NEW YORK — “I will never walk in a fashion show again,” a Roberto Cavalli-clad Rose McGowan said after hitting the runway for The Heart Truth Thursday night at Hammerstein Ballroom.
The actress wasn’t the only red-dress-wearing celebrity to have a slipup or two on the catwalk — Minka Kelly lost a shoe but recovered nicely in her sequined Diane von Furstenberg dress. Even a pro like Christie Brinkley nearly wiped out when her chiffon Pamella Roland gown got caught on her four-inch heel. “That was so close — you don’t even know,” she said. Apparently unaware that there would be a finale, Brinkley said, “What? We have to go out there again?”
Judging by the clap-happy crowd that welcomed each VIP as soon as she stepped on the runway, no one seemed to mind any of the stumbles or wayward shoes. One of the catwalkers, “The Millionaire Matchmaker” Patti Stanger, did notice something was definitely lacking. “I don’t know why straight men don’t come to fashion week. This is a straight man’s Mecca,” she said.
Wearing the slinky size 2 gown her friend Marc Bouwer promised to make if she reached her goal weight, Stanger was besieged backstage for dating advice. “Everyone wants to know what to do on Valentine’s Day,” she said. “Go out. All the single men aren’t sitting around at home. Drink. I’ll let you break my two-drink rule.” (Spoiler alert: She will launch her new makeup line on the show next season.)
The daughter of a private label dressmaker, Stanger grew up in New York and worked for years in a showroom selling Union Bay and JouJou Jeans, “This place made me. I really believe if you can survive in the Garment Center, you can survive anywhere.”
Elisabeth Röhm also had an inside tie to the neighborhood. As a Sarah Lawrence student, she wrote “a fan letter” to Nicole Miller asking the designer to dress her once she became an actress. Miller picked up the phone and called her and has been dressing her for the red carpet ever since. Like many of the bold-faced names on the runway, Röhm had a new project to talk about — her next movie, “Transit,” debuts in April. Rebecca Romijn, who led the show in Marchesa, will play Gabrielle Union’s best friend in Tyler Perry’s “Good Deeds,” due out Feb. 24. McGowan flies to New Orleans next week to shoot her first short. She fell for The Big Easy after filming John La Tier’s adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
Jennifer Nettles, Aisha Tyler and Jenna Elfman held their own on the runway wearing David Meister, Badgley Mischka and Alberta Ferretti, respectively. There were also a few rookies including Linda Evans, Cindi Leive and La La Anthony. Chaka Khan may have been new to the scene but she certainly knows how to wow a crowd. Once a stylist finished spraying a blinding amount of hair spray, Khan was asked to name her favorite current performer. “Gloria Estefan. She represents in every way, as far as she will let us in, in such a beautiful way — her music, her life, her charities.” (Estefan was on the runway in Narciso Rodriguez.)
As for how Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and other younger musicians have made fashion such an integral part of what they do, Khan sounded less than impressed: “Listen, I’m old school. My mother used to buy my costumes at the corner store. I have no fashion sense. I only know what feels good on me.”