When RHOC stars Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley invited me to preview and celebrate the new Gretchen Christine handbag line at hip NYC club Kiss & Fly I knew it was an opportunity I could not miss. The chance to browse a new handbag collection is enticing enough, but throw in seeing one of my favorite West Coast Housewife couples and even a Monday night after a long day working could not keep me away. I got my wing woman (driver, photographer, all the support I need) on the phone and began making plans.When we arrived at the club entrance at 8:30pm a small crowd was already gathering. Immediately I spotted Slade. After introductions, though I had interviewed him we had not yet met in person, he told me he was on his way to pick up the guest of honor. Shortly after we were at the front of the line being checked in. The woman checking the list recognized TheBravoBitch name instantly (kind of makes an impression which is why I chose it in the first place) and we were let inside. When we entered the large space there was a gazebo set up to our left that featured the GC collection of handbags, wallets, and wristlets hanging on fishing wire as though suspended in mid air. It was in this gazebo that Gretchen would spend most of the night posing for press,giving short interviews and meeting eager fans,as, although there was an RSVP, the event was open to any public that was lucky enough to be in the area and respond in time to attend.
The first reality stars we saw inside were former RHONY cast members Alex McCord and Simon Van Kempen. Alex was wearing an adorable silver beaded black sweater shift. She was sitting in a booth by the bar when she gushed to me about her new VH1 show premiering next month. I asked her how the experience compared to being on Housewives. “We shot 24/7 for one month with VH1. We shot 4 months with Bravo. Having done both formats I prefer this one,” she said. “It was quick, our kids were in camp, it was intense, but I like just getting it all done.” We caught up with Simon a few minutes later who confirmed how speedy the new filming process was.
At the bar my wing woman, Melissa, bumped elbows with the stranger next to her, who ended up being Richard Wakile. I assured him I was a friendly blogger and that both his wife and sister in law knew me. He led me out to Kathy who was outside posing for photos. It’s always lovely to see Kathy she is a breath of fresh air. She’s also very nurturing and her natural tendency to care for others comes out in conversation. She told me to make sure I get some rest before all the late nights catch up with me. Rich, like his wife, is a very warm and welcoming person. He has a great sense of humor and yes, he did point out once in conversation that he is old school. Slade came in with Gretchen and the media flocked to the gazebo. Gretchen glows in person. She has an inner beauty that shines and enhances her outer beauty. She was dressed in a black lace strapless dress, her new shorter blond locks shining under the lights. Her handbags reflect that sparkle with shiny gold hardware adorned with Swarovski crystals. Gretchen was excited to show me both her bags and her advertising campaign posters. “We went for that old Hollywood glamour look,” she said. Then of course we got into girl talk and she admired my gold dress, which she owns in pink. “It looks better on you.” I told her. She rebutted that everyone should look like me after twins, to which I replied “Smoke, mirrors, and Spanx.”
I had a similar conversation with Melissa Gorga who is absolutely stunning in person. I mentioned how the night before a Tweeter accused me of not having any “love” for the RHONJ star, which is quite untrue. I find Melissa has been very diplomatic this season which is a smart move for her singing career, but ultimately gives the rest of us little to snark about. I also have a tendency to check out Housewife bling, and let me tell you Melissa has one of the most outstanding rings I’ve seen to date. Way to go Joe, no wonder she is singing your praises!
Arriving a bit later were Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan. Ramona,looking lovely in her signature blue, was drinking pinot grigio which she told me, “I never even ask for it anymore. Everyone just brings it to me because they know I like it.” Sonja came dancing through the crowd in a one shouldered purple fitted dress. “I do think we look a bit alike, but you are prettier,” she told me. Thank you Sonja but you looked quite fantastic yourself.
Housewives aside there were also models displaying the bags and reporters and editors from outlets such as People and OK Magazines. The drinks were flowing and the DJ played a great mix which included M83 and Foster the People in addition to all the standard Top 40 dance fair. It was a fabulously energetic crowd but with enough class for the Gretchen Christine collection, and Countess Luann who I heard was there, but never saw.