How Long Will the Tents Tolerate Heatherette?

Another Fashion Week. Another Heatherette show that was a complete, soul-sucking mess. And that was outside the venue. Like last season, we had seats. And like last season, that didn't matter because the setup was such an unmitigated disaster. Somehow every other show at Bryant Park manages to make it pretty easy to get all ticketed parties in distinct lines and in their seats without screaming pandemonium. Not Heatherette. Never Heatherette. And certainly not at a Heatherette show that promised a Wizard of Oz theme complete with socialite Lydia Hearst as Dorothy.

The first bad sign was the throng of people — many waving invitations — thwarted from simply getting inside the tent, period. Egregiously, the adorable, aged, venerated photographer Bill Cunningham was outside in the freezing cold. We hope it was because he was enjoying the sight of frantic Heatherette fans desperate to get twenty steps closer to yet another line, and not because he wasn't allowed inside. Cunningham was surrounded by desperate fashionistas spinning tall tales designed to dupe security into letting them pass. As we wiggled through with our press badges, a stranger spied the security guard at our sides and grabbed us, shouting, "When you see Phillip Bloch, tell him to call me." As if we knew him, knew Bloch, or were ever going to get anywhere near Phillip Bloch unless he was just hanging out near the coat check. Security wasn't fooled.

Once inside the tent itself, we joined an oceanic line that would allegedly lead us to our seat assignments. But instead of moving forward, the way lines are supposed to, this one went nowhere. No one was checked in. No one was happy. And no one could figure out what the hell was happening. Every few minutes, someone clutching an invite would get fed up and storm out. "This is RIDICULOUS," said one man, as he swept past us. "If it were Alexander McQueen, I'd stay, but ..."

Eventually, even the PR girls in charge of seat assignment conceded defeat. One of them literally blanched and then took off running in the opposite direction when someone approached to ask a question (We assume the question was along the lines of, "What the hell happened to my seat?"). We never saw her again.

Heatherette Chaps

Does this count as menswear?Photo: WireImage

So, of course, moments later the show was "closed," despite the fact that no one from our enormous ticketed mob actually got in. "I HAVE A SEAT," someone near us said. "I can't believe this is happening AGAIN," someone else groused. "This is BULLSHIT," another announced. "Is that Janice Dickinson's son?" we squealed. (It wasn't.)

So, yeah: We watched the thing on the big screens in the lobby. Again. And again, there was a general sense of congenial aggravation and confusion about why they don't just do two showings, or move to a bigger venue, or stop giving tickets to twelve bodies for every one seat available. And as the typically hilarious, outrageous, and naked fashions came down the runway on the monitors, we all agreed we're pretty sure that Heatherette exists simply as a giant "Screw you" to the fashion Establishment. How else do you explain, for example, their menswear, almost none of which has any actual fabric in the seat of any of their "pants"? Can they truly be pants if they have no ass? Or would that make them just chaps? What makes pants … pants? These are the existential debates Heatherette provokes.

A collective gasp blew through the lobby when the first male model turned and flashed his bare behind. But by the time we got to the guy who was wrapped in a giant silver sleeping bag trimmed with red tinsel, wearing a red-codpiece layered over what looked like jogging shorts, and carrying a dog accessorized with a giant bow, we were all totally blasé. We get it, you kooky, roller-skating club kids. You're both totally crackers, and we're pretty sure you spent all the time leading up to this event wondering what outlandish getup you could send down the runway that would possibly top the outlandish getups from last time. We fully expect all of Heatherette's models to be totally nude by 2009, clothed only in giant Carmen Miranda hats, with parrots on their shoulders.

Lydia Hearst

Lydia Hearst as Dorothy at Heatherette.Photo: Wire Image

We're sorry we missed it, especially since Britney Spears was allegedly there (we can't believe she's escaped the clutches of our tough love again). We also would have liked to get an in-person gander at Lydia Hearst's crappy walk. Those ruby slippers must have been killing her, the way she clomped around in them. We would have figured the boys would give the lead role of Dorothy to their poster child Paris Hilton, but she didn't appear in the show at all. Has she had a falling out with Richie and Traver?

But celebrity model wattage wasn't what it has been in the past. In addition to Lydia, there was Heatherette mainstay Amanda Lepore, who, as Glinda the Good Witch, was as covered up as we've ever seen her. Kimora Lee Simmons, the last girl on the catwalk, seemed genuinely tickled to be there and gave it her best strut.

In a way, we have to hand it to all of them: There is no holding back at Heatherette. The clothes, which they don't even sell anywhere, are just a flimsy excuse for a big, fun party. Richie Rich and Traver Rains wormed their way into the system and are exploiting the hell out of it for their own amusement. It's kind of awesome, in terms of sheer balls. —The Fug Girls

Watch a slideshow of the Heatherette collection.
Watch video of the Heatherette show.
Watch backstage video of the Heatherette show, starring Lydia Hearst, Vivica A. Fox, Omahyra, and Richie Rich's aromatherapist.