Last night, we got to "hang out" with Jessica Simpson and her friends for the launch of her jeanswear line at her NYC showroom, where the star also debuted her spring '11 collection. Despite the barbs of the tabloids, in person she is more than the girl-next-door pretty, with a body that the average American can relate to. The same can be said for many of the friends Simpson enlisted to model the clothing, ending in a cattle-call like presentation where Cacee Cobb, and some other peeps we've never heard of, walked down a wooden contraption while Simpson hollered out things like "look at that booty." Like many a celeb label, the pieces are all over the map—we spotted a striped backpack that we l-o-v-e-d, as well as some denim-and-leather booties and a camo blazer that we wouldn't refuse. But, there were also quite a few fashion fails, including a jean, zip-up bustier, a printed tank with a strange ruffle on the bottom, and loads of stuff that would look great on Arlene from True Blood.
Sartorial opinions aside, the party guaranteed Simpson would shine in the best light—surrounded as she was by her home-girls, her bubbly mom, and her sis, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz (who also modeled). Also present was her new boyfriend Eric Johnson (he's insanely handsome), who, when asked about the line, responded, "Oh shit" before Simpson's publicist shooed us away. In fact, publicists were uber-busy all night...every time we tried to snap a pic from our camera phone of Jessica, a slew of handlers would angrily step in. "It's like Fort Knox in here...everything seems so staged, image-wise," one editor grumbled. Be that as it may, we kind of liked that Simpson played up her country-cultivated persona—mini beer shooters, hot dogs, and tiny rum-and-cokes were passed around, and all guests generously got a free pair of jeans to take home. Simpson will never be Victoria Beckham, but at this point in her life, she doesn't seem to want that—Us Weekly be damned!