Throughout much of Sunday, Coco Rocha hinted on Twitter that she had a big surprise for us, culminating in the reveal that she’d be walking in the Zac Posen show that night. Silly us, we assumed that was all there was to know. Once the lights went down and the torch songs struck up, we were so busy fiddling with the focus on our damnable cell cameras that we almost didn’t notice that the model rounding the corner at the top of the runway was not Coco but in fact Naomi freaking Campbell. Fortunately the woman next to us gasped, and our heads snapped up in time; had we missed her, we would’ve been so upset, we might’ve had to throw our smartphones at our own heads.
The front row was an interesting mix: Kelly Osbourne attended with her hair still that medium shade of purple that reminds us a bit of dead wisteria. A visibly pregnant Jemima Kirke of Girls sat in the front row in red, her face lighting up at the sight of each new dress she’ll presumably try on once she’s had the baby. Gina Gershon brought several of her girlfriends, grinning and posing for cameraphone self-portraits with them. Gershon told us she just got back from vacation and is gearing up to promote her book, on which she’s pictured in a giant Posen gown under the title In Search of Cleo: How I Found My Pussy And Lost My Mind. She clarified that this is not the clitoral memoir it sounds like: “It’s basically about when my cat was missing, and I had to look for him in the streets of L.A., and everything I went through,” she said. “It’s analogous to what people do to find true love.” Then she grinned. “I actually just wanted How I Found My Pussy And Lost My Mind, but the publisher thought we needed the first part.” That’s probably for the best – if someone thought they were buying 50 Shades of Grey, they’d be really startled to find out it was actually Marley & Me. As Gershon spoke, we became somewhat hypnotized by the fact that she is allegedly 50 but looks about 15 years younger, and wondered what her secret might be. Cat-hair facials? Guzzling the blood of virgins? “Oh, you definitely have to drink a lot of virgin blood,” Gershon affirmed. “That is my secret. There’s a whole virgin blood section in the book. You’ll love it.” We’re sure her cat will too.
Alexa Chung sauntered by in casual pants, a bronze satin-y shirt, and a quilted leather jacket – in direct opposition to the ballroom-formal look that Leigh Lezark chose. Lezark arrived very early in a beautiful, yet tremendously impractical purple-and-white flowered ball gown that had a relatively substantial train dragging around behind her. As Lezark repeatedly drifted slowly, slowly, slowly up and down the runway — as if looking for friends, yet hoping for photographers – the sight of her squeezing between people on the jam-packed runway reminded us of how many brides we’ve seen with dirty dark hems at the end of their night. There is no way that sucker didn’t get rudely introduced to the sole of some cameraman’s boots. Michelle Harper’s forest-green dress with fur-trimmed cuffs was similarly voluminous, and she attracted enough attention from looky-loos that the event staffers had to ask both her and Lezark, essentially, to cut it out and sit down because they were causing irritating traffic jams. Before she sat, we saw Harper fiddling with her massive red and gold earrings – seriously, we’re talking Desperately Seeking Susan large – and lamenting that the clip-ons wouldn’t stay put (possibly because they each weighed, in our estimation, approximately three tons). “I had to try surgical tape,” she told a friend. Whatever. Comfort’s not important.
Speaking of Desperately Seeking Susan (oh yes, we’re going with that as our segue) we spied Madonna’s daughter Lourdes Leon at the show, looking typically undone in slouchy rolled-up jeans riddled with rips and a see-through shirt that showed off her bra. We wish her father Carlos, who was sitting next to her, had pointed out that at 15 she’s really way too young for us to be gawking at her underclothes. But then again, her mother is the queen of Listen Up: You Will Now Gawk At My Underclothes, and in fact helped pioneer wearing them as clothes. Consider this proof, as if their virtually identical faces weren’t enough, that Lola’s apple fell right next to Madge’s tree.
Campbell kicked things off on the catwalk with bouncy, shimmering hair and a walk so fierce it practically had teeth. From then on, Posen kept ‘em coming, peppering the runway with the likes of Crystal Renn, Hilary Rhoda, Erin O’Connor, Alek Wek, Karolina Kurkova, Liya Kebede, and Angela Lindvall, before Rocha finally appeared in a tiered wedding gown that made the entire crowd gasp. Martha Stewart obviously also thought the whole stompapalooza was a good thing, because she merrily snapped photos from her front-row seat – not with some dinky mobile-phone camera, mind you, but with a full-on big-lensed Nikon, because Martha would not do anything inexpensively nor halfway. When the show finished, many of the models gamely exited through a crowd of paparazzi and squealing fans: A humbled Alek Wek looked very touched, then came down the stairs from the second-floor show with a deliberately charming dramatic wave before grinning her way out the door; Crystal Renn stopped and gave us all a silent clinic on how to be fierce, hitting about thirty poses in quick succession. Who needs ANTM? The real top models aren’t going anywhere.