Fug Girls: Jessica Stroup Flies Under the Radar at Herrera

Happy not to be Shenae Grimes.

We admit to wondering why model Coco Rocha was in the crowd last night at Miss Sixty instead of on the catwalk. But her actions at Monday morning's Carolina Herrera show thoughtfully answered that question: Rocha emerged from backstage speaking into a microphone with a camera in her face, then grabbed Rachel Zoe and her assistant Brad for an interview. Apparently she started a gig with E! on Friday that lasts through Fashion Week, which may explain why we personally haven't spotted her in anything since she appeared in rag & bone that evening; we imagine being "the model that can talk and not just walk" puts a crimp in her seasonal stomping schedule. But it also might mean her view of the clothes is severely compromised: Coco-as-reporter only snagged a second-row seat at Herrera, behind stylist Robert Verdi. Welcome to journalism, kid.

Zoe seemed less artificially burnished than usual, although maybe the hue of her skin simply paled in comparison to the deep-brown potato sack she wore. She also had on a slouchy knit hat, the likes of which most people wear for winter warmth, but which she had sitting so far back on her head that it barely covered anything and seemed in great danger of dropping to the floor. Maybe she's trying to give herself pneumonia so as to yank the spotlight back from her assistant Brad, who got more media attention than she did. Enjoy it while it lasts, Brad, because Rachel's People cover about her tragic struggle with phlegm is going to be huge.

Christian Siriano, who is as wee as a bagel is round, arrived early with a gigantic man-purse and his new boss, Kate Betts, who is having him blog this week for Time.com. He sat a few seats down from Zoe near the top of the runway, which gave them a weird vantage point since the lighting was such that the models coming back up the catwalk were cast in darkness about halfway to backstage. We also didn't see him exchange any pleasantries with Project Runway judge Nina Garcia of Marie Claire, but maybe they just didn't notice each other. Hopefully they will warmly air-kiss at his show on Thursday and everything will prove to be fine.

All the way down at the other end, designer Tory Burch sat quietly with her back turned to seatmate Leigh Lezark — not that it mattered, since Lezark was engaged in a fairly raucous-looking conversation with the girls on her other side, Lauren Santo Domingo (clad in formal shorts ... sigh) and Jessica Stroup. At one point Stroup made a gesture toward the crown of her head and a crinkle-nosed look of disdain, as if they were discussing ratty bedhead. Or maybe the precarious perch of Rachel Zoe's hat. Stroup looked quite cute in black cropped pants, a gray tweedy corset, and a coordinated black jacket. Not that anyone paid her much mind. Despite being arguably the most famous — or at least the most visible outside of New York — of the trio, Stroup sat politely by while photographers begged the always-fragile-looking Lezark, Burch, and Santo Domingo for pictures. It reminded us a bit of Leighton Meester's first Fashion Week foray, when Gossip Girl had just premiered and she wandered completely unnoticed into a couple of shows and stood around looking a bit lost. While we doubt that 90210 is the new Gossip Girl (for one thing, not enough hair bows), Jessica still kept her chin up, busying herself with an introduction to Miss J. Alexander — seated in the row behind her — and otherwise engaging in some people-watching with her hands folded in her lap. We can't say we blame her; the tents are our favorite place to get in a little blatant ogling, thanks to the sheer quantity of fur hats. But we couldn't help but wonder if she felt a little neglected. Surely she expected, at least, to be asked how she manages not to punch out Shenae Grimes on a daily basis. That's what we'd want to know.

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Filed Under: carolina herrera, christian siriano, coco rocha, fall 2009, front row, jessica stroup, leigh lezark, new york fashion week, new york fugging city, nina garcia, rachel zoe, robert verdi, rtw, tory burch

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