An hour? More like three. When the creators of Content '09 let the media into the extravagantly cool exhibition of art and design that took over the second floor of the Ace Hotel last Sunday, October 18, one hour prior to the general public, it became quickly apparent that it would take far longer to take it all in. Each of the nearly 30 rooms had been tricked out with everything from dress forms to fake blood to live goldfish—far more than merely showing clothing and accessories up close, the participants of Content were clearly inspired by the installation format, and brought it beyond expectations.

A few themes emerged: birds (especially owls), rocks and branches, vintage saloon habitués ("They're not prostitutes!" insisted Elizabeth Dye, who together with Gatsby designer Sarah Wizemann had created a suite full of ruffled, champagne-swilling tarts settled among lacy, gilded garments and doodads), and... murder.

One of the coolest rooms was Nichole Eatman's of Luxury Jones, who (with the aid of frequent Mercury contributor Minh Tran) featured a video installation wherein two young women, all dressed in Luxury Jones' kicky party clothes, hit the town for a wild night of clubbing and cavorting only to meet a grim end in the exhibit's very same Ace Hotel room. Another show-stopping moment came from the always-dramatic Adam Arnold. Immediately to the left of the room's front door was the bathroom, with shower running, and a "dead" woman lying on the floor with her stockings around her knees and smeared with blood (and wearing a smashing black cocktail dress). In the room beyond, three more victims lay in impeccable garb (the men with bloodstained burlap sacks tied over their faces) in a grim, gangster-style execution tableau.

Other highlights were the disco-lit costumes by Jayme Hansen, the live band of "gay witches" employed by Emily Baker of Sword + Fern, a post-threesome themed scene by Smith & Bybee (complete with tripod video camera), Emily Katz's dinner party in full swing, and organizing trio How We Develop's suite of dioramic organic arrangements and covetable pieces lit dramatically from below—and those are just the presentations! The clothing and accessories themselves were equally diverse, and everyone put their best foot forward—it's both a blessing and a curse that there was no opportunity for direct purchase at the event, because after completing the circuit I was possessed by dangerous levels of shopping bloodlust. I wanted it all!