After showcasing 48 mod looks from her spring '08 L.A.M.B. collection at Fashion Week Wednesday night, Gwen Stefani has just one thing on her mind at her after-party: some crusty snacks clustered on a platter in front of her at the Gramercy Park Hotel.
"I want to eat. I'm starving. I'm trying to make my way through to the cheese," she says.
Sitting in a private room after her show, with her parents by her side and husband Gavin Rossdale trying to find a television airing the U.S. Open, Stefani seems more thankful than triumphant.
"I can't believe I'm going into my fifth year," she says with a sigh. "It's so glamorous."
And maternal. After her models were done on the catwalk, Stefani, 37, walked out, waved to the crowd, basked in the applause, and promptly mouthed "Hey, baby!" to son Kingston, 1, who sat in the front row. She then scooped him up.
"I didn't want to walk halfway down and not get him. He's in that phase where if I waved to him and walked to him, it would have been disastrous," she says. "It's really hard. We've been traveling the world."
Kingston's first fashion show also represents changes for Stefani.
"I'm ending a whole chapter in my life. I did these two dance records, and now I'll go back and do a No Doubt record," says the singer, who released two solo albums back to back. "It's my first year of having a baby. It's a really substantial point in my life, and this collection was inspired by going back to the roots of when I first discovered music."
Like Jennifer Lopez before her, Stefani is becoming a one-woman fashion empire. She has the L.A.M.B. and Harajuku Lovers clothing and accessory lines, and her new scent, L, just hit stores ($70 for 3.4 fluid ounces).
The whole fashion business remains intensely personal for Stefani. "I don't feel like an empire at all. It's such a small thing, if you knew how it works and you came to my house and you saw me with my snacks and my baby running around."
Still, the success of L.A.M.B. belies her modesty. Lucy Liu and Kelly Ripa wear her funky but luxe tailored dresses and skirts, and her colorful bags are toted by Penelope Cruz and Mena Suvari.
"Girls just freak on the bags," Stefani says. "I have so many handbags from the collection, and I can't even use them. I'm on tour and I have a baby in one hand, and everyone else is carrying my bags."
One of Stefani's celebrity fans is Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson, who attended both the show and the In Style after-party.
"I genuinely love her clothes. They're for women like me, with big mouths," Manson says. "She's talented and doing something nobody else is doing. She's got her own unique style, and that says a lot."
Stefani, though, says she's just staying true to herself — and hoping to one day share her closets of party frocks and vintage gear with a daughter.
"I've always played dress-up. I've always done hair and makeup. And I'm still doing the same thing. I'm really having fun," Stefani says. "If I have a girl, she is so lucky."
if gwen had a girl...i would probably die because it would just be the cutest thing ever.