It's a bad sign that the first thing we wondered while trying to make our way into the Rock & Republic show tonight was, "Is this the new Heatherette?" The answer is not quite, if only because the show didn't feature the campy deliciousness of assless pants. As far as organizational drama goes, however, Rock & Republic delivered the Heatherette-perfected mélange of pushy and crazed crowds, seating shenanigans, and a late — even by Fashion Week’s special standards — start. Even the celebs were feeling the pain: We spied Finola Hughes making the universal "crazy" signal of twirling her finger around her ear at Marie Claire editor Zanna Roberts from across the runway as people struggled to find their seats.
Speaking of the runway, it was raised, lacquered, and split down the middle by an orchestra pit filled with musicians performing enthusiastic accompaniments to recordings of songs like “Layla” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (although it was more like violent sobbing, based on the vigor with which the musicians beat up their instruments — it looked straight out of a Saturday Night Live sketch). While this all created a painfully dramatic atmosphere, the pit was also a death trap — perhaps intentionally, as at least one of the models was accessorized with a gun. One model almost toppled in, a staffer took a fall after the show was over, and it was well-nigh impossible for anyone to squeeze through to their seats, forcing celebrities to pose for photographs while teetering on the edge of certain doom. We were pretty sure, in fact, that Lydia Hearst was going to be lost to us, as her hair was in a huge Ivana Trump–style do that surely threw off her center of gravity (and, bizarrely, gave her the distinct aura of Jessica Simpson). She might want to rethink that.
Lydia lived to see another day, though, as did 30 Rock's Katrina Bowden, whom we spied creeping to the edge of the pit and looking in warily. Kat de Luna (present at every Fashion Week despite the fact that we've never heard of her in the outside world) must have paraded up and down the runway twenty times, presumably for maximum visibility. Joss Stone again looked sloppy in jeans and a ratty cardigan, contrasting the put-together Leigh Lezark, who we swear cracked a smile at the over-the-top orchestra. Former Heroes actress Tawny Cypress was relegated to the second row, where she probably thought she could full-on rock out to the band more anonymously. Oh, Tawny. So pretty, so wrong. MTV's Damian Fahey strolled out from backstage, Sophia Bush almost took a header trying to get onto the runway for photos, and a petite blonde girl apparently from the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie patiently waited to be allocated a front-row seat by the harried staffers. We're embarrassed to report that we spent ten minutes trying to decide if said blonde was Lost's Emilie de Ravin or Dawson's Creek's Meredith Monroe before we were informed of her professional résumé. We're not at all embarrassed, however, that we ultimately couldn't I.D. someone from the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie.
Natasha Henstridge sauntered backstage after the show looking uncharacteristically rough, although perhaps if she'd left the knit beret at home and let her hair down we wouldn't have noticed. A de-bouffanted Christina Milian left us wondering where her majestic hair went — we decided that she simply lifted it off like a hat — and Russell Simmons was accessorized with a walking cast and his very pretty girlfriend, whom he introduced to Vivica A. "Congratulator" Fox after the show. We initially misheard her name as Porcelain, but we blame the band for causing early-onset hearing loss: Apparently her name is actually Porschla. There go all her opportunities for endorsing veneers. Vivica and her beret were seated rather near us, and she actually came very close to injuring her seatmates with all of her extreme clapping, pointing, and general gesticulating at the sight of the entirely black and purple collection. We suggest, for future shows, giving her a seat with at least a ten-foot radius. Fashion is all fun and games until someone gets a well-manicured nail in the jugular. —The Fug Girls