For a split second at Diesel Black Gold's show on Tuesday, we thought we were witnessing on-again, off-again love in action: Starlet Vanessa Hudgens was sauntering backstage alongside a guy who looked disarmingly like her maybe-ex Zac Efron. It turned out to be Gossip Girl's Chace Crawford, but since we've long thought of him as a chip off the old Zac — due to their shared artful coifs and penchant for squinting into middle distance in photographs — maybe we'll just start a rumor that Vanessa is filling the void with Efron 2.0. We did spy her telling Chace an animated story before the show started, but thanks to the unusually and inappropriately handsy PR people who were forcefully shoving reporters around, we couldn't get close enough to hear whether or not Chace and Vanessa were trading digits or just swapping tips on hair products.
Hudgens wore a cute purple leather minidress, capped with a cascade of tangled curls. "She should thank her retoucher big time," sniffed an unimpressed spectator near us. While we wouldn't go that far, we do think she could dial down the makeup: Hudgens wore an inordinate amount of foundation on her face (curious, since she's a spokesperson for Neutrogena), and smudged eyeliner so smoky she could well have done it with coal instead of kohl. If the kid is in the habit of wearing that much spackle at 22, we're concerned that by the time she's 30 she'll be so buried in it that she won't be able to hold her head upright anymore.
Paz de la Huerta was suffering from the same affliction, pairing her tiny black leather minidress with a few pounds of bronzer and brown lipstick (as opposed to her usual crimson). But in her case, we were heartened — by and large, Paz looked way more in control of her faculties than we've ever seen her. Maybe there's a code: When the lips are brown, her crazy is down, but when they're wicked red, then she's out of her head. Easy to remember. Next to her, Petra Nemcova was bright-eyed and beaming, and down the way was a very chipper Keri Hilson, fresh from the Grammys and sporting an awesomely huge necklace. "I'm still wearing my Grammy nails!" she squealed, tapping her manicure as seatmade Wyclef Jean smiled at her. Wyclef skipped the show last season for undetermined reasons. Maybe this time around, he just couldn't resist checking out what was happening with Hudgens and her new Efron. Stars: They really are just like us.