Chris Benz started on a high note: We were standing in line outside the venue while an Escalade idled outside, and out of it popped someone that we’re pretty sure was Mike Grubbs — who currently plays a semi-psychic bartender on One Tree Hill, but who’s better known as a musician in the band Wakey Wakey. He fist-bumped the driver and headed down the street, away from our prying eyes. Unfortunately, before we could process this information or do any kind of creepy teen-soap stalking, the aforementioned prying eyes affixed themselves on Kelly Osbourne and forgot all about the CW. That is a true testament to how cute Kelly looked in her silvery-cream sheath and glittery pumps, because as you may have noticed, it takes a lot to get us to forget about shows we love in an age-inappropriate way.
Of course, just when you forget about something, that’s when it rears its head. The next two famous faces we saw belonged to Gossip Girl actors: first, Jessica Szohr, wearing a gorgeous cowl-backed black cocktail dress that ruched slightly at the sides (and in which she looked about 300 times better than she did at Tommy Hilfiger Sunday night). Endearingly, she had a hair elastic wrapped twice around her pointer finger, kind of like how we used to do in college just in case our hair got in the way of our old-timey longhand note-taking. Szohr was traveling with Sebastian Stan, who spent his entire walk into the venue talking to none other than Susan Sarandon, who was sporting jeans, flats, glasses, and a sweater, as comfortably cool as if she were the hottest, most fun mom in the PTA. If they’re all hanging out because she’s weighing a cameo on Gossip Girl, then Susan had better get to it — we already decreed yesterday that Jennifer Lopez needs to have a fling with Chuck Bass; if Susan doesn’t act fast she might get stuck with Dan Humphrey, which would probably involve body oil and a copy of The Fountainhead. Snore.
Sarandon wandered through the presentation thoughtfully, stopping to engage the models about their clothes, and in one case, spark a conversation with three of them that made them all giggle. Then she wandered over for her photo ops with Benz, oozing an almost maternal pride. Benz also posed, beaming, with his other guests, who ranged from Milk’s acclaimed Allison Pill to The Rachel Zoe Project’s adored Brad Goreski, to Denise Richards: It’s Complicated’s complicated Denise Richards. Actually, in fairness, Richards looked pretty, but also a bit nervous and occasionally crabby. Maybe Charlie Sheen has taken to crank-calling her. Or perhaps she was just trying to figure out Carmen Electra’s secret: This was the second show we attended (and there was one more to come) at which she created the biggest stir, drawing the most fans and the longest line of interviewers. We heard her thank Benz for the robin’s-egg blue dress with sequined collar that she sported, and the gratitude was well placed, because it looked fantastic on her.
Toward the end of the evening, we took a seat on a marble bench across from the models, who had gotten so punchy as a group that they were having a sing-along to the soundtrack — in this case, the Beach Boys. We looked up from our mean notes about Denise Richards to catch eyes with Caroline Manzo of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, who was carrying a fabulous Birkin bag and looking surprisingly petite. She grinned slightly, and we were stuck with the almost irresistible urge to fist-bump her. Apparently, it’s catching.
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