Given our antipathy toward Lauren Conrad's collection last season, it's metaphorically apt — not to mention pungent — that this time around we got stuck waiting in line next to a Dumpster; doubly so because, in the end, the garbage bin was all we got to see of her spring 2009 line.
The queue to get into Conrad's Tuesday-night show at L.A. Fashion Week snaked out of the tent, down the street, and around the corner, bursting with more people than could possibly fit into the venue, and stubbornly refusing to get smaller. Half the available check-in area was taken up by a makeshift red carpet so that a couple of reality-TV types could pose for photos; the desk itself was tiny and understaffed; and media and others with confirmed seats were stuck waiting for more than an hour in the same interminable line as all the standing-room hopefuls and random passers-by, with no way of differentiating who was there for work and who just wanted to see if Audrina's boobs look that ridiculous in real life. Frustrated reporters angrily sought any kind of PR representative who could help but came up empty. By 8:45 p.m. — when the fire marshal barred any further entry and a cop told us all that "all the PR girls have packed up and fled" — the line had moved only because people dropped out of it. "This is, like, JANKY, dude," an irritated man complained behind us. We agreed, before giving up and catching the shuttle back to our car.
Amusingly, for what a hot ticket the show appeared to be, the only recognizable person we saw — from our perch amidst the refuse — was Heather from season one of Rock of Love With Bret Michaels. Sadly, her hair was down, so we were unable to tell whether she’s still sporting that ill-advised “Bret” tattoo on the back of her neck, but her handlers were working the heck out of the guest line, introducing her to anyone who looked like he might be carrying a tape recorder. Interestingly, we did not detect any sign of Audrina arriving at the venue (although considering our vantage point in Dumpsterville, for all we know she and Lo sat front row and did the tango). But an eagle-eyed spy of ours did notice L.C.'s former bestie joining Spencer, Heidi, and Stephanie Pratt for dinner across town around 11 p.m., followed shortly by man-of-the-hour Justin Bobby — who, in addition to skinny-dipping with Audrina on Monday's The Hills, is also not-really-denying the semi-ridiculous rumors that he hooked up with L.C. (although wisely, she is). Juicy! And regardless of whether Audrina was a Conrad no-show or not even invited, the act of breaking bread with the devil on the same night as Lauren's big presentation is a big ol' acrylic-nailed slap in the face. If you're playing along at home, this means Team Conrad may now consist of only Lo, Whitney, and Brody when he's bored. Pretty soon the poor kid will be accepting applications.
Maybe the allegedly absent Audrina had the right idea: Everyone else outside the Smashbox Studios venue, from what we overheard, spent the entire time swearing they were only attending Lauren's show because they had to cover it for work. "Are you REALLY a fan of her, like, little jersey clothes?" a girl near us asked her friend, with nose-crinkling skepticism. "Well … I'm a fan of The Hills," he admitted guiltily. A few other girls loudly bubbled over at the prospect of seeing the rumored attendees from the 90210 cast, while the journalists around them sighed in frustration and muttered vague things about angry bosses and disorganized PR firms. "There is seriously no press check-in for this? You have got to be kidding me," snapped a tired-looking reporter who wobbled past us to the end of the queue, tripped slightly, grazed the Dumpster with her shoulder — and then glared fire at it as though it had intentionally invaded her personal space.
The utter mayhem prompted multiple aggravated conversations about how to fix L.A. Fashion Week, the primary suggestions being (a) not making your guests stand literally in the trash and (b) focusing on, in the words of one reporter we chatted up, “actual designers.” Needless to say, it’s no wonder the Voguettes don't bother with L.A. Fashion Week; we imagine Meredith Melling-Burke would rather be photographed in Payless mules than hang around Smashbox's Dumpster waiting for her turn at the desk, and we can’t say we blame her. Note to L.C.: If you want better reviews, step one is getting the people who write them into your show with minimal headaches and ranting. Well, no, step one ought to be designing better clothes, but let's start with the obstacles we can feasibly tackle, okay? See you next season. We’ll be the girls out by the recycling.