A joyful birthday celebration with a woman smiling at a large, brightly decorated cake with lit cand...

Nylon Nights

Rachel Antonoff’s 15th-Anniversary Party Was Just A Bunch Of Friends Hanging Out

The designer took over Noodle Pudding in Brooklyn Heights for a fun, funky night.

by Tim Latterner

There’s an earnestness to Rachel Antonoff. You see it in the fun, eclectic patterns of the clothes she makes. You hear it in her voice when she talks about her company being “in a place now where we really leaned in ... on who we are and what we want.” And on May 13, when she threw a party to celebrate 15 years of her wildly successful fashion brand, you could feel in the atmosphere that she genuinely wanted everyone to have a fun time.

The Brooklyn Heights restaurant Noodle Pudding was dressed to the nines for the event with walls covered in food art by Bad Taste’s Jen Monroe. Radishes on strings dangled from the ceilings. Sculptures were built out of large cabbage leaves and spaghetti and meatballs. There were towers of crackers, rows of pistachio nougat, racks of oysters, and a river of martinis flowing from the open bar. The cocktail napkins had a variety of kitschy sayings on them: “I Lost My Virginity at Rachel Antonoff’s 15th Anniversary Party,” “I Forgave My Father at Rachel Antonoff’s 15th Anniversary Party,” “I Sh*t My Pants at Rachel Antonoff’s 15th Anniversary Party,” and so on. Guests could choose drinks from a list of options with equally special names: “We got Barneys” (vodka martini); “F*ck, Barneys dropped us” (gin martini); “Sh*t, the samples are stuck in customs” (negroni); and “That brand that does the pasta puffer” (Aperol spritz).

At the bar, author Sloane Crosley ordered drinks with a friend. Busy Phillips gave Antonoff a hug, and Ziwe wove through the crowd to join them. Sabrina Carpenter crossed to the back of the room, leading Barry Keoghan by the hand. Just a week ago, these people were in over-the-top dresses for the Met Gala; now, guests like Beanie Feldstein and Jack Antonoff are hanging out and drinking wine like they’re old friends (because they are).

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Beanie FeldsteinHunter Abrams
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“Rachel’s always made tons and tons of stuff,” Jack tells NYLON. “She used to cook strawberries in the sink in hot water. It would be so colorful and bizarre, and it reminds me of her work now. Rachel’s always made things, but she’s also always made things magical.”

Jack AntonoffHunter Abrams

After he walks away, I’m so touched I text my own sister in Charleston. But as I look up from my phone, I see the ultimate “I think we would be friends” celebrities: Mike Birbiglia and his wife, the poet J. Hope Stein, who couldn’t be nicer. Later, I notice some of the other familiar famous faces making their way toward the door. In the clearing, I see Rachel Antonoff and offer my own congratulations. In the 15 years she’s been in business, she says she wishes she could tell her younger self to relax. “It’s so insanely cliche to say ‘don’t sweat the small stuff,’ but really, it’s all fine,” Antonoff says. “At the end of the day, it’s clothes. You’re not going to hurt anybody. Chill out.”

A man starts tapping a microphone, and a large birthday cake emerges while everyone sings. Looking around, I realize that the famous faces are still here, sipping drinks on Henry Street, not in any hurry to leave. And somehow, even more have appeared, including B.J. Novak and Jerrod Carmichael. This scene says two things. One: Rachel Antonoff knows how to throw a great party. And two: These aren’t just fans of the brand or fashion insiders — they’re friends of Rachel.

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After the cake is cut, the man appears at the microphone again, this time with a guitar in his hand. It’s Rick Antonoff, her father, who joins musician Claud to play “Soft Spot” and a version of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” that the whole party once again sings along to.

Hunter Abrams