The jam-packed front row at Nanette Lepore's show Wednesday morning was in direct contrast to the one we experienced two hours earlier at Yigal Azrouel, where the marquee seats were totally celebrity-free until approximately fifteen seconds before the show started — at which pointed Vanessa Hudgens was hustled out from backstage and posed for pictures only briefly before the show started. Girl, how about a quote? Even Kanye is at least giving out hugs.
Conversely, when we walked into Nanette, the place was already hopping. Her show is traditionally packed with family and friends, famous and otherwise, which always makes it feel like a cozy affair. Right off, we spied actress Aida Turturro, who must be a Lepore pal because she both sat with Nanette's family and got a front-of-house visit before the show from Lepore herself (who, by the way, seemed entirely too calm to be minutes away from showing a collection — we may need the number of her acupuncturist). When a reporter complimented Aida on her outfit, she waved her red puffer jacket and cheered, "The best part is the coat! It's from Marshall's!" We desperately wished we could take her to lunch afterward — if only because you know she must have the best Sopranos stories.
Turturro posed for fan photos alongside former MTV VJ Karen Duffy, who took in the show wearing a fedora and crazy clogs, as if she were some sort of mob nurse. We also spied Mad Men star John Slattery (with his real-life wife, Talia Balsam, who confusingly plays his ex-wife on the show), who told the press that his kids go to school with Nanette's. John looked like the silver fox that he is in glasses and a newsboy cap, graciously introducing his wife to all. Their seatmates were: Boardwalk Empire's Kelly MacDonald, looking lovely and low-key in red lipstick; Lili Taylor, looking exhausted in no lipstick at all, and chawing her gum so vigorously that we could tell you what color it was (white); Royal Pains' Reshma Shetty, sporting a dress so short that she had to place her hands in her lap at all times to keep from flashing everyone; and Patricia Clarkson sporting a lovely black dress, although it did seem a tad too Cocktail for the early hour. Then again, if someone had offered us an 11 a.m. Bloody Mary, we would have taken it greedily, so maybe that dress had the right idea after all.
Kelly Rutherford also seemed like she was ready for a cocktail, arriving slightly out of breath and in full makeup with her hair pulled into a bun — so Lily Van Der Woodsen, in fact, that we wondered if she'd come straight from the Gossip Girl set after a morning of work. Rutherford spent the whole show wrapped in a brown wool coat, which makes sense because when she arrived we heard her lament to her new co-star Kaylee DeFer that she was freezing — at which point DeFer tried to rub Rutherford's arms for warmth. DeFer is soon making her debut on Gossip Girl as Lily's niece, and the actresses had a similar familial vibe here — although DeFer should take under advisement that Lily Van Der Woodsen always ruins everything, so if life imitates art, Rutherford might soon try to pay off and/or falsely imprison one of her mentors and then force her into rehab.
DeFer herself was too smart to give us any Gossip Girl spoilers — like, whether Vanessa is lost on a rogue B train that will never stop anywhere ever again — but she did confirm our suspicions that the wardrobe trailer is an awesome place to frolic. "It really is the ultimate closet to walk into. It's my favorite part of the show," Kaylee confirmed. "That place is ADD overload for me. All the walls are covered in the jewelry, so it's shiny everywhere, and there's all these beautiful shoes and bags. I feel like a little girl in heaven." Sigh. If we never realize our dream of "accidentally" getting locked overnight in the Saks shoe floor, barricading ourselves inside that room would be our second pick.
But the weirdest part of our day was the Tale of the Vanishing Huffington. Before the show, we could swear we saw Arianna — ash-blond, looking very tailored and polished — sitting in the front row. Ten minutes later, another reporter also spotted her, so we know Arianna wasn’t a mere figment of our imagination and yet, when the show started, she had mysteriously disappeared from her seat, and the PR girls working the venue claimed she had never been there in the first place. It would be very unusual if Fashion Week Fatigue Syndrome was causing us all to hallucinate Lady HuffPo in various places, but since we didn't see her storm off in a Huffington — or vanishing in a Puffington of smoke — then we have no choice but to assume that, in fact, we've gone completely insane. All we can do is beg our psyches to let us start hallucinating George Clooney instead. Thanks in advance.