I am fashion-challenged. I go shopping at Joyce Leslie, Target, and the Gap. So when Fashion Week rolls around, I get really confused. Why are we looking at fashions for spring when it's almost fall? Is there a height requirement to get into the shows? (I'm only 4'11".) What's a Balenciaga?
Bewildered, I put myself in the trusty hands of Heatherette, the club kid's link to the Sixth (or is it Seventh?) Avenue set, and go to my first real fashion show Tuesday under the big tents at Bryant Park. At the backstage entrance, I approach a tall, handsome man wielding a clipboard: "I'm not sure, but I believe I'm on your list." He barely looks at me. "You're not." How would he know that? "Because this list is for the models."
I gather what's left of my pride and call Aimee Phillips of Heatherette (and the gal of the Trinity trio). She explodes through the backstage doors like the Tasmanian Devil. She's got a clipboard and an earpiece and is texting up a stormno mean feat considering she's got long, ghetto-fabulous nails.
From all directions: "Aimee!" "Aimee!" "Hey, Aimee!" A guy watching from the door says, "Aimee's a good person to know."
That she is, even if it isn't Fashion Week. Aimee secures me a spot at the top of the stairs next to the Trinity's Drew Elliott. I feel blessedapparently people were counterfeiting the tickets and backstage passes, creating mondo mayhemeven if my all-important view of Paris Hilton strutting down the runway to her own terrible song "Stars Are Blind" is mostly blocked. Next time I'll just buy Us Weekly.
Heatherette fashion shows are more like a theatrical eventprops, dancing, etc.than a regular fashion show. Instead of anorexic, dour-faced models sternly strutting down the catwalk, they have models who weigh over 100 pounds and commit the ultimate fashion crime: smiling. It was celebs and socialites galore: Patricia Fields (the Sex and the City and Devil Wears Prada costume designer), professional dandy Patrick McDonald, drag divas Brandywine and Brenda A-Gogo, and Rob Iler and Jamie Lynn Sigler from The Sopranos. On the runway: Mena Suvari, Kelis, Theodora Richards, Lydia Hearst and Tinsley Mortimer, and a brunette Nicky Hilton. However, they were all overshadowed by supertranny Amanda Lepore. Afterward, designers Richie Rich (on roller skates, as per usual) and Traver Rains came out to rapturous applause.
Team Heatherette headed to Sol, where Michael Cavadias and a newly shorn Miss Guy spun the tunes; over in the V.I.P. area, Suvari was served birthday champagne with sparklers, non-drinker Lydia Hearst sipped her favorite drink (Tab Energy), and I was ashamed to be so turned on by the sight of JC Chasez, formerly ofNSync.
As I was leaving, doorman galore Thomas Onorato started talking in a strange language. "Did you get shots of MariaoplogosModelistis Ipesuperand TvRoberiliam?"
I gaped at him, glassy-eyed. "I'm sorry. I don't speak Fashionista."
"Woman," he explained with the patience of one speaking to a small child. "Did you get pictures of Robert Verdi and supermodel Omahyrah Mota?" Just then, famed paparazzo Steve Sands showed up and pitched a fit when he wasn't on the list. He started shouting, "Aimee wants me in!" (Aimee! Aimee! Aimee!) She did. So he got in.
Wednesday night it was off to Marquee for the Satine event (a chic, celeb-favored L.A. store due to open an NYC branch in January). Spiky Phil DJ'd rock 'n' roll tunes while celebs Michelle Williams and married Sonic Youth bandmates Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore sat around being famous. Just as I was getting suicidal over the fact that Gordon's shoes were more expensive than my monthly rent, doublemint-twin art pranksters Andrew Andrew turned up in matching suits. They had just come from the New York Philharmonic for black-tie night; they'd also done a quick drive-by at the Diesel party, where James Brown was performingthey skipped the line because someone waiting to get in said, "Hey! You're Andrew Andrew! You're V.I.P.s!" and pushed them up front.
We dashed to the Tribeca Grand, where there was no line as Max Pask spun the Big magazine party. Then up to Happy Valley for the Missbehave magazine launch jam thrown by Roxy, a/k/a Oxy Cottontail; we watched as Merlin from lastnightsparty.com got yet another drunk woman to take her clothes off, DJ Star Eyes (of the Syrup Girls) danced with sober hipster buddy Michael Cohn to bootylicious tunes from Low Budget and Dave P., and another couple approximated sex on the dancefloor. A shower would be necessary immediately after leaving.
Unwashed, we headed to the new Ian Schragerdesigned Gramercy Park Hotel for a nightcap, where the Andrews upstaged a legitimately famous Jimmy Fallon, who might have been able to compete with one blond guy dressed in a tux and wearing black circle glasses, but had to fold when faced with double trouble. We finally folded and called it a night.
I had gone to one show and four parties in two days, and it was only Thursday. That night Casey Spooner accompanied me to Zac Posen's after-party held in giant igloo-like tents outside the Soho Grand. Classy. They had sushi and real celebsKate Bosworth, Gretchen Mol. It was very grown-up"Yeah, they feed you and nobody's any fun," cracked Casey. Next door at the Soho Grand, at a party in the penthouse apartment celebrating 10 years of William Sofield's design for the hotel, we ran into Fred Schneider of the B-52's, who reported that the band's busy recording a long-overdue new record.
A dash downtown to 7 World Trade Center and we were at the Calvin Klein party. Located on the ear-popping 52nd floor in a large, white loft space lined with aquariums glowing blue and little circle spotlights dotting the fashion mavens, it was the sort of party you see in movies but weren't sure really existed. Just when you thought you were out of your element, you stagger over to the DJ booth and see . . . the MisShapes. It was 1 a.m. and they still had to play at Hiro, but they're young and still don't get hangovers, so I pity them not a bit.
For Friday's finale: Jeremy Scott. The L.A. fashion designer had an American war-themed collection, with dresses meant to evoke the Statue of Liberty and bullets serving as sashes over elegant gowns. Backstage, Casey Spooner commended Kanye West (sitting in the front row with Ashley Olsen and Waris Ahluwalia) for speaking out against Bush. "Anytime," he said with a smile.
At Scott's after-party held at Tens strip club, Steve Aoki spun all the songs from my junior high school dances (and a few from this decade) while fellow Los Angeleno Mark Hunter (a/k/a the Cobrasnake) snapped pix, and his muse Cory Kennedy (the Leigh Lezark of the Left Coast) chilled in the V.I.P. area. It was one of the best parties I'd been to in a long time, but when a random nearby photographer who'd been on fashion week duty all week long said, "I don't even know where I am anymore!" I knew what he meant. Final total: four days, two fashion shows, nine parties, one brain cell left. Party over, oops, out of time. Aimee!
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