The Celebfest That Is New York Fashion Week

Sure, it’s been fun to look at the new spring fashions coming down the New York runways this week. But it’s been equally fun to look at all the celebrities sitting ringside. Or hanging around backstage. Or chilling out at events around town. Here are a few of the notables I saw out and about at the shows and the after parties. Honestly, it’s like the whole city was one big red carpet during NYFW. And that’s just the way I like it!

The week kicked off with that quiet little event known as Fashion’s Night Out (perhaps you’ve heard of it?), and while there were thousands of celebs in various stores all over the city, the Most Unlikely Celebrity Pairing had to to be at the Calvin Klein Madison Avenue flagship, where Vogue‘s Anna Wintour cozied up to Dwyane Wade, Ryan Lochte, and other world-class athletes, while models like Karen Elson looked on. AW was beaming the whole night. But you would be, too, if you were the meat in a Ryan-Dwayne sandwich.

Karen Elson was also in the front row at the Alexander Wang show a few days later, alongside Justin Theroux (sans Jennifer), rapper ASAP Rocky, the New York Knicks’ Tyson Chandler, and Yolandi Visser and Ninja of the South African rap-rave band, Die Antwoord, who performed at Wang’s after party later that night.

Along with Chandler and Dwayne Wade, other athletes who made the NYFW rounds include Ramses Barden of the New York Giants and J.R. Smith of the Knicks (both at the John Bartlett show), Michael del Zotto and Carl Hagelin of the New York Rangers at J.Lindeberg, Oklahoma City Thunder player Russell Westbrook (who was with Nick Cannon at Richard Chai), and Olympian swimmer Conor Dwyer, who joined Ryan Lochte front row at Jeremy Scott, where they sat directly in front of me beside Tyra Banks, Paris Hilton, Swizz Beatz, Adam Lambert and The Misshapes. (Talk about a motley crew!)

AnnaSophia Robb made several Fashion Week appearances, often on the arm of Teen Vogue‘s Andrew Bevan, including at the Rebecca Minkoff show (where I also spied Kristin Chenoweth, Padma Lakshmi, Jamie Chung, Mia Moretti and Shenae Grimes), and at the Bon Appetit dinner co-hosted by Rachel Roy, where Robb hobnobbed with Gabrielle Union, Margherita Missoni, Hannah Bronfman and Natasha Bedingfield, among others. Bevan also squired Hailee Steinfeld around town, and I bumped into them taking in the Chris Benz presentation (as were Vanessa Williams, Alison Pill, Joan and Melissa Rivers, Anna Chlumsky, and Kelly Osbourne with a towering updo) and Susan Sarandon, who had two adorable pups in tow.

Aly Raisman, Michelle Trachtenberg, Katrina Bowden and Lauren Conrad were sitting pretty at Badgley Mischka (with Danielle and Kevin Jonas nearby), while Whitney Port, Estelle, Jessica White, Dania Ramirez and DJ Kiss came out to support BCBGMAXAZRIA, and Kate Bosworth and Maggie Gyllenhaal did the same at Rag & Bone.

Vera Wang drew international A-listers Yao Chen, Michelle Kwan and Stacy Keibler. A surprisingly tiny Paula Abdul was spotted in the front row of newcomer Jackie Fraser-Swan’s Emerson show, and Ashley Greene turned up at DKNY (which makes sense as she’s the face of the brand). Greene also put in an appearance at the Donna Karan collection show, where I sat across the aisle from Bianca Jagger, Rachael Taylor, Bernadette Peters and Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons (who arrived and left together).

June Ambrose, Angela Simmons, Leila Lopes (Miss Universe 2011), Olivia Culpo (Miss USA 2012) and a slew of Project Runway alums turned up at the GBK Style Suites (because who doesn’t love them some swag?), while fashion world hipsters Cory Kennedy, Sky Ferreira, Alexa Chung, Olivier Zahm, Mickey Boardman, Dani Stahl and Sarah Sophie Flicker seemed to be everywhere. And original hipster Kim Gordon (of Sonic Youth fame) put in an appearance at the Tess Giberson show.

Bloggers were also ubiquitous (of course), and it was hard to go a day—or even an hour—without bumping into Bryan Boy, Rumi Neely of Fashion Toast fame, ManRepeller‘s Leandra Medine, Style Bubble‘s Susie Lau and Into the Gloss beauty blogger Emily Weiss, though Tavi Gevinson (of Style Rookie fame) made herself scarce this week, as she was busy promoting Rookiemag events.

Meanwhile, style icons of a certain age (Martha Stewart, Deeda Blair, Charlotte Moss and legendary model Carmen Dell’Orefice) took pride of place at the Chado Ralph Rucci show, while Kirsten Dunst, China Chow, Carine Roitfeld, Rachel Zoe and Anna Dello Russo made for pretty bedfellows at Rodarte.

Betsey Johnson’s 70th birthday bash/fashion retrospective featured a performance by Cyndi Lauper, which drew the likes of Lil Kim, Bebe Buell, Neon Hitch, MNDR, Zombie Boy, Wendy Williams, Byrdie Bell, Charlotte Ronson and Robert Verdi.

And Marchesa’s show boasted what had to be the celebrity “get” of the week: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who rubbed elbows with Tinsley Mortimer, Sarah Hyland, Jenna Dewan, Sky Nellor and Fashion Week stalwarts Anna Wintour, Rachel Zoe, Olivia Palermo, Stacy Keibler, Tyra Banks, Michelle Trachtenberg and Kelly Osbourne, all of whom were crowded backstage in the makeshift staging area, making Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall even starrier than its famous celestial ceiling.

Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.

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September 14, 2012