"This place is full of dudes who are under the mistaken impression that they are Chuck Bass," we sniffed Sunday night at Tommy Hilfiger. Then we realized that one of those dudes actually was Chuck Bass. Well, Ed Westwick, technically, but let's not split hairs. After all, they both have a penchant for boating shoes and squinting.
Ed's co-star and girlfriend Jessica Szohr also looked a bit like her Gossip Girl character. She wore a cracked-out pair of brown leather Bermuda shorts and a colorful blazer, which seems exactly like something Vanessa would wear while acting passive-aggressive about how Dan doesn't appreciate her brand-new writing talents, then complaining about how they stick to her thighs in the New York early-autumn heat. Their occasional co-star Sebastian Stan (a.k.a. the ex–Mr. Leighton Meester) completed the CW trifecta — also dressed moderately Bass-ishly, yet relegated to the second row, much the way his tertiary Gossip Girl character shows up to great fanfare and then immediately lands in story line purgatory.
In fairness to Stan, there was no room in this particular front row for tertiary anyone. Initially, the organizers blocked off a chunk of seats, allowing only a catalogue-posh older couple and two emotionless children to sit there, staring blankly out at the room. At first everyone thought they were Hilfiger relatives, but the longer they sat there reacting to nothing but the rising room temperature (they were, after all, wearing wool sportswear), we began to suspect they were models hired to look straight-up Hilfiger and distract the media until the actual celebrities arrived. It worked. As one photographer merrily clicked away, he said, "I don't know who they are, but everyone else is taking their picture, so what the hell!" A subtitle for the unauthorized biography of Fashion Week media if there ever was one.
Moments before the VIP guests arrived from backstage, the model family — or family of models — vanished, and it's a good thing they did, because those kids would've gotten trampled like it was the running of the bulls. With only five minutes slotted to them to get their shots, the photographers were extra-hungry for a good spot in the front of the pack; at one point, the entire scrum surged so hard to the left that we were all bent at a 45-degree angle from where our feet were. We looked up to see Westwick angrily turning around to fend off the mêlée so that Jennifer Lopez could make her way unmolested to the front row. We don't know if he was fully aware he was being J.Lo's knight in Bassian armor, nor that she saw him do it, but in that moment we realized we may never be truly happy until she guest-stars on Gossip Girl as Chuck's dangerous seductress.
Lopez looked fantastic in a short black-and-silver glittery dress and thigh-high Louboutin boots. Her husband, Marc Anthony, was nowhere to be found, so J.Lo filled the void by laughing and whispering with her seatmate Bradley Cooper. We hope she was offering him grooming tips, because Bradley was sporting some distractingly greasy, overlong hair and unflattering scruff. We pray that particular look is for The Hangover 2, which starts filming any day now, because seeing someone so outstandingly hot look so skeevy is disheartening.
Less disheartening — in fact, entirely heartening — was seeing Neil Patrick Harris with husband David Burtka. Both men looked quite dapper (Burtka even sported a bow tie), and Harris seems devoted to remaining thus, as he spent much of the show taking notes and snapping pictures. During breaks from planning his next spring wardrobe, NPH bonded with Christina Hendricks — who seemed totally charmed by the couple, turning around multiple times to talk to Burtka, who was in the second row behind Barney. Er, Doogie. Oh, whatever. Fortunately, Burtka had good company back there: Omarion was just down the way, while Playboy playmate/"actress" Victoria Silvstedt was stuck all the way back in row four.
Kristen Bell, conversely, was in something so short we're not entirely sure what it was — which, in an "if a tree falls in the forest" sense, might mean that her outfit therefore never existed at all. It was a direct contrast to Hendricks — who, it must be said for the ten thousandth time, is totally regular size in person, which makes all the fluttering about her size extra-insane. She was, however, wearing a rather dramatic full-length black dress covered in many a ruffle, some of which we wish she'd loaned to Kristen to even things out a tad. Rumer Willis, sitting next to Tommy's wife, Dee, looked quite possibly her historic best in a blue dress and loose, long hair. Lenny Kravitz, on the other hand, was almost impossible to recognize now that he has buzzed off his traditional dreadlocks (and consistently wears shirts). We also spied Rebecca Romijn, looking beautiful in blue; Kimora Lee Simmons, looking practically restrained in a coral shirt and leather pants; Russell Simmons, looking like Russell Simmons; and Sex and the City actor Jason Lewis, looking as if he brought with him all the hotness that Bradley Cooper left at home.
On the other side of the runway — which was faux-sidewalk set into faux-grass — Anna Wintour sat with Knicks center Amar'e Stoudemire. She is allegedly courting him for a cover, though we wonder if his presence also indicates that U.S. Open non-finalist Roger Federer is that much closer to being dethroned as Anna's favorite athlete arm candy. Regardless, the Vogue editor and the impressively handsome baller chatted extremely amiably throughout the pre-show festivities, to the point where Anna was so cheerful that she actually allowed total randoms to snap pictures of her using their cell phones. If the show had started any later, she might have started posing with people and delivering phone-cam shout-outs to their mothers. We believe that's one of the seven signs of the apocalypse, so keep an eye out for it. The world can't end before Fashion Week does.
See more: Tommy Hilfiger's Spring 2011 Collection