"His calves are bigger than my thighs," mused fellow judge Nigel Barker about Scottish Rugby star Richie Gray, one of the many notables who represented on the runway at Monday night's "From Scotland with Love," the annual kick-off to Tartan Week in the U.S. Now in its tenth year, the event was a dynamic mix of the old and new. To wit: the name of the event itself, formerly known as "Dressed to Kilt." New charities were involved as well. The two main beneficiaries of the evening were Cash for Kids, which aids children of Scotland who live in poverty, and The Wounded Warrior Project, which helps American soldiers returning home from conflict in Iraq. A few of those soldiers joined the celebrities and models on the runway to much fanfare.
It was the latter cause that attracted the involvement of actress Jill Hennessy, a first-time model at the fete. Arriving on the red carpet in Marni for H&M and a Wounded Warrior bracelet, she enthused: "I've been supporting Wounded Warrior for the past three years, so I was thrilled this event was supporting [the charity] this year." For the runway, she changed into a show-stopping plaid gown with a daring slit up the side. Joining her were Miss Scotland's Jennifer Reoch; Mickey Boardman; Matthew Modine (returning to the event for the third time); The B-52's Fred Schneider; and Gossip Girl's Kelly Rutherford and Matthew Settle, who made as convincing an off-screen couple as they do on by engaging in a passionate kiss.
That stunt no doubt received high marks from the judges, who included Wendy Williams; Glenn O'Brien; Cator Sparks; WPIX's Debra Alfarone; Vanity Fair's George Wayne; celebrity stylist Derek Warburton; Kim Bates; the aforementioned Barker; and yours truly. Dr. Geoffrey Scott Carroll, who co-chaired and MC'd the party/fashion show/fundraiser along with Peter Morris, set the tone for the evening when he quipped: "We do this for great causes but also to have a bloody great time." Not quite crossing over into debauchery, the runway show nonetheless involved a wardrobe malfunction or two and more than a few cat-calls from the judges and the audience. (I was as quiet as a mouse, I swear).
What makes the judges give the models high marks? Enthusiasm and a willingness to ham it up seem to be prerequisites -- a refreshing change from models at fashion shows who would never deign to crack a smile. But the point is that it is all in good fun. As returning judge Barker confided shortly before the show, "Last time I drank a bit of whiskey with Sean Connery, so I'm not exactly sure what I did in terms of judging." So perhaps we weren't methodical in our evaluations, but our enthusiasm more than made up for it, resulting in an entertaining show for everyone involved. Here's to another 10 years of all things Scottish!