It's always nice to open our Fashion Week with BCBG Max Azria, whose front row is perennially well stocked with famous faces. And Thursday morning in the tents, BCBG stepped it up by giving us the gift of the only woman ever to be nominated for a Golden Globe for playing a recession-humbled massage therapist who becomes a coke whore: Jennifer Love Hewitt. Looking pretty in a low-cut dress with her hair long, light brown, and free of bangs, Hewitt — and her tan and her trademark false eyelashes — emerged from backstage alongside her robustly coiffed boyfriend, Alex Beh. The surrounding press scrum was so thick that a photographer sniffed, "Oh, HELL no," before going off in search of someone else. We did manage to spy J Lo Hew brandishing a pack of dessert-flavored Extra gum and keeping a hand on Beh's knee — he was seated behind her — while talking to reporters. But, alas, when we were finally next in line to chat with her, the guards cleared the runway, so our probing questions about her recent work with Betty White (or her unrecent work on Party of Five) will have to go unanswered. For now: Here's hoping she pops up at some of BCBG designer Max Azria's other shows this week so we can do our nosy duties properly.
During the show, Hewitt was chatty with Taraji P. Henson, who seemed perky and friendly, if perhaps like she was courting frostbite in her short sleeveless frock. Gossip Girl newbie Tika Sumpter took several fan photos — maybe they were One Life to Live groupies, since she also did some time in Llanview — and down the way were Katrina Bowden and Lynn Collins of X-Men Origins: Wolverine (which we just randomly saw on cable; is Max plugged into our DVR habits?), who looked like she needed an extra shot of espresso in her latte this morning. Royal Pains actress Jill Flint needed no such jolt. Sporting a tight stretchy patterned turtleneck — of a piece with some of what came down the runway, but dark — under a drapey black toga-like dress, girlfriend was doing some serious faux model mugging for the cameras, in way that we've decided was ironic. At least, we hope so. Either way, she might be well advised to tone it down a notch: One of the photographers next to us found it very, very hard to believe that she wasn't a fame-hungry reality-show star, no matter what we told him.
At the end of the row, Ashanti, snuggled up next to a comparatively subdued Garcelle Beauvais, was having the grandest time of all. She gave a lengthy interview about the album she's working on — look for influences from Stevie Wonder to Mary J Blige — and at one point we overheard her telling a story about bronzer which was apparently hilarious, because everyone within proper earshot (so, not us) totally cracked up at the end of it. Ashanti's whimsical mood extended even to her feet: Massimo Dogana's F U shoes, open-toed pumps with one heel bearing a giant decal of a woman flipping the bird. We like to imagine her hiking up her leg and waving her right ankle at people all over town who mildly wrong her. Someone stole her cab? Ankle. Did her sandwich come with unwanted mayo? Ankle. Guy on the subway attempts to cop a feel? ANKLE. Hey, the Internet claims those shoes cost more than a grand, so she might as well really get her money's worth.