On Location: Fashionably Late at The Liberty Hotel

Swarms of Gossip Girl wannabes in obscenely short dresses? Check. Aging ’90s rock stars? Check. Sixteen-dollar glasses of chardonnay? Check (and keep ‘em coming).

Welcome to Fashionably Late, the Liberty Hotel’s weekly showcase for nonstop drinking, occasional celeb-spotting, and—oh, right—fashion. Established to spotlight local designers and boutiques like Stel’s, Crush, and Leokadia, the event has consistently drawn impressive crowds since its April debut. As the night wears on, the hemlines rise, the guests start to get sloppy, and one thing becomes clear: This group isn’t necessarily here for the couture.

In fact, if it weren’t for the irresistible pull of hotel-bar debauchery paired with the vague glamour of fashion, many of these people would likely never be in the same place at once. On a recent Thursday night, for instance, a hairdo in five-inch heels and a shrink-wrapped black jersey dress eyeballed a dapper male publicist with suspicion; in classic West Side Story style, he eyeballed her right back. As for VIPs, there’s a velvet rope cordoning off a few generic couches in their honor. But VIP cachet is elusive when there’s no list and no bouncer, and when the women most concerned with getting in are sporting extremely abbreviated dresses—what the kids today like to call the "no pants" look.

When the fashionably late hour of 10 o’clock arrives, the lights dim, the music technofies, and the hotel’s "catwalks" (balconies one story above the lobby) transform into a runway. In the case of designer Daniela Corte’s steamy beachwear show in late July, the lineup included swimsuits so risqué they were barely visible. Yet no one seemed to notice—not the champagne-swilling audience, and certainly not the pokerfaced clerks at the front desk. "Two nights at $425 per?" one mouthed to a couple checking in, as a model in a thong bikini pranced by with Kid Rock in hot pursuit.

Wait a second: People actually sleep here?

If the Liberty set out to prove that the Boston fashion scene is the antithesis to the haughty New York version portrayed in The Devil Wears Prada and The September Issue, it has succeeded. At Fashionably Late, there are no rules, no lists, no fashion don’ts. And, sometimes, no pants.

The Liberty Hotel, 215 Charles St., Boston, 617-224-4000, libertyhotel.com.