"Fire," said Luka Sabbat, describing Christina Aguilera's impending performance at the annual Harper's Bazaar Icons by Carine Roitfeld blow-out at The Plaza. (Note: The Cool Teen™ and "Grown-ish" actor was born in 1997, two years before "Genie in a Bottle" was released.)
But the real fire situation was happening on the landing outside the main ballroom, as not-so-alleged-anymore nemeses Cardi B and Nicki Minaj physically clashed at fashion week's biggest, most glamorous and celebrity-filled event — which TMZ conveniently caught on video. Reportedly, the "Bodak Yellow" artist approached Minaj's table to "address" some issues, and a member of the latter's entourage elbowed Cardi B's face, causing a visible lump on her forehead.
The altercation then spilled onto the landing, with multiple security guards and event staffers intervening and physically separating both groups, Cardi B launching a chunky red platform shoe at Minaj (but missing) — while the target "didn't flinch" — and the former being escorted out of the party sans shoes. Sources who witnessed the melée also noted aggressive hair pulling and Cardi B's red ruffled Dolce & Gabbana gown being ripped down the back exposing her undergarments (one observer mentioned a flash of butt-cheek). Quickly afterward, the rapper addressed her grievances, both professional and personal, with Minaj via Instagram.
So there's that. However, inside the party, most of the fashion luminaries and Hollywood celebrities, including Gigi and Bella Hadid, Caitlyn and Kendall Jenner, Presley Gerber, Ashlee Simpson, Tiffany Haddish and every major model imaginable, from Christie Brinkley to Duckie Thot, seemed none the wiser. They were both excited to schmooze with their equally-as-fabulous friends and to see Aguilera perform her classics in a deconstructed, chain-embellished pin-striped look, complete with chunky platform boots (she's still got it).
"When we were growing up, [the fashion] was very much influenced by her and Britney [Spears]," said Suki Waterhouse. "Her really low-slung jeans — the hip huggers — which I miss." "Claws" actress Karrueche Tran is more a fan of singer's memorable 2002 look, also an enduring Halloween costume to this day (see: Kylie Jenner in 2016). "I love Christina's chaps in the 'Dirrty' video," she said, following Aguilera's performance.
We Partied With Kim Kardashian, Jared Leto and All the Victoria's Secret Models at 'Harper's Bazaar' Icons
Low-rise, hipbone-baring and possibly underwear-exposing jeans, which designers are threatening to bring back, seemed to be the most fondly nostalgic early-2000s fashion trend amongst the party-goers. Fenty model and entrepreneur Leomie Anderson liked to wear hers with some extra, and very early-aughts, flair: "Belly chains, because everybody loved a belly chain, and also a high-rise thong with low-waist jeans — and a rhinestone," said the Brit, with a nostalgic smile.
Sabbat had a particular person — and sister of fellow party-goer — in mind for the trend. "Paris Hilton wearing low-waisted, bleached and super-washed jeans — with no underwear — and tiny T-shirts, those were the most iconic things of all time," said Sabbat. (And, no, he wouldn't spill any tea on what will happen between his "Grown-ish" character, who's essentially him, Luca, and Yara Shahidi's Zoey, in season two. "Just wait for season two. I want you to watch it. I can't give it up!")
Actress, singer, dancer and general entertainment multi-hyphenate, Carmen Electra probably has the best memories of pushing the envelope, fashion-wise, during the late '90s and early 2000s, when she dominated red carpet roundups.
"It's so funny because the MTV Video Music Awards were all about being a rebel and not following the rules and it was a scary moment to be part of the first group to step onto that carpet wearing like super revealing dresses," recalled Electra, wearing a strapless black gown detailed with a statement bow and two discreet cutouts. "I remember there were a couple dresses that I wore to the awards, which were just shocking. It was scandalous back then. You would almost get on the worst-dressed list like that. Because of that, it scares a lot of people into being not being who they are and not showing their character, even if it's outrageous or different from anyone else. It kind of shuts you down."
"I feel like today, things have changed so much and everyone's in those cut-out dresses. Everyone is showing a little bit more. I'm looking at every dress — and that dress — would have been scandalous in the late '90s or early 2000s," she added, pointing to a guest taking photos near the Instagram-friendly entrance. "It would have been like — gasp — a fashion 'no-no.' I love that things are coming full circle."
Of course, the early 2000s were also filled with some wardrobe regrets. "I have so many," said Waterhouse. "I refused to get out of a spacesuit from 'Jigsaw' for years. My mom hid it. She cut it up. I used to really like things that made noise and anything that was, like, waterproof."
"I used to wear a lot of mesh and platform shoes," said Christian Siriano, taking a break from prepping his spring 2019 runway show, right before rushing back to his atelier a few blocks away. "I thought I was a raver, but I wasn't."
"I used to only wear jean shorts and cowboy boots, living in Arkansas," said Hart Denton, a.k.a. the Chic Cooper imposter on "Riverdale," perhaps not realizing that he was ahead of the fall 2018 season's Western trend. "I didn't know what fashion was until three days ago, when I arrived for my very first Fashion Week." Although, being on the hit CW series, he's probably used to the drama, which was happening right outside IRL.
Click through the gallery below to see all the bold-name guests at this year's Harper's Bazaar Icons party.