Going to a Baby Phat show feels a bit like going to a nightclub. The prospect of a big ol’ spectacle gets everyone to tease up their hair and put on something shiny — one woman showed up in a dress that had mesh strips that went all the way up to her butt cleavage — and stand around sipping drinks, bopping their heads to the dance music, and craning their necks to see if that really is Jeremy Piven over there, or if it’s just some dude who hates to shower. It’s such a tornado of humanity that we couldn’t even make our way to the bar, and as you know by now, that says a lot.
We never were able to establish whether Piven was actually in the building to claim his reserved seat, because it was almost impossible for us to move, much less traverse the front rows. A fight almost broke out in the photographers’ pit over whether a guy fell or got knocked over by a colleague, and we were stuck for ten minutes behind a film crew asking Nick Cannon and Selita Ebanks to pose by their seats. Cannon’s garish hoodie swallowed him whole most of the night, which is a shame, because he has an insanely pretty fiancé who may have wanted to enjoy his smile without all the extra cloth shenanigans. If the handlers hadn’t had to parade Star Jones — tragically without her favorite handbag, hubby Al — right past us to get her to her seat, we might have missed her, too. She squealed and danced around when she saw Mary J. Blige; Star tried to stop and chat after the requisite cheek smooches but was encouraged to hurry up and sit so the show could begin. We also managed to snag a good look at Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Mya, Ivana Trump, and her Italian boyfriend, Chudney Ross, Brittny and Lisa Gastineau, Miss Jay Alexander (in a suit, no less! Whither the skirts, J.?), and James Garfunkel, Art’s look-alike son. He was easy to spot with that standout golden-red Afro and the fact that he’s basically wearing his father’s old face.
It was a night for clones. If we hadn’t been deprived of free cocktails, we’d have assumed we were seeing double when Lenny Kravitz came storming into the venue, followed by… Lenny Kravitz? Again? Same hair, same shirts, same shades. What gives, Lennys? Did we really need more than one, and are either of you even the original? Is this just some brilliant gambit by Kimora Lee Simmons to get us all thinking she’s secretly a crack scientist who’s perfected human cloning? And for the love of God, which one of you marvelous bastards got to be secretly, briefly engaged to Nicole Kidman?
Once the show started, we abandoned all hope of discerning whether LL Cool J, Ja Rule, Petra Nemcova, Patricia Field, or Tyra Banks ever took their seats, but the outlook seemed bleak. We hoped Tyra’s apparent absence would be addressed when she stomped down the runway in one of Kimora’s Party Girl Barbie getups — she’s here in New York, after all, filming her talk show and changing lives — but alas, she chose not to walk the same path as kick-ass model/activist and Baby Phat regular Alek Wek.
Kimora had no trouble doing it, though — she sashayed out for her final bow with her children, per usual, who ran over to greet dad and front-row fixture Russell Simmons. That’s got to be up there with Bruce and Demi as one of the friendliest divorces on record, as Russell was sitting right next to Kimora’s current squeeze, Djimon Hounsou. Honestly, we think everyone in the room envied the chair upon which Hounsou was resting his fine rear. He probably could’ve made a mint selling that thing to somebody in standing room with painfully high heels. Or to a Fug Girl who had $44 and a ticket to Proenza. We’re just saying. —The Fug Girls