Celebrated society columnist and industry insider Ben Widdicombe captures the culture of fashion at the shows and all over town.

Pamela and Deniz are our Fashion PR experts and fixtures on the NYFW beat. They're bringing all the runway action to you with reports from inside the tents at the week's hottest shows.

Cheri, Nordstrom's National Beauty Director, takes you behind the scenes to reveal the season's biggest beauty trends and makeup artists' tricks of the trade.

To Haiti with Love

SarahIngle

I met Sarah Ingle, a media company intern, in a booth run by the Council of Fashion Designers of America to promote "Fashion For Haiti." She was supporting their effort to sell "To Haiti with Love" t-shirts, which benefit earthquake victims. Nordstrom is supporting the CFDA and offering these tees in store and online—all proceeds go directly to the Clinton Bush Haiti fund.

"My dress is by Carolina Soma, an Argentinean designer," explained the Michigan native, who is currently living in South Carolina for school. "I love the way it fits, and I never have clothes that fit because I'm so skinny! I think it's fun and colorful, and I like that is has a different cut. And I love this bunch of silver threads on the shoulder, that's unusual."

Sarah, who was also sporting BCBG shoes and an inexpensive pair of tights, defined her personal style as "having fun and having the right thing for the right occasion."

I love a girl who takes time to support a worthy cause. Bonus if she looks fabulous while doing it.

A Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose

Gertrude Stein

Since Fashion Week is leaving Bryant Park next season (Lincoln Center here we come--I know Anna Wintour is looking forward to it.) I thought I'd snap this statue of Gertrude Stein which has guarded the models' entrance to the tents for 17 years.

Her presence in the park probably has more to do with the adjacent New York Public Library than Fashion Week, but this Buddha-like bronze has come to be a bit of a fashion mascot.

In previous configurations of the Tents, she sometimes found herself sitting in the middle of the models' dressing room, and the girls would delight in hanging their delicates off her. (I'm not sure they ever read her work, but they sure had fun with the statue--if bronze could talk, she'd have plenty more stories to tell).

As famous as a writer as an inspiration to other artists, we know her monument will remain watching over the next generation of artists lucky enough to stand beneath her meditative, maternal gaze.

Farewell, Gertie. Fashion Week will miss you!

Young and the Restless: Julia Frakes

Julia Franks


Miss Julia Frakes, sitting in the second row of Australian designer Michael Angel's show, was catnip to the photographers.

She was sporting a Alexander Wang sweater over an Pendleton for Opening Ceremony dress, retro shades from her personal collection, and a really kicky pair of purple Lanvin heels that, try as I might, I couldn't crouch down low enough to get into the shot.

Miss Frakes, you probably will not be surprised to learn, blogs. Blogging is as ubiquitous for children these days as bubblegum was for a generation past, only some of these kids have a lot more sticking power.

While a great deal of the blogosphere is as valuable (and irritating) as gum cemented to the bottom of your favorite heels, Ms. Frakes' Bunny BISOUS blog and varied contributions around the web are joined by rare other phenoms (think Style Rookie, Tavi) who, while young, express their interpretations of the world around them in ways both insightfully charming and well beyond their years.

And speaking of which, just how old are you anyway?

"Twenty," she said, and then paused. "Well, I'm going to be 20. I'm 19."

At which point, frankly, I stopped asking questions.

"Ode to Bryant Park"


Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher sure looks surprised (and, is it my imagination, maybe a little pleased?) to see me as he changes backstage for a fashion show.

Sadly, the look of surprised delight was actually for photographer Patrick McMullen, and this photo-of-a-photo comes from a backstage exhibit of classic Fashion Week images.

Called "Ode to Bryant Park" in honor of the last season to show at this location, the pictures come from his book InTents which features dozens of models and celebrities.

Pity we don't all look so good in our vintage candids.

Sense and Sensibility: Louise Masano

While Fashion Week abounds with flamboyant, unwearable outfits, it was a pleasure to meet the sensibly dressed Louise Masano walking out of the Dukie Brown show--where, incidentally, I spotted a pair of divine Jimmy Choo rubberized, faux-alligator skin Wellington Boots (the coldest weather in NYFW history has brought some amazing footwear out of the closet).


Louise Masano

"You don't have to wear the latest season of everything to come to the shows," she told me. Masano was wearing a Ralph Lauren cashmere jacket, Michael Kors pants and had a Joseph jacket draped over her arm. But perhaps most interesting was the blouse which she had designed and made herself. The material had come from just a few blocks away, the heart of New York's disappearing garment district.

"I work for Sothebys, but my sister is the fashion designer, Andrea Masano," she said.

It's nice to see ingenuity runs in the family.