Nylon Nights

Paris Hilton & Alice + Olivia Turned Terminal 5 Into A Temple Dedicated To Pop

Dylan Mulvaney calls it “the night of all nights.”

by Tim Latterner

As I approached Alice + Olivia and Paris Hilton’s Pride party at Terminal 5, I could hear the hum of people and music from the street. Inside, it was both a feast for the eyes and a millennial fever dream — and I mean this in the best of ways.

The first thing most guests did when they walked in was take photos — of the room, of themselves, of the food, or in front of just about every vertical surface in the venue that had been built into a step-and-repeat-style photo wall. Some were decked out with flowers. Some had neon signs. Others advertised a brand or Paris Hilton’s collaboration with a brand. One featured a bunch of stuffed animals staple-gunned to foam board.

The main photo wall served as the backdrop for some famous faces being photographed: Bijou Phillips, Olivia Palermo, Cuba Gooding Jr., and a slew of influencers like Jen Selter, Bill Gates’ daughter Phoebe, and Aqua Parios. They were all wearing Alice + Olivia, of course.

Paris Hilton & Stacey BendetBFA by Joe Schildhorn
Paris & Nicki HiltonKevin Ostajewski
Dylan Mulvaney & Stacey BendetBFA by Joe Schildhorn
Olivia Palermo, Stacey Bendet & Nicki HiltonBFA by Joe Schildhorn
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The rest of the crowd was a broad mix of people you don’t normally see partying together. Take the line for the PopUp Bagels activation as an example. There were two girls in slinky, sequined party dresses, a 30-something woman carrying a Trader Joe’s tote who clearly came from work, two millennial moms monitoring five children that weren’t alive when Hilton first rose to fame, and one of the drag queens that had been greeting people at the entrance an hour earlier.

Just beneath the stage, a swarm of attendees seemingly jockeyed for the best spot to see Hilton while dancing to Ty Sunderland’s DJ set. Meanwhile, Half Magic was touching up the makeup of a few well-coiffed gay men. Kids ran around with bagels in one hand and a mocktails in the other. From a few feet away, a couple of their dads in business suits were getting Shake Shack burgers. The girls in party dresses looted the refrigerator full of Poppis, quietly calling “fake news” on the lawsuits about the prebiotic soda not actually being healthy. It was a cornucopia of allies, all under one roof to celebrate Pride and pop.

I watched a candy booth get ransacked by some children and overheard two moms talking about being excited to see Paris perform; they had overheard a security guard a few moments earlier saying she was coming out soon. One of the kids said to another, with a mouthful of yellow Swedish Fish, “I don’t really know who Paris Hilton is. My mom likes her. I love Swedish Fish, though.”

Finally, the room dimmed, laser lights flourished around the room, and all eyes were on the stage. Sunderland’s DJ booth had been cleared, and the “High Priestess of Pop” came out with a team of four hunky background dancers. In advance of her sophomore album Infinite Icon — to be released two decades after her first — she performed its single “I’m Free.”

BFA by Joe Schildhorn
BFA by Joe Schildhorn
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I’m not a music critic, so I won’t try and get into the cultural significance or musical ability of the 43-year-old pop star. But technically, I am qualified to dissect a party, and everyone was having the most fun humanly possible listening to Hilton sing. Smoke machines blasted into the air, hands (and phones) were held up to the sky. People sang along to songs that I didn’t know existed before this night. And, dear reader, I know what you’re thinking: “What of the hunky background dancers? Did they remain clothed?” No, and we were all better for it.

As I was walking out after the performance, I saw Dylan Mulvaney, who was beaming after the show. “I stan Alice + Olivia, gay people, and Paris Hilton,” Mulvaney tells NYLON. “So this is kind of like the night of all nights.”