Oscar Week Dispatch: Women in Film Cocktail Party
Gwyneth Paltrow hosted a pre-Oscar toast for Hollywood’s leading women, and young ladies.
February 29, 2012
Gwyneth Paltrow and Blythe Danner
Closing off Hollywood Boulevard to build the behemoth red carpet for the Academy Awards doesn't help traffic during Tinseltown’s biggest week. The stars have to wake up pretty early in the morning if they want to dodge the delays, get their hair blown out, and make it to their fêtes on time.
Friday before the Oscars, Dispatches set out early and managed to catch the Women in Film pre-Oscar cocktail party, hosted by Gwyneth Paltrow at Cecconi's (formerly known as Mortons) in West Hollywood.
The restaurant used to serve steak and had big art by Ed Ruscha, and it was the home of the Vanity Fair Oscar afterparty for years. The present incarnation has marble floors and a wood-burning oven. Homey chichi.
Paltrow's mother, Blythe Danner had on a crushed velvet number designed by Hanna Hartnell, who is a family friend. Danner wore keepsake jewels that her late husband, Bruce Paltrow, had bought her from Georg Jensen. "I thought I'd beat the traffic," she said of her schlep from Santa Monica. "I told Gwyneth not to come that way."
Apparently, Paltrow is second cousins with former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, whose husband, Mark Kelly, joined them. Danner took Kelly by the arm and spent the evening with him, showing him around the dinner party like one should do for an out-of-towner. As she left a little early, she asked a tony reporter from Glamour magazine to continue taking Kelly around.
The Help’s Viola Davis, wore a purple wrap dress by Max Mara, who co-sponsored the event along with Perrier-Jouët and M.A.C. Davis brought her sister Delores, who sounds remarkably like Viola when she talks. Delores's eyeshadow exactly matched the shade of Viola's dress. "It really is exciting, the build-up, all the events that lead up to the Oscars," Delores told Dispatches. "I am a drama teacher in Central Falls, Rhode Island. It's the stage where [Viola] got her start. That's where we grew up," she added. When Dispatches asked Viola if her new short hair was for a role, she answered, "No, it's for life. I've found my voice, my comfort level, and I'm so excited to see where it takes me."
Octavia Spencer had on a lemon-lime Tadashi Shoji. When I asked Allison Janney, who starred alongside Spencer in The Help, if she knew that she was wearing the same designer as Spencer, she answered, “Of course. She’s my best friend.”
Loretta Devine, meanwhile, said she found her suit at Forever 21, and it looked expensive. She was perfectly well suited the event, so good for her.
On the younger end of the spectrum of women in film, The Descendents actress Shailene Woodley attended with the party with her mom (who is a schoolteacher) and wore a polka dot blouse paired with violet slacks. Selena Gomez, sans beau Justin Bieber, wore a short cocktail dress with a plunging sweetheart neckline and said she mostly wears swimsuits and short shorts in Spring Break, her next film, also starring James Franco. In case you're wondering, Franco does not play a spring breaker in the flick, per se.
Oscar Week Dispatch: The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon
Lunch with the ladies of The Help, dinner with the mayor, and a late-night round of dominoes with young Hollywood.
February 27, 2012
|Viola Davis and Constance White|
Thursday, dateline Beverly Hills.
At the tony pink Beverly Hills Hotel, after a smooth, winding ride amid verdant palm fond and fragrant floral vines, a young valet in a polo shirt and running shoes asks for the keys to my car.
Dispatches was attending Essence magazine’s fifth annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, where Kerry Washington (vanguard award), Paula Patton (shining star award), and Octavia Spencer (breakthrough performance), among others, were being honored. Constance White, who used to write about fashion at The New York Times and is now crossing the one year mark as editor in chief at Essence, was the afternoon’s unofficial host.
With its frenetically animated red carpet, the meaningful luncheon is always one of the most warm and welcoming events of Oscar week. And, of course, with The Help being a strong Academy Award contender, all eyes were on Viola Davis, who flaunted short red hair and wore a form-fitting dress by Victoria Beckham. (Said form appears slightly less curvy than it was during her last Oscar run.)
Octavia Spencer indicated that she was dieting but taking it one day at a time, one meal at a time. She mentioned that she hadn't been considering Sunday’s Oscars, but that when she did, she had a "freak-out moment" the night before.
Paula Patton, who wore Marchesa, apparently shares the same trainer as Davis and said that she's rooting for Spencer and Davis, "because I know their journey," she said. Still, Midnight in Paris was the film that spoke to her this year.
Salim Akil, director of Sparkle, spoke to Dispatches about Whitney Houston's performance in his film, which he is currently editing. "Her fans will be the judge of what it means and how it will stand up over time. But she gave a fabulous performance.” Jordin Sparks, who co-starred in the film with Houston, also attended but declined to chat with print media.
Dennis Haysbert, just back from filming in the jungles of Puerto Rico, swam 50 laps to bolster his physique and impress the head-turning ladies at the luncheon.
A Night for Nominees
Later that night, The Hollywood Reporter hosted an Oscar Nominees' Night at the residence of LA mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa. The bucolic stone house—restored by Ann Getty as a gift to the city—is one of hundreds in the historically 1920s-grand Hancock Park neighborhood.
"We filmed in Hancock Park," noted The Artist’s Penelope Ann Miller, who had an I Dream of Jeannie blonde ponytail and explained that the area was once peopled by studio bigs. "You're right by Paramount. You're in studioland," she said.
Max Von Sydow, 82, mentioned to Dispatches that he resides in France. "I was very moved by the script when I read it," he said of Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close. And no, he didn't manage to save anything from the set of The Seventh Seal.
|Kathy Hilton and Kim Richards|
Amara Miller, the little girl from The Descendants, said that after one scene, George Clooney (known prankster) threw himself on the floor and pretended his back had gone out.
On the subject of the Mayor Villaraigosa as host, Piers Morgan correctly noted, "He always has the best food at this party." Indeed, there were three different types of caviar on bellini. And Dispatches went back twice to the espresso bar. A youthful and bright Kathy Hilton, there with husband Rick, introduced sister Kim, of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, to the mayor, who had asked to meet her. Hilton also found time to squash a rumor that members of the press aren’t her real friends, citing this writer as “a real friend.” A thank you goes out to her for that kind aside.
Midnight in Paris leading man Owen Wilson made me feel terrific, because he has a small pot belly—but that didn't stop the gals from swarming. It was one of those clear, crisp nights in an elegantly appointed garden, tented on one side. And I really didn't want to leave.
But at the Sunset Tower in West Hollywood, where the Vanity Fair Oscar fête takes place, Bovet 1822 was hosting the fifth annual Hollywood Domino Gala and Tournament, benefiting Artists for Peace and Justice.
The back end of the party by the pool overlooked a sparkling view of LA and had a fun open-air photo booth, where guests could don a fake mustache and be green-screened next to the Eiffel Tower.
Dispatches spotted Ben Stiller and Jon Hamm busting a move. I also saw Rachael Leigh Cook, Laura Prepon, LeAnn Rimes, Ali Larter, and Zachary Levi, but none of them actually stayed long enough for the gaming to begin. The truth is, while the Domino Gala is fun, young Hollywood barely has the attention span to play a game and it often begins in the wee hours.
While waiting for my car, I ran into Moby, who mentioned that he'd moved to California. He said he works at home, avoiding the traffic situation, which can be daunting.
photographs by Frederick M. Brown/gettyimages.com (Davis, White); KEVIN MAZUR/gettyimages.com (Hilton, Richards)
Oscar Week Dispatch: Global Green’s Pre-Oscar Party
Celebrities like Emmy Rossum and Maggie Grace donned eco-friendly threads for Wednesday’s Global Green USA bash.
February 24, 2012
This morning I ate breakfast at The Fountain Coffee Room in the basement of The Beverly Hills Hotel. Julian Schnabel said hello from across the counter. We've bonded on the red carpet, and at a lunch for Blue Velvet last year. He really does have a charming way about him. When Denise, a waitress who has worked there for 14 years, asked him if he wanted anything else, he said, "To marry you."
After he took off, I suggested that the next time he offered to marry her, she ask him to draw a sketch of her on a napkin. And then, whiIe I was waiting for my car, Sandra Lee, Andrew Cuomo's gal pal, walked up in flats and smooched me. She told me she's co-hosting Elton John's fête on Sunday. You can always tell how beautiful a beauty is when you run into her in the daylight. Lee looked sensational, even in flip-flops. Although, I kind of had no idea who she was for a second.
On Wednesday night I attended the Ninth Annual Pre-Oscar Global Green USA Party at Avalon in West Hollywood. Avalon is a great old nightclub that must have had a hundred lives over the years. It has hanging plants in the upstairs VIP area, where I ran into Adrian Grenier, who mentioned that "water is the biggest issue" for him. "It's over 70-percent of the planet's surface." Didn't we pick that up in elementary school? Kat Graham of Vampire Diaries caught our eye with her green eyeshadow.
Oh, and the latest model of the Chevy Volt was parked on the green Astroturf carpet. The Volt was plugged in and, frankly, looked quite sleek. Perfect for the Hamptons.
Emmy Rossum and Maggie Grace both wore eco-friendly gowns designed by Oliver Tolentino, who uses pineapple fiber and hemp to make his dresses. Rossum's was a pineapple-lemon shade, and Grace's was light peach. Yum. Grace mentioned that her sexy gown had a silk lining but was biodegradable.
And Julia Jones, of Twilight fame, was wearing vintage Carolina Herrera. She was shooting in Montana and found a store run by a country club-type who was selling all of her old Armani and Herrera. If buying vintage, a kind of recycling, means I'm green, I'm in. When is the next bus to Great Falls, Montana? Or should we cycle to recycle?
By the way, the Chevy Volt can travel 379 miles on a charge at up to 50 mph, sort of. There was also a fun $55,000 Xenon electric bike. I've attended this party for nearly nine years, and every year it is nutty fun.
I overheard a hunky Global Green board member mention that he'd just been to the arctic and that it was in "terrible condition." One thing’s for sure, if we all wear clothes made out of pineapples and drive cars that run on electricity, no one can point the finger at us come the next Ice Age.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALLEN BEREZOVSKY; COURTESY OF GETTYIMAGES.COM
Dispatch: The DGA and SAG Awards Weekend
Palm trees, panty lines, the rise of The Artist and the Brangelina show.
February 01, 2012
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at the SAG Awards
Years ago, when Dispatches was staying at a big hotel on Sunset Boulevard during Oscar week, my hotel pool was being used for a party, and the front desk sent me to a tiny boutique hotel off Santa Monica to swim in the pool on their jewel rooftop. The small hotel sits beside a picturesque traffic circle with a fountain in the center and loads of tropical flowers. Charm notwithstanding, the then aging dive had seen better days. No surprise it was eventually sold, given a hip makeover and steep new room rates. I haven’t stayed there in years. So when a travel agent suggested a special price at the Chamberlain, I grabbed the chance to stay there.
It was also, of course, heaven to trade Manhattan’s 30-degree temperatures for sunny West Hollywood. Welcome to Dispatches’ tony SAG Awards weekend.
Directors Guild of America Awards
Arriving at the Chamberlain, I was dismayed to find that the hotel had gone so upscale: Draperies now covered the walls of the valet area, which used to be self park. I checked in, ran upstairs, threw on my tux and zipped over to the Grand Ballroom at Kodak Theatre, where, at the last minute, I was invited to a friend's table to watch the Directors Guild Awards.
Kelsey Grammer, who was hosting, told me he wasn’t planning to rip apart the room full of penguins as Ricky Gervais had done at the Golden Globes. “I don’t have any ax to grind,” he said. “I’m not a comedian.”
He correctly described his act as being “simple and charming . . . a couple of jokes and we’re out.” Phew. So how did he prep for the big day? He played catch with his kids and then took them to Le Pain Quotidien for breakfast. (Has anyone else noticed that Le Pain Quotidien now has locations on practically every corner in the free world?)
I also met Nick Krause, the kid who plays Shailene Woodley’s friend (a.k.a. the preppy dolt who gets punched) in The Descendants. He claims that the sun turned his hair a little lighter for the film: "I was out in the Hawaiian sun all the time, and it has that effect,” he said. Nice work if you can get it. The film’s director, Alexander Payne, told us he listened to a lot of ukulele tracks while on the Big Island.
Sir Ben Kingsley’s wife, Lady Daniela Kingsley, is more than a head taller than him—and so lovely. Sir Ben is apparently a fabulous chef and Lady Daniela mentioned she’s into his guinea fowl.
Peter Fonda wasn’t up for an award, but said he was completely freaked out by the traffic on the way over. Nick Nolte, who has gained much weight, said that his driver got lost and wanted to drop him off next to the fake Marilyn in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Nolte wasn’t having it.
And director Michel Hazanavicius, who won the big award for The Artist (starring his wife Bérénice Bejo), said he didn’t have a distributor when they shot the film in Los Angeles with the mainly American cast. Bejo was dressed for the '20s and offered, in a delightful Gallic lilt, “Of course, it’s Michel’s award." Man, is that movie cute.
Screen Actors Guild Awards
On an exceedingly sunny Sunday, The SAG Awards took place at the Shrine Auditorium, a huge white wedding cake of a building sat beside USC. The neighborhood is filled with moldy frat houses but then also soon flooded with limos and stars.
In New York, onlookers are generally too busy to actually stop and act like fans. But in Los Angeles, they build bleachers for the screaming masses that line the quarter-mile red carpet that hugs the Shrine. Brad and Angelina inevitably worked the fans’ side of the red carpet, the far side, where the shrieking folks who actually buy tickets to their films sit.
An aging Dick Van Dyke, who was there to say a few kind words about Mary Tyler Moore, spotted “Brangelina” and hurried over, thinking they would pause to shake his hand. No such luck; they didn’t even turn his way. Instead, he was glad-handed by their stylist.
30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden was sporting a sweet, smallish diamond (reportedly $30K). “That’s the ring,” she told Dispatches, holding out a band with a relatively modest stone. She then pointed out her small but hunky fiancé, Ben Jorgensen, of the band Armor for Sleep. Ashlee Simpson, who had short, cropped blonde hair, was with her new man, Boardwalk Empire actor Vincent Piazza. She had on a dress by Jenny Packham, as did Angelina, by the way.
An overzealous press woman at the end of the carpet found out what Angelina was wearing and ran down the red plush yelling to reporters "Jenny Beckham!" Oops. And, wow, did Angelina have a lot of tats on view in that dress, loads of script and a biggie showing where the dress was cut low in back. She’s like a curvy billboard in person.
Nominated for her role as Margaret Thatcher, Meryl Streep did the royal wave to the bleacher-bound as she beelined down the center of the carpet without chatting.
Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland recalled the moment at the Golden Globes when her vintage Dolce & Gabbana dress began to disintegrate before Dispatches eyes. She had stood demurely on the carpet while her handlers sewed her back into the gown. “It was interesting,” she said. “I was upset, because, of course, it has to happen to me, but I was fine." She did, however, take issue with publicists and passersby who tried to snap photos of her wardrobe malfunction. "If you want a picture, ask me. But when you're just trying to sneak it…”
Of course, we now know that The Artist is one of the year’s very biggest films. When James Cromwell was cast in the smaller role of the chauffer, he didn’t balk. “I started my career playing a chauffeur,” he told Dispatches on the red carpet. “But I was surprised that the film got made, and more surprised when I saw it. Michel did it more than right; he made a work of art."
|"I always wear underwear," exclaimed Sofia Vergara to the press backstage at the SAG Awards|
Moving from the red carpet to backstage, where the stars address the press following a win, Steve Buscemi broke up a fight between the little twin boys from Boardwalk Empire. One of them was grandstanding—doing some dance moves—and ended up smacking his brother in the head. It is so rare that kid actors actually act like kids that it was almost refreshing, minus the Lord of the Flies overtones.
As Sofia Vergara stepped up to the podium, she also stepped on the hem of her Marchesa dress and nearly toppled as she took the mic to talk about the big Modern Family win. “I always wear underwear,” Vergara said of her bikini briefs that were in no way showing. “It’s just that they’re very tiny. You could say there is almost no underwear, but there is always underwear. It’s under there,” she said.
The cast of The Help warmed everyone’s hearts as they discussed their real-life roles as advocates against racism—Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer defended playing maids in the film. Cicely Tyson called Davis and Spencer’s dual SAG award wins a “historic moment.” It didn’t surprise Tyson that Davis and Spencer both won, however. “What surprised me was that they were both black,” she said. “That’s unusual.”
But the man who really charmed the press backstage was The Artist 's Jean Dujardin. When the topic of his Academy Award race came up, he began dancing with a big smile rather than speaking. And then, when one reporter asked if he would be proud to be the first Frenchman ever to win an Oscar—the last six SAG winners for best actor went on to win Academy Awards—he began singing "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem. He has as much personality in person as he does onscreen.
Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin, who won for his role on 30 Rock, dredged up his now famed American airlines incident by admitting that he’s “still playing words with friends.”
“But now on Virgin Atlantic,” he added.
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: Angels Unite
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was—as expected—a sexy spectacle.
November 11, 2011
A little slice of heaven came to earth at the Lexington Avenue Armory last night as Victoria’s Secret Angels took to the runway for the 2011 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Fourteen dancers in tights and tutus took to the shimmering catwalk to open the show’s first theme: “Ballet.” They parted ways so Candice Swanepoel could take to the stage, her stunning wings fluttering with each bouncy step.
Lily Aldridge emerged shortly after rocking “the lightest wings ever,” she told us backstage before the show. “They’re like paper.” Then it was Alessandra Ambrosio’s turn. The Brazilian bombshell drew hearts in the air before pirouetting mid-runway, her impossibly high heels kicking up a spray of glitter.
Next theme? “Super Angels,” with each of the girls clad in thigh-high boots and billowing capes. Kanye West performed, and told the crowd at the beginning of his set, “In 2007 I was supposed to perform this song. But I lost my superhero. Now she’s my super Angel.” The beat picked up and the strains of “Stronger” grew louder as he strutted down the runway in a varsity jacket with colorful sleeves and leather pants that easily could’ve been tights.
“That was just a classic,” West said at song’s end. “But before I get outta here, I gotta get my big brother out here to help me with the new shit.” The opening dialog from “N****s in Paris” began and Jay-Z emerged. He joined West in the middle of the runway and the duo worked it hard. The crowd put their diamonds up (per Jay’s request), and at the end of the song he looked at West and laughed. “We here. We might as well walk it.” The two rappers, grinning widely, did their best supermodel vamp to the end of the runway.
During the “Passions” portion of the show, Doutzen Kroes showed off her favorite look. “I’m just in a bra and panties with a huge pair of wings that have a train that’s about eight feet long,” the Dutch model told us. Next came “Angels Aquatic” and a performance by Maroon 5. During their song “Moves Like Jagger,” lead crooner Adam Levine held hands with his girlfriend (Angel Anne V), who walked down and kissed him on the cheek when she stopped to pose for the cameras.
Finally it was time for “Club Pink” and Nicki Minaj. There were so many glowing hues onstage it looked like the neon section of a Crayola box had exploded. As she sang “Super Bass,” Angels wearing glowing neon wings wove their way through Minaj’s backup dancers. Then the angels took to the stage for their final bows as balloons and confetti fell from the ceiling, marking the close of a fantastic show.
photographs by gettyimages.com
Women’s Health Fashion Show and Luncheon Kick-Off Coffee Reception
October 14, 2011
On Wednesday, October 12th Mount Sinai hosted a coffee reception to kick off the Women’s Health Fashion Show and Luncheon at Hearst’s Designer Vision apartments on the Upper East Side. The inaugural Women’s Health Fashion Show and Luncheon is being held on Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 583 Park Avenue, featuring Naeem Khan’s 2012 Spring Collection. Both Michael Brodman, MD, Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science, and Mary Ann McLaughlin, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, Medical Director, Cardiac Health Program spoke about the importance of funding research specific to women’s health. Among the attendees were event co-chairs Rebecca Brightman, MD, Vanessa Cornell, Lynn S. Friedman, MD, Michele Kleier, Sabrina Kleier-Morgenstern and Sarah Lane.
The Gordon Parks Awards
The Gordon Parks foundation annual charity dinner honored Karl Lagerfeld, Spike Lee and Arianna Huffington – among others.
October 05, 2011
The Gordon Parks Foundation annual charity dinner at Gotham Hall honored Arianna Huffington, Karl Lagerfeld, Spike Lee, Sir Ken Robinson and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff for being creative visionaries in their respective fields. The evening also included a live and silent auction featuring photographs by Gordon Parks, Andy Warhol and Bruce Weber, and performances by Rufus Wainwright and Blue Man Group. Legendary supermodel Iman served as mistress of ceremonies for the event.
77kids NYC Style Lab
77kids, American Eagle's kids fashion line, lands in Times Square.
September 30, 2011
American Eagle’s kids fashion line, 77kids, opened its Times Square location on July 20. Gossip Girl stars Kelly Rutherford (joined by her mother, Ann Edwards) and Matthew Settle (with his daughter Aven Angelica) stopped by to shop the store, which features a Become a Rock Star photo booth, automated denim production display and interactive touch screens where kids can deejay for the store and “try on” virtual outfits.
Dispatches: Fashion Week Roundup
Jeffrey Slonim navigated a harried Fashion Week and lived to re-tell the tale.
September 20, 2011
FROM LEFT: Mandy Moore, Julianne Hough and Rose McGowan at the Monique Lhuillier show
In the wee hours of Saturday, September 10, police taped off Sixth Avenue after they had discovered something that required investigation. (NYC has experienced plague after plague lately… maybe the Mayans did know the score.) The weekday Manhattan traffic let up a bit on Saturday morning despite the checkpoints, and Dispatches made Jill Stuart’s show at The Stage—as did Chris Humphries, who recently married Kim Kardashian, and Scott Disick, Mr. Khloé Kardashian.
Stuart showed palm-tree prints and light, bright colors (lemon, peach, orange) along with some sheerness and quilting. Emma Roberts, in the front row, added star power. Prabal Gurung’s show downtown took place at noon at Lincoln Center. I made it in time to catch up with Nicky Minaj in the front row. She wore a pink wig and a blue one-shouldered swimsuit top (à la Betty Rubble) and looked like Gaga. She sat next to Amanda Seyfried and then Barbara Bush (the younger). Gurung’s collection was one of the best of the season: bright patterns with sheer panels and cutouts, leather S&M detailing, distinct art fabrics—gorgeous.
At Pier 57 Helmut Lang showed in a warehouse the size of a small municipality. The show started off white, then added gray and shots of color. (Rose McGowan’s lips were bright pink, by the way.) She told Dispatches she wanted to run up and steal clothes right off the runway.
Adam by Adam Lippes opened with a wall of moss. He had a few Sgt. Pepper jackets, a polka-dot cape and bright piping—pink in this case. The clothes have a put-together uptown look. Christian Siriano huge, fun dresses in very bright colors. (Every so often they looked cheap—they likely aren’t.) The sweep of one lemon skirt with a train caused trouble. The finale was an ice cream headache of color.
Backstage at Charlotte Ronson, Kelly Osbourne wore her hair in a demure upsweep. Ronson did some beautiful sheers and knits and I loved the crescendos of color—especially on one sheer dress that went bright orange at the hem. Monique Lhuillier did some nice splash prints. One model struggled with the length of her gown, tripping early and then going down hard at the end of the runway. She didn’t return for the finale. Mandy Moore was done up to the nines in the front row. Eddie Cibrian was all over LeAnn Rimes.
Mariska Hargitay, Susan Sarandon and Eva Amurri at the Lela Rose show
Fashion Week can be a killer. But Dispatches slept in on Sunday morning in honor of the 9/11 anniversary. I still managed to make Lela Rose. The front row included Mariska Hargitay, Susan Sarandon and Eva Amurri. Sarandon mentioned to Hargitay that she and Amurri would wear Rose to Amurri’s wedding. (The poured-paint look, by the way, is definitely a thing this season.) It was a pretty collection with pops of orange and yellow and a splash of purple on pants.
California modernism inspired Derek Lam. He showed sheer blouses, a yellow leather skirt and some piqué. The colors were summery and light, like an idealized vision of Palm Springs. Knits are big this season, and Lam did them superbly. No one mentioned to Dispatches ahead of time that Gwen Stefani wouldn’t show at L.A.M.B that afternoon. She had to work on an album. The collection was a catalogue of cool-girl duds: plaid capri pants that matched jackets and shiny hot pants shown with a thin sweater.
Simon Spurr showed his collection at Milk Studios that evening. He is known for giving classics a twist, and he trotted out details like leather sleeves on a trench. And mesh. And a military jacket with big gold buttons.
Backstage at Tommy Hilfiger, Abbie Cornish looked stellar in a full-length double-breasted gray coat. Malin Akerman wore tweed, and Petra Nemcova arrived with her new man (a Brit actor). Hilfiger hit his prep collection out of the park with bright stripes, and his Warhol-inspired camouflage prints brought one back to 1980s Stephen Sprouse. Timo Weiland resurrected the tube top later that night mixing sheer with an orange, flocked print. Big plastic flowers served as jewelry. A long pleated skirt with lots of arty color stopped the show. The designers, Alan Eckstein and Timo Weiland, looked as if they should have a show on the Disney channel.
Donna Karan opened the week with pounding African drums. Her front row included Rose McGowan, Molly Sims (who wore a giant plastic necklace) and Wyclef Jean (who Karan smooched on her way down the runway at the end of the show). Jean mentioned that he and Karan have been spending time in Haiti, where she manufactures items for her Casual Luxe line, which previewed before the show. Karan introduced brown to eveningwear. Big, architectural necklaces made a statement. Prints went tribal. The models wore long ponytails that whipped as they walked, conjuring up The Lion King. Karan delivered on native glam.
Rachel Zoe presented her spring collection at a penthouse in the Fashion District. The models all had Zoe-like hair and wore clothes that Zoe would look great in: pantsuits and long, flowing column dresses. She isn’t considered an uber-stylist for nothing. Chris Benz presented Palm Springs on acid on the second floor at Avery Fisher Hall. Kelly Osbourne had big blonde hair. McGowan mentioned that since our last encounter at Donna Karan, wearing heels had resulted in a stress fracture in her toe. Ouch. It made me sad that Eva Amurri hadn’t chosen Benz, her close buddy, for her wedding dress, but the collection was a bit bright and arty for nuptials. He did do a killer green jacket and a heavenly swirling art print.
The Alice + Olivia presentation took place in the High Line Studio near 14th Street, complete with birdcages and bright colors. (One faux bird was attached to designer Stacy Bendet’s head—loved that.) Fans who stopped by included Nicky Hilton, who said that she first bought Bendet’s signature jeans while they were both still in high school. A + O’s black-and-white, vertical-striped bell-bottoms brought one back to 1969.
Kelly Osbourne and Michelle Trachtenberg at the Marchesa show
Backstage at Diesel Gold, Gerard Butler showed up in a snug green Diesel T-shirt. He said he had buffed up for a surfing picture, but he needed muscle to fight off one beautiful female Italian journalist who came on strong. Pier 94 is a giant warehouse left over from the days of steam vessels. Butler was in the back near a VIP holding area. He was about to duck inside when the curvy journalist buttonholed him. An elderly guard grabbed Butler’s arm and tried to drag him into the VIP area, but Butler shook free. “Don’t touch me, man,” he shouted.“I’m sorry. I know he’s just doing his job,” he told the hottie. “But sometimes they forget we’re people.” Butler and the Italian locked eyes as he entertained question after question, including, “What do you think of Italian girls?”
On his way into the show, the same journalist jumped in again. Bulter gave her a smooch on both cheeks and a hug and answered more questions. He said that his very first fashion show was the week of 9/11 and that he was no fashion virgin.
Fifteen minutes later Dispatches managed to make it backstage at Herve Leger. Hung star Thomas Jane mentioned to Dispatches that since the show hit, dudes (both straight and gay) have been staring at his crotch (not moi). Janina Gavankar of True Blood couldn’t have looked curvier in her Leger bandage dress. She walked Dispatches to the front of house and, before we stepped out to face the throngs of paparazzi, asked sweetly, “Anything else?”
The show included loads of metallic gold and silver dresses and tall boots with tight straps. All the gals, including Ashlee Simpson, raved about the way these gowns push and pull a lady like Spanx.
When Herve Leger let out, there were only minutes to spare before the Marchesa show at the Plaza Hotel. I got a cab at 58th Street but had to jump out and run. The show was in progress when I got to a corner of Palm Court so I watched through the fronds. The dresses were huge confections of tulle, some accented with glittering silver. Men in suits on the stairs assisted the ladies as they descended into the sea of gold ballroom chairs. I spotted Emma Roberts and Michelle Trachtenberg. Kelly Osbourne told me that she also had to sprint to make the show. Out front, paparazzi on the stairs created a gauntlet as stars funneled out into an impromptu mob of cheering New Yorkers.
Michael Douglas, Rosie Huntington-Whitely and Zoe Saldana at the Michael Kors show
Michael Kors, 10 AM: Courtney Love wore a black suit and told me that she had gotten up two hours early because she is a “bitch” for about 40 minutes in the morning. Love her. Also spotted Michael Douglas, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (who dates Jason Stratham) and Zoe Saldana. Like Donna Karan, Kors also did an Africa-inspired collection but he went safari chic. “I got a kick out of it,” said Douglas, who mentioned he had visited Africa more than once. Kors showed zebra prints and snakeskin.
Nanette Lepore also rarely misses. This season she brought fluorescents to the runway and bright stripes and patterns that fit her hip, retro vibe. Sam Bisbee and his band opened the show live—an unexpected treat. Arianna Huffington, in a Lepore suit, said that both she and her daughter find clothes by Lepore. Fun show.
At Milk Studios, Jeremy Scott gave out the best gift bag as usual: A Longchamp carryon designed by Scott with a yellow-and-orange post card printed on one side that read GREETINGS FROM PARADISE. He showed chaps with several male and one female model’s ass cheeks hanging out. One of the dudes had a hairy back end and the gal was no ass model. That said, the cactus prints and sweaters were delightful. One model with big pink hair came down the runway packing pink gun holsters.
3.1 Philip Lim, on the other hand, was sublimely subtle. Lim is an artist when it comes to gentle draping. Fabrics hang in quiet forms as if they were folded and stitched and possibly never snipped. Each piece has a quiet brilliance.
No cabs again, but eventually Dispatches made his way to Gant by Michael Bastian. Bastian gave the inexpensive collection prep style. Colorful cocktails were served in the outdoor space at The Park, the club on Tenth Avenue. The designer did fun seersucker and rolled-up pink pants.
Anna Sui usually seats me so far back from her collection I can barely see the clothes, but I confirmed online that her patchwork prints are as delightful as Sofia Coppola tells me they are. A heart-print dress matched heart-print socks. The stripes were dreamy.
At 9 PM on far West 22nd Street, Dispatches caught “The Blondes,” a show sponsored by Playboy. Friends have raved about this show for ages, and the club kids in the audience didn’t disappoint. Kat Graham from The Vampire Diaries had a three-tiered coif. Black chopsticks poked out of Susanne Bartsch’s bustier. Kenny Kenny’s giant left nipple showed. One of the designers, in full blond drag, walked in the show. But the clothes looked like parade wear. The last set of looks were fancy Playboy Bunny costumes. But it all left one with a yen for edgy fashion, not just camp.
Dakota Fanning and Sofia Coppola
The last day of Fashion Week is often quiet and anticlimactic. But this season the big guns—and not just Calvin—saved up for the finale. Dispatches was thrilled to step out of his morning shower and find an e-mail saying that the Calvin Klein women’s show would start 30 minutes late. Phew. The front row included David Walliams and his gal pal Lara Stone—the “face, mind, and body” of Calvin Klein, according to Walliams, who played Mueller, the tall Swiss gent in Dinner for Schmucks. I also spotted Uma Thurman, Naomi Watts and Ashley Greene, who agreed that the extra half-hour was bliss.
Designer Francisco Costa offered up one for the house this time, presenting a subdued, minimalist collection. The sheer tan, cream and black-and-white bespoke easy elegance. Wispy models wore little jackets and big skirts or column dresses that were elegantly tailored, adding longevity to an already classic line without injecting Costa’s id or ego. Fashion editors seemed to delight in the dreamy, creamy ease.
Naeem Khan opened his show with a knockout floral-print caftan dress. He alternated silver-embellished black dresses with yellow and prints. The best looks were supremely elegant with sexy beading. The last few dresses, one silver with flounce on the bottom, another sheer white with a glimmering belt, were masterful.
The Marc Jacobs show at the Armory on Lexington later that day required showing up an hour early and standing in the rain. Panic arose when an announcement was made saying that the show was about to start. Sofia Coppola had just reached Dakota Fanning in the front row. A gold curtain flew open, revealing 45 girls frozen in poses on bent wooden chairs. The score by Philip Glass for Einstein on the Beach blared. Two models at a time walked the runway, a long stage of polished floorboards.
The first dresses and skirts appeared to be clear, and there were beautifully fitted coats and skirts to go with them. Layered plastic skirts were paired with cloth coats. An emerald-green clear skirt showed with a gray top. The models appeared to be a cross between flappers and Amy Winehouse. The show ran so fast it was almost impossible to take in, but the fashionistas still roared with adulation.
End of season.
photographs by gettyimages.com
Bang Bang At Tribeca Film
The film The Bang Bang Club tackles a somber subject that its cast won’t soon forget.
April 22, 2011
Ryan Phillippe and Taylor Kitsch at the premiere of The Bang Bang Club at the Tribeca Film Festival
The first feature film to be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival was an emotionally moving one. The Bang Bang Club is based on a true story of four photojournalists who were instrumental in capturing shocking yet vital images of the heinous violence that occured during the Apartheid in South Africa in the early ’90s. The gravitas of the film set a mostly somber tone for the night as the cast discussed the process of getting into characters that were constantly under fire from the very subjects they were covering.
Ryan Phillippe, who plays the main role of Greg Marinovich, told reporters he became involved in the project after watching “a documentary about James Nachtwey, a Time magazine combat photog [who worked combat zones in the South African townships], and there was something about watching him work and realizing that without him being there certain stories would never be told and certain issues would never come to light. It’s a powerful thing.”
Taylor Kitsch of Friday Night Lights fame, who played Kevin Carter, noted one of the harder parts of the role was nailing the accent. “The South African accent is a hard one,” he explained. “There are so many different dialects, like Afrikaans. It’s a tough go. For me personally, [my character] Kevin is very emotional, so I’d rather reach the emotional standpoint and just work on the accent between takes.”
Malin Akerman, who plays a photo editor, said researching the role touched her. “The woman I play is still in South Africa,” Akerman told us, “and it was during a really difficult time during Apartheid. There were a lot of massacres and I think the challenge she faced was really to stay focused on the job at hand. You see these images that are so brutal, and to be able to stomach that and plow through it and make sure the right message gets out to the world is a hard one.”
Marinovich On Life In the Field
Marinovich, who won a Pulitzer Prize for an iconic shot of a man in flames, also made an appearance. He was quick to mention that he has given up war correspondence after being shot three times and blown up once, and told us it is impossible to be ready for a job where death is real possibility.
“How do you prepare for situations such as this? You really don’t,” he said with a grin. “You have to be prepared that anything can happen and… you just try to survive.” When asked what his most recent dangerous experience was, the South African photog laughed and pointed behind him. “I almost just tripped on the red carpet there,” he said.
During an audience Q&A with director Steven Silver and the cast, tidbits were revealed, including the fact that the actors shot real film during the scenes in the movie. The movie was shot on the very streets where the most violent action occurred, and the director didn’t know how to pronounce his own actors’ names. After welcoming Phillippe on stage, the actor borrowed the microphone to let everyone know, “Uh, you just said my name wrong. But it’s okay.”
The two were later arm-in-arm at the Cinema Society and American Express-sponsored after party, so we assume they made up.
photograph courtesy of getty images