By and large, the best place to get the real scoop at Fashion Week is in the trenches — by which we mean, the media tumult that surrounds every front row. Photographers and reporters, who are often tired and frustrated, do not pull punches with each other, and will sometimes mutter about which celebrity is secretly totally rude, or which "celebrity" acts like she doesn't need the air quotes around that word. So it's a good sign for Ashlee Simpson that we heard only lovely things whispered about her at BCBG on Friday morning. "She's so nice," one incredulous reporter said. "Oh, I know, she's always nice," another one averred. And she did seem to be: Simpson, who was so punctual that she was inside before most of the media, smiled every time she spoke. We're doubly impressed because Ashlee mentioned her son, Bronx, usually gets up around 7 a.m., so if she's this pleasant on harried-mom levels of sleep, she's probably Mother Teresa if she gets twelve hours.
Although maybe weariness poked through a bit: Ashlee, looking relaxed in jeans and a BCBG leather jacket — "I'm a throw-it-on kind of girl," she said — did give a couple of sound bites that have already been going around this week, like about how much she loves skinny jeans ("And they're SO cute on the baby") and how soft her sister's denim line is, something we read in The Daily about five minutes before entering the BCBG venue. She also mentioned she was stopping at the show before skipping town to go to Texas; that she's currently working on a new album with no deadline; and that she and Pete aren't planning to procreate again anytime soon, shrugging, "Life happens when it's supposed to." Apparently, at that exact moment, life was supposed to lob Ashlee the suddenly popular question about her favorite candy, which we'd heard tossed at Katrina Bowden yesterday at Christian Siriano. (Is Giant Piles of Candy Monthly covering the tents this year?) Simpson appeared surprised for a second, but then picked candy corn: "It's nice and seasonal I'm not a chocolate person, but I do have a sweet tooth, so my dentist hates me." If the grateful media throng is to be believed, he's about the only one.
Child of Destiny Kelly Rowland squeezed past looking awfully like she's shorn her hair into a blond-streaked asymmetrical version of that short cut Rihanna debuted a few Fashion Weeks ago. Coca Rocha sat down the way — which has us torn: We enjoy seeing her up close, but lament not getting to do it while she's stomping down a runway in shoes that defy physics — and cozied up to British model Poppy Delevigne. Next to them, Katrina Bowden rubbed elbows with Mad Men and Community star Alison Brie, who looked very pretty in a retro lilac dress, although we suspect she'd look pretty in a retro puce turban as well. "And who are they?" asked a lady next to me, pointing to two dark-haired girls. "Oh, that's the band The Veronicas," we replied. "Ooooh, I know them! I've seen them on the TV! They do that birth-control ad!" she clapped. While we're sure The Veronicas would prefer that not be the way they're recognized in public, the Internet tells us one of their songs, "Goodbye to You," is in an ad for the pill. Congratulations, Yaz enthusiast: You beat us on that one.
And then there was gymnast Nastia Liukin, sitting quietly down the end of the row. We're not sure why people don't swarm her more — when did kicking the collective ass of the world's gymnasts in Beijing become less awesome than having Pete Wentz's baby? So we decided we'd go say hi. And she was totally charming even though our conversation got interrupted by about four photographers who took our cue and decided they needed full-length pics of her. Apparently Nastia is just in town for a few days before heading back home to train for a gymnastics and ice-skating tour she's starting in October with fellow Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek. (This sports combo made our inner 12-year-olds — and outer [age redacted]-year-olds — squeal silently with glee.) However, our decision to talk to Nastia was so whim-based that, regrettably, we forgot to ask the vital questions, like whether she sleeps with her medal under her pillow or around her neck (we would), or if she enjoyed making a cameo — and having her name dropped every two seconds — on the gymnastics soap Make It Or Break It. We are terrible, terrible people. But we did at least prod about whether we'll ever see her compete again, what with the London Olympics looming. "If I had to decide now, I'd probably say I'd give it a try," she grinned. "But around the end of the year I'll decide. I don't want to rush it." Okay, we'll hold off on printing our "Nastia 2012" shirts just a bit longer.
See more: BCBG Max Azria's Spring 2011 Collection