“We like to do things larger than life,” declared Victoria’s Secret Pink spokeswoman Sara Tervo, the day before the massive promotional bash for PINK, the company’s loungewear line for college-age girls. What was billed as the World’s Largest Pajama Party might have been missing a few beds and frozen bras, but it was not low on spectacle. God only knows how many V-string thongs sales it took to finance the massive two-floor set Ashlee Simpson would perform a grand total of five songs on, for the gargantuan polka dotted dogs that greeted revelers near the entrance, for the post-performance screening of Pretty in Pink, for the battalion of pr and security to keep plebes like us out of the free-drink VIP tent. Those who came at 7 p.m. when the event began and stayed until the time Ashlee actually appeared onstage (almost three hours later) were rewarded with free stuffed plush pink canines, pink cotton candy, pink flavored water, pink blankets that proclaimed Phi Beta Pink (huh?), and pink backpacks.
Created in 2004, the PINK brand is targeted at the 18-22 crowd; Victoria’s Secret has even partnered up with MTV to target campuses with the mtvU Girls That Rock Tour, and created its own webpage to download PINK MySpace logos. But short of a few lace thongs and bras, the collection—mostly candy-colored cropped sweats, lounge pants, and tee shirts that bear sayings like “Love Pink” and “Pink Academy”—has a cutesy tween appeal.
After an opening film montage and a few seconds of overly-enthusiastic guitar pogoing by her all-dude band, Ashlee took the stage. Sporting a gray-checked bustier with attached garter straps swinging over her jeans and a black bra peeking underneath, Little Sister was all grown up—a parent-sanctioned version of a Girl Gone Wild, complete with wavy Paris Hilton locks cascading over her bronzed-up shoulders and eyebrows tweezed drag-queen thin. We missed the old Ashlee with her mall-rat outcast shtick, however contrived it was. Pole dancing to a street-lamp prop and slapping her ass, Ashlee swiftly sang—so we think—through her stockpile of hits (“Lala,” “Pieces of Me,” “Boyfriend”). Giggling breathlessly between songs, she made a few comments with classic CosmoGIRL-credibility: “It is so cute, everyone in their pajamas, I love it—every night we get into our pajamas and watch music DVDs.” (Right.) “I heard there’s a lot of candy out there, I’m pretty jealous! (Not to worry, we’re sure there’s better “candy” backstage.) We leaned in for a gander at her celebrated new nose, and even from twenty people back, one could tell Simpson had committed what we like to call the “Jennifer Grey.” The “neither denied nor confirmed” nose job had transformed her from quirky and unique to commonplace and forgettable. Old Ashlee—dark hair, Hot Topic gear, imperfect virgin shnoz—might have shown her realistic teen awkwardness a bit too much to be a true PINK chick in one of those “Don’t Mess With this Girl in Pink” baby tees. New Ashlee is the smiling sorority sister, the blond cheerleader, the perky in pink.
“Ashley or Jessica?,” we asked a guy on the way out. “Pre-op or Post-op?” he smart-assed back.