We figured Justin Timberlake’s hotly touted “My Name Is William Rast” show would be chock-full of gossip, but we never expected intrigue before we’d even taken our seats — in fact, things got sassy while we were still standing outside in line and a red BMW convertible full of dudes slowly cruised the line, blaring R&B slow jams and winking appreciatively at the ladies. If they’d turned their heads to the right, they would’ve realized they were also technically cruising people who had tickets to Hairspray, but the huddled masses of scantily clad Timberlake fans probably made for more satisfying ogling.
Once inside, we camped out at the end of the red-carpet line hoping to overhear some salacious celebrity tidbits; instead, we heard a harried (yet also amused) PR guy dash up to his friend and pant, “Dude, I have a situation. A model shortage.” Apparently some of the chosen girls slated to wear Timberlake and Trace Ayala’s duds were double-booked, and our hero had to bus some girls across town to fill the void. “Otherwise they’re gonna have me shave my legs and put on a wig,” he cracked.
Evidently he swept in and saved the day, because the show started only 25 minutes late — practically early compared to a lot of similarly star-studded events. Leonor Varela arrived on the dot of nine o’clock for her moment in the sun, and was rewarded by being ushered out of the press area by a militant staffer who had no idea Leonor was famous (“famous”) and was anxious to clear out uncredentialed gawkers. We count this as one of the top ten signs that an actress needs to nab a guest-spot on network TV post-haste. Varela ignored the woman three times before things got a bit testy and someone finally stepped in and promised it was okay for Leonor to stay. Meanwhile, starlets Malin Akerman and Emmanuelle Chriqui posed for pictures with Chriqui’s former Entourage co-star Carla Gugino, with the three of them taking pains to maximize the photographic variety by reordering themselves every time a new lensman called for their attention. We’ve never seen a trio of actresses so conscious of each other’s good sides.
The next note on our sloppily written blotter reads, “Silvstedt Swedish boobs,” which about covers everything we learned about Victoria Silvstedt — she gave an interview in her native tongue, which we don’t speak (yet; vakta ute, Stockholm!), and thrust her chest forward for a photographer before tottering inside on impossibly high heels. Then NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and wife Ingrid Vandebosch commandeered the red carpet while Rachel Hunter and Caridee English waited in the wings, making casual conversation that we assume was about the assorted glories of Cover Girl mascara. (The guys behind us didn’t know whom to drool over more: the sports star or the 90-foot-tall tan blondes. They chose Gordon.) And Saturday Night Live star Andy Samberg brought his girlfriend, musician Joanna Newsom, to support his “D*ck in a Box” co-star. We hoped this might mean a model or two would walk out bearing a tenderly wrapped genital gift, perhaps while wearing an Omeletteville tee, but alas it was not to be.
At about the 9:15 mark, a man tore through the room bellowing into his walkie-talkie, “Get ‘em inside or I’m gonna shut this place down!” Oh, sir. You cannot shut down Justin Timberlake; you can only hope to lose to him in a dance-off. Nonetheless, it worked, and five seconds later, a chorus of PR girls loudly ordered everyone into their seats — where, it turns out, buckets of Budweiser super-cans and Bud Light bottles awaited. If we’d known that, we’d have sat down from the get-go. But because we had to clear out of the foyer, we didn’t spy the late-arriving Jeremy Piven and Kevin Connolly — without his girlfriend Camille Guaty, though she is in town doing the Fashion Week rounds — until after the show began. That’s also when we noticed the Coif of Judgment sitting in the front row as well; yes, watch out, Roger Federer, because Anna Wintour turned up early for Timberlake, so it may be a mere matter of time before she’s parading JT before the crowd at Marc Jacobs.
Timberlake opened the show with a faux-trailer for the series of movie-esque ads he’s made for the line, starring him and attendee Erin Wasson as what appear to be a hipster Bonnie and Clyde, but with tighter pants and less Academy Award potential. But he did not, as was rumored, close the show with a performance — nor, sadly, did he carry A-Dubs out of there like a modern-day An Officer and a Gentleman (she’s the officer, he’s the gentleman). Because the beer was still flowing and munchies were being passed on silver trays, we hung around as long as our feet could stand it — but when we saw the tall, handsome dude that we thought was Tyrese Gibson leaving the venue, we figured maybe our hope of a Timberlake concert was in vain. This, of course, means he probably came out 30 seconds later, leaving us both without our moment of teenage palpitations AND minus the taxi we hailed that maybe-Tyrese and his lady friend promptly stole.
All was not lost, though: As we awaited a replacement cab, we saw one of the male models outside on his cell phone, having a smoke and wailing that a girl had hacked into his Facebook and written salacious info about him on there without his permission. See? We KNEW that where the William Rast show went, drama was sure to follow.
View backstage and front row photos from the William Rast show.
View a slideshow of the William Rast collection.