First bangs, then Baby Phat: Clearly, Tinsley Mortimer is going through some kind of midlife-crisis-style reinvention. In the days of yore, with her sweetly curled hair and Mary Janes and poufy cocktail dresses, we'd have said all she had in common with Kimora Lee Simmons's blingy-yet-minimalist aesthetic was the fact that they both employed fabric to cover some body parts. So the sight of Tinsley in Baby Phat's front row on Tuesday night — complete with that facial fringe, heavy eye makeup, and hot-pink enamel nail polish that matched her dress — must either signal the coming of the apocalypse, or the birth of her edgier alter ego, The Notorious T.I.N.Z. We can't wait until she pierces something scandalous.
Other than Tinz's unexpected attendance, the crowd at Baby Phat was almost as notable for who didn't appear as for who did. Santigold never filled the seat earmarked for her, and neither did Joy Bryant, Maggie Grace, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, Nia Long, Michelle Williams (of Destiny's Child, not Dawson's Creek), nor André Leon Talley. We're particularly crushed about ALT's absence, because he's eluded us thus far and surely one of the cape-hat combos he's favored this season would have included a little Kimora-friendly gold lamé. Alas. We did, however, get an eyeful of Mario sauntering in wearing white jeans, perching next to fellow one-named performer Monica ૼ sporting a curious Kelis-style short do with pink streaks — and posing for pictures with aspiring rapper and former My Super Sweet Sixteen star Teyana Taylor, who wore a strange little headpiece that had a twig poking out the top. Hopefully if she nurtures and waters that thing, she'll have a mighty fir sprouting up there by next Christmas.
Mr. Kimora Lee the First, Russell Simmons, sat near Kimora's Djimon Honsou, whom her daughters eagerly ran up to and kissed when they did the finale walk with her. Ex–Danity Kane singer and semiprofessional cleavage-spiller Aubrey O'Day wriggled into the venue in a tight animal-print number that, unexpectedly, kept about 50 percent of her bits covered (if you're keeping score, that's at least 30 percent more modest than what she wore to William Rast). In fact, on the boobage front, she was wholly outshone by ANTM's lone plus-size winner (or indeed, "plus-size" "winner"), Whitney Thompson. Her tiny black minidress leaked chest flesh in just about every direction; however, concealed as it was for most of the night by her third-row seat, the display was all for naught unless she was hoping to seduce the chair in front of her and show it a jolly time. Aubrey initially fared little better, having been allotted a second-row spot. This thrilled us to the core — karmic payback for painting her absent puppy pink? — but of course Aubrey convinced The Powers That Be to move her to the front. She landed next to Nole Marin, and since Nole famously toted his pooch Empress Minnie to the ANTM set and sat her on a satin pillow, presumably they discussed at length the benefits of dragging your dog all over town.
Kimora cracked recently that the recession led her to cut costs by skimping on butt fabric this season, yet to be honest, we weren't sure how much more of it she could afford to ditch. That plus the eerily prescient carvings on the Gotham Hall walls about "economizing what you have" had us wondering if the entire show would just be swatches of material held together by string. Instead, a surprising number of long dresses, jumpsuits, and jeans came down the runway. Fortunately, Kimora is still the same national treasure of wackitude we've come to cherish, and thus there were still at least two dresses so short you could tell whether the models were ovulating; one of said frocks stretched transparently thin over the buttocks. Damn that economy. Interestingly, it was at around this point that we noticed Pat Field's crimson locks nodding merrily at what she saw. This can only mean one thing: Betty Suarez, like Tinsley, is about to undergo a serious metamorphosis, and there will be spandex and camel-toe involved. Good luck with that, ladies.
Watch a slideshow of the Baby Phat collection.