American Express’ Surreality Show

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In celebration of American Express’ new brand, the company threw a party that blurred the lines between our daily and digital lives. 

American Express launched a new brand last week—“Don’t Live Life Without It.” To celebrate, the company (which partners with Meredith Corporation to publish DEPARTURES exclusively for American Express platinum cardholders) set up a 10,000-square-foot “experience” in downtown New York City.

Over three days, Card Holders were invited to take part in an experiment of sorts, to immerse themselves in a reality that’s somewhere between the one in which we live and the one we live on our phones, from those food pics that dominate your feed to curating just the right soundtrack for your day.


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Actress Jessica Biel, who stopped by the event held at Industria Studios, explained to guests: “This is about celebrating this blended lifestyle that we all have now. We're not working 9 to 5—our work and personal, it's all blended together.” As fashion blogger Bryanboy put it at the event, “This is like walking inside the Internet.”

Here, five moments from the American Express that proved Bryanboy right.


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#outofoffice

There were multiple selfie stations throughout the two-story event space (normally a photo studio). But the best one was a meta take on those tropical set, FOMO-inducing selfie your friends are probably guilty of this week. (Perhaps you are?) Titled the “Get Outside Room,” a Costa Rican rainforest was brought to Manhattan, courtesy of local floral designer Brian Robinson.


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#Sundayfunday

Another regular in your Instagram feed: your friends’ brunch plate. Just after the rainforest, guests came to a wall of cubbyholes containing edible greatest hits. Remember that rainbow bagel from Brooklyn’s Bagel Store that blew up your feed last summer? Check.


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#nofilter

The longest line at the event was for the chance to have a new profile pic snapped. But all the work was done for guests, thanks to Amex Ambassador Jones Crow who rigged lighting reminiscent of some of the most popular filters on social media.


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#dogsofInstagram

The second-longest line? To spend time with rescue pups from New York’s North Shore Animal league, the world’s largest no-kill rescue organization. And luckily for several of the dogs, this was no mere photo opp, as several guests left the party with a plus-one.


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#TBT

Harley Viera-Newton kept the crowd going all night from the deejay booth, where she mixed in a heavy dose of 90s hip-hop. Here are her top-ten songs of the night: