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MIAMI — Maybe it was Hurricane Katrina, the huge-hair inducing humidity or an old-school East Coast-West Coast rap shooting (thankfully, there were no fatalities), but whatever the reason the post-VMA parties just didn’t have the same oomph as in years past. Making the rounds of Diddy‘s, Jessica and Ashlee Simpson‘s, Jay-Z‘s for Island Def Jam Records, Usher‘s and Warner Bros.’s, there wasn’t the same power-packed A-list lineup. Perhaps everyone just wanted to head back to their hotels to chill.

And maybe to recover from all the pre-event activities, from trawling the swag suites to hitting the jammed party circuit. The revelry started Friday night when a fearless few managed to make it into town despite Katrina. Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx hit Ocean Drive Magazine’s gifting suite at the Ritz-Carlton, picking up a diamond-studded Jacob the Jeweler watch and a few striped Le Tigre shirts. When Foxx stripped down to his buff bare torso to try on the shirts, the ladies who were working the suite got all hot and bothered.

The next day, Jay-Z showed up poolside at the Ritz with his entourage, stopping by to say hello to pal Jacob. (The amount of Jacob the Jeweler pieces, including a watch Diddy handed out to a VMA audience member, worn throughout the weekend makes one think the awards should be renamed the “Jacob Invitational.”)

Meanwhile, inside, hottie young singer Christina Milian, whose looks have caught the eye of everyone from Kanye West to alt-rock outfit Fall Out Boy, carried huge bags of gifts, including her weight’s worth in Rafe bags, Generra jeans and Cosabella thongs. Even though Milian had a tough time getting down here, she said, “Nothing was going to keep me away. I traveled 24 hours, plane to plane to car. I’m looking forward to the sun and getting out on a yacht. I’m going to get into my Ashley Paige bathing suit and show off.”

Not much later, Mariah Carey “hosted” — without making an appearance at — a rooftop party at the Delano, where DSquared’s Dean and Dan Caten mistook Milian for Rashida Jones. But there was no mistaking Jay-Z, who happily chatted and posed with the brothers. The Catens next headed on down to Quincy Jones‘ beachside dinner at the future site of the South Beach W Hotel, with its genius feta-stuffed watermelon cubes dripping in balsamic vinegar. As for the host himself, well, God bless the 75-year-old who can still attract the youngest, hottest blonde in the room: Jones reigned over his party canoodling on a couch with the lovely, long-legged Stefana Morgan — not to mention two or three other young things at a time. Another blonde there who worshiped at the sofa of Jones was Jaime Pressly, wearing a sea green jersey frock from her own line, J’aime. “I have always loved his music,” she offered.

This story first appeared in the August 30, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Across town at the Loews Miami Beach hotel, party host Foxx indulged in some truly bacchanalian behavior. From his perch high above in the VIP section, the actor poured Bacardi straight down into revelers’ mouths. Then he proceeded to bump and grind with both Milian and a shaggy Colin Farrell.

But Saturday night’s celebrations were brought to an abrupt halt by a single gunshot aimed at Death Row Records head Marion SugeKnight, leading to a stampede out of West’s bash at the Shore Club, attended by the Black Eyed Peas, Jessica Alba and Paris Hilton.

When Sunday morning brought news that Knight survived the attack, everyone seemed to relax and refocus on the awards. Coldplay’s Chris Martin; actress Kirsten Dunst, and her “Elizabethtown” co-star, Orlando Bloom, spent the day by the Raleigh hotel’s pool before getting ready.

Around 6 p.m., the first boat roared up to the awards site, carrying eventual Video of the Year winners Green Day — Dior Homme-clad Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool. Soon after, Heatherette designers Richie Rich and Traver Rains rolled in, Rich dabbing his face with a handkerchief, but losing the battle against the heat. “Does Kate Moss sweat this much?” he asked.

Adorable Killers lead Brandon Flowers said he was working the mutt look in Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent. He directly addressed rumors that he might go in with Dior Homme designer Hedi Slimane on his own line. “I really love Dior,” said Flowers, “but I don’t think I could ever do that. Whatever Hedi does, I’m down with it. He’s kind of in my mind, I guess.” Like a good husband, Flowers noted that his recently wed bride, Tana, was “wearing a little yellow thing by Betsey Johnson.”

While Fall Out Boy’s Peter Wentz (bass), Patrick Stump (vocals), Andrew Hurley (drums) and Joseph Trohman (guitar), said “there are no other girls who compare” with Milian and were eager to meet her after the awards, Usher might disagree. “Is Halle Berry here?” he asked, looking dapper and Miami-ready in a light blue blazer, yellow shirt and white trousers from Bottega Veneta. “Just look at this fabric,” he said, inviting a feel. Usher also was keen to see Shakira perform. The petite Latina singer showed up in a beautiful vintage green dress, anchored by a vintage diamond pin, over black pants.

Carmen Electra, who’s getting blonder by the minute, swung by in an orange Roberto Cavalli frock. “I figured since we’re in Miami and it’s tropical, it’s appropriate.” Polar style points away, Pharrell Williams went ultralow-key in a T-shirt and jeans, spiffed up with an enormous Jacob the Jeweler chain. He recently worked on the forthcoming album of Nelly Furtado, who wore a cheery yellow Ella Moss sundress. English chanteuse Joss Stone wore a purple tank over a long, patchwork denim skirt customized by Gap. (Understandable, since she’s one of Gap’s newest spokesgirls.)

Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, in a canary Rami Kashou dress accented with David Yurman jewels, couldn’t help asking, “Cali-caliente weekend, you know?” Her BEP pal, William, who recently launched his own clothing line, was in a dapper, dandy Ted Baker suit.

Nominated for Best Female Video for “1 Thing,” Amerie donned a plum Monique Lhuillier gown for the evening and said she planned to go to the designer’s show during upcoming fashion week in New York: “Her clothes are sexy and flirty.” And she just might be taking notes for a clothing launch of her own, although, she said, “everything’s hush-hush.”

Ciara, Best R&B nominee for “Oh,” looked striking in a supermini vintage, deep-V black dress, accented with sky-high Giuseppe Zanotti boots. “I never really focus on the fashion,” she noted. Nevertheless, she was decked out in half-a-million dollars-worth of yellow and white diamonds from Sol Rafael, and looked fabulous to boot.

With the awards’ start getting closer, white-carpet walkers started to race in — Dunst and Bloom, Eva Longoria, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff, Jeremy Piven, Nick Lachey, Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson.

West was also one of the late arrivals. Fun West fact: The white Yves Saint Laurent sunglasses he wore onstage while performing with pal Foxx were actually Dan Caten’s, procured through Foxx.

Multinominated and two-time winner Gwen Stefani, who eventually won $50,000 from Diddy for being the most stylish woman at the VMAs, was one of the last to show. But show she did in a figure-hugging leopard-print halter dress from her L.A.M.B. collection. “It’s actually a fall [2006] fabric,” she said of the frock, as ever interested in talking about the nuts and bolts of fashion. “I almost wasn’t going to come because there’s so much to do,” she said of her impending Sept. 16 runway debut of the line. “But I was, like, f— it — I gotta celebrate.”

Exactly six minutes after the show started, the Destiny’s Child trio arrived. But good things come to those who wait — Beyoncé Knowles in a long, silver-sparkled Dolce & Gabbana dress, while Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland shown in vivid Roberto Cavalli gowns.

After the awards, most everyone split time between Jay-Z’s Island Def Jam bash at Miami institution Mansion and Diddy’s exclusive party at Space, but the Simpson sisters, Jessica and Ashlee, got ready for their own party at the Delano, where Jessica’s new fashion line, Princy by Jessica Simpson, was shown. Jessica, who’d changed out of her white-carpet Rachel Roy ensemble into a black dress — no label — that stylist Jessica Paster cut into a mini at the last minute, proudly introduced her baby sis for a two-song performance.

Done up in a black Louis Vuitton cocktail number, having switched outfits like her sister, Ashlee raged onstage, as if willing everyone to forget about her lip-sync debacle. Jessica sang along from the sidelines, hubby Lachey behind her.

The sisters offered tips on how to survive the humidity, damaging to a girl’s matte makeup finish and perfect coif — “It’s not a battle, you just can’t get around it,” said Jessica, resigned to the fact. “Ashlee puts her hair back and I just add more,” she said, ruffling her rather large, wavy hair.

Earlier in the evening, Jessica also had given advice to presenter Longoria, who had to walk out onstage in a skimpy maillot at one point. “Eva talked to me backstage about wearing a bathing suit and she was like, ‘I have to wear a bathing suit,’ and I was like, ‘Just smile all the way through.’ That’s how I got myself through ‘Dukes of Hazzard.'”

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