And then I died and went to Fashion Blogger Heaven*

Thursday, February 07, 2008

*Subtitle: My night at the Gucci gala and other surreal musings

I wish I could be totally cool and all, oh, yeah, I went to a party and Gwyneth was there, and Orlando Bloom, and Tom and Katie and whatever. But you know me, and you know that I am rarely so restrained, so really, it's more like, Katie's hair! Super-cute in real life! Oh, and Madonna! And did everyone see Gwyneth's dress? We just don't do blasé very well. (We do incredibly animated very, very well.) And so, that said, we invite you to review our evening at the Gucci gala, complete with hyper-excited running internal monologue, and as many interesting tidbits as we can remember.

Okay, first: What I was wearing. I know this is suddenly the least most exciting part of this post, but I really liked my dress and I know some of you must be a teensy bit curious. And so: After much hemming and hawing, I finally decided on a mod-ish 1960s black velvet cocktail dress. It's appropriately mini, with a white satin belt and shirt-style collar and a very large diamante button on the front. The bow really sold me. (You know how I love bows!) It cost $40 at my favorite Delaware vintage store.

My shoes: Amazing black velvet slingback heels from DC consignment shop Secondi, $25. My purse was a black patent envelope vintage clutch, about $3 from the thrift store. And I did throw on my new vintage faux fur shrug ($40) to get to and from the venue. All and all, I was kind of going for the Thriftiest Ensemble at the Gala award, and at a total of $108, I think I might have come pretty close.

I got myself ready dancing around to Timbaland (natch), and jumped in a car to head over to the United Nations for the Big Event. I shared a car with the totally cool brother and sister duo of Curt and Jenny, who will factor in to this story again a bit later.

And then we were inside! And after I mulled around a bit, not entirely sure what I should be doing with myself – my co-bloggers Elisabeth and Susie hadn't arrived yet – and finally decided I might as well stake out some prime people-watching territory and gawp a bit at the never-ending parade of celebrities coming in. I stationed myself between a really cute older couple who turned out to be Tea Leoni's parents and a couple of British guys who didn't know who any non-A-list celebrities were (they were like, Kimora Lee Simmons? Who?) but who totally redeemed themselves by giving me the head's up on the arrival of people like Suzy Menkes and properly identifying Stanley Tucci.

The celebrity train was pretty much non-stop. My pictures are really pretty awful, but there were a lot of photogs there, and they got great shots of everyone (which I'll try to post later, but which you can see some of here and here) and there are still a few gems and lots to tell you.

First: Gwyneth! Loved the dress (it had an awesome huge bow at the neck). She seemed completely sweet, chatting animatedly with the waitstaff and slowly making her way through the crowd.

Oh yeah and there was Brooke Shields and Aerin Lauder and Drew Barrymore and her cute lil' boyfriend Justin Long and Lucy Liu and The Donald and Martha Stewart and {takes breath} and Demi and Ashton and Angie Harmon and Timbaland and Gwen 'n Gavin and so many more I didn't even see (J.Lo, Ellen Pompeo, Salma Hayek, Puffy). But I did spot Vince Vaughn hanging out in the bar area. And Kate Hudson was running around later clad in some fierce hot pink. And can we just say that Rihanna's hair is just as great in person?

Let's just go to the pictures. Here we have the Amazonian model-entrepreneur-designer Kimora Lee Simmons:

Molly Sims, sporting some may-jah hair:

Gwyn and Drew Barrymore catch up.

The shutterbugs descend:

Gwyn and Katie's fab blunt-cut bangs have a chat:

Remember Curt and Jenny from the car ride? They so love me now.

Here's Tom being all agreeable about stopping to pose. Katie looks less amused.

Lucy Liu's dress was cute. And her date was totally cute:

Why, it's The Donald! (And Melania.)

See, I wasn't kidding about the Donald's ridiculous hair.

The Donald and his Hair meet Dita von Teese.

Let's play a game! It's called "Where's Katie?" First: The back of Katie's highly striking and completely unmissable red dress.

{we're still playing the game, but Gwyn is talking with Orlando here, fyi}

Madonna and her gorgeous daughter Lourdes with Lucy Liu and Tea Leoni (who popped by to see my new best friends, a.k.a. her parents, just before this):

Rihanna: Cute hair, totally pensive. Also, fyi, it's apparently "Ree- Anna" (like, rhymes with Hannah Montana), not "Ree- Ahna". In case you all meet or something.

The highly adorable institution that is NYT photog Bill Cunningham.

Bill and Timbaland have a moment:

Omg. The amazing Suzy Menkes! We'd recognize that coif anywhere.

Nina Garcia, rocking some fierce yellow, for you Project Runway fans.

We don't know who this woman was, but we totally loved her poufy-skirted blue dress.

Lucy Liu and Demi are besties! Ashton looks on.

And much to our chagrin, Ashton did not "Punk" anyone or even get the tiniest bit rowdy.

Martha Stewart, just on the heels of the Donald. Awkward!

Gwen Stefani, Gavin, Pat McGrath. Do you think Pat is responsible for Gwen's fab lip color?

The main part of the event was a big sit-down dinner and live auction to raise money for Madonna's Raising Malawi charity and UNICEF. I was lucky enough to be seated at the very fun UK press table, next to Miss Susie B., whose dress was declared by all to be *amazing*. See for yourself:

The whole venue – an enormous tent on the United Nations' north lawn with some surprisingly nice porta-potties – was decked out in candlelight and roses.

We ate some nice food, we devoured some really fantastic toffee pudding for dessert, we saw a performance by the adorable African Children's Choir, we listed to a very heartfelt speech by Madonna, as well as a speech by Jeffrey Sachs (note to self: must read his book).

Then Chris Rock came out to auction off a bunch of incredible VIP experiences. We had our eye on the Hollywood package – lunch with Zac Efron! – but since bidding started at $15,000, we were pretty much out of the running for everything. It was kind of fun to watch people get all worked up bidding for things like joining Madonna's tour (it went for a whopping $600K – I saw Madonna's daughter Lourdes try to get in on the bidding and Madonna playfully swatting down her hand).

Chris Rock was pretty awesomely funny, doing things like egging on Kimora Lee Simmons to get into the bidding frenzy. Susie and I were completely amused:

Then, the performances! First Rihanna was up, and she did a rocking (and lip-synched, it seems?) rendition of "Please Don't Stop the Music" and then "Umbrella" (Ella! Ella! Ella!). And then Timbaland came on – you know how we *seriously love Timbaland*, which is apparently pronounced more like "Timbalind", which we did not know – and he brought out Nelly Furtado to join him for what is probably my favorite dance song in recent memory, "In the Club." (Sadly, Justin Timberlake was not there to join them for the song's third verse. Bummer!) He then launched into my second favorite dance song in recent memory, the irresistible "The Way I Are" (and Keri Hilson – or at least a ferociously singing woman – came out and joined him). Susie and I were all like, what are we doing just sitting at our table?, and went down front-and-center. It was like my wildest TRL-related fantasy come true.

{if you look very closely, you can see that even Gwyn was on her feet for Timbaland}

We stayed in our prime spot for Alicia Keys, who definitely did not lipsynch and who has an incredible voice and really amazing, super-glowy skin. She had everyone singing along (I saw you, Mark Lee! And you, Drew Barrymore!), and it was really lovely.

It probably cannot be said enough that with all the celebrity watching and A-list hobnobbing and scoping out of gorgeous dresses, the whole event was for some really worthwhile charitable causes, including a school for girls in Malawi. (Of course, after the auction proceeds topped a million dollars, Susie and I surmised that perhaps there could now be several schools for girls in Malawi. I hope that's true.)

After the performances, they launched into the after-party portion of the evening, which was a superb Japanese DJ whose name I wish I knew, because I would probably go to all of his parties {Steve Aoki!}, he was just that fun. After running around for a while (I got some bad intel that the Office's John Krasinski was there, and really wanted to find him for a photo op, but it turns out it was just a John Krasinski look-alike), we joined Susie and Elisabeth and what seemed like the entire, now-able-to-relax Gucci team on the dance floor for some serious shimmying.

Your friendly neighborhood fashion bloggers:

We also got to meet the darling Daniel of Fashion Indie {below}, who was totally fun. (And who has some very incriminating pictures of all of us swilling champagne from the bottle, so we should probably be really nice to him.) We had a little blogger dance circle going. Let it be known: Bloggers love to dance!

We stayed until the very, very end, until they literally kicked us out, and headed back to the hotel to crash. Our feet hurt, our head hurts, we are definitely not looking forward to packing up all our stuff and schlepping it down to Brooklyn today, but we are totally happy.

We will also take questions regarding your most burning celebrity hair and fashion topics – as in, Q: Is Katie's bob really *that* cute? A: Yes, yes it is! And we have proof! -- if you'd like to leave them in the comments.

And now, if you'll excuse us, we have a $50 room service bagel and coffee that needs our full attention.