Monday, March 7, 2011

Washington Social Diary

Andy Cohen with The Real Housewives of Washington DC.
AT THE INTERSECTION OF FASHION AND “HOUSEWIVES”
by Carol Joynt

Everybody has an opinion about Bravo’s hit franchise of the “Real Housewives” of wherever—even the people who haven’t watched one episode. Through the often outrageous and generally amusing exploitation of some women of a certain age, and their men, and their children, and their clothing, hair, manicures and, we must not forget, their breasts, Bravo dishes up nothing short of a female drag show that will someday probably be a sentimentalized mirror on our time. Saying what? I have no idea.

But I do know this: the question I am asked most often about Washington, both by people here and from afar, is whether there will be another season of The Real Housewives of Washington DC. No one but Andy Cohen may know the answer to that question, but at the moment it seems unlikely. I base that on two things: one, there’s no gossip about casting. When the first and only season was beginning production, it was a gossip house on fire.

Second, there are no cameras following people around. Again, with the first and only season, the cameras were conspicuous all over town.

Before they were cast in the Real Housewives of Washington, DC, I’d never before met or heard of any of the women who made the cut, even though one of them threatened to sue me. Eventually I heard lots about Michaele and Tareq Salahi, just as did every other consumer of media, because they “crashed” a White House State Dinner.

This is, I know, is a circuitous route to the point here, which is that this weekend I met another cast member, Catherine Ommanney, the British import who in my opinion came across as actually having a sense of humor. She wasn’t unscathed by the show—in fact her marriage disintegrated before the cameras—but she had a way of spouting “bollocks,” at just the right moments, and usually in the direction of Tareq Salahi. Some of those moments were as ripe as the hair pulling of Atlanta and the back seat limo meltdowns of Beverly Hills.
Catherine Ommanney and Will Thomas.
I bumped into “Cat” at a fashion event hosted by designer Maggie Norris at the French Embassy, La Maison Francaise, on behalf of the Skin Cancer Foundation. Norris said the show, “Beauty is Skin Deep,” was a first and would feature the clothing of several other designers. I dropped by early. Cat was with local anchorman Will Thomas, the event’s emcee. They both smiled for the camera even though she lamented, “I have no make-up.” It didn’t matter. She looked fine, considering she was straight off the train after parties in New York and elsewhere to launch her just published book. Inbox Full. Her Washington party is at the end of this week, and a tour is planned for later in the spring.

Viewers of the RHODC will recall the book was her principal project—other than her marriage—during most of the episodes. She said she now divides her time between Washington and London, where her daughters are in boarding school. The future is a great big mystery, as maybe it should be after all that reality.
Martin Garbisou. The cold shoulder from Carson Kressley: "No pictures tonight."
I asked about the possibility there would be another season of the DC “Housewives.” All Cat would say is, “still in talks.”

Also spotted at the “VIP” pre-show reception was Carson Kressley, who earned some of his own reality-TV fame as a cast-member of another Bravo hit, the late Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. For whatever reason, he was not in a mood to smile for the camera. He turned a shoulder, raised his hands in the air, and said, “no pictures tonight.” So be it. Fortunately some of the models backstage were obliging. There was no guest list.
Random scenes from out front.
Scenes from the VIP reception.
VIP's at the VIP reception. The VIP wrist band.
For everyone else, a cash bar.
Scenes from backstage.

Photographs by Carol Joynt. Carol is the host of The Q&A Cafe in Washington, D.C.

Visit her at: caroljoynt.com. Follow Carol on Twitter.