The sky didn't fall, even when it opened. The VMAs landed smack in the middle of Fashion Week and threatened to rain on our stargazing parade, but in the end — after all the wailing, teeth-gnashing, and prophesies of doom — neither an awful awards show nor an actual deluge could spoil the celebrity turnout in the front rows. It's enough to make our Grinchy hearts grow three sizes. Or at least keep us smiling through the pain of our considerable blisters.
Without further ado, here's a look at a few of the highlights:
Best Rumor: We eavesdropped on totally unsubstantiated buzz — our favorite kind! — that Demi Moore's Fashion Week love train was barred from stopping at Oscar de la Renta. The rumor we heard while waiting in line inside the tents: Some people were claiming that the company declined her request to attend the show because a top executive, evidently familiar with only one item on Moore's résumé, didn't think that the woman who brought Striptease to the screen was an appropriate fit for the brand's image. What, no hate for G.I. Jane or The Butcher's Wife?
Best Insult: At Tory Burch's low-key and classy presentation at Christie's, we spied spiky-haired movie producer Brian Grazer , who always looks a bit like he just electrocuted himself for a quick burst of energy. Moments after he left, a guest went up to Burch and whispered, "I saw Brian Grazer. All that crazy hair! He looks like a roach!" Check back after the apocalypse; maybe she was onto something.
Best Snub: We made a bet with each other for a whopping $1 about whether Paris Hilton would show up to her sibling's Nicholai show. Sadly we can't remember which one of us bet in favor of Paris ditching Nicky so she could pimp herself out at the VMAs, which were scheduled for that same night, but that person would be rich enough to buy an extra Diet Coke today. Then we thought maybe Nicky preferred it that way, as if the jailbird's presence would have distracted too much from the clothes. In retrospect, a diversion might have been a blessing.
Favorite Show: On the whole, we saw a lot to love this year, even without all the delicious dudes in the crowd. Proenza Schouler's stunning collection was an obvious highlight. Betsey Johnson threw one of her trademark light-hearted bashes that puts everyone in a good mood regardless of what's coming down the runway, Narciso Rodriguez wowed us with color and clean lines, and Philosophy's array of brightly colored patent wedges had us drooling. Chris Benz put on graceful Gatsby–esque presentations that added modern flair to old-school glamour. We even liked a lot of the individual pieces and floral fabrics from Karen Walker, who not so long ago brought us a confounding array of bloomers (although this time, we admit to snickering on the inside when she styled many of the models in jockey's caps — a guy behind us even breathed, "Oh, NO"). We can't choose just one. What can we say? We love clothes.
Least Favorite Show: It was inauspicious when the swag at the Diesel show consisted of a box of laundry detergent; we realized later this might come in handy for washing off the whole experience. Actually, the celeb-ogling was fantastic and the organizers were lovely, but we could've done without almost everything that came down the runway. Especially the giant squared-off hats. If we wanted to wear a chip-and-dip platter on our heads, we'd have done it already at a football tailgater.
Most Exciting Trend: Voluminous skirts. Aside from being pretty, they're great for flouncing away from your mortal enemy, then spinning around and hissing a bitchy retort before hurling a champagne glass at his or her head.
Least Exciting Trend: In the first half of the week, we saw at least three or four shows in which models sported t-shirts underneath otherwise cute strapless numbers that didn't need the distraction. On the one hand, it's nice to have a break from bemoaning dresses worn with pants, but do we need to keep slapping them on over other stuff? Let's not give Ashlee Simpson any ideas she doesn't need. The fedora is annoying enough.
Most Irritating Trend: We noticed a lot of people getting up to leave the venue before the designer came out to take a bow. At Derek Lam, it was even more pronounced: Lam came out to wave at the crowd while his models were still marching back up the right side of the runway, and all guests on the left took that as a cue to get up and run outside. Even the models' eyes wandered over to see the mass exodus while they finished the finale. Look, we get having to go to the bathroom, or breathe actual air, or just flee the person next to you who was jabbing an elbow into your ribs. But it seems like a good rule of thumb not to bolt from beside the runway while the models are still ON it.
Biggest Squee: When Michael Kors dug up Olivia Newton-John's recording of "Xanadu" to mix with Mika and the Scissor Sisters, even a random guy in the front row mouthed along with the words. From our souls to your flapping lips, brave sir. Olivia Chantecaille was right: Kors does need to make a CD.
Nicest Strangers: We were slumming it in standing room at Calvin Klein when a very well-dressed, very tall man sidled up to one of the PR girls and asked if we plebes could start filling in the empty seats. She said no. He stood in front of us, but when we tapped him and told him that we were wee and couldn't see, he gasped, "Oh my God, darling, let me move you right here," and carefully shepherded us right in front of him. Moments later, that same CK girl very kindly went out of her way to find several people spots. It was like the summer of love up in there.
Show Most Likely To Kill Us All In A Fiery Conflagration: This is a toughie, because to be honest, we were so hot at a few shows that spontaneously self-immolating wasn't entirely out of the question. Although Derek Lam was so cramped and crowded that we sat on top of a speaker, Catherine Malandrino's show was by far the most jam-packed one, with all the exits and an entire staircase clogged by a throng of standing-room attendees. Next time we go, we'll have to practice our graceful death-swoon beforehand just in case.
Favorite Low-Level Reality Star Sighting: This would usually go to Fashionista Diaries cameo-maker Kristian Laliberte, who we spied wearing rolled-up shorts and loafers at the Rock & Republic show, looking like he just fell off the yacht he keeps in dry dock. But that was before we spotted Justin Bobby of The Hills at Vena Cava. You haven't lived until you've witnessed women who've maintained blasé composure at a runway show featuring assless pants suddenly lose control and start hissing, "OMG, JUSTIN BOBBY!"
Most Conspicuous Absence: Heidi Klum might be busy with Project Runway casting, so we'll ignore her not showing up to fellow judge Michael Kors' show and instead wonder why Narciso Rodriguez front-row fixture Jessica Seinfeld was M.I.A. this year. She and Jerry — you may have heard of him; he's apparently quite amusing — have attended for the past two seasons, at least, and yet were nowhere to be found this time. We hope for her sake that she and Narciso didn't have a falling-out, because he showed some seriously pretty frocks this season and we're sure she'd hate to pay retail. After all, who knows when her husband's career will take flight.
Cutest Boy: We did a lot of squealing about the surprising amount of good-looking men at this particular fashion week (Clive Owen, call us!), but the one we wanted to take home most was little Kingston Rossdale -- especially after Gavin put him in those wee ear-protecting headphones at L.A.M.B.
Model Most Likely to Wake Up With a Personality Disorder: Seems that no one quite knew how to refer to omnipresent catwalk queen Jessica Stam. On some programs, she was simply JESSICA, like any other random model. On others, she was listed as JESSICA STAM, despite being the only Jessica on the docket and the only girl to get her full name listed. And at one, she was just listed as STAM.
Model Most Likely to Wake Up to an Angry Voicemail from her Agent: There was a young brunette model at the Chris Benz presentation who seriously looked like she was about two minutes away from either vomiting or falling asleep. Like, girlfriend seemed wrecked to the point where we wondered if someone needed to be informed of her infirmity. At one point she actually got up and left, but returned shortly thereafter to resume slumping in her armchair looking mad-queasy. At the very least, her pictures are going to reek.
Model Most Likely to Wake Up to a Strange Dude Outside in her Bushes: Anyone who walked in J.Lo's JustSweet show. The odd-shaped runway was organized so that at one point, the models were stomping right at our bank of seats while making their fierce/flirtatious model faces. Which the guy behind us totally misinterpreted, turning repeatedly to his equally fratty cohort and drawling, "DUDE, that model was TOTALLY checking me OUT." His friend then opined that she OBVIOUSLY was, and that Dude One could clearly go home with her. Which is what we're going to do right now, in fact, although without models or fratty dudes in tow. Maybe next season!