Dispatches From New York Fashion Week

Rachel Baker and her special guest correspondent were all over Fashion Week. In her report for Boston Daily, Rachel hits all the big shows, name drops 20 celebs, and almost gets mistaken for Mischa Barton. Almost.

It’s no shocker that Fashion Week swarms with people who take themselves very, very seriously. I, however, am not at risk of falling prey to this syndrome for one reason: I’m with my mom. Yes, some people tote Goyard bags or encrusted Rolexes, but I roll with Dea Dea Baker— the life-loving, Mississippi-drawling, overly proud mama.

To call her friendly or chatty would be an understatement. Actually, you’ve probably already met her—on plane, in a restaurant, in line for a show—and if you haven’t, with any luck at all, you will one day soon. She’s quite the jet-setter, making new friends in her travels coast to coast. Physically, she could easily blend in with the front row set—blond, stylish, always carrying a great bag. But while Dea Dea is a lot of things, the one thing she isn’t is pretentious. Also, Dea Dea Baker loves a goodie bag!!!

I fly solo at the Miss Sixty show, which not unexpectedly turns out to be more about the celebrities on hand than the clothes. Demi Moore (great knees!), Clive Owen (jaw-droppingly gorgeous), Hillary Swank, and Maggie Gyllenhall sit front and center, and Mischa Barton and Joy Bryant are a few seats down. Though I look nothing like either, my mom believes that I’m the spitting image of two celebrities: Beyonce and Mischa Barton.

When Dea Dea comes to join me at the tents for the Cynthia Steffe show, a couple of the mammoth photographer contingents ask to take my picture. Dea Dea is sure this is because they think I’m Mischa Barton, that they don’t recognize the real Mischa since she has dyed her hair brown, and that I will be all over the papers tomorrow. Spoiler alert: I know you’re all shocked by this, but I’m not!

The Cynthia Steffe show is Dea Dea’s first and turns out to be a good warm-up. The clothes are bright, breezy and mediocre, and the tent is packed. The only celeb we can spot on the front row is Lisa Loeb. The next morning, the two of us head to Ports 1961. Looking gorgeous, glamorous, understated, Sarah Michelle Gellar sits across from us (and a few rows down, obviously).

(Dea Dea’s non-whispered commentary on SMG: Is that the one who was Buffy! Who does she date? Does she date that Adam Sandler?)

Also looking flawless in white is Ivanka Trump—super tall and big busted in a white, belted dress. The African-safari-inspired show is well-produced and supermodel Alek Wek is the closer. (Dea Dea thought she’d be taller.) Most looks are unique and wearable—good thing Stil carries the line in person—and there are lots of turbans—who doesn’t love a good designer turban? I know I do.

Directly after the show Dea Dea and I are sipping coffee in the park, when Dea Dea sees and approaches Ports head designer Tia Cibani, who’s unwinding with her own cup. I try to disappear, but after Dea Dea gushes over the beautiful show and the scarf that was in the goodie bag (her favorite schwag yet!) I am called over to the meet and greet for the usual “this is my daughter, Rachel. She’s an editor (!) at Boston Magazine!”

Okay, okay, we’re all friends now. But the Tracy Reese show’s going to be a zoo—Tyra Banks (and her much-talked-about weave!!!) are rumored to be there—so we have to say our goodbyes.

Inside, there’s no sign of Tyra, but Tim Gunn chatters away to a video camera and Nigel Barker poses for the flashes (my second Nigel encounter!). Then, Star freakin’ Jones struts inside in all of her skinny-now glory, and I have to admit, she looks amazing and even channels Mary J. Blige with her flattering blond bob. Reese’s collection is full of Paris-inspired sportswear: romantic, wide-brimmed hats, parasols, and belted dresses.

Next, while I view Chaiken’s not-exactly-riveting but easy to imagine-on-the-racks-of –Tess-&-Carlos-in-Newton-Centre-collection at the tents, my mom bops down to Cynthia Rowley’s off-site show. Dea Dea reports that the initial “c” jackets with “big fat buttons” anchoring puff sleeves are lovable but that the majority of the show was just so-so—especially the nautical pieces (Dea Dea gets seasick easily). She also mentions that Cynthia and the models rode on bikes for their final “walk,” but that they apparently don’t teach cycling in modeling school—several strutters hit the floor.

Max Azria’s spring show includes a lot of pastel nightgowns… very expensive ones that actually aren’t nightgowns but dresses. The show’s pleasant but I don’t leave clamoring for a glorified slip. I do leave reeling from my third encounter with Nigel Barker (!), who sat on the front row along with Carrie Underwood (apparently a very big deal…she had bodyguards…who is she again?), Ciara (so gorgeous, tall, and thin she could’ve been on the runway herself), and Ivanka again. I also run into Hollywood Party Girl, who formerly worked at Boston mag. She’s covering every celeb move at Fashion Week, and I bet she knows who Carrie Underwood is.

But does she know who KIMORA LEE SIMMONS IS?! Next show: The blowout that is BABY PHAT.