Hodgson hobnobs with Jessica Simpson and her entourage at WSA

I'd heard Jessica Simpson was in Las Vegas at the same time I was, Feb. 10, also attending the World Shoe Association (WSA) show. Naturally, she was there at the behest of the Camuto Group of Greenwich, Conn., and New York. Camuto holds the master license to the Jessica Simpson fashion line and is the one behind her new Jessica Simpson shoe line. Apparently, she was holding a private little soiree at her booth after hours -- invite only. High society and fashion press preferred. Naturally, being the co-owner of SNEWS®, I wondered why none of Simpson's press flacks had contacted me about attending.
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I'd heard Jessica Simpson was in Las Vegas at the same time I was, Feb. 10, also attending the World Shoe Association (WSA) show. Naturally, she was there at the behest of the Camuto Group of Greenwich, Conn., and New York. Camuto holds the master license to the Jessica Simpson fashion line and is the one behind her new Jessica Simpson shoe line.

Apparently, she was holding a private little soiree at her booth after hours -- invite only. High society and fashion press preferred. Naturally, being the co-owner of SNEWS®, I wondered why none of Simpson's press flacks had contacted me about attending.

Fortunately, I have connections, so I hopped along on the coattails of Beth Gordon, one of the WSA execs, and Chris Goddard, owner of CGPR, the agency that handles press relations for WSA, as they made an "official" perusal of the booth to make sure all was going smoothly.

After Gordon managed to locate more trash bins for the back of the booth at the behest of one of Simpson's minions (apparently, it was a raging good party going on behind sterile white walls), a beefy security guard saw fit to ignore that I was not too fashionably dressed and waved me in. Or perhaps he simply chose to ignore me as I scurried in behind Gordon and Goddard.

Inside, I could see why the fashion-conscious celebrity watchers wear sunglasses indoors -- all those popping flashbulbs from cell phone cameras, digital cameras and lights from TV cameras is a bit much.

And, suddenly, there she was, walking toward me, glancing in my direction. OK, so I was in her way as she was casually strolling along a wall of shoes talking about her brand to a more fashionably dressed, infinitely younger and certainly more elegant individual. A throng of handlers and camera-toting admirers who couldn't seem to get enough of Jessica pushed me out of the way as she continued gliding along the wall of shoes. She passed so near me I could certainly see why In Touch magazine named her as "the greatest cleavage in America."

As she paused her stroll, I heard her mention that her line of shoes was "stylish, working just as well with jeans, skirts and dresses, both formal and casual."

As I heard this, I had a momentary inclination to act like a journalist and ask her if she had anything more, well, outdoorsy or hiking oriented. Maybe, a Jessica trail shoe or something, but I thought better of it. Not that I'm saying she's not an outdoor kind of gal. After all, she was seen carrying a $1,500 Louis Vuitton purse on a camping trip during a reality TV show episode shot a few years ago.

I can tell you that the shoes I saw in the collection range from studded wedges to metallic sandals, all adorned with dramatic details and spectacular heels, and no, there's nothing in the line that I would want to wear.

Jessica Simpson's shoes will be available in major department stores including Nordstrom, Dillard's, Macy's, Parisian, Marshall Field, Lord and Taylor, and Belk, and range in price from $60-$160. No, we won't be seeing them at REI or Uncle Dan's anytime soon I am sure.

As I was leaving the party to attend a concert headlining Earth Wind & Fire and Chicago (and they took the stage together for a full set of songs, but that's another story), I looked over my shoulder, and there was Jessica, curled up on the floor, behind a roped off area, cuddling with her poodle. All around her were throngs of people, all wanting to be seen and photographed with her (Jessica, not the poodle). Unbelievable what you have to do these days just to sell a shoe with heels, isn't it?

Thank goodness that isn't a scene I have to cover. I'm not sure I could handle more than my one, 10-minute dose of "beautiful people" dahlings. Although I will admit, I am now paying more attention to ensuring my trail runners at least go with my outfit.

*SNEWS® editors' note: We're quite sure that our company co-owner, Michael Hodgson, will find himself added to all kinds of celebrity party lists after this story, don't you?

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