Generally, we're accustomed to seeing Emmy Rossum in twee florals or princess-y colors and cuts, which is why her presence and her ensemble at Phi on Thursday morning surprised us. Rossum edged out slowly from backstage in a white sweater-vest tucked into a poofy white skirt cut through with black lacy ribbon, and the kind of multi-strap patent-leather pumps that you'd sooner expect to see in the window of a sex shop next to a matching whip (and we mean that in a good way). The whole rocker-ballerina motif kind of worked for her, though, in the sense that it didn't put us to sleep and allowed us to use her name in the same sentence as the phrase "matching whip." Maybe she should keep exploring this avenue for a while.
Rossum inched her way over to Padma Lakshmi, herself punked up in slouchy boots, lacy back tights, and a suit jacket with a short skirt (and now we have that Cake song in our heads). Emmy hung back until a handler introduced her to Padma seconds before photographers snapped them smiling together as if they'd known each other for ten years rather than ten seconds. Then Rossum bolted for her front-row bench seat as fast as her dominatrix heels could carry her. "Thank you," she said to her escort, with a small sigh. "I'm fine once I'm sitting." We know the feeling. There are shoes you wear and shoes you put on in the hopes that all you have to do is stand still and look pretty. If she's anything like us, she yanked those bad boys off in the cab and spent the rest of the day rehabbing her feet on her couch while eating a bag of peanut-butter-filled pretzels. What? It helps.
Bijou Phillips sat across from Emmy and Padma, looking a wee bit sleepy. Early on we spied seat-assignment cards for actor John Slattery and a person called "Laure Ambrose," which we assume was meant to say "Lauren"; once the show began, though, we couldn't see either of them anywhere around the L-shaped runway. However, we had zero trouble spotting Anna Wintour, as we were standing right by the doorway when she entered from the giant freight elevator that carried us up to the sixteenth-floor space in the meatpacking district. Anna inadvertently wandered into a hot, bright sunbeam shooting through a skylight and, we swear, visibly recoiled (though she did not, as some may have speculated, immediately turn to dust). As she ducked her head and tried to course-correct, she looked downright flustered. Apparently the sheer amount of person-filled real estate she'd have to traverse to get to her seat and away from this demon portal of illuminating warmth was too great; A-Dubs quickly wrangled a PR person and was led on a less-public route that entailed crossing through backstage and then squeezing through the assembled wall of photographers. She did it lightning fast, too by the time we walked there by the normal route, Anna was already perched there regally as if nothing had happened.
We do owe her one, though, because her strategy alerted us (and Padma) to a second and little-used exit that allowed us to skip the long, occasionally pushy lines for the packed freight elevator. See? Anna Wintour is a giver. Don't you forget it.
View backstage and front row photos from the Phi show.
View a slideshow of the Phi collection.