Everything about Fashion Rocks was high gloss. There was Rihanna sitting atop a yellow sports car, belting out her summer smash, “S.O.S.,” surrounded by a slew of prima ballerinas. There was Christina Aguilera in a sailor outfit doing “Candyman,” a Motown-esque big-band number. There was Fonzworth Bentley‘s high-impact dance routine to his upcoming single “Shock Therapy.” (In case you don’t know who he is, he’s the singing-rapper who got his start as the umbrella holder for Diddy.) And, of course, there was Beyoncé, who shook her thang to “Deja Vu” in a teeny-tiny banana skirt, in a kind of sop to Josephine Baker.
And what better song to do than that, since the title pretty much summed up the very well-attended, very well-choreographed and interminably long benefit concert held by Condé Nast Publications Inc. on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall to raise funds for the Elton John Aids Foundation.
First, there was the timing: “Just one week after the MTV Music awards,” one attendee pointed out.
Not to mention that it was held at the same location with a number of performers — Beyoncé, Aguilera, Fergie — who not only appeared at both shows but seemed to be competing with one another yet again for who could have the most dancers, the most high-tech production and the wittiest update of a real diva moment (or several) that had occurred within the last century or so.
“I feel like we’re in a time where the uniqueness and the personality of rock ‘n’ roll has been lost,” said Donna Karan, who was one of the few famous people (along with Jared Leto and Jimmy Fallon) to actually make it to the after party, held in a tented area in Rockefeller Center. “I couldn’t tell one person from another, and everybody seems to be taking their act from someone else.”
In walked Fergie, wearing a sexy metallic sheath. Where does she get her style inspiration from?
This story first appeared in the September 9, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Well, Madonna, of course,” she said.
She pointed to the thick pair of gold hoop earrings she was wearing. “Salt-N-Pepa,” she said with a nod.
“And the women from En Vogue,” she continued. “You can probably see that in the dress.”
Where’s the dress from?
“It’s vintage Gucci,” she said. “My stylist bought it for me.”
On the opposite coast, the evening before, the always-rocking Juicy Girls swapped Watermill, N.Y., and their fragrance launch party for Beverly Hills and a high tea in honor of Burberry’s Christopher Bailey, in town on business. “You know, I am not really a Hamptons girl, I’m a Valley girl,” said Pam Skaist-Levy, whose stone manse and terraced rose garden were the setting for the tea, including cucumber sandwiches and mini scones. “I adore Los Angeles,” said Bailey, who met the duo at the Met’s “AngloMania” ball in the spring, adding, “Of course I could never live in this heat all year long, but I love dipping into other cultures. It’s good to get out of your regular environment.” But, really, whose regular environment includes Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Brittany Murphy, Mischa Barton and Jacinda Barrett at one’s table? Blair, on a break from shooting “The Feast of Love” with Greg Kinnear, mused, “Tea is such a civilized ritual.” “Yeah,” added Jacqui Getty, “and the scones are the best part!”