"Okay. Can you explain to me what I'm looking at?" a woman asked us at the Alice + Olivia presentation Monday night. She was watching Dylan Lauren, taut former Housewife Bethenny Frankel, and some Hemingway or other wandering through the extremely organized red-carpet press line, and we're not sure if she was wondering who they were — or what the Hemingway's hat was about — or if the whole event itself was a source of bafflement. She should've seen it last season. February's show (in the Sleep No More hotel) was such a hellacious death trap that even a PR girl shuddered and confirmed, with a laugh, that it had been a total mess; this time, the party was at the Pierre and was a totally civilized, lush oasis, chock-full of potted plants and Champagne and oodles of personal space. We never once feared for our lives, nor caught a heel on the artificial turf serving as carpet. The pendulum had better not swing back next February and have us confronting our mortality anew, because we are not allowed to die without knowing what the new royal baby looks like.
Jennifer Morrison continued her recent surge toward Fashion Week omnipresence, with her hair down for the second day in a row since we suggested she try not doing completely insane updos: We just disavowed The Secret this week, but apparently, it is real, and it is spectacular. A Seinfeldian sentiment that might be appreciated by Jerry's wife Jessica, whom we nearly careened into as we were coming out of the bathroom, because we weren't expecting an impromptu photo op to break out at the mouth of the latrine (even if it was one covered in marble). Her bleach-blonde pixie renders her tough to recognize, hence our surprise at seeing her grind to a halt for the flashbulbs — and she showed up right at the end of the presentation, after the red-carpet area had cleared out and all the tripods and were packed up and out the door. We hope she at least got some bubbly.
It was a night of Jessicas, in fact, as the pair from the late 90210 reboot also hit the red carpet. Stroup was in a black bra-top and a long skirt, with red heels, and Lowndes had on a beaded black dress that another random attendee was also wearing, which caused the latter no shortage of timid giggles. We thought we were the only two people who ever watched 90210, grudgingly though it was, but two girls — who admittedly didn't know the actress's name; only her character — blanched and squealed and nearly wept as Lowndes hugged them. If only they knew how great the zip code used to be. If only Shannen Doherty had been there for us to hug.
Chloe Bridges from Pretty Little Liars also made the rounds in some slightly poufy leather pants, and we saw Paris and Nicky Hilton discussing Nicky's upcoming wedding with all the enthusiasm of two teens describing their math homework. Bella Thorne — who caught the Updo Disease from Morrison; hers looked like a small pile of intestines — was telling reporters that she has, in fact, never really been to a proper school, which is why her favorite Halloween costume was the time she went as a bunny. "I wanted to go as the most typical thing possible," she said, "because I didn't have a typical experience." With laser precision, she quickly corrected reporters that she is no longer on the Disney Channel, and is making films now, the next of which to come out should be Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. We heard her give a bracingly honest answer to the question of what hers was: "The day my father died," she said. The reporter who asked her clearly felt so terrible about dredging this up that Thorne reassured her that it's come up a lot, because it's the most common question she gets about the film, due to the title. Hopefully things will lighten up for her when it comes time to do press for Mostly Ghostly 2: Have You Met My Ghoulfriend.
Actress Lyndsy Fonseca — recently of Nikita, and for nine years, the ageless child of Bob Saget's Voice on How I Met Your Mother — attracted an admirer as soon as she left the red carpet. A guy near us freaked out and ran up to her, enveloping her in a huge hug, which she handled super gracefully despite the fact that it was increasingly obvious she didn't actually know the guy. We were about to stage an intervention and pretend to be her closest girlfriends, until we noticed her boyfriend — Noah Bean, himself from Nikita, and also Damages — sidling up and subtly taking her hand. Still, we let her know we had her back. "Thank you," she grinned. "After he hugged me, he admitted we'd never actually met, and I was like, 'Wait a second, you are cheeky.'" Fonseca had on a really cute green Alice + Olivia dress, and talked a bit about the challenges of packing to travel to different events — ComicCon, international junkets, and even Fashion Week. "I have a rule that you always roll," she said. "I know that sounds weird, but always roll your clothes into little tubes. When we were shooting Nikita in Toronto I had to bring so much cold-weather stuff, and rolling it up super tight saved me a ton of room. It's my best trick." She also said that fans still constantly come up to talk to her about the HIMYM finale, and noted that it wasn't as weird as it sounded to be able to flip between her present-day self in a new Nikita and her years-younger self on a new Mother. "I grew up on TV, so I'm always looking at old [The Young and the Restless] footage and going, 'Oh my God, what was I going through? What is with my hair?!?'" she said.
No such regrets from Willow Shields, who wore her hair in a high and tight and long ponytail that she joked she could whip into people. "It's my weapon of choice," she noted. Shields, from the Hunger Games movies — she is Primrose "Not The District 12 Tribute After All" Everdeen — is turning into a real junior pro, because she stayed completely personable even as one guy shot a long video on his iPhone of her responses to a barrage of questions, all of which were about Jennifer Lawrence: what's she like, is she cool, is she wise, what'd she have for breakfast (well, we assume). Shields handled them all with grace, and told a story about how she and Lawrence got obsessed with orange Tic Tacs: "She would put, like, 6 in our hands at a time, and then one time she had about 12 in her mouth when the director called action, and she was like, 'Willow! What do I do? Should I spit them down the stairs?'" (She did, needless to say.) When we complimented Willow on her poise, she grinned, "When I first started doing this, it was crazy to me, but I've gotten more laid back about it and figured out how to open up to people, which makes it much better," she said. Not as easy: all the high heels she's having to wear. "I wore like five different pairs all day recently walking around in New York City, and that was difficult. I'm only 14!" she said. "My feet are doing okay, so far, but I don't know if they're going to survive the entirety of Fashion Week." This one, we two old bags can explain really easily, Willow: Train early and often, and carry a lot of Band-Aids.BEGIN SLIDESHOW