It was business as usual at Fashion Rocks Thursday evening, as musicians and celebrity presenters came together to tape the CBS special to accompany the Conde Nast Media Group magazine supplement.
During the show, Jennifer Lopez’s set mimicked the red carpet outside, rimming it with dancers posing as paparazzi, and host Jeremy Piven, star of a show about the concentric apparatus of celebrity, was an apt choice. Still, the performers faced both cameras and an audience of advertisers and magazine executives that were, for the most part, less enthused than their usual crowd. (Tyra Banks as a presenter drew real excitement, as did the duet between Usher and Mary J. Blige.)
As always, the real scene during the show was at the lobby bar, to which the cocktail drinkers fled during taping breaks, many declining entirely to return to their seats. The mob scene lining up for the elevators to the Rainbow Room for the afterparty seemed unaccustomed to being crushed and implored by staff not to push. “Horrible,” and “Ridiculous,” they muttered into cell phones and to each other. In the VIP section, action centered on a corner haven where hip hop superstars like LL Cool J, Ludacris (“he’s wearing Etro, head to toe,” said a matronly handler), Blige, and Usher mingled with moguls like Benny Medina, Steve Stout, and Lyor Cohen.
Many stopped to wish Usher well on his recent wedding to Tameka Foster, also at the party. On the other side of the room, singer Josh Groban said he’d gone shopping earlier that day with his assistant, who doubles as a stylist. “Being in the music industry, I’ve had to learn about fashion,” he said. The result: Rock and Republic Jeans, G Star jacket and vest, shoes from Costume National.
Nicole Richie was also a last minute addition; she came and left the after-party before any photographers could catch her. (She did do red carpet, in an open-backed Empire waist dress).
Mary J. Blige gushed about her guest appearance on “Entourage” – in scenes with Piven. “That’s my man,” she said. “He’s so organically funny. I think I made a real friend.” Clad in Catherine Malandrino, she said she’ll hit the designer’s show but will cut her fashion week short to get to the MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas.
Carrie Underwood, also in Malandrino, could barely express her enthusiasm for fashion week before getting whisked off or more photos. “They had all these cute boys for me to take pictures with – what could I do?” she said apologetically.