One Fabulously Glamorous Evening
The elevator door opened on a veritable army of servants standing at attention. We were ushered into a grand, cathedral-like space. At the far end, in a dramatic pool of light stood Laura, breathtaking in a floor length black beaded gown, dripping with diamonds and drinking Champagne out of a Louboutin pump.
“Darlings, you simply must try the caviar!” she called out, as her manservants hoisted her on their bare shoulders and silently traversed the length of the space, gently depositing her in front of us. “It’s simply divine! Would you like a diamond?”
Okay, none of that actually happened but we suspect some of you were fooled for a second, weren’t you?
In typical Laura fashion, the email was blunt and to the point: “Guys, call me.” This was unexpected. We’d been emailing back and forth since about midway through the season when she dropped us a line to let us know how much she enjoyed the blog. She told us that she and Camilla laughed over the salt and pepper joke and that her husband had been walking around quoting the Ode to Tim. This led to a several-times-weekly email exchange consisting mostly of quip-trading. We suspect she missed the big gay dishiness of Robert and Kayne and we were their less telegenic replacements.
So, after a minute or two of “What do you think this is about?” we bit the bullet and dialed her number. The sound of screaming children in the background confirmed that we dialed correctly. Again, in typical Laura fashion, she got right into it, over the screams of her possibly dying progeny. Seriously, they sounded like they were on fire. “Listen, I put you on the list for the TRESemme finale party next week and…SHUT UP!!!!! (momentary reduction of background screaming) … I already RSVP’d for you so you just have to show up.” There was no question that we would be going. Thrilled, we thanked her, hung up and immediately raided our closets for an impromptu fashion show of potential outfits while simultaneously calling all our friends to cancel the planned finale party (and rub it in their faces just a little).
But oh, kittens, it didn’t stop there. The next day she dropped us a line inviting us to come to her place beforehand and hang out for a bit. Score!
Look, believe it or not, one thing the PRGayBoys are not are starfuckers. Seriously. Ninety-nine percent of the time, we think celebrities of all levels are silly people who don’t deserve any more attention than the occasional compliment of whatever work they produced. We were excited about meeting Laura (and equally excited to meet her husband, Peter) not because she’s enjoying a certain fame right now, not because she’s dripping with diamonds and lives in a space that causes brain-salivating for every design queen out there. No, we were excited because we think she’s fabulous and creative and witty and intelligent and above anything else, interesting. Getting to spend time in Chez Bennett-Shelton only proved the point.
If you think Laura lives some sort of Park Avenue socialite kind of life, you couldn’t be further from the truth. She is ridiculously laid back and down to earth. Warm and complimentary, funny and blunt. The very first thing she said to us was “See? The place isn’t that impressive,” to which we replied “Oh. Shut. Up.” To be honest, it’s not nearly the vast space that it seems to be on TV. It’s huge, no doubt about it, but for four children and two adults? Not as huge as you think.
That isn’t to say the place isn’t beautiful though. It has (if we can be forgiven for a Vincent-ism) an arty quality to it, with shabbily gorgeous antique pieces blended with modern, practical ones. You’ve all seen the portraits.
The woman on the right is Peter’s mother.
And we immediately recognized this one as Laura’s mother. The three portraits are lined up, a defiant burst of womanhood in the middle of an endless sausage party.
She introduced us to her 4 sons. The older two were playing on the computer with some friends and paid us about as much interest as you’d expect for a kid that age. Besides, we can only imagine how bored they are by gay men complimenting their mother. The two younger boys were running around like maniacs, howling, laughing and splashing excess testosterone all over the place. Toys, paper, and little-boy detritus of all kinds littered the room. Laura and Peter never even noticed the chaos. They just sat down with us and talkedtalkedtalked right over the noise.
We barely left their living area the whole time we were there, the four of us just chatting our heads off. They are completely unpretentious. Peter sat on the floor munching on spring rolls and complimenting us to the point that we were embarassed. We seriously had to resist the urge to run to the bathroom, call one of our design fags and urgently hiss “Peter Shelton just called us geniuses!”
Peter is (no surprise) a character, by the way. At one point we were talking with Laura when we looked over. He was literally climbing the furniture, dangling about 5 feet off the floor. Laura didn’t bat an eye, asking calmly “Honey, what are you doing?” He was reaching for the (much asked about) “Laura on a stick” that you can see in the first pic. It was part of a prop for the Bravo premiere party, a giant pin cushion with the head of each designer on the pins. He stole the Laura one and wanted us to pose with it so Bravo could see it.
Peter pulled out a binder of Laura’s blog clippings including our Ginger Grant one and the salt and pepper joke. How ridiculously flattering. We of course dished about the show and the designers and we of course are not going to relate that conversation here. Sorry, bitches.
Laura made a point to show us how she doesn’t even bother to have nice things anymore because it’s pointless raising soon-to-be 5 boys, so she wisely just turned the space over to them for the time being. You’ve all seen the hanging chairs and punching bags, the row upon row of storage baskets and the wide open spaces for playing. What you didn’t see was the hand-lettered sign on the toilet reminding occupants to LIFT THE SEAT and the unmistakable evidence that at least some of them can’t read yet.
All good things must end and we eventually had to go because Bravo had sent a driver and it was getting late and Laura felt terrible about making him wait outside. She even called him at one point to ask him if he wanted anything.
As we were leaving, Laura said “This visit’s not over.” She was right. The next morning, bleary-eyed, we stopped over again for coffee and took a ton of pics, all of which you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow to see. Suck it, bitches.