Adventures in QVC Land
So there we were, sitting around being fabulous last night as we are wont to do, when our BlackBerries lit up with an email from Laura. “We’re on our way to QVC now. How about we stop in Philly on the way and meet for dinner? We’ll be there in an hour.” Our response?
We were going to take them to one of those upscale Mexican places near us, but unfortunately, they were closed and we wound up at Cafe NOLA, the local New Orleans-inspired eatery. Laura, ever the New Orleans girl at heart, sat down at the table, saw a bug, smacked it, flicked its carcass away and said “Well, I know they’re authentic if there are bugs on the table.”
We spent dinner talking about her upcoming appearance on QVC, complimenting her on her hair and makeup like the good gays that we are, and dishing about Project Runway, which we always do when we’re together.
It was funny and strange being on our own turf with Laura and Peter and watching the locals gawp at her wide-eyed. Our waiter (gay, bien sur) asked for a picture and Laura of course obliged. When we hauled out our camera to take a shot for ourselves, the batteries died. Peter, ever the mad scientist, pulled the batteries out and plopped them in his coffee to warm them up. We thought that was gross and not a little crazy, but wouldn’t you know it? The camera worked fine for the rest of the night. A little tip from Bad Daddy to you. When your batteries die, order a cup of coffee.
As we walked them back to the car (followed by a wide-eyed girl whispering frantically into her phone) we all decided on the spur of the moment that Laura needed her posse with her on this important occasion and we would have to drop everything to ride out into the wilds of suburban Philadelphia to QVC headquarters.
We gotta say, QVC headquarters is like the Cathedral of Capitalism. The place is HUGE and impressive-looking. Once we got our guest tags (Laura gave our names and for the rest of the night, we wore tags identifying us as “Tom Bennett,” “Lorenzo Bennett,” and “Peter Bennett”), we were ushered to the green room. Honestly, we would never want to work there because getting from point A to point B is the equivalent of walking about ten city blocks.
After we passed BOB FUCKING MACKIE in the hallway, we headed in to the green room, which is disappointingly, not green.
The green room was kinda fascinating. There’s a big screen TV on the wall where you can watch what’s being aired at that moment with a graph laid over it indicating how many calls are coming in. If the on-air designer or host isn’t wowing people, the graph immediately plummets. Put out a couple models and suddenly it spikes. Neutral colors? Fall. Bright colors? Rise. It’s scary how they’ve got it down to such a precise science.
It was EXTREMELY DIFFICULT for us to watch models walk up and down a runway onscreen and NOT yell out our assessments. After all, we were surrounded not only by QVC employees, but friends of the on-air designer. Believe us, there were a couple times we looked at each other from across the room and used our married-for-twelve-years telepathy (“Ohmigod, that’s HIDEOUS.” “I know, right?” “Did you feed the cats before we left?” “I thought you did!”)
QVC hostess Lisa Robertson came back to go over Laura’s collection and discuss what points they wanted to hit on air. Lorenzo, ever the starfucker, lost it. “Ohmigod, you’re fabulous! I have to take a picture.” Laura laughed and said “Lisa, these are my gays.” Lisa laughed loudly and said “Hey, every girl needs her gays!” Lisa gushed over the high quality of Laura’s work (we agree of course). The fabrics and the construction are impeccable. After they conferred on the collection, the discussion turned to false eyelashes and they compared notes on their favorite brands and techniques.
We had over an hour to kill before Laura would be called to set, so we spent the time looking at computer screens and noting the astonishingly high level of sales going on. Suddenly a familiar voice rang out. “Well hello, Miss Bennett.”
We knew she was scheduled for the same week, but we had no idea she was going to be there that night. She, of course, had no idea we were going to be there either and when she turned and noticed us, she said in shock “OhmiGOD, you guys are EVERYWHERE!”
If we haven’t said it before, Chloe is VERY pretty in person (and her boyfriend? HOTTIE McHOTHOT). Not that she’s not pretty on camera, but she’s surprisingly glamorous-looking when you meet her (and tiny, but that’s not surprising) . This was her fifth time at the QVC rodeo and she admitted that she’s still as nervous as she was the first time she did it (although you’d never know it looking at her on-camera). She gave Laura some advice, they traded notes and gossip on PR-related stuff and then Laura was ushered off to the set, our well wishes trailing her.
We had some time to kill before Laura’s set, so we sat around talking about who we think is going to win this season. We won’t give anything away, but Chloe was surprised by our pick and we were surprised by hers, although in retrospect, it makes sense. Her pick is the closest to her own style.
Then, they announced Laura and we all shushed each other to watch. It is NERVE-RACKING watching your friend sell her wares on camera with a graph laid over her indicating how well she’s doing. Tom said it was like being on the floor of the stock exchange but Chloe more accurately said it was like watching a horse race. Bad Daddy sat in front of the computers the whole time tracking the sales.
It was cute, because the QVCettes were watching with us and oohing and aahing over Laura’s collection. In fact, one of them whipped out her phone to order the wrap sweater right there. Unfortunately, the color she wanted sold out before she could order one. Chloe was murmuring encouragement and expressing admiration for several of the designs, including the wrap sweater and the silk blouse. “Are all those buttons functional? DAAAAMN.”
She, of course, did fabulously and we all applauded her when she came back after her set. Ever the self-critic, it was all “Did I stand up straight?” “Did I talk enough?” “How are the numbers?”
Our opinion? For a first-time designer working at a fairly high price point for QVC, the numbers were fantastic. Several of the QVCettes agreed. There are still pieces online at QVC’s site. We can’t link directly to them, but just go there and do a search on Laura Bennett – and Chloe Dao, too. Chloe’s collection was adorable and she also has pieces available online.
After that, we said our goodnights and stumbled home at one a.m. We do it all for you, kittens.
Oh, who are we kidding? We do it all for US. It was a blast.
[Photos: Project RunGay]