3 p.m. Three hours before her Chick line makes its Los Angeles Fashion Week debut, Nicholai Hilton is perched cross-legged on a bar stool getting a half-inch gash over her left eyebrow camouflaged with concealer. She suffered the cut the day before when she bent to grab a CD for the show soundtrack. When she stood up, a sudden forehead-to-forehead collision with boyfriend David Katzenberg left him unscathed and her with bragging rights that she has literally shed blood to make her runway vision a reality.
"I wanted fun songs," she said from her perch in between pulls from a Coffee Bean Ice Blended. "I hate it when designers use all this heavy, obscure instrumental stuff that no one understands. I've been to at least a hundred shows and it's boring to sit there and listen to that for 20 minutes." The music includes Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" in honor of her dad.
"He used to sing it to me," she says from within a cocoon of hair and makeup people. Clad in black pants, a black, short-sleeve shirt and black Jack Purcells, she could be one of them. But she isn't. And they're fussing over her so intently not because she is Nicky Hilton, sister of Paris, hotel heiress, socialite and fashion designer. Right now they are fawning and preening because she is also the makeup model for what will be worn on the catwalk.
"We're going for a look that's like a living doll -- eyelashes, red lips, rosy cheeks. All the girls in the show are young; I don't think there is even one that's over 20."
3:15 p.m. A woman approaches and holds out a gallon-size freezer bag full of fake eyelashes for inspection. Hilton leans in, looks and nods her head.
3:30 p.m. Hilton pops off her stool and leans into the mirror, tugging at the skin under her eye. "This is too dark," she says.
3:40 p.m. Hilton checks her BlackBerry. "It's people RSVPing for the show," she says, shaking her head.
3:47 p.m. Hilton disappears briefly. When she returns she is wearing a white dress printed with blue shoes. "They're glass slippers," she offers, smoothing the front of the dress. The collection has a fairy-tale theme, she says, and it was either this or the swans. "There are too many swans out there already," she said. "I'm wearing this."
3:50 p.m. She opens a shopping bag full of shoes and begins to dole out Louboutins and Manolos to unshod models. "We were running low, so I brought some of my own shoes," she explains.
3:55 p.m. In the last hour the backstage crowd has tripled to about three dozen people. Passing by a rack, Hilton notices a bow is slightly askew. "Gloria, this needs to be straight," she says, handing off the dress.
4:00 p.m. Kelly Cutrone, whose PR company is producing the show, asks Hilton to join her in the front of the house to check the lighting.
4:02 p.m. Hilton dons white Louboutins and joins Cutrone on the runway.
4:15 p.m. "Too much blue light. It makes it too red-white-and-blue, and that's not what I want." She ducks backstage.
4:25 p.m. A doctor arrives to check Hilton's eye. He thinks it may require stitches, but can't be certain until the makeup comes off. "I need to be presentable," she tells him. He agrees to wait until after the show.
4:35 p.m. Half a dozen film crews are queued up for backstage interviews, including Fox Business, Extra and German TV's ProSieben. Hilton stands for interview after interview, bouncing nervously on the ball of her right foot.
4:45 p.m. When a TV reporter asks, "If Sleeping Beauty were alive today, where in L.A. would she live? Where would she party? Who is your Prince Charming?" Hilton looks slightly annoyed.
4:55 p.m. Hilton returns to the front of the house to check the placement of the full-lipped Chick logo at the top of the runway. Someone suggests 9 feet above the runway will put it front and center for most of the photographers. "OK," she says.
4:59 p.m. The models start their walk-through while Hilton and Cutrone watch from the end of the runway.
5:02 p.m. Cutrone points out one model wearing a nose ring. "Do you want that in?" Hilton shakes her head. "Tell that model to take the ring out," Cutrone barks into her headset. Hilton heads backstage.
5:15 p.m. All cameras and males of the species are banished from the backstage area while the models change.
5:25 p.m. The banished return to find Hilton is surveying the models, buttoning and unbuttoning, tucking and tweaking.
5:45 p.m. "I want you to walk with your backs straight," she says to the group. " Not stiff, but not slumped over either."
6:04 p.m. Hilton stands in a hallway sending a text message. "My little brother is 10 minutes away and he wanted to know what time the show was starting," she says. "Everyone is used to the New York schedule of starting shows late." Cutrone has handled the press and industry invites; Hilton added 50 friends and family including her boyfriend, brother and parents Rick and Kathy Hilton. Sister Paris will not be in attendance. "She's in Toronto filming a movie."