Y’all know how much we love a good rumor, and we were all primed to start one Sunday evening after spotting Australian actress Melissa George clinging to music mogul Russell Simmons in the front row at Tommy Hilfiger. George never let go of his hand the entire time Russell was doing interviews, snuggling up to his right shoulder and shooting sultry looks at the media; indeed, she only released him so that she could take copious cell phone photos of the runway show. We were stunned until Google told us that they’ve been an official couple since the beginning of August. Where have we been? Let’s just assume we were busy reading extremely important stories about economic theory or something, and therefore missed the reveal. It's true that they do both show up at Fashion Week an awful lot, so maybe they fell in love the old-fashioned way: talking about pants.
George was joined by fellow Aussie Abbie Cornish, who laughingly plucked at the stretchy crowd-control barrier blocking off the front row and cracked, “Not much of a rope, is it?” while demonstrating how easily it could be toppled. Fortunately for her, Fashion Week is not entirely a full-contact sport, so all she had to contend with was our tape recorder and the fact that we are about three-feet shorter than she is (“I’m loving heels right now,” she said with a grin). Cornish wore a navy evening gown underneath a three-quarter-length suit-style coat, which she admitted was an unusual combination of menswear and womenswear: “I kind of went wild with it and mixed the two,” she said. “That’s actually what I love about fashion — I have eclectic tastes and it’s nice to be able to have fun with that.” Cornish has been on the publicity trail for Madonna’s directorial epic W.E., and we wondered which was more pressure, sitting in the front row at Fashion Week or showing up to work for the Material Girl. “Definitely working for Madonna,” she chuckled, which we believe, because we would’ve been unable to stand in front of Madge without blurting out something stupid about cone bras. Cornish was otherwise politely tight-lipped about the experience, except to say it was amazing — one of our favorite expressions, in that it is technically noncommittal about whether or not the amazing experience in question was a positive one.
Tommy’s musician son Rich — recently the subject of a New York Observer profile that kind of made us want to punch him — was in the front row, looking like a member of a Cure cover band. André Leon Talley swept in with spur-of-the-moment guest Lorenzo Martone, and apologetically asked the Tommy people to accommodate them (which of course they did, placing them across the aisle from Ally Hilfiger and Tommy’s wife Dee). Corinne Bailey Rae was on hand, wearing perhaps a tad too much makeup but yet another hugely cute dress, this one in brown leather and navy. She sat in a group consisting of Carmelo Anthony, who wasn’t giving interviews (which is a shame, because we wanted to hear all about his red slacks), and models Hanna Ware and Petra Nemcova, the latter of who was in a sheer shirt over a blue bra. Guess you can take the girl out of Victoria’s Secret, but you can’t take Victoria’s Secret out of the girl.
We also bumped into Malin Akerman en route to her seat. We'd been wondering what it was like to be a celeb at a fashion show on September 11. It’s surreal enough to be working the other side of the flashbulbs on a day when a lot of people in the city, and indeed the nation, might prefer to do something more somber; we can’t imagine what it’s like when, in addition to that, people are scrutinizing your outfit and expecting you to produce a coherent sentence. “It does feel weird to be here, somewhat,” said the Rock of Ages actress. “I was ten blocks away that day, with a friend of mine, watching and listening to it all happening. So it brings up a lot of emotion for me. But we have to keep going and moving on — it’s the only choice.” Even our cynical hearts can’t find fault with that.