Though The National have a strong fashion following, they’ve always been a little too introspective to qualify as a “fashiony” band. So it was something of a surprise to find out they’d be headlining last night’s kickoff party for the Fall ’11 season at MAC & Milk. It’s always tempting to credit an opening event with setting the tone for the fashion week ahead; in this case, as National lead singer Matt Berninger (left) keened into the DeLeón tequila-tippling crowd, the temptation was to imagine a week of poetic agitation and body shots. (Which would be interesting, and kind of like college.) Or perhaps the event was auguring a fashion week more intimate than usual, and more full of feeling? At any rate, the atypical band brought out a few atypical A-listers, among them Liev Schreiber and Josh Lucas, and a crowd a bit more representative of rumpled Brooklyn chic than one usually finds in a fashion scene. Maybe “Brooklyn-ness” is the key to this fashion week: After all, MAC & Milk organizer Jenne Lombardo, who booked the National at 11:30 a.m. the previous morning, has also seen fit to replace the much-loved taco lounge of two seasons ago with a hangout space catered by Bushwick pizza place Roberta’s. “They’re doing their cool gangsta build out,” Lombardo said of the Roberta’s guys, who are legendary Brooklyn D.I.Y.ers. Fair warning, noshers, there won’t be endless snacks as there were in the (taco) salad days of yore, but a lucky few will be able to snag some chow. And maybe before the week is out, we’ll all be killing time between shows planting a vegetable garden on the Milk Studios rooftop. Then again, maybe not.
The Creative Coalition, the entertainment industry’s nonprofit advocacy group, hosted a day-long brunch in honor of the inaugural festivities. It was the perfect spot for the famous among us to celebrate the swearing in or warm up after having done so alfresco. A bundled-up Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and Anne Hathaway popped in for a quick bite, while Alan Cumming beelined for the martini bar. Also spotted passing through were Sting, Trudie Styler, Adrian Grenier, Kerry Washington, and Spike Lee. Not surprisingly, a rowdy and joyful cheer went up when former President Bush boarded his helicopter ride out of town. Matthew Modine mused on what the outcome of the election means for Americans. “To quote Full Metal Jacket, ‘It’s a big s–t sandwich and we’re all gonna have to take a bite,’ ” Modine said. “But the good news is, everybody’s smiling and saying, ‘OK, I’ll eat s–t.’ ” Guerlain hosted a makeup room for touchups in between the swearing in, parade, and balls. Between holding court with a gaggle of starstruck teenage girls, Josh Lucas kept popping in to get lip gloss—for himself. (If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.) Most guests headed out in the late afternoon for some downtime before tonight’s ball circuit. On his way out Tim Daly joked, “They’re not really balls. They’re more like bar mitzvahs—a bunch of dressed-up people standing around eating finger food.”