In Fashion Week, indeed as in life, sometimes the best things happen when the lights go down. Moments before Carolina Herrera’s show began on Monday morning, as the room began to dim, we spotted in the distance a glorious platinum bouffant that looked like someone had shampooed with glue and then rolled her head in the pastry section at a local bakery. It sailed in atop a breastplate of pom-poms and neon green leggings, and only then did we notice the face and realize we’d just been Minaj-ed — and in possibly the least likely venue for it, given Carolina’s classic Upper East Side aesthetic. Maybe they’re working on a wig line together, called Carolina Hairerra. Let’s stat that rumor. And let’s add another one to the pile: Nicki sat in a seat that had been reserved for her right next to Anna Wintour (which makes sense — Anna loves tennis; Nicki’s shirt was made of things that used to hang off the back of tennis socks), and they proceeded to chit-chat like old pals, leaving us with no choice but to daydream about what that Vogue cover might look like. Or, better, how tremendous their Odd Couple sitcom remake would be, with Anna cleaning up after Nicki’s chains of stuffed toys and Nicki trying to teach Anna how to use wig tape. Are you listening, NBC?
By contract, Corinne Bailey Rae was about as low-key as they come, popping out in a slightly baggy olive dress and then claiming her seat in the eighth row. She didn't seem perturbed or even surprised by this development, and in fact gamely introduced herself to the women seated next to her. We spotted an empty front-row seat, so we can only theorize that Bailey Rae is doing research for a new album about what it's like to sit in the nosebleeds, which should be emotionally riveting.
Even the arrival of Renee Zellweger — a Herrera devotee — was relatively tame. She inched out from backstage, met Olivia Munn with a weird motionless handshake that they held for a photo op, as though they were actually at a Middle Eastern peace summit, and then took her seat with the Herrera family without much fuss, wearing the exact same facial expression you envisioned her wearing when you read the words Renee Zellweger just now.
Munn, however, despite her insomnia (“I only get like three or four hours of sleep a night — my mind never shuts off”), was in a chipper mood — doubtless because after the show she was headed backstage to try on dresses and then pick one for the Emmys on Sunday, which sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us. Munn said she hopes this year's awards will be a bit more relaxing for her than last year's were: “I had this gorgeous Zac Posen dress, but right as I was getting ready I had a friend come through and she brought kind of a tornado of drama. Everyone was so flustered that we ended up just throwing my hair in a ponytail and doing almost no makeup,” she recalled. “Which, it’s the Emmys, you know? You want to come fully done. But I was a freshman there last year, and this year, actually I’m still really a freshman, but I know now that I need to take my time.” She paused. “And put the chain on the door.” Words to live by.