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“Watch out for the freight train,” a guest grumbled on Friday night, taking a deliberately belabored step back. It was just over half-an-hour into Harper’s Bazaar’s ICONS party at the Plaza and Lady Gaga was clicking across the marble foyer of the hotel’s ballroom, the expected mob -bodyguards, shovey papps and shameless Instagramming rubberneckers following suit.

The pop star had just done the red carpet, posing with Glenda Bailey, Carine Roitfeld, Stephen Gan and various combinations thereof. “Gaga, over here!” the photographers relegated to the back of the rafters yelled, using their free hand to wave desperately as if they were taking a picture of a distracted toddler. Gaga slinked past the dozens of television crews and reporters and now was being whisked away to a secluded area before her performance.

This story first appeared in the September 8, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

It wasn’t all that long ago that New York’s fashion week parties were good and, it would seem, Harper’s Bazaar was making a play for some old school, over-the-top fun with this Lady Gaga extravaganza. Was it good, like Alexander Wang carnival-rave good? Well, no. But by party reporter standards, it was an encouraging effort.

Studio-bound designers aside, anyone who’s anyone (and in town) was there. A smattering of front row fixtures and real-deal celebs streamed down the carpet: Nicki Minaj, Kendall Jenner, Anthony Vaccarello, Liberty Ross, Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Richard Chai,  Justin O’Shea, Jessica Hart, Scott Lipps, Poppy Delevinge, Monique Pean, Lily Kwong, Gigi Hadid, Allegra Versace, Leigh Lezark, Joe Jonas, Jeff and Justine Koons, Laure Heriard Dubreuil, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, the Brant boys, Gareth Pugh, Emily Weiss, Caroline Issa, Lily Aldridge, Hannah Bronfman and Brendan Fallis, Banks (making a play for surprise ubiquitor of the week), Lars Ulrich and Jessica Miller, Caroline de Maigret, Linda Evangelista, Genevieve Jones, Jenna Lyons, Harley Viera Newton, Atlanta de Cadenet Taylor and Alexa Chung. Even Gaga’s French bulldog, Asia did the step-and-repeat.  She now has an entry on BFA (go Asia!).

It was rumored Gaga would perform around 10:30 (she did). Until then, everyone swarmed around the understaffed bar at the center of the ballroom. Jason Wu was beaming, kicking back just hours after his show and the WWD report of the sale of a stake in his brand to InterLuxe. “I’m feeling good,” he sighed. The designer isn’t quite done; he still has the Hugo Boss women’s collection to present. “I mean, this is what I signed up for. I love it. I’m in my element during fashion week.”

Soon, the lights dimmed and the singer emerged. During her set of jazzy songs from her new album with Tony Bennett, Gaga turned to the room. “There’s nothing more iconic that passion,” she said. “So party with some fucking passion.” Hear, hear.

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