Fashion Week officially starts today, but this year's Red Dress show — an annual event meant to raise awareness about heart disease in women and what's being done to prevent it — broke in the largest runway venue in Lincoln Center last night, with front-row personalities like Real Housewives of New York LuAnn de Lesseps and Sonja Morgan ready to fight for their own photo ops in addition to awareness. "You've got Johnny Weir and all of Bravo right down there," an already beleaguered headset-wearing show organizer told a photographer whose befuddlement didn't bode well for the rest of his fashion week shooting. The pre–Fashion Week mood was generally high, though; reporters happily chatted about how Matthew McConaughey — whose girlfriend, Camilla Alves, walked in the show — was said to have enjoyed perhaps a bit too much of wine sponsor Kim Crawford's spoils. But it's early yet.
Each modelebrity walked to a different track, and the resulting soundtrack was a fist-pump-worthy compilation of any song that's ever been overplayed on the radio over the last three decades. This made it hard to tell at times if the audience was cheering for the music, the celebrity, or just the fact that they (and many non-fashion people attend this one) were at Fashion Week. Some of the celebrities, like Julianne Hough, Linda Gray, and Suzanne Somers, were more natural on the runway than others. Some, like Audrina Patridge and Denise Richards, looked as though locked in a struggle to decide whether to vamp like a real model or smile like a pageant queen. Audrina, awkwardly shuffling in her tight, sparkly floor-length Badgley Mischka gown, ultimately decided to put her hands in the air, a move popularized by Victoria's Secret Fashion Show models.
When Patti LaBelle walked out it was clear the audience was clapping for her. She glided smoothly across the runway as though she was riding a canoe, or perhaps flying, which she probably could have done in her dress since it had wings. Ann Curry was another crowd-pleaser, throwing her head back and laughing as she made her way onto the runway in a Carmen Marc Valvo gown and twirling and vamping when she made it to the end. But what was so funny? Nothing, actually. She told her fellow anchors on the Today show this morning, giving off a bashful vibe when they randomly played the footage of her between "news" segments, that she had to do some runway training. "All they were saying to us is, 'That all you got?'" she defended herself, thereby explaining so much! (The morning's broadcast would later include a story about a new study suggesting that daily consumption of diet sodas can increase the chance of "vascular incidents" like heart attack or stroke by 61 percent. Last night's fashion show was sponsored by Diet Coke.)
But the Red Dress show, side-stepping the plague of pretension, is one of the most fun all year, the halftime to the main event that unites everyone in a smile. It's flashy, it's fun, it's loud, it's awkward, and it's, frankly, a little drunk. Which can only mean: IT'S FASHION WEEK!!!!