterfly, introducing his date to all the stars, flitting between conversations with ease.
Still -- here is Ryan in a brief quiet moment, /just/ gone to snatch a moment and... maybe a breath. Away from the center of the hubbub he pauses under cover of reflecting on one of the display costumes, a fluffy purple pieces that is studded all over with butterflies. His eyes fix on the costumed mannequin behind the glass, just one in a row of many such for the soon-to-open exhibit on Camp, and he takes a sloooow breath, arms crossing over his chest.
Beside Ryan, Alma's plain and not-so-campy outfit is -- by design -- easy to overlook. Her black tuxedo is tailored to her curves and trimmed with shimmering iridescent satin, her dreads done up in an intricate knotwork bun, and her yellow satin kippah bears the image of a smiley emoji wearing sunglasses. She walks not behind him, as many bodyguards might, but at his side, her attention focus outward at the milling crowd.
Next to Ryan there's something almost sedate about Luci's old school elegance. /Almost/. His makeup is a bit too dramatic and gown far too elaborate for that, trailing sumptuously behind him as he glides in with a quiet rustle to take up a place at Ryan's other side. His bright green eyes flick between the explosion of butterflies behind the glass, the explosion of butter/fly/ next to him. There's a very small tug at the corner of his mouth. Quiet, he extends a pair of goblets (ostentatious! What, here tonight, is not? But the soda inside them is simple enough) towards Ryan and Alma each.
Emma Frost steps onto the red (or pink and beige, but who is really counting) carpet like a glittering jewel. Her platinum blonde hair is piled high on her head, careful and artistically disheveled curls pinned in place with crystal studs, the whole design disguising the structure that holds her coronet at a jaunty angle over her brow. Fashioned to look like a top hat rather than the royal jewels, the gem encrusted band rests heavily just at the edge of her hairline, silver filigree angles from underneath to form the bill as the filaments above the band form the cylinder. The whole boasts just enough Swarovski to catch every eye without playing utter havoc with photographers flashes. Below, Emma is wrapped in a simultaneously over-sized and form fitting top half of a white tuxedo. Open in the front all the way down to her belly button, the jacket buttons over her lower waist, hanging to the tops of her thighs - the design hinting at but not revealing whether she is wearing undergarments. The tails of her jacket are practically a train and her sleeves are a good foot longer than her arms, elaborate cuffs with bejeweled cuff links falling to her knees. This does not stop her from carrying a glittering cane, held through a hole where her hand peeks out.
While Emma's entrance is no where near as ostentatious as some, (she gave the well cut boys with the sedan chair the night off), she is stopped by the paparazzi for photos. Currently the darling of the science magazines, this young, newly crowned heir and CEO of Frost Enterprises is also taking the gossip pages by storm, having suddenly appeared at the reigns of the aeronautics giant just as the company landed a couple of patents that will revolutionize clean energy in commercial flights. Her face, painted with a glittering mask around her eyes, she poses and smiles, using her prop to exaggerate every vogue movement she strikes.
When freed, finally, she wanders away from the cameras and starts scanning the crowds for familiar faces. "Lucien," announces, tone heavy with the relief she finds in his presence. "I am beyond glad you are here."
At the approaching swish and rustle Ryan's posture immediately lifts, his smile immediately brighter -- but he relaxes back a touch when he sees Lucien in his elegant drag, huffing out a soft breath. "You know they have actual staff here for this. Like -- paid and everything." Still, he's taking the pair of goblets with an uplifted nod of thanks. He passes one along to Alma, taking a deep swallow from the other. "You know, I don't want to name any names but as long as we have this camera-free moment I just have to say. /Whose/ idea was it to let heterosexuals in here? Some people did not even try with this theme." Over the top of his glass he flicks an appraising look over Emma as she approaches, a quick smile curling at his lips. "Other people, though --" Brighter, warmer. "Luci, who's your friend?"
Alma's eyebrows lift up with approval at Luci's approach. "You know, I'm starting to think he's /always/ working," she tells Ryan, accepting her drink and nodding her thanks at Luci. "But /tonight,/ Mademoiselle Tessier is /werking/ it." She takes a sip of her drink and shrugs. "Straight people gonna do what they do." At Emma's approach she lapses back into quiet, a polite smile.
Lucien obliges Alma's compliment with a gracious nod, a /very/ deep curtsey. To Ryan: "Would you prefer I fetch one of them?" He raises one artfully brushed eyebrow, sweeping a gloved hand -- he's produced an elaborately styled excessively long cigarette holder from /somewhere/, -- back towards the rest of the party. "I feel sure any number would be glad to wait on /you/." His eyes flick from the costumes in front of them out to the room at large. "You are not wrong, though. It seems a terrible transgression to put so little care into these things when -- well." He lets his gaze drift back up, slow, over Ryan's extravagant outfit, pausing on the other man's makeup. "With how much people are expected to survive on bread and circuses these days, the least we ought to do is be entertaining clowns." He turns on Emma's approach, head inclining towards her. "Goodness, you're radiant. -- This is Emma Frost, she helms Frost Enterprises. Emma, my friends Alma Harari and Ryan Black."
"Why thank you, Luci. You are absolutely divine. You'll have to save me a dance." Emma leans in to air kiss Lucien's cheeks, very careful not to smudge either of their makeup. When she straightens, she moves her cane out so she can really extend her arm and sway into her pose. "Alma. Ryan. It is a pleasure. I am a great fan. It's been a bit of a wild ride, from classical music to the Grammy's."
"Girl, he could work it in a potato sack." Ryan looks over Lucien appreciatively, before turning a more brilliant smile to Emma. "Oh! You're outshining your reputation -- and that's /not/ a small feat." The large butterfly wings sweeping out from his eyes crinkle, his head dipping. "Oh, man, has it been. Luci tries to keep me a little bit in line but I think I -- well, he has his work cut out for him." One of his hands turns up in front of him. "I would ask how you know each other but I start to feel like Luci just knows /everybody/."
"Bread and circuses?" Alma's eyes sparkle with the grin that doesn't make it to her lips. "We're lucky if we get crackers and soundbites. Pleased to meet you, Ma'am. I'm just here to keep Ryan from getting shot." Her smile and nod are textbook, but the sweep of her gaze over Emma's couture seems genuinely appreciative. "It's bold of you to lean into the namesake meaning, got the whole postmodern Snow Queen thing going on."
"I do not fool myself that keeping Ryan in /line/ is a task any mortal is capable of." There's a glimmer of laughter in Lucien's voice. "I merely strive to keep him relevant, and truth be told, you make my job quite easy. People can say many things of you, but I do not think they can ever accuse you of being /stale/." He touches the end of the cigarette holder to his lips -- though the candy cigarette inside it, of course, is not fit to actually be /smoked/. "Nearly everyone. I get around almost as much as you do."
"Stale bread does not last long in circuses." Emma casts an appreciative glance in Lucien's direction as he pantomimes smoking. Her mannerisms match her outfit, exaggerated yet thoughtful and refined, and certainly wild and uncouth under the surface. She curves her spine concave as she shrugs to Alma's comment. "I am well practiced in the art of my brand. This is generally a good deal more over the top than my usual style, but white compliments my skin tone so well, I so very rarely deviate. Also, in a family of Frosts, I had to find a way to stand out. Neither of my sisters can compete without being referenced to me."
Blue eyes dart between her conversation companions before leaning in for a stage whisper. "I do realize how gauche I sound and do hope this does not ruin your first impressions of me. Luci and I have worked together in the past. I was the event planner to his concierge. We spent so many hours in the gritty details of that business, I have come to trust him implicitly - my only regret about moving on was the inability to convince him to leave with me. At the same time..." She stands up straight once more, fingers drumming on the head of her cane. "I would not have met either of you if he had." She lifts a hand and waves over an attractive server with champagne glasses.
"Aaand I don't make your job easy, either." Ryan sounds /entirely/ unabashed, admittedly, tipping his glass toward Alma with a quick grin. "To be fair, I don't think I could make it simple for you /both/ at once." He straightens as the server approaches, giving them a friendly nod -- eying the champagne briefly but keeping his soda. "You definitely make an impression, Ms. Frost, but gauche is /not/ the word I would have used." He drains the rest of his drink, pulls in a deep breath. Swirls the butterfly cape around his shoulders with a dramatic snap. "Back into the ring for me. I'll be sure to play you two something worth dancing to, though."
Alma's laugh is halfway to a scoff. "Well, maybe me and Luci can take turns having an easy job. With /you/, anyway. Millennial gig life ain't shit." She seems cheerful enough about this. "Be safe, Ladies," she nods her head at Luci and Emma as she turns to follow Ryan.