Attending last night’s Lauren Conrad Collection show at L.A.’s Fashion Week felt a lot like being dropped into the middle of an episode of The Hills — potentially juicy, questionably styled, ultimately a bit plotless, and yet strangely amusing. The celebrity turnout was limited to exactly the people you’d expect from that show and its sister soap, Laguna Beach. Well, and Lisa Rinna, who would attend the opening of a mouth. Presumably Putty Lips was there as a buyer for her L.A. store, Belle Grey, because after the show we heard her waxing annoying about how quickly her store sold out of Conrad’s first line; she called the latest collection “fresh, young, innovative…and fresh.” She had one of those things correct.
But first, the gossip: We spotted L.C.’s roommate Audrina Patridge wearing a long teal dress and pots of foundation — later, when she almost ran us down in her shiny, white two-door Mercedes Benz, we couldn’t help but notice her car had a Jeannie Bueller air about it that was in sync with Audrina’s weirdly eighties-style eyeliner. Considering she was essentially there to drum up press for MTV, we found it a bit surprising that she actually had to drive herself to the venue. Call your PR person, Audrina. Surely you’ve got one.
Inside, Audrina chatted up new regular Hills cast member Lo Bosworth and ol’ standby Whitney Port, who looked very tall and pretty in person. In a refreshing moment of modesty, Whitney rather endearingly chose not to walk through the special red-carpet photo-op area and seemed sort of surprised when the photographers wouldn’t let her escape so easily. The girls were seated cheek by jowl with Lauren’s ex Brody Jenner, who spent the entire show tapping his feet to the music and giving finger guns to someone seated across the runway — possibly Lauren’s other ex and maybe-current boyfriend, Stephen Colletti. And because this was very clearly an MTV joint, which requires maximum drama even at a fashion show, we also spotted L.C.’s former arch-rival and ex-girlfriend of both Brody AND Stephen (you’re following this, right?), Laguna Beach’s Kristin Cavallari. She greeted both dudes enthusiastically, wandering into the venue twenty minutes after everyone else (and twenty minutes after they were seated and the media mob had left the runway) and frantically trying to yank up her low-rise jeans to prevent any unfortunate flashing incidents. We overheard her telling a reporter that she is SO single right now, and has NO — emphasis hers — plans to return to reality television, which may effectively quash those pesky rumors that she’s appearing on The Hills. Sadly, considering the circumstances, there were no screaming confrontations, crying jags, bitch slaps, or passionate kisses.
Also absent from the venue was anyone recognizable from Lauren’s former place of employment (er, “employment”), Teen Vogue, any celebrities willing to admit they totally love The Hills, or any decent fashion. We don’t say that with (much) glee. We went into the show completely prepared to like it, to be embarrassed by liking it, and to spend the rest of the week being defensive about liking it. This did not happen. Lauren claimed the line was inspired by her recent trip to Paris, and given how obviously and ham-handedly this influence was translated into the clothes, we’re frankly surprised she didn’t style the girls with baguettes and giant wheels of Brie. Let’s just say…there were berets involved, and, overall, the collection was sadly kind of tragique. We expected a line of derivative but serviceably-adorable cocktail dresses much like what Lauren herself wears around town — you know, the type of stuff she probably bought a season ago from BCBG and loved. Instead, we got paper-thin leggings with lazy and plain triangle shirts, cheap-looking fabric more befitting a Target line than anything you’d pay boutique prices for, and a terrible color palette that would give Michael Kors an aneurysm.
We understand the desire to strike while the iron of her celebrity is hot, but, overall, the effort felt very young, in the sense that Lauren probably needs a few more years of design school before she’s ready to take on anything this ambitious. Photos do the line more favors than an up-close look — hardly anything was properly fitted, many of the dresses bunched in the back, and one model’s boobs were totally squeezing out of the top of her dress. Our greatest moment of joy was seeing Chantal, the runner-up from last cycle of America’s Next Top Model, strutting down the runway — but even that was tinged with sadness, because, seriously, the girl still cannot walk and may even have regressed since she was last under the tutelage of Miss J.
L.C.’s friends tried their best, but mostly they wore very careful non-expressions on their faces. Whitney, in particular, seemed to be holding onto her poker face like grim death, probably because she realized how savaged her friend would be if any actual fashion press had attended. When an obviously relieved Conrad finally came out for her bow, only Cavallari stood for her initially, but the others got up once they realized what was happening and the room was full of extremely polite smiles. So despite all that dramatic potential, in the end, we found ourselves aching for Spencer and Heidi to storm the fortress and cause some real shenanigans. After all, as much as we don’t look to the MTV crowd for edgy fashion inspiration, we really don’t turn to it for lessons in manners. —The Fug Girls