In 2008, Lauren Conrad (of Laguna Beach, Calif.) made her runway debut at L.A. Fashion Week with the Lauren Conrad Collection, a now-defunct line she said was inspired by “a trip to Paris.” It was so panned by the press—New York called it “sad” and “bizarre”—that LC never attempted a fashion show again.
Until Wednesday night. Zut alors.
The LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection for Kohl’s New York Fashion Week runway show, which we were not invited to but ultimately attended, took place one day before the official start of New York Fashion Week—a “kick-off” of sorts, according to Lauren’s PR people—at the Skylight Modern venue in Chelsea.
According to Lauren, the collection was “inspired by the mystery and enchantment of the forest”; according to reviewers at Vanity Fair and New York, the show was “solid,” “uncontroversial,” and “elevated basic.” Everything was made available for purchase online at Kohl’s immediately following the show.
“There is never just one thing that leads to success for anyone. I feel it always a combination of passion, dedication, hard work, and being in the right place at the right time.” —Lauren Conrad
Kelly: Our journey to the LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection for Kohl’s New York Fashion Week runway show began the night before at 9 P.M. I texted Allie, “Wait should we try to go to Lauren conrad’s show tomorrow?” And she responded “omg” and then: “yes.” Perfect. We decided to try to get in even if we couldn’t get on the list, but this proved unnecessary. The next day Allie emailed a lady and the lady emailed back right away: we were on the list. It’s just that easy, my friends. The hottest ticket in town, LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection for Kohl’s New York Fashion Week runway show, and we were there, on the list, in the “standing room” section, which seemed rude.
Before heading into the pre-show cocktail party, Allie and I got drinks on the roof of a hotel across the street. “Do you want to sit by the pool?” the hostess asked us. We did not—we wanted to spy on those heading into the LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection for Kohl’s New York Fashion Week runway show—but it’s good to remember that if you want to go into a pool you just have to go to that rooftop, apparently, and remember to wear a swimsuit underneath your clothes.
We sipped our drinks and watched a handful of people in black clothing stand outside of the LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection for Kohl’s New York Fashion Week runway show venue. Every so often it would seem like maybe there were two or three more of them meandering around out there, but also maybe it was just the same amount of people the whole time—a mystery.
We headed over around 6:20 and, guess what, our names were still on the list. “Ohh—you’re actually in standing room,” the young woman checking our names, dressed identically to the other young women checking other people’s names, (black dress), told us exactly as rudely as it seems written on the page. “You’re actually in standing room.” Uh-huh. Please note that we did not say “We’re Kelly and Allie and I believe we have a reservation.” Or something like, “We’re Kelly and Allie and we’re not in standing room—see for yourself, I bet it’s written on your list.” Or, “We’re Kelly and Allie and what we’re most excited about are the chairs!” Uhh—lady? Actually, WE KNOW WE’RE IN STANDING ROOM!!!!!!!
Allie: Until the minute that woman said “You’re actually in standing room,” I did not believe we were going to get into the LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection for Kohl’s New York Fashion Week runway show. This was evidenced by the fact that I wore Birkenstocks to work the day of the show and did not bring any shoes to change. Who do we think we are? People who can get invitations to the LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection for Kohl’s New York Fashion Week runway show mere hours before it starts? But I guess we are those people, and I in particular am a person who wore muddy Birkenstocks in LC’s house. Kelly wore cool boots.
As we walked downstairs to the pre-show cocktail hour (the LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection for Kohl’s New York Fashion Week runway show was in a basement), I was hoping we’d get offered some kind of flower-printed press badge or swag bag or really anything for free. Not so. The only thing we received was the privilege of attending.
“I think when you’re put into a completely different situation and environment, you really see who you are. You’re not affected by what’s around you. You are who you are.” —Lauren Conrad
Allie: The cocktail hour was not an hour of cocktails, but an hour of sparkling rosé, which was fine by me. LC got the good stuff (Veuve) and part-time model-type bartenders wearing white shirts and skinny black ties were pouring generously. To really sell the rosé theme—I love the idea of like, pink bubbles, I imagine Lauren saying—there were two giant towers of it flanking the bar. To me: a waste. Personally, I would have spent that money on decorations, which were surprisingly sparse. Lauren’s line may have been “inspired by the mystery and enchantment of the forest,” but this was only communicated by one column in the center of the room that had branches glued to it.
As soon as we walked in, I recognized LC’s parents from Laguna Beach. They looked impossibly young and beautiful and excited to be having their picture taken. Then I recognized Ashley Tisdale.
Ashley was with her husband, whom I recognized from Instagram. I was recognizing people left and right at this thing—not because there were a lot of famous people or anything, but because I know faces and I pay attention. I recognized a man who briefly dated Roxy on The Hills spinoff The City. He was dressed in black and working as a photographer.
The scene, in general, was subdued and unthreatening, much like Lauren herself. I was a little nervous about being thrust into a “fashion” crowd (our outfits were okay, minus the Birkenstocks), but we blended in fine. The predominantly female guests were all dressed with a vibe I’d call “my favorite outfit that I saved for school assembly day.”
Kelly: Allie recognized basically every single person at the cocktail party, even though literally none of them were famous. She’d point at a guy and say something like, “Oh, that guy was a waiter in the background of a scene one time on The City.” Or something like, “Oh my god—that girl starred in a fashion Vine that got over 400 views,” or “That’s Ashley Tisdale.” Etc., etc. It was very impressive. I only recognized one person: Lo Bosworth. Hi, Lo!
The sparkling rosé was nice, and the bartenders were very beautiful. The crowd and the decor were, as Allie pointed out, decidedly not intimidating. Flowers in a vase. Sticks on the beam. Towers of sparkling rosé in coupe glasses to, I guess, denote “an excess of sparkling rosé.” People wearing clothes that didn’t look too expensive. Extras from The City taking photographs. Some chick in fucking Birkenstocks.
It was like a fancier bathroom than you would expect at something like a nail salon that caters to older, wealthy women on their birthdays.
“Some people are willing to betray years of friendship just to get a little bit of the spotlight.” —Lauren Conrad
Allie: At about 20 minutes till showtime, several assistants wearing black clothes and headsets as necklaces started ushering the crowd into the next room to be seated for the LC Lauren Conrad Collection for Kohl’s New York Fashion Week runway show. Nobody seemed to want to do that. Kelly and I were some of the first people to enter the show room, where we took our places in “standing room” behind chairs that no one was sitting in. Each chair had a little flower-printed card with a name on it, written in calligraphy. In front of us, there was a chair and a card for Sami Miro, who is Zac Efron’s girlfriend. “That’s for Zac Efron’s girlfriend,” I told Kelly.
I guessed that she would not show up, but she did, at the last second.
I think the funniest thing about the seating process was LC (or whoever was in charge of the assistants) made the assistants stand in each section of chairs and hold up signs—above their heads—with the letter name of the section. For like a half an hour! I don’t know if they got paid or what.
The second funniest thing was LC (or whoever was in charge of the seating chart) put Ashley Tisdale in the front row, and seated her husband behind her, in the second row. Ashley Tisdale is famous enough for the front row of the LC Lauren Conrad Collection for Kohl’s New York Fashion Week runway show, but her husband is not. A photographer tried to take a photo of the two of them sitting like that, and Mr. Tisdale did not think it was funny, I don’t think! If I were Ashley I probably would have just let my husband stay home, but I don’t have all the facts of the situation.
At five minutes till showtime, the seats were about half full, and there were about 25 of us in “standing room.” Chrissy Teigen came and sat next to Ashley in the front row, as did a Miss USA person who used to date a Jonas brother. Lo got to sit in the front row, but she did not get to sit next to any of those people.
Kelly and I were offered seats in the second row about five minutes later by an assistant who said, “We’re having trouble filling the seats.” After filling the seats, we were asked, almost immediately, to move up to the front row. O.K. we’ll do it!
Kelly: Did you know that Allie and I didn’t have seats originally and were instead put in “standing room”? It’s true. After we were ushered in, we took our place and ended up standing directly behind all of the famous (“famous”) women. Once again Allie proved her intense ability to know not only the face but also the name of every single nobody on Earth, pointing out that directly in front of us was a seating card with the name of Zac Efron’s girlfriend written on it. Incredible.
Because we were standing behind all of the famous (“famous”) women, we made it into the background of many, many photographs. It was impossible not to notice that we would be in the background of all of these photos, and Allie took it upon herself to enhance them:
:) Do you see her?
Frankly, I can’t believe Chrissy Teigen was there. Do you think she got paid to be there? I assume she probably did. She looked great.
Earlier in the night Allie and I talked about how we doubted enough people would attend the LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection for Kohl’s New York Fashion Week runway show to fill up all the seats, and that we would probably be seated eventually. As you heard from Allie: we were right. From “standing room” to the second row to the first row. If only that rude as hell check-in lady could’ve seen us then.
“I love anything really feminine. I love any sort of girly detail - anything with a bow or a heart on it, I’m immediately in love with.” —Lauren Conrad
Kelly: As the show began, Allie and I took out our iPhones and dutifully began snapping photos of each outfit as it bopped down the runway. Why? I don’t know. I will never look at any of those photos ever again in my life, but there they are, on my phone, displaying lacy rompers and velvet tops and tulle skirts that, in general, I would describe as “fine enough.” It is a line for Kohl’s, and it didn’t seem like it wasn’t. But also I’d wear most of it if I had been given it in a swag bag, which, rudely, I was not. But also I’m not too particular.
The lady seated behind me kept saying all the outfits were “gorgeous,” so I wrote down “gorgeous” in the notes section of my phone. I also wrote down this funny thing Allie said about the show’s set design, which amounted to, essentially, piles of flowers here and there: “I’m gonna guess the budget wasn’t, like, infinite.” Hahaha. Damn.
Lauren Conrad came out at the end and Allie and I said, “WOOOOOO!”
A lot of the tops had a little gap in the back.
Allie: All of the models were pretty and none of them fell. Many of them had goofy braids on their heads, which was unnecessary (my opinion) but definitely LC’s idea. The clothes were what you’d expect—lacy tops; flouncy skirts; everything was white or pink or green or blue. I liked one of the dresses and would buy it for my cousin’s wedding if it was under $100 (it might be—everything in the line allegedly costs between $12 and $200).
I would say I was not so excited for Lauren Conrad after the show as Ramona Singer was when Sonja Morgan finally debuted her international fashion lifestyle brand on Real Housewives of New York City, but I still cheered for her.
“Imperfection is relatable.” —Lauren Conrad
Allie: When the show was over, we tried to go back into the cocktail party room, but an assistant told us it was for media only. When we explained that we were Allie and Kelly from Gawker and actually we were in the front row, she let us in but told us we would under no circumstances be allowed to interview Lauren Conrad. “She can only do a set number of interviews,” she said. She told us to ask Brittany if we wanted to try to interview some other people (like the Miss USA girl or something).
We never found Brittany, but we did find Ashley Tisdale’s husband hanging out by himself, waiting for Ashley to be done taking photos with Chrissy Teigen. At one point, he and Zac Efron’s girlfriend chatted to each other, which seemed nice, but then she left and he was alone again. Later, he put on headphones and stood by a wall.
With no Brittany and no real idea of what was going on, we decided we should just hang out and see what happened. What happened was Lauren Conrad came out, stood behind a velvet rope, and started doing interviews with people lined up to interview her. Kelly suggested we just get in line—a great idea.
After waiting for other outlets like Fortune and Fashionista to ask LC questions like, “What is your favorite item in the line?” it was finally our turn. Hi, Lauren.
“Probably!” she said. She asked what kind of iPhone it was, and I told her it was an iPhone 6, which was wrong. It’s actually an iPhone 6s. Lauren—I regret the error.
“I have the older one,” she offered. “I’m like a one-hander, like I use one hand with my phone because I’m a multi-tasker, so I’ve been really holding off [upgrading to a bigger phone]. I know eventually I’ll do the bigger phone.”
Then we asked if she will do another fashion show. “If this went well!” she said. “Ask me tomorrow, I don’t know.”
O.K.—final question. (We were allowed to ask three.) What does Lauren Conrad think about her former cast mates from The Hills participating in Fashion Week? For example, I told her, Kristin Cavallari is having a party for her shoe line.
“Well I think that it’s amazing that New York Fashion Week has welcomed any of us, so I think that’s really exciting.”
Kelly: “Well I think that it’s amazing that New York Fashion Week has welcomed any of us, so I think that’s really exciting.” Hahaha. I love it. Truly impressive that LC was able to whip together such delicate shade off-the-cuff like that. “Well—it takes all kinds.”
The thing about the interviews and the interview line was: I don’t understand what anyone could possibly have been asking any of the people available for interviews. “Chrissy Teigen, what did you think of the show?” “Ashley Tisdale, what did you think of the show?” “Women I don’t recognize, what did you all think of the show?” “CEO of Kohl’s—what did you think of the show?”
(The CEO of Kohl’s was there and available for interviews. We thought maybe he was a relative, so we asked one of the women with a headset, “Who is that guy?” She did not know either, so she asked another woman with a headset. The CEO of Kohl’s, as it turns out.)
This made it all the more impressive when Allie was able to put together two perfect questions for Lauren and one perfect fake question that we threw in to make us look less rude. I’m so glad Lauren was able to squeeze us in—I know she was only able to give a set number of interviews.
I shook her hand and said to her, “Congratulations.”
The saddest and nicest part of the whole experience was certainly Ashley Tisdale’s husband. That poor guy. Wandering around alone, standing alone, listening to—for sure—a podcast. At one point I heard him ask one of the ladies in a headset if she could tell him where the restroom was, and she said that she could not.