Dispatches from New York Fashion Week: Baby Phat

Just as the countless Bryant Park-held shows are starting to blur together (was Ivanka at Cynthia Steffe or Tracy Reese? Was that trench dress at Max Azria or Nicole Miller), it’s time for the Baby Phat show, and not a minute too soon.

Held at Roseland Ballroom, Kimora Lee Simmons’s party-fashion show is nothing short of a spectacle. We’re greeted by deafening beats, a grab-bag of over-the-top guests, and most importantly, a bar serving colorful vodka drinks with names like “The 2033.”

When the show finally starts, the parade of hotttt neon bathing suits, blinding microminis, and men’s sparkly denim shorts is fabulously entertaining. And though only about three people in the mammoth audience would actually wear such styles, everyone in the house seems to be having a bumpin’ good time watching the painted-on eveningwear that recalls Dynasty with a thick dose of hip hop flavor.

Also not in the tents, the Bryan Reyes and Noir shows produce elegant and exciting looks, but the fact that the models are swimming in Reyes’s designs—especially the could-be chic high-waist pants— is distracting, and at the Danish Noir an up-close look at the models’ supposedly edgy greased back roots make me a little queasy.

At the Diesel show, Demi Moore and her knees swap Clive Owen for the more predictable Ashton Kutcher. While Demi squeezes Ashton’s arm and whispers into his ear, I must put up with a pair of neighbors that are, let’s just call them…less conventional.

The woman: long, blond wig; zebra skirt; neck craning for a look at Ashton. Her date: an air akin to Flava Flav but wearing all plaid; walking stick; straw hat with some sort of Christmas wreath on top. The catwalk features red-wigged (am I catching a wig theme here?) models, wearing the usual Euro-inspired Diesel dresses, jumpsuits, and denim, and male models wearing things like awkward, teeny banana hammocks.

The next morning I head to Zac Posen’s intimate breakfast presentation for out-of-town editors at the 60 Thompson Hotel. I walk in 10 minutes late, and unlike the rest of the Fashion Week events, this one started on time. Uncomfortable! There are only about 12 editors and Zac, already discussing the inspiration for his collection: Early American Craft.

I’m put at ease when his mom walks in and introduces herself—Zac and I must be birds of a feather! He hangs with his mom, and I hang with my mom! Okay, maybe not. He’s a prodigy fashion designer who’s considered the best in the world under 30 and dresses all of the cool It girls like Claire Danes and Natalie Portman, while I get starstruck over Nigel Barker.

The rest of the hour is spent pouring over a handful of looks that will grace the runway tonight—a lot of organza, tons of belts, knock-out knits, and heart-stopping couture eveningwear. The show is the hottest ticket in town; tickets are even being sold on Craigslist for $750 a pop. In New York now, our style editor Alyssa Giacobbe has a seat. Be jealous, very jealous, and keep your fingers crossed for a full report tomorrow.