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Moment 97: Front Row Frenzy

Fashion Week celebrity gawking took over runway admiring. The circus-like pandering became such that it took away from the real focus: the clothes.

Paris and Nicky Hilton at Jill Stuart’s fall 2009 show

Paris and Nicky Hilton at Jill Stuart’s fall 2009 show.

Photo By Steve Eichner

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD 100 issue 11/01/2010

It almost seems like an urban myth: a fashion show without celebrities. Nowadays, paparazzi and a front-row contingent of stars are de rigueur—every flash and manicured smile projected tenfold by online and television media. And while the entertainment and style worlds have always rubbed elbows, this full-blown affair is largely a phenomenon of the early Aughts. “The showtime frenzy in New York has reached a fever pitch,” reported WWD on February 10, 2003. “Isn’t the week supposed to be about the clothes? What a quaint notion.” Feeding into the circuslike mania was the increasingly lax definition of fame. “The big story of the weekend was the pandering over B-, C- and below-list celebrities,” the story continued. “This season, the frenzy is a flop.” It’s a judgment that—thanks to a steady stream of Bravo Housewives and MTV reality tartlets—resonates still.