Eight days and more than 40 shows after we arrived in New York, we lingered in the tent after L.A.M.B., watching the staffers clear up all the clutter and pack away the seats. There was nobody left to interview, no eavesdropping, no more gawking. A girl called across the venue to her friend, "What are you doing tonight?" The friend, who wore an event-staff name tag, let out a comically huge sigh and then made the universal sign for "I am getting wicked drunk in about ten minutes." That felt like an apt button for our Fashion Week extravapalooza, but of course, we can't ever button up the experience without handing out a few superlatives. Without further delay ...
Best Part of the New Lincoln Center Venue
Having the fountain out there for between-show lounging was a pleasure. The computerized Fashion GPS seating system, with one or two exceptions, made getting seating assignments so smooth that the harried PR people probably had infinitely fewer cranky reporters and guests to appease. The new tents' foyer area felt more spacious, and the waiting areas outside each interior venue seemed wider and less cramped. And the Bon Appétit Café, open from September 12 to 16 and featuring entrées made by various renowned chefs, plus an evening wine bar and a morning Stumptown coffee line, was a brilliant idea we hope they repeat in February and beyond. We hate change, but have to admit that as much as we love Bryant Park, this felt like a big step up.
Worst Part of the New Lincoln Center Venue
In addition to being confused as to whether we're still supposed to be calling the Fashion Week section of Lincoln Center "the Tents" — we assume the answer to this is yes, as tents as a concept continue to be involved — we can't believe the event's Porta-Johns lacked door hooks. Does Mercedes-Benz really think we want to put our giant purses (or, come February, chunky winter coats) on the floor of a portable toilet? Because — news flash — we do not.
Best-Looking in Person
For this one we had to pick between two opposites: statuesque Rebecca Romijn — whose open and friendly attitude enhanced how awesome she looked in her fancy front-row dresses — and the perfectly petite, polite, and polished Sarah Jessica Parker, who seriously looked so good at Fashion's Night Out that we feel like they could release six minutes of that in theaters, call it Sex and the City 3, and still leave people satisfied. So what the hell — we'll give it to both of them, with an honorable mention to Catherine Zeta-Jones, also spied at Fashion's Night Out looking satisfyingly movie-star-esque in person.
Worst-Looking in Person
It pains us to give this award to Bradley Cooper, who is generally so dreamy — but he showed up to Tommy Hilfiger looking completely grungy and unkempt. We can only theorize that looking so smoking hot in The A-Team took so much of out of him that he decided he needed to spend the next couple of months slumming it aesthetically, as if to give the collective loins of America a break.
Crabbiest in Person
We were thrilled to notice that Stanley Tucci — so delightful in Julie & Julia last year — was in attendance at Nanette Lepore. But we were equally displeased to notice, about ten minutes later, that he was generally snide, snarky, and uncooperative with reporters. Listen, Stan: It's not like we're trying to interview you while you're on your way into your proctologist's office. The front row of a fashion show is no place to go if you want people to leave you alone. And don't say you didn't know that — you were in The Devil Wears Prada, for Pete's sake.
The New Sophia Bush
Every season we award the most-often-seen starlet with the Sophia Bush Award, thus named because Sophia had a run during which she appeared at seemingly every show in New York. This year, that award goes to her fellow CW denizen Jessica Szohr — who we think is considerably more famous than Sophia Bush, actually, and who has therefore inspired us to rename this honor the Jessica Szohr Award. Congrats, Jessica. Now go back to work.
Celebrity We Forgot We Saw
The celeb bonanza at Nanette Lepore was intense enough that not only didn't we notice Lili Taylor in the front row until after the show started, but we completely forgot to put her in our writeup as well. But if it makes her feel better, we will never forget Mystic Pizza.
Celebrity We're Saddest We Missed
Apparently, the most punctual person at Marchesa's presentation was Oscar nominee Gabby Sidibe. We arrived five minutes late, yet apparently had already missed her there — for which we kicked ourselves soundly, because we suspect she'd have gossiped with us for about an hour and given us a gem every time she opened her mouth.
Celebrity We Wish Had Come to Fashion Week
Jon Hamm, we know you were in New York. Are you avoiding us? And, in a less-stalkery way, we wish we'd seen Blake Lively, who must be swamped with Gossip Girl and press junkets for The Town, but who is always dressed in something reliably interesting — good or bad.
We could have watched Sopranos co-stars Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Aida Turturro chat all day, although we only got to observe their reunion for the duration of the Nanette Lepore show. They were adorable together — sitting super-close and whispering and giggling, hugging each other's arms, clearly thrilled to be able to hang out for the morning. We never even would have guessed that they were friends, and now we want to hang out with them.
Most Random Sighting
It was tempting to give this to Denise Richards, simply because we can't figure out why she resurfaced all of a sudden (and judging by her facial expressions at the Bebe show, she may have been doubting the wisdom of this, too). But in the end, this one goes to the dude from the Psychedelic Furs, who attended at least three shows. Are the Psychedelic Furs staging a reunion that none of us knew we were clamoring for, or are they just hoping you'll see the name written somewhere and think, Damn, I really need to buy the Pretty in Pink soundtrack? Since we never did figure out which Fur he was, we didn't ask, and thus may never know the answer.
While Oscar de la Renta is always a reliable treat, this season we particularly enjoyed the creative, off-kilter showmanship of Rodarte, the sunny colors at Chris Benz, and Phillip Lim's amazing grasp of proportion. His neutrals were never boring, which — in a season full of them — was a particular achievement.
Show at Which We Felt Most Likely to Die in a Fiery Conflagration
Jason Wu and Nicole Miller both showed at 82 Mercer, a large venue that piped everyone toward one very small exit, resulting in a backlog of bodies that made us fear for every pregnant fashion editor — and there are several, apparently — in the vicinity. But the scariest was the Bebe show, which crammed too many bodies into too small a space, and offered only one slim aisle between the rows for coming and going — then went ahead and locked three of the building's four exit doors, just so that we felt as much like suffocated sardines as possible.
Most Apocalyptic Potential Future Fashion Trend
We saw a lot of nipples this season. Normally, we wouldn't bat an eye — Fashion Week is about nothing if not occasional nudity — but we saw nipple not merely at shows like Bebe, where flashing is to be expected, but also at such bastions of ladylike behavior as Jason Wu, Marchesa, and Oscar de la Renta. If those three are pushing the nip, we fear the four horsemen are not too far off down the road.
Dress We'd Most Like to See at the Golden Globes
Monique Lhuillier's show was chock full of awards-show-ready evening gowns — we were particularly enamored with a red beaded sheath dress — but when that season reboots in January with the Globes, we're really excited to see who's going to throw caution to the wind and attempt to pull off one of Marchesa's fabulously over-the-top, intricately constructed frocks. They're beautiful, of course, but we also want to see how you sit down in one of them without ruining the dress.
Best Non-Fashiony Conversation We Overheard
While in line for a show, we heard voices drifting all the way back to us that would have made the Merriam-Webster people weep: "It was an awesome bar, totally cute and homey." "You mean homely." "What?" "It's 'homely,' not 'homey.'" "Really?" "Yeah. You wouldn't say 'homey,' because, like, the bar isn't your homie." "Huh. Homely, then. Wow. Who knew? I've been saying 'homey' all these years." Well, please keep saying it, girl, because you were right, and your friend's homely vocab just steered you wrong.
Most Endearing Story
We overheard somebody at Naeem Khan saying that actress Perrey Reeves, unable to get either a cab or a car due to that pesky tornado, cheerfully called to say she'd be taking the subway to Lincoln Center so that she could still catch the show. Now that is brand loyalty.
Story We Most Wish We'd Heard in Its Entirety
While we were wandering toward our seats at Z Spoke, we happened to pass America Next Top Model's J. Alexander. "She's really, really, really, REALLY not a nice person," he was saying. It took all our self-control not to turn around and grab him and demand to know who this raging bitch actually was, and find out whether he needed us to throw down.
So surprised were we to find ourselves talking to Kanye West that it never occurred to us that we could've asked him to record our outgoing voice-mail message real quick. We bet he would've done it, and he'd have made it dope, and by extension made us way doper people. Instead, we're just dopes.
Fashion Week 1, VMAs 0
We were nervous that the annual MTV music-fest would pickpocket Fashion Week's front rows, but in the end, it feels like Fashion Week was not only better-attended but offered a lot more interesting sightings than the competing event did. Beyoncé herself even picked New York over the VMAs, walking in Tom Ford's super-top-secret show at his store on the very night that her music-industry colleagues were praying they didn't have to hug Lady Gaga while she was wearing ten pounds of rancid meat. Bravo, New York. Don't tell, but we would've picked you, too. See you in February, when we can all sweat over whether Fashion Week will overlap with the Grammys. Why does it always come down to music versus fashion? Don't we all deserve to have both?
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