“When it comes to fashion,” said Lil’ Kim at the VH1/Vogue Fashion awards in New York Sunday night, “there’s no such thing as going too far.” And the swirl of rhinestones, crystals and sequins on the red carpet outside the Armory on lower Lexington Avenue confirmed that she knows what she’s talking about.
“I think we’ve already tried everything in fashion,” said Minnie Driver, who did offer one idea as to how to up the ante. “I don’t know what I’ll do next — maybe Day-Glo makeup around the eyes.”
Dolce & Gabbana, to whom excess has been a way of life for years, could lay claim to some of the flashiest outfits of the night. The duo dressed Puff Daddy — who’s fast entering Liberace Land — as well as award winners Heather Graham and Gisele Bundchen.
“Our favorite is Heather,” said Stefano Gabbana early in the evening.
Tom Ford, himself no stranger to sexy glitz, got two big prizes over the course of the evening. First, as everyone knew, he scored the women’s wear designer of the year trophy. Then he managed to drape Jennifer Lopez in a clingy number that drove the groundlings in the mosh pit mad.
Not surprisingly, the quieter end of the fashion spectrum was barely visible. “Rock and fashion are the most natural combination, but I don’t think anybody onstage will be doing Palm Beach,” said Michael Kors in reference to his recent collection. “Palm Beach is the opposite of rock ‘n’ roll.”
What was stripped down to its sleekest essentials, however, was Isaac Mizrahi’s monolithic set, which would have looked right at home at BAM.
“The object was just to clean it up as much as possible,” he explained. “On all these awards shows, it seems like the sets are designed to keep the cameramen from falling asleep.”
As for the show itself, it lacked that one big moment of past versions. The producers failed to snare a great put-down comedian like Jim Carrey or even someone who would bring a little emotion to the show. But they did keep the pace brisk enough to prevent the studio audience from nodding off, and performances by The Foo Fighters, TLC and Jennifer Lopez had people bouncing in their seats.
Beck proved himself to be the sexiest scrawny guy since Mick Jagger. Having added a Prince falsetto to his repertoire, he had Vera Wang’s eyes rolling back in rapture.
TLC’s Lisa (Left Eye) Lopez seemed less impressed.
“Where’s my cell phone?” she asked from the audience.
During the commercial breaks, the fun was in the lobby. At one point, Julianna Margulies, Narciso Rodriguez, Matthew Williamson, Nancy Jarecki and Samantha Boardman all ran out together for a smoke, only to get locked out of the auditorium when the broadcast resumed.
Other vices were gratified later, when a huge crowd made its way downtown for the after-party. While most people braved the line at the bar, a member of Mark Morris’s dance company did a raunchy, impromptu number on the carpet in the back.
The hottest spot, though, wasn’t on the official schedule. At the Hog Pit in the meatpacking district, Maggie Rizer, who already knew she’d lost the Model of the Year award to Gisele, was throwing herself a little party.
Her friends sucked on baby-back ribs and played cards and pool. Fellow nominees Frankie Rayder, Carmen Kass and Audrey Marnay were among the revelers — along with Kate Moss, Karen Elson and the Foo Fighters. Gisele, of course, was nowhere to be found.

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