“We are going to need more security down here for this REAL FAST,” a PR girl shouted as we made our way into Rachel Zoe on Wednesday afternoon. And she was right. If Michael Kors gave us our first big cluster of front-row famousness, then Zoe’s show brought our inaugural violent press throng, all courtesy of one Miss Miley Cyrus.
We’d heard the rumors that the erstwhile Hannah Montana was in the building with Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles (Zoe styled Miley for the March cover), and that she had been navigating backstage with her arm firmly, tightly wound through Coles’s. But at Fashion Week, it’s not real until there are flashbulbs. They came at the insanely punctual time of five minutes past the scheduled start (generally at Fashion Week, if you’re twenty minutes late, you’re still early), and when Miley appeared at the top of the runway and anyone with a camera bolted to her like metal to a magnet, the rabid, snarling crush began. People with smartphones and professional cameras alike pushed, shoved, and threw elbows, or just kept on walking and figured anything in their way would move or get trampled. We took a camera battery to the head and narrowly missed a repeat. “Get the fuck out of my way,” we heard at least two photographers shout to various people. We aren’t sure exactly how Miley made it to her seat without covering her head and screaming. And though she did pose for some photos, the staffers cleared the runway after only about five minutes to avoid any casualties, and Miley inched to her seat flanked by a bodyguard posse of Cosmo staffers who immediately closed ranks around her and stayed until seconds before the show began. “I had no idea how good the SNL imitation of her was until I just heard her backstage,” one reporter said. Another girl grabbed us and said, “OMG I SEE NIGEL BARKER,” which had us wondering if she had suffered a mid-scrum concussion herself until we noticed Nigel and his The Face co-star Coco Rocha down the other end of the venue, probably enjoying a moment of Cyrus-induced peace.
Miley’s ever-morphing spiky hair is currently very platinum, with some darker roots just starting to poke through in a way that is punkier than it looks on the Cosmo cover — it feels like a Duran Duran–era color scheme, even though she was not even a twitch in Billy Ray’s achy breaky heart back then — but also still surprisingly flattering. Her outfit was a simple red sleeveless jumpsuit and fairly boring black pumps. It worked, but in person it felt a hair more like Miss NBC Junior Anchorperson 2013 than we usually associate with Cyrus. (She may have agreed, as she kept picking fussily at the V-neck’s lapels.) Maybe that’s because of the Rock Center camera crew that was there for a presumably fancy and thoughtful piece on Cyrus’s wingman Joanna Coles, or maybe Miley just felt like her more natural, tougher — okay, and sometimes more “Derelicte” — aesthetic didn’t easily jibe with Rachel Zoe’s aura.
Miley also brought her mom with her, though during the show Cyrus seemed to talk a whole lot more to Coles. Nothing against Tish Cyrus, but if we had to choose between her or some bracingly dry JoCo conversation dipped in English tones, we’d pick door No. 2 as well. But Miley sat up straight and didn’t chomp on gum or text or tweet the entire show, unlike a lot of people. She never seemed to complain nor look cranky. And when it was over, the Cosmo army flanked her once again with ruthless efficiency, grabbing the back of her jumpsuit to make a human train as they cut through Crowd Surge 2: The Surgening. Hopefully everyone made it out alive.