Around Town: Chris Meloni on Road Trips, Plus Coco Rocha and Chris Benz at the Whitney Gala

Coco Rocha
Photo: Getty Imaqes
Coco Rocha at the 2011 Whitney Museum Of American Art Studio Party.

In the delightful movie Dirty Girl, Juno Temple and Jeremy Dozier star as high school misfits who take off for California. So naturally, when we hit the rooftop at NYC's James Hotel after the Cinema Society-Weinstein Company screening on Monday, October 3, we had road trips on our mind.

Handsome Chris Meloni reminisced about his own youthful cross-country jaunt.

“I drove my motorcycle to Hollywood to be discovered when I was 19 years old. It didn’t work out,” the former Law & Order star told FashionEtc. “I got rolled by an Indian in Holbrooke, AZ. I was on the motorcycle, and I was sleeping in a sleeping bag and they tried to rob me,” he said. “I was in the mountains of New Mexico–I’d sleep on the road, because I didn’t have money, but I was so cold I absolutely had to sleep in a hotel—so I went to a motel, and I was so cold, even after a hot shower, I was shivering for two hours. I couldn’t sleep.”

“I was eaten alive by mosquitoes on the Indiana-Illinois border,” he added, chuckling. But, we reminded him, it all seemed to work out, since he eventually did get discovered by Hollywood. “Yeah, in my late 30s,” he said cheerfully.

On Wednesday, October 5, the Whitney Museum took something of a road trip itself, holding its gala and studio party downtown, at Pier 57, near its future home in the meatpacking district.

Photo: Getty Images
Chris Benz at the Whitney party.

As you might expect, a horde of art-world luminaries like Jeff Koons, Chuck Close, Rachel Feinstein, Julian Schnabel and Jeffrey Deitch packed the dinner and stayed for dancing. But with Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig acting as co-chairs, the fashion world was also well represented.

Bar Rafaeli, Amanda Hearst, Yigal Azrouël, Julie Henderson, Charlotte Ronson, and Chrissy Teigen, who accessorized with boyfriend John Legend, were all in the house—or warehouse, really.

While everyone loves the Whitney’s art collection, some people collect other things. Coco Rocha said that her growing teapot collection helped cement her relationship with husband James Conran. “James was helping me with my apartment, and I had no teapots for my tea, so he thought it would be interesting to bring back all sorts of teapots for me, and that was our first collection together,” Rocha said. The couple now has antique pots from Morocco, the U.S. and Europe.

Model Heide Lindgren has a similar obsession. “I have this weird thing where I’m trying to collect coffee cups from all over the world,” she said. “I love coffee cups, and we go to so many different destinations as models, so I try to get one everywhere I go.”

“I have an eBay obsession,” said designer Chris Benz. “So I started this thing where I collected mid-century pottery because I thought it looked pretty, and then it just kind of got out of hand and I keep buying and buying and buying,” he said. “So now I’m in the market for, you know, horizontal surfaces to put stuff on.”

Yes, there is always something new to shop for.