In past seasons, Oscar de la Renta’s show has started shockingly on-time, to the point where last season we — and ALT — almost didn’t make it inside. No such drama here; things ran the standard half-hour late, which gave the assembled VIPs like Barbara Bush (the twin) and Barbara Walters plenty of time to relax and enjoy the view. Not that they were sitting together. Bush perched in the front row relatively unmolested by the media, while Baba Wawa — no doubt sick of sitting cheek-by-jowl with a skinny young whippersnapper — was across the room and ensconced in the second row. We assume this wasn’t a problem for her 20/20 vision. And yes, if we could think of a cheap pun involving the ABC Evening News, we’d trot that out too.
As we settled into our seats, we noticed an empty chair down by the runway between Elle’s Joe Zee and Robbie Myers. It remained unoccupied until a few minutes before the lights went down, at which point Jennifer Lopez and a small posse strolled in, beaming. Clothes-wise Lopez played it totally low-key: basic black, almost no bling, and natural makeup — and while we’re impressed with her restraint, we confess to getting more enjoyment out of her when she’s in, say, jodhpurs and a hat made of diamond-encrusted soccer balls. Moments after she settled into her seat, Zee handed her a copy of the October Elle, the cover of which she graces (and inside of which we believe she did a photo shoot clad in Oscar de la Renta), and J.Lo studied herself eagerly. She seemed pleased, but were we in her shoes, we’d be thinking, “That lipstick is a disaster. I look so COLD.” Until we’re mind-readers, we’ll never know if she agrees. Lopez swiveled in her seat throughout to get the best vantage point on every dress, whispering rather often to both Zee and Myers and jawing like crazy on a piece of gum. We could practically hear the chews from upstairs. You can take the girl out of the block, but you can’t take the block out of the girl.
Our balcony seats overlooked the runway, which would’ve been a great vantage point but for the railing somewhat obstructing our view; even though the clothes were lovely, the bars made it feel a little bit like watching a fashion show from prison. (This would’ve been thematically appropriate if Oscar had succumbed to this season’s raging jumpsuit fever, since people in the slammer are probably always looking for ways to keep a one-piece fresh, but fortunately for him — and us — he appears to have a powerful immunity. We are grateful.) However, we did spy two of the girls almost taking a tumble, and when they performed a two-lane final walk, the giant blue skirt on Karlie Kloss’s dress fanned out so wide when she squeezed around the corner that Zee had to redirect it with his arms so that he and Lopez didn’t get a face full of fabric.
Dramatically, though, Anna Wintour appeared at the show alone. After she escorted U.S. Open champ Roger Federer to Oscar de la Renta last September — and skipped Proenza to cheer him on Monday — we thought she’d enlist him as her wingman again. Alas, it was not to be. But before your heart skips a beat, we don’t think anything’s rotten in the state of Bobmark; Anna looked far too perky. No, we assume she just decided to leave Roger at home to catch up on One Life to Live, and he’ll greet her at the end of the day with a nice glass of wine and a piping-hot fondue. And if that’s not true, please, don’t tell us. We like this version of their friendship better.