By Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY
Fashion’s Night Out, which is set for Friday, was christened Tuesday night with the largest public fashion show in New York City’s history. The event had 150 models showing off hot trends from Vogue’s September issue at Fashion Week’s new home, Lincoln Center. USA TODAY shadowed Canadian-born supermodel Coco Rocha, who opened and closed the show.
12:40: Rocha passes on lunch at Bar Boulud, sipping water instead, saying she may be catching her mother’s cold.
1:00: Fashion’s Night Out this year lands on Rocha’s birthday; she turns 22 on Friday. “Still a baby,” she says wistfully, “but I’m old in this industry now.” Her wedding rings blink from her left hand: Rocha married muralist James Conran, 29, in June.
1:10: ”Is it OK if they join us?” Rocha asks, with her mother, Juanita Rocha, on the phone. Seconds later, Rocha’s husband and mother walk in, both giddily hatching their plan to make it backstage to keep Rocha company. “I hate going to shows alone. I get crazy alone,” Rocha says.
1:23: In Lincoln Center, Rocha almost mistakenly walks into Gisele Bundchen’s dressing room. Both Bundchen and Naomi Campbell have their own dressing rooms, while Rocha and a handful of fellow top models are in a large “Top Model Dressing Room.” (The rest of the 150 models get ready in a giant common room.)
1:30: Rocha nibbles on a brownie and fends off jokes about Irish dancing in today’s show. Rocha was discovered at 15 at an Irish dancing competition. “That’s the ongoing joke,” she says. People ask, “So, you’re going to dance today?”
1:41: ”I’m obsessed with Glee,” Rocha says on the way down to get her hair and makeup done. “I would love to be on it.” Walking into a sweltering tunnel beneath Lincoln Center, hundreds of models are getting their hair styled. Rocha sits down, and immediately, two stylists start straightening her copper locks.
2:45: Model Chanel Iman breezes by. A team of three is rolling, spraying and curling Rocha’s hair with a hot iron. Rocha and the model next to her are sitting staunchly facing forward, but the conversation is free-flowing between them. “That’s how we communicate: through mirrors,” Rocha says.
3:35: With just her base foundation on and hair still in pin curls, Rocha heads to rehearsal.
4:05: The top models are on their second practice run. They slip out of their flats and into show shoes; Rocha’s are Louis Vuitton black pumps with 7-inch heels. The director cues Bundchen, who is being played by a short redhead. (Bundchen and Campbell had private rehearsals earlier.) Rocha heads back to the makeup chair.
4:38: Campbell walks in the hair and makeup area. Chaos erupts. Makeup artist Pat McGrath yells for everyone to move back and begins to do Campbell’s makeup personally. A second later, Bundchen walks in and chaos erupts again.
4:40: Bundchen plops down next to Rocha and shows a hairstylist pictures of her baby, Benjamin (with husband Tom Brady).
5:24: Rocha pops in the upstairs dressing room, where a spread of food awaits. She grabs a snack and a ginger ale.
6:05: Rocha is slithering into her first look, by Monique Lhuillier, while an aid helps tie a sash around her tiny waist.
6:15: Groups of impeccably styled models stand clumped together; it is like Mad Men, Memoirs of a Geisha and a tribe of couture Eskimos have converged onto one crazy set.
6:23: Rocha, dressed in her first look, heads to have her photo taken for the Vogue look book. En route, she passes editor Anna Wintour, who gives her an imperceptible nod.
6:25: Rocha heads back to change into Look 2 and passes Bundchen, whose skirt is being carried by two handlers. “I feel like a bride!” Bundchen says, humming the bridal march.
6:32: Rocha has quickly changed into her second look, a tufted Louis Vuitton ballgown with diamond-crusted heels.
7:05: Front-row regulars start arriving: Lauren Hutton, Liv Tyler, Blake Lively, Julianne Moore.
7:32: Rocha and various supermodels drive up, standing atop a decorated NYC tourist bus.
7:34: Rocha grins as she struts and is followed by a torrent of models dressed in Vogue’s take on the best of every collection that showed around the world for fall 2010. Stepping to Ke$ha’s Animal, Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and a surprise live performance by Pharrell, models styled in tartans, sweaters, jazz-age cool, rock chick and military looks sweep through the buzzing guests.
7:59: ”That was fun,” Rocha says backstage after slipping out of her Vuitton dress. On the runway, she had her own fun. “I noticed that Michael Kors was on the front row! And then I winked at him, and I never do that,” she says with a laugh.
8:01: ”It was cool to see people who aren’t normally at the shows get so excited,” says Rocha, posing with a few fans before hopping in a black SUV. And with two double kisses, she’s gone.