Scene at New York Fashion Week: Spring 2009 Edition I

In past seasons of New York Fashion Week, Meniscus has run round-ups of the celebrity sightings, strange events and other happenings in a “Scene at the Tents” piece. This time, we’re breaking up our findings into two articles: one on the stars and another on the scene/VIP suites. Our experiences for the former didn’t disappoint, and here is a partial show-by-show breakdown of who we saw and who we wished we didn’t see, Nigel Barker clones aside…

Be EcoChic: The fashion show was arranged to kowtow to the environment, but the environment at the show itself was, in a word, diverse. “Entourage” actor Adrien Grenier made a backstage visit after the show, and it was a shame that he didn’t take the catwalk like his fellow Planet Green “Alter Eco” hosts Angela Lindvall, Darren Moore and Boise Thomas all did. Also in the audience and backstage was Chevy Chase, whose wife Jayni – founder of the Center for Environmental Education – modeled an organic cotton denim ball gown in the show. And then there were Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen, the “social climbers” who appeared in the inaugural season of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City.” Not sure what their ties to environmental causes are, although Alex’s father was a petroleum engineer. The couple’s family Web site states that they “try to never be out, no matter how many invitations we receive, more than two times each week and never on consecutive nights,” but the very next evening they were at the Tents taking in the Academy of Art University student fashion show.

Charlotte Ronson: The paps and photogs were tripping over themselves at Charlotte’s first-ever show at the Tents to get pictures of her sister Sam and Sam’s BFF, Lindsay Lohan. They also went loco for model Annabelle Dexter-Jones, who is the half-sister of the Ronson siblings, and daughter of socialite Ann and Foreigner guitarist Mick.

Gottex: Just prior to the start of the show, I and others waiting to get into The Tent watched in astonishment as a diminutive older woman pushed past us to get a seat. That woman was none other than Dr. Ruth Westheimer, otherwise known as Dr. Ruth. Given her vocation, it’s not surprising that she is a fan of the avant-garde swimwear line, as she’s been spotted at Gottex’s show in the past…

Ports 1961: Swarms of Asian photographers rushed to photograph one front-row A-list actress and singer: Hong Kong star Gigi Leung. Leung, who is no stranger to New York Fashion Week having attended Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2005 show, was seated between Brandy and raspy crooner Bryan Adams, an odd choice until you consider the label’s theme of all-things Canada this season. Speaking of which, one of our photographers had trouble getting in backstage to shoot due to the swarm of television crews trying to film The Cowboy Junkies, who were reportedly already performing.

Reem Acra: Their “America’s Next Top Model” colleague Nigel Barker was shockingly nowhere to be found, so J. Alexander (a.k.a. “Miss J”) and Jay Manuel took the front-row honors instead. Manuel wore a jacket with a skull design on the back, a black pleated skirt and knee-high boots. We’re sorry that we don’t have photographic evidence of this. Then again, perhaps it’s for the best.

Rosa Chá: Notable personalities at the Brazilian swimwear show included Miss USA Crystle Stewart and Miss Teen USA Stevi Perry, who gave joint television interviews before the show, and actress Zoe Saldana. (And, of course, Nigel Barker, who was also seen at Verrier and the Academy of Art University.)

Tracy Reese: Brandy sat a few seats away from violinist Miri Ben Ari and right next to a lineup that included actresses Bijou Phillips, Sanaa Lathan, Ana Ortiz, Malin Ackerman and Emma Roberts (Julia’s niece).

Also spotted: Jill Hennessy at Nicole Miller; Heatherette’s Richie Rich at Herve Leger by Max Azria; Stephanie Seymour, Rachel Zoe and a slew of actresses – check out the photo gallery below – at Diane von Furstenberg; Gavin DeGraw, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and Laura Bell Bundy (Elle Woods in Broadway’s “Legally Blonde”) at Milly by Michelle Smith; Lochte and Sofia Coppola at Anna Sui; Eric Benet at the Tents; and Serena Williams, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Claire Danes at Zac Posen. I need a drink.

And, between the Tracy Reese and Terexov shows: A mob of journalists and curious onlookers crowded in front of the M&M’s sponsor booth inside the Tents. Unlike the original chocolates that promised to “melt in your mouth, not in your hand,” the five new premium flavors – including mint chocolate and raspberry almond – sadly don’t comply with their ancestors. I’m sure most didn’t care about this fact, though, because they were waiting for Eva Longoria Parker to make a surprise appearance to promote the new chocolates at the booth.

Bibs Teh and Kwai Chan contributed to this report.

Photo Gallery