Heatherette: A Cracked-Out Homage to Aaron Spelling

At Heatherette, the resolution to a story no one understands. Photo: Photograph by FirstView

Picture your high-school production of South Pacific, subtract half the clothes, add some cynical drag queens, and then do three shots of whiskey. Voilà: You have Heatherette's Tuesday-night show.

At least, that's how it looked from the cheap seats. In the lobby. With a lot of very angry journalists and transvestites who got shut out of the show because the organizers deemed the already-packed house a fire hazard.

We've never seen so many well-dressed angry people in our lives, and that includes Dynasty's entire run. Nobody in the standing-room-only line was admitted, and most of them clutched either invitations or press passes, or both. A tanned girl reeking of expensive hairspray clawed her way to the rope and, massaging her fuchsia Fendi bag, literally tried to bribe people into granting her passage. One furious man, when he was rejected in normal but firm tones, screamed at the guard: "It's NOT a big deal. It's just a SHOW. YOU DON'T HAVE TO YELL." Practice what you preach, friend. When another woman swore innocently that her bags were inside the tent on her chair, the guard threw back his head and laughed outright.

Rejected, the deeply embittered group collectively figured that the best way to cope was to soak our shame in free booze. But then the bar closed. And so did the bathrooms.

Three strikes. Were we out? Yes. And no. The shows all air live on three flat screens, so we lingered there, curious to see the scheduled runway appearances of Paris and Nicky Hilton and Tinsley Mortimer. Plus, our horrible vantage point left us in the indignant company of defeated fashionistas. There was no better place to be.

Derisive snorts and snickers were the only soundtrack we heard when Paris kicked off the show, strutting solo to the end of the runway in a surprisingly tame leopard-print dress and a mini-train she whipped around, pausing only to rub her exposed stomach. We presume this was self-love, although the effect was, "I'm hungry, but my chef isn't here, so you'll have to do — now pass the cooking sherry and take off your pants."

What followed was a hideous assemblage of shredded beachwear and gowns that we can only assume was the Heatherette boys flipping the bird both to conventional fashion and its couture cousin. We sort of respect that. Since the death of Aaron Spelling, no one else has come close to his underrated combination of true pageantry and sarcasm.

Designers Richie Rich and Traver Rains threw everything they could onto the unwearable clothes, short of gluing a kitchen sink to one of the skirts. We saw tulle, peacock, crosses, animal print, lace, a garish palatte of numbers and letters drawn from Sesame Street, loud florals gnarled into a tragic seventies nightmare, and of course, bright-gold spandex knee-length leggings.

Naturally, everybody should dress like an Academy Award reimagined by the Tour de France. Each model — male, female, and, yes, canine — wore bad blond wigs. Dancers in grass skirts and poorly rendered (but ironically so!) rugby shirts boogied down the runway in a spastic hula. The whole spectacle was campy crack, and our little viewing party gobbled it up.

Other models included actress Mena Suvari; brash, Über-gay figure skater Johnny Weir whose companion held his arm in one hand and a giant martini glass in the other (the queeny lobby crowd almost started weeping with jealousy); Mya, whom we'd forgotten even existed; Lydia Hearst, who could barely keep her balance in a giant child's art project of a dress that prevented from her lowering her hands to her sides; and R&B artist Kelis, whose appearance was greeted with screams and a standing ovation from a very hyper Brandy, who can't seem to attend a fashion show without leaping out of her seat and whooping as if she's at an Arsenio Hall Show revival.

On her second pass, Paris strode out with Nicky in tow, the latter looking unbelievably bored and disaffected. We're starting to wonder if Nicky is severely depressed, because if you can't enjoy a ridiculous homage to (or barbed swipe at) Old Navy's eerie-perky commercials, then you are totally cold and dead inside. For the wedding-themed finale, Nicky strode out in a tuxedo-like cocktail dress, turning on her heel and almost banging into the parade of people behind her. "Ooooh," the group gasped. Snapped one guy, "Oh, no, she did NOT."

Next up was party fixture Amanda Lepore, shimmying in a Playboy Bunny–inspired onesie and dangling a giant white book labeled "Holy Bible." At the end of the catwalk, she stopped, leafed through it, deemed it boring, and retreated. "She's still working it," sighed the girl in front of us. "You know, considering how LONG she's been working it."

Then came Paris, again in the safest and dullest dress of the collection, clutching a bouquet and a makeshift groom. He swept her off her feet and carried her around carefully in what was probably the most romantic moment of her storied, failed love life. (When she tossed her bouquet, it landed smack in the middle of the runway; a savvy front-row dweller stood up and snatched it. We expect to see it for sale on eBay before the weekend, and we wouldn't be surprised if a buyer named "par1srulz" mysteriously bids it up to $500.) Once assembled, the motley crew of social climbers posed with the roller-skated Richie Rich and Traver Rains in what looked like an especially deranged cast photo for Gilligan's Fire Island.

We could not have been happier. Unless we were inside.

The Fug Girls

Watch a slideshow of the Heatherette collection here.