Fashion Week in New York is usually a parade of reedy models, high cheekbones and improbably priced haute couture, so it seemed like an odd place for Pete Wentz to hold the big coming-out party for his Clandestine Industries fashion line.
Yet on Saturday night, there he was, in the belly of the beast (or, more specifically, NYC's hip bar/ former bank Capitale), smiling and holding court while an army of good-looking kids walked the runway in hoodies and tattered dresses that he designed. And naturally, he felt a bit out of place.
"This is our first show anywhere, which is exciting. I have very low expectations for it all," the bassist laughed. "Basically, this is sort of like 'Fall Out Boy takes on Fashion Week.' "
Humility aside, the Clandestine show was clearly a big deal. A big-time roster of celebrity gawkers turned out to scope his wares, including Paris Hilton, Russell Simmons, Ryan Cabrera and Lauren "LC" Conrad of "The Hills" and "Laguna Beach." Cobra Starship mastermind Gabe Saporta walked the runway in a wife beater and black hoodie. All-American Rejects frontman Tyson Ritter partied at the bar. And Wentz tried his best to maintain a sort of 'Aw, shucks' mentality about the whole thing, even when he was brought out on the runway and given a standing ovation.
"It's pretty crazy, because honestly, I wasn't designing these clothes for celebrities at all," Wentz said. "To me, it's stuff you feel comfortable in, so you feel safe in your own skin. That's the most important thing. If you're 300 pounds or 4 feet tall, you can wear these clothes. You don't have to be perfect. You can embrace your flaws."
Of course, that doesn't mean Wentz doesn't have grand aspirations for Clandestine. In fact, he's already lining up a list of potential clients.
"A lot of people like Sway and Kanye have told me they want [a Clandestine hoodie], and I'd like to reach out to an audience that you wouldn't normally see at a Fall Out Boy show," he said. "I would love to see Jay-Z in it, and I would love to design for Keira Knightley, but I think those are both vast pipe dreams."
And given that Pete Wentz was involved, the Clandestine show also doubled as an impromptu news conference for Fall Out Boy's new album, which the band is recording in Los Angeles and — according to what the band told MTV News two weeks ago — is already "halfway done" (see "Fall Out Boy Say Next LP May Fix Global Warming, Feature Jay-Z").
"All the guitar, drum and bass parts have been laid down, and now we're working on vocals," he said. "We've done all 14 songs we were supposed to do with [From Under the Cork Tree producer] Neal [Avron], and then in October, we're going to do two songs with Babyface [see 'Fall Out Boy Want Babyface To Produce Their Next Album']. If you consider our last album 'Empire Strikes Back,' then this record would be 'Return of the Jedi.' We played arenas on our last tour, and now we're writing a record to keep playing them in the future."
And before he jetted off into the night (to hit up innumerable Fashion Week parties, which crop up in the city like wild mushrooms), Wentz had one more matter to attend to: setting the record straight about his much-rumored (and blogged-about) relationship with Ashlee Simpson.
"Well, party press is pretty crazy," Wentz said. "Whether you go out or you don't go out, people just start assuming things about you. As far as Ashlee goes, I'm single and she's single, and I like hanging out with her. But we are definitely not dating. We're friends. She's going to England, and I'm working on an album."