“Madonna is God”: Dispatches from Saint Laurent’s SEX Party
Let’s talk about SEX, baby. To mark the 30 year anniversary of the release of Madonna’s revolutionary art book, conceived by the legend herself and shot by the quintessential fashion photographer Steven Meisel, Saint Laurent is reissuing SEX in all its subversive glory. Saint Laurent celebrated the book’s countercultural legacy with a hedonistic Art Basel bash, bringing together the likes of Hailey Bieber, Zoë Kravitz, and Honey Dijon for a night of erotic extravagance in the lush surrounds of South Beach. Supermodel Alek Wek waded through the soft white sand of the beachfront venue in a white tuxedo jacket and penny loafers, and the ocean breeze gave Scout LaRue Willis a Marilyn Monroe moment in her jet black miniskirt. Madonna arrived fashionably late in a dominatrix look befitting of the book’s reissue, and the party raged on, fueled by tequila and champagne. Reporting from the center of the action was our editor-in-chief Mel Ottenberg, who reflected on the evening and the history of SEX after closing out the night at Twist, Miami’s most iconic gay club.
Tonight was the Madonna SEX Book 30-year anniversary reimagined by Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent Art Basel evening in Miami, Florida. It was really fun. I can be the guy yelling on the mountain about SEX forever because I love it so much, and it was great to see all the prints. Some of my favorite images from SEX were in there.
SEX came out 30 years ago. Steven Meisel shot it. The book came out to go with Erotica. Madonna was pushing the envelope in ways that nobody has ever pushed it before. I first got SEX when I was 16, in 10th grade. We looked at it in study hall. It changed our lives forever, because it was just so shocking and powerful. Man, someone stole my copy by the time I was 18, and I never owned another one, because I always liked looking at it like it’s the first time. I made a TikTok video. I could barely show anything, because it’s just so scandalous and so insane. I mean, what else can you say about the book? It’s the best.
It’s really fun to see SEX again in a world as conservative as the one we live in now. You really, truly know that no pop star of today or in recent memory would ever put themselves on the line and do something as dangerous as this. So, whether or not you like Madonna, what she’s done is just so amazing and commendable. Anyway, the party was hot. I was excited to see all the old school ’90s people that are in the book. Tony Ward was there and Udo Kier. He was really fab and fun. I thought Madonna looked really great. It was a really intimate, chill thing. There were a lot of Glamazon girls there: Lourdes “Lola” Leon, Anja Rubik. Zoë Kravitz. It was her birthday. Also fun girls like Dangerous Rose and Fashion and Nadia Lee Cohen and Richie Shazam. Honey Dijon was DJing. She really turned it out. I was dancing with the dolls and when it was time to go, I went to Twist and it was really perfect. It was filled with the full international glitterati of fashion and art, and when I left at 3:30 in the morning, I felt like there were 300 people there that I knew that I wanted to hang out with.
My favorite Saint Laurent looks from the evening were Hailey Bieber in the hardcore shoulder midnight blue leather jacket with a matching slinky jersey dress and Anja Rubik in this really stunning acidy green draped goddess gown. I wish Naomi Campbell was there. I wish the print of Naomi Campbell and Big Daddy Kane and Madonna was in it, because I think that’s the best picture in SEX
There’s a spread in the book with Madonna naked in leopard mules, crouching down, lighting a cigarette, a black pocket book open next to her. It’s really unhinged, like Marilyn naked at the after-afters, shot in Miami. And then across from it is Naomi, Big Daddy Kane, and Madonna. The girls are naked—frenching. Madonna is grinding into Big Daddy Kane. It’s the most amazing spread in the whole book. Every picture that was there was so incredible, and Meisel is God. Madonna is God.