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NEW YORK — If last week’s celebrity scenery at New York Fashion Week was less than starry, blame it on TV.
It seemed everywhere one turned there was someone who is, was or is trying to be on television. The celebrity roster at 7th on Sixth read more like TV Guide than Vanity Fair. Sure, Renée Zellweger, Claire Danes, Kyra Sedgwick and Katie Holmes made cameo appearances at various shows, but this time around the tents provided temporary housing mainly to the likes of Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, Carmen Electra, Paris Hilton (naturally), Tory Spelling, Vivica A. Fox, Lorraine Bracco and Cynthia Nixon.
Even Liza Minnelli, the guest of honor at Marc Bouwer’s show, now appears on “Arrested Development,” while Tommy Hilfiger, who appeared at Jennifer Lopez’s bash of a show Friday night, is working on his own reality TV series, as is Lopez. In fact, her entire show was a reality TV moment being filmed for an MTV program about the making of her fall collection. The swirling camera crew on the runway had the photographers in the pit apoplectic since it kept getting in the way of their shots of the clothes. Remember the clothes?
The draw of the shows just doesn’t seem to be what it used to be. Spelling said she was in town by chance, promoting her latest movie — a Hallmark made-for-TV vehicle. Otherwise, she would have missed Anne Bowen and Baby Phat. Electra had a similar reason, explaining she was in New York shooting “Carmen Electra Under the Tents: A Full Frontal Fashion Special” with Philip Bloch, which aired Thursday on the WE network.
“Who is that?” seemed to be the battle cry for attendees trying to wedge their way past celebrity logjams. “Who cares?” was usually the response from the fashion press.
While security guards swept loiterers from the runway before Carmen Marc Valvo, one man turned to Fern Mallis for some help in getting by the men with the earpieces.
“I need to get to the W [VIP suite] and make some calls before the show. I need you to tell these guys that it’s all right,” the man said, stretching his palm across his chest for emphasis. Mallis attempted to explain politely that the come-and-go policy just didn’t fly at Bryant Park, but the man in the striped shirt insisted she help him out. Not that he’d ever introduced himself.
“Now, tell me again who you are, please,” Mallis said, maintaining her composure.
“I’m Vivica’s publicist,” he said, matter-of-factly.
Oh, of course.
“Missing” star Fox doled out fashion advice to anyone with a tape recorder, pen or mike. “It’s fun,” she said. “I’m going to four shows. You just pick your shows and do it in moderation. Just stretch it out.”
“The Gastineau Girls” were doing just that. Lisa Gastineau’s preshow interviews clogged foot traffic at Bowen’s show. The ex-wife of NFLer Mark Gastineau was there to see her daughter Brittny on the runway and to shoot scenes for their new program, “The Gastineau Girls,” which airs Tuesday on the E! network. There were other reality TV types, too — Donald Trump and his new wife, Melania, at Michael Kors, Stacie Jones Upchurch of “The Apprentice” at Zang Toi and Baby Phat, “America’s Next Top Model” winner Eva Pigford, who walked in Bouwer’s show, and, or course, Carson Kressley of “Queer Eye,” who almost passed unrecognized amid the scrum at Michael Kors, et al.
Stacey Farber, the Goth girl on “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” kept the pesky paparazzi at bay by snapping back with her own camera. “I’m working on my online journal,” she explained.
Even the movie actresses seemed to be switching sides. In Reem Acra’s front row, Sedgwick said she, too, has a new TV show in the works. “The Closer” bows in June, but she stressed she wasn’t browsing the runway for wardrobe tips for her character. “She’s actually a terrible dresser.”
Mariel Hemingway, meanwhile, basked in the limelight at Richard Tyler. Her role as a fashion editor in “Central Park West” never took off, but the actress does star as Maria Shriver in the A&E movie “See Arnold Run.”
Even Jennifer Nicholson, whose father, Jack, is considered Hollywood royalty and created a hubbub when he appeared in his daughter’s front row last season, fell short in the celebrity department this time round. David Blaine, who acted more like a mime than a magician, was the main attraction. Nicholson, though, seemed more excited about her sponsor Coca-Cola than any star wattage. She made sure front-rowers were given long-sleeved T-shirts emblazoned with a design by street artist Shepard Fairey of “Obey the Giant.” Had there not been a Coca-Cola logo on the front, not to mention “Jennifer Nicholson Drinks Coca-Cola” in fine print at the nape of the neck, her fans might have missed the plug.
Shannen Doherty, the Olsen twins, Shannon Elizabeth, and other former and current members of the TV crowd turned out Thursday night at Marquee to celebrate Coke’s new “Make it Real” ad campaign along with Nicholson and Fairey, who has redesigned the brand’s logo.
So why weren’t there more major Hollywood actresses at the tents this time round? Claire Danes, a regular at Narciso Rodriguez and Calvin Klein, said she thought there had been. “I am without an answer,” she said.
But there may be help on the way; after all, Glenn Close is joining the cast of “The Shield.” Tune in next season.