The best looks for the night are captured here by American photographer and Purple contributor Douglas Harrison Neill III, from a sparkling Alessandra Ambrosia to party birds who fly in from all over the globe. Get inspired and celebrate in style!
Describe the perfect night out.
Warm summer nights are my favorite time of year to go out. Things usually start with an intimate dinner with family and close friends, exchanging ideas, stories and laughs. Having your Significant Other with you is ideal. From there, a glass of wine, meet with others who are out and about—in the city, there’s always somewhere to go. Dancing, smiles, and celebrating the compound blessings in life. The DJ plays songs I haven't heard in ages and brings back memories of innocence and wonder. Maybe start a dance-off, who knows! Depending on the hour, I like to retire to a cup of coffee at a local diner and enjoy chatting. It's really all about the company I'm in—my close friends mean the world to me. Otherwise, return home, take a long warm shower, get lost in my thoughts and dream… I just remembered a recent night I spent with my friend Ashley watching shooting stars from the beach—it can as simple as spending time with someone that's right in front of you and making the most of it.
Your favorite spots in Los Angeles and New York?
LA: Chateau Marmont, Abbot Kinney, Varnish, The Nice Guy
NYC: Paul's Baby Grand, Surf Lodge, Dear Irving, McCarren Pool
Who is the incarnation of a night bird for you?
Jacqui Getty, Andre Saraiva, Derek Blasberg, Myles Hendrik…anyone cultured, chivalrous, and charming.
Best party you can remember?
L.A. amfAR at Milk Studios was well produced: Chelsea Handler hosted and one of my all-time favorites, Grace Jones, performed. The night consisted of dinner, performance and a live auction that raised $3.5 million for AIDS research. Rassi and Milk know how to produce some of the best functions around.
When did you start shooting for Purple magazine?
A little over three years ago I began contributing to Purple.fr. Founder Olivier Zahm is a passionate, kind soul who has been a cultural innovator for some time and believes in everyone he works with. The whole team—Caroline, Annabel, Juliana—are hardworking, driven individuals with whom I'm honored to interact.
How do you capture the night?
Anticipation is key; knowing what gets a certain type of reaction; the moods people are in; energy that's in the air; and being ready for anything. Once in a while, I'll ask a friend to sit or change posture, but a comfortable and relaxed subject enables me to capture something truly special. I often keep an eye out for things that stand out, like funky hair, clothes, accessories, body language, and if I spot someone that has allure whom I don’t know, I politely ask if I can take their photograph at the appropriate time. Never intrude on a conversation—courtesy is a priority in my work and in life.
Which looks will never go out of fashion?
Confidence, humility and a focused drive will always be in vogue. The 'high-end rock' look will be around for a while—Hedi Slimane is doing a phenomenal job with that. On women, a little black dress and heels can work anywhere and be elegant—it’s fun and leaves room for accessories. Be secure with your body, don't be afraid to show a little shoulder, and drink lots of water.
What’s so fascinating about nights?
Our minds are at ease after sunset: a new day is coming, and that’s something to be excited about. Going out, you never know who you may run into, so definitely spontaneity. There is possibility and energy you can tune into—creative hubs emerge all the time, like Studio 54, Roxy in London, Paradise Garage, CBGB—where people meet, exchange ideas and develop relationships. I'm excited that Los Angeles is getting a huge amount of attention from the art and fashion worlds lately—there’s a lot to be excited about.
Songs that make you dance?
T. Rex: ‘20th Century Boy’
George Benson: ‘Give Me The Night’
Mystic Braves: ‘Bright Blue Day Haze’ (Saint Laurent Edit)
A lot from Gino Soccio, Patrick Cowley and Munich Machine.
Who were you thrilled to meet and photograph?
Vidal Sassoon. I was fortunate enough to cross paths with him at a MOCA dinner honoring his muse, Peggy Moffitt, before his passing. Rosita Missoni also comes to mind: her drive and attention to detail in every aspect of her brand is second to none.
Photography by Douglas Harrison Neill III.