ALL IN THE MIX: Per usual, MaxAzria drew a rather eclectic assortment of celebs to the front row of its BCBG show Friday afternoon. Christina Millian joined Joss Stone, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Ana Ortiz, the latter three still reeling from their own turns on the catwalk earlier that morning in the Red Dress Heart Truth show. “It was so thrilling, it was like a narcotic. I’m surprised they could get us off the runway,” enthused the newly wed Ortiz of her moment in the spotlight. It certainly gave her a changed perspective for the BCBG show. “I have a newfound support for models.”
While she may have been feeling pangs of empathy for them, Tyson Beckford, the co-host of Bravo’s “Make Me a Supermodel,” was more concerned with avoiding the paparazzi. “I’m here to support Max Azria. I wanted to meet him backstage but it was too crowded,” explained Beckford. “So I was like ‘Oh, forget it — maybe later.'”
G-STAR STAR: Designers picking celebrities as runway models is hardly a new phenomenon, but the latest rumor making the fashion rounds may still come as a bit of a surprise to some. Dennis Hopper is said to be making a special appearance on the G-Star runway on Tuesday. The capacity in which the actor and photographer will make a special appearance remains unclear, but common sense would have him sport looks from the brand’s fall collection.
EARLY-BIRD SPECIAL: As usual, the first official day of February’s fashion week got off to an early start. Ecco Domani hosted its annual breakfast to toast the winemaker’s 2008 Fashion Foundation winners. Foundation winners Elise Overland; Alexander Wang; Réyes’ José Ramón Reyes; Lyell’s Emma Fletcher; Wayne’s Wayne D. Lee; Subversive’s Justin Giunta, and Loden Dager’s Alexander Galan, Oliver Helden, Paul Marlow, Matthew Sandager and Melissa Vail all turned up to collect their honors — which included a cash prize of $25,000 toward their fashion week presentations. The designers seemed surprisingly calm in the run-up to their shows. “I have had lots of coffee and am ready to go,” Lee said of her show, which took place that day at 4 p.m. Overland, who also showed on Friday, dealt with possible runway jitters differently. “I have given up on being nervous,” she said. “I’ll just drink some Ecco Domani wine.”
WOMAN’S MAN: Catherine Malandrino is planning a little treat for the boys in the audience of her Malandrino show on Monday — a capsule men’s wear collection featuring six tuxedo looks with embroidered vests. “I was inspired by ‘La nouvelle Vague,’ the Latin quarter in Paris and the French dandy, Jean-Paul Belmondo in ‘Le Magnifique,’ Serge Gainsbourg for his outstanding easiness and elegance, Marcello Mastroianni in ‘La Dolce Vita’ and Sean Connery as the irresistible James [Bond],” the designer said. Malandrino added some texture and contrasts to the pieces, which resemble her women’s designs with silk taffeta moiré pants, a white velvet tuxedo jacket and embroidered vests, for instance. “I appreciate men who are chic and elegant all day long, who are bold enough to wear a tuxedo jacket during the day with an old pair of jeans, and who can dress it up like a gentleman at night in tuxedo, going to a black-tie event,” she said. The men’s wear can be custom-ordered at the Maison Malandrino, which will open its doors on Melrose Place in Los Angeles in April, and feature a salon devoted to it.
CROWD CONTROL: Conventional wisdom suggests that front row at the Rag & Bone show isn’t the best place to catch some R&R. Alas, many of the guests at Friday’s show such as Gisele Bündchen (who has yet to join her beau Tom Brady in Arizona), Julianne Moore and Ellen Pompeo seemed unprepared for the frenzied atmosphere. “I thought it was going to be a lot different,” remarked a surprisingly shell-shocked Moore as she surveyed a calvacade of photographers and reporters. “I thought it was going to be a lot quieter.”
For her part, Pompeo (who arrived with hubby Chris Ivery), managed to avoid most of the media mayhem thanks to a strategically placed handler. “Ellen would like to take a break,” her makeshift body guard announced to a crowd of eager shutterbugs and journalists. Still, other celebs seemed willing to put up with the excitement for the rest of the week. Becki Newton of “Ugly Betty” reported that she was most excited for Wednesday’s dinner hosted by Gucci and Madonna. “We want to see Madonna because she owes us lots of money,” joked Newton’s husband actor Chris Diamantopoulos.
HOT STUFF: Marc Bouwer and the models he hired to shoot the runway show he will air on his Web site were singed at Thursday’s shoot in Chelsea Studios. Apparently, the lighting director cranked up the lights too much, and the participants went home with what looked like sunburns. Bouwer was so toasty he had to cancel a QVC appearance Friday.