Scene at the New York Fashion Week Tents – Fall 2009 edition

The ever-crumbling economy. A week of fashion shows pushed back, smack against the Oscars. More predictions of reduced star wattage – and not just because of the cold weather (see previous stated reasons). An announced move of New York Fashion Week, as of 2010, from the central location of Bryant Park to the Lincoln Center West Side space that is…Damrosch Park.

But “Chic must go on!,” as IMG declared on its buttons distributed to fashion fiends at the Tents. And that it did. Despite the doom and gloom, there was still some star power to be had, both in person and product…

Stars at the shows: At the William Rast show, Paris Hilton checked text messages and shared lots of laughs with sister Nicky as they took in cowboy-meets-biker inspired pieces from the brand partially fronted by Justin Timberlake. Also in that same front row: MTV VJ Damien Fahey, French Vogue’s Carine Roitfeld, a smiling (!) Vogue editrix Anna Wintour and her daughter Bee Shaffer, and Miss J. Miss USA Crystle Stewart and Olympic gold medal swimmer Ryan Lochte eyed colorful threads at Custo Barcelona, and Kimora Lee Simmons – who chatted with Bethenny Frankel of the “Real Housewives of New York City” – and Djimon Hounsou watched one of Simmons’ Baby Phat designs make its way down the catwalk at the Barbie Runway Show.

Stars at the Bryant Park Hotel: Publicists fussed over, took pictures of and lavished gifts on Khloe Kardashian at the Sephora/Nintendo DS Lounge; she later admitted to feeling overwhelmed by the attention and flash bulbs after being up since 4 a.m. that day. (Kardashian was also asked to pose for pictures holding Spanx products, even though she wasn’t in that actual lounge when the shots were taken and the products didn’t belong to her.) Just before that, at the hotel’s entrance, Kiefer Sutherland, aka Jack Bauer of “24,” was again held hostage – this time for real by two camera-wielding male fans while he was on his way into Koi for a lunchtime appointment. A hotel employee had to step in to put an end to the proceedings, but Sutherland graciously posed for multiple pictures with the fans before heading into the restaurant.

 

Best sponsor booth at the Tents: Sustenance may be slim at Fashion Week, but this season there was no reason to die of thirst. In addition to the returning Chambord and Glaceau Smartwater, McDonald’s flexed its giant corporate arm with its McCafe offerings. The surprise wasn’t so much the fact that the golden arches were present as it was that the drinks were actually…good. Hot chocolate, iced mochas and coffee were just a few of the beverages available to thirsty fashionistas.

Worst sponsor booth at the Tents: Traditionally known for its customization of sandals for guests, the Havaianas folks abruptly struck out this year. With no male models constructing sandals this time, a “spin the wheel” contest was available during limited hours, with the grand prize being a pair of sandals or a bag, and consolations consisting of small bundles of candy fastened by a miniature sandal keychain. The grabs for that same wheel a couple of seasons ago? A daily grand prize of Business Class airline tickets on Continental, with other prizes including bottles of Rioja wine, sandals and dresses. Not much of a consolation this time around.

Did you mention Spanx earlier?: Jessica Alba might as well be the company’s unofficial brand ambassador with the amount of praise that she bestows upon Spanx when it comes to her form-fitting red carpet looks. That’s because creator Sara Blakely and the Spanx team have basically come up with every single type of slimming underwear imaginable without the dreaded results of noticeable elastic bands or stifled blood circulation. The best part? With such soft material, the bodyshaping undergarments are actually comfortable. At Fashion Week, Spanx unveiled its Fall 2009 offerings, which included Patterned Tight-End Tights, a Bra-lelljuah! Demi Gentle Lift Front Closure Bra, and a Slim Cognito Shape-Suit. With products for expecting mothers already in the portfolio, metrosexuals had better get their wallets ready as Spanx plans a line for men down the road. For more information, go to www.spanx.com.

Video: The Hilton sisters check out the William Rast show
video by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine