The woman at Dillard’s told me how to get to Macy’s but suggested I check her store first. But, of course, her store was not going to have in stock what I was looking for: Paris Hilton.
“In person, at Macy’s? When?” she whispered conspiratorially. When I let her know the moment was an hour away, she decided that is when she would go to lunch. I felt bad for her because I didn’t actually expect Hilton to be on time (she was appearing to promote her new shoe line). And she wasn’t. Some celebrities never keep their fans waiting. But it’s vital to Hilton’s appeal that she is more important than her fans.
Hilton’s usual role in Vegas is as nightclub hostess. So I wondered how her appeal would hold up in sunlight. In fact, the teenagers had lined up early. But there were lines of viewers and those with shoes. The first 300 people to purchase a pair were to line up to get an autographed photo of Paris. The shoes had actually been on sale for 10 days. But 300 pairs had still not been sold when the event started, I was told by the man minding the shoes. “A lot of people are looking. But I was expecting more to buy them,” he said. The pair I checked out cost $79. Compared to the thousands people will put out to be near Hilton at a table in a nightclub, 300 pairs of the shoes should have been snapped up. But the couple people I spoke to would only say they were considering it. And, the advance time mattered not as locals seem to have had enough of Paris Hilton. When the DJ asked how many people almost everyone besides the photographers, Macy’s staff and security raised their hands. The audience was almost entirely made up of tourists wanting a glimpse of Paris Hilton to add to their Vegas vacation memory.
A signing table was set up in the shoe department, and all the local agency photographers were there, waiting. Apparently, a selection of shots of Hilton at Macy’s can grab $500-$1,000. The photographers do this in different ways. One told me she sells the total package of everything she takes for that range. Another expects to capture one perfect image that can bring in that amount. But there is the hat issue. “I hope she is not wearing a hat,” one photographer groaned. Apparently a hat ruins the pictures for hair magazines—a substantial marketplace for Paris Hilton photos. None of the photographers had any interest in the shoes.
As we waited, Hilton’s disc played over and over. “Stars are Blind” we were told when she was 15 minutes late. “Stars are Blind” her synthesized voice reminded us when she was 30 minutes late. “Stars are Blind” we heard as she was more than 45 minutes late.
I asked one of the publicists about Hilton’s status. She is upstairs. She is running late, the publicist confessed. “No one is answering the phone upstairs.” Well, maybe they are on their way, I thought.
But it wasn’t until an hour after her 3 p.m. announced arrival that Paris Hilton actually showed up. There was another playing of “Stars are Blind” before she arrived amid cheers and security. Hilton was all business. She walked back and forth like a zoo animal in a cage, displaying the shoes while many of the photographer seemed to be doing their best to take head shots.
After more than an hour of waiting, Hilton talked to the crowd for less than a minute to praise her shoes. She was then taken behind a curtain and it was time for those who did not buy shoes to move on. As I left, some of those 300 pairs from the fall collection were still available for anyone who wanted to meet Paris.