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Going online has become a primary source of instant gratification for the industry at large — and an increasingly quick and easy reference point for Hollywood's busiest stylists.
"I don't have to go to shows any more because of Wireimage," conceded Estee Stanley. "But fashion week is such a great experience to be there and see the clothes up close, the fits and fabric."
Despite the way many celebrities have flocked to the shows for all the attention it affords them, the madness that has ensued has actually scared away many stars, including her clients, Stanley noted. "It's a paparazzi circus. They don't feel comfortable going," she said. Um, could she tell that to Longoria, Hilton and Lohan?
Not surprisingly, some editors and buyers are already contemplating an end to the celebrity front-row craze.
"I've been in it and around it long enough to see that there are cycles," said Martha Nelson, managing editor at People. "There are periods of great excitement around having celebrities at collections. And then there was a moment of 'we want to return to our roots and be fashion for fashion people.'"
Doonan at Barneys has a piece of advice for the fashion contingent strongly opposed to celebrities in the front row. "I always say, don't moan and winge about it since it may not last forever," he said. "Maybe the celebs will move on to something else, like rocket science."
— With contributions from Jeff Bercovici and Rosemary Feitelberg, New York, and Rose Apodaca, Los Angeles