We witnessed two camera-people very nearly come to blows at the Tommy Hilfiger show on Sunday night as they jostled for position in front of Wyclef Jean (who looked quite dapper in a dove-grey suit paired with perfectly matching kicks). As they shoved each other's lenses out of the way, a reporter next to us sighed, "Everyone wants to see Wyclef." Especially, we suspect, the organizers of the Grammys, who might have wondered why they lost out to a fashion show.
They probably weren't as worried about missing out on the rest of the folks who choose clothes over gramophones: Sure, Rose Byrne is pretty, but it's not like she was ever going to be talked into singing something for the Grammy crowd. The very thin Rose whose new heavy bangs are considerably cuter in person than they are in photographs was in trousers and a high-necked patterned blouse that evoked a flight attendant from the days when they were called stewardesses, and bright red patent-leather pumps. "I feel very relaxed and myself in this sort of thing," she said. "I really like the understated look." She had no advice about staying fashionable in winter weather, however: "I don't! I just bought a puffy coat. I gave up." Don't feel bad, Rose. Fashion is pain, but frostbite really hurts.
Byrne sat next to formal-shorts-clad actress Bella Heathcote, best known for being on the Australian soap opera Neighbours. An old friend from back home? Makes as much sense as the theory that maybe Tommy is a huge fan of foreign soaps, although we couldn't blame him. Petra Nemcova whom a photographer identified as "Petra Marmalade" wore a slicked-back bun with her white suit jacket and lacy skirt. "It's a bit of a different look for me," she told a camera crew. But it worked on her, certainly much better than the white satin pants and matching blazer that fellow front-row denizen Olivia Palermo wore. With that reddish blouse underneath, she looked like a cross between Fantasy Island and Leisure Suit Larry. Russell Simmons sat near Wyclef, rocking out to the Joni Mitchell disco remix. And, sitting across from them, we are pretty sure we heard former US Weekly/Star editor-in-chief Bonnie Fuller asking Nina Garcia how she lost all her baby weight. Nina demurred and said that she hadn't but she looked pretty svelte to us. Maybe she just didn't want to end up on Bonnie's new website under the heading, "Editor's Baby Diet Pain."
Amar'e Stoudemire towered over them all, arriving from backstage with a beaming and proud-looking Hamish Bowles of Vogue (whose mustache we miss). Amar'e sported a navy cardigan, bright (and possibly also patent) turquoise kicks that were almost as shiny as his diamond studs, and large specs. PR reps forcibly ended a camera crew's interview with him after the reporter went on and on about Amar'e's injured toe, general unstoppability, overall awesomeness, potent badassitude, and whatever else huge Knicks fans want to tell him (although we did not hear him ask when the hell Carmelo Anthony is finally coming to town). Amar'e took it in stride before then taking his seat at the right hand of the queen, Anna Wintour.
Last to enter the venue was Rosario Dawson, glowing in blue sequins and apparently very sweet, as we heard her give a shout-out to her grandma. After the show she got a little emotional answering questions about a recent charitable journey to the Congo on behalf of the organization City of Joy, which aims to empower the nation's women. "I was sad, scared, moved basically, I felt everything I thought I would feel, but in unexpected ways," she said. "The story in Africa is not always about HIV and AIDS. It's also about women and fashion and glory and power and beauty and art. I'm still wrapping my brain around what I saw." Then, in a weird swerve, a reporter from the Brazilian magazine Trifatto asked her to pose with her hand up and three fingers pointing downward. "I feel like I’m throwing a gang sign here!" Rosario laughed, gamely playing along. "I don't know if this is east side, west side I hope I’m not offending anyone right now." Well, certainly not your grandma, and that's really what counts.