c.2014 New York Times News Service

c.2014 New York Times News Service

(On The Runway)

MILAN — In February, after singer Katy Perry arrived nearly an hour late to Moschino’s fashion show in Milan, she was greeted by a chorus of boos when she posed for photographers before taking her front row seat.

That was business as usual for a fashion show in recent seasons: A big star held up the show, photographers got what they needed, and the collection felt, to some extent, like an afterthought. (Jeremy Scott, the designer at Moschino, said after the show it was held up because models were tardy, not because of Perry.)

On Thursday night, there was a crush of people outside the Moschino show on the Corso Venezia armed with cellphones and looking for stars. It was a chaotic scene (“This is insane,” said model Coco Rocha, after it took her a few minutes to uncomfortably squeeze in). Scott, who also has his own label in New York, is known for his celebrity-hot shows, and the mob outside was ready.

They probably walked away disappointed. The front row this year featured Rocha, teenage actress Bella Thorne and Korean singer CL. The photographers snapped away, and while CL has a big following in Korea, it wasn’t exactly the star power of last year.

“Certainly the celebrity quotient this year at Moschino was much less,” Anne Fulenwider, the editor of Marie Claire, said after the show, adding that, after a day and a half in Milan, “I’ve seen fewer celebrities.”

Scott certainly doesn’t have a problem wrangling celebrity friends to show up at his events. During New York Fashion Week, Miley Cyrus debuted a line of colorful, kooky trinkets and walked out with the designer at the end of his show. At Scott’s after-party at Space Ibiza in midtown Manhattan, Madonna, Whoopi Goldberg and Skrillex all dropped by to celebrate.

Jessica Chastain was at Michael Kors, Sarah Jessica Parker and Rooney Mara were at Calvin Klein, Julianne Moore was at Ralph Lauren, and Rihanna was everywhere

But here in Milan, the star wattage is decidedly dimmer.

Through the first two days of Milan Fashion Week, Amy Adams had shown up at Max Mara on Thursday morning (she has a contract for their accessories and sat down in her seat two over from Vogue’s Anna Wintour only about a minute before the show began, disappointing fashion reporters hoping for an interview), but Hollywood has otherwise been absent.

When asked about appearances, publicists patrolling the front rows at shows have said (more than once), “We have some bloggers” or they have added (more than once), “Wintour will be here.” At Prada, when a reporter asked about front row celebrities, the response was, “Come to Miu Miu.” (Last season Rihanna, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o were front row at Miu Miu in March). At Dsquared2’s show, a new Fergie single debuted, but the singer didn’t make an appearance. Even Versace, often a magnet for of-the-moment celebrities, went more low-ley this year, with Heidi Klum its biggest name.

It’s possible that Milan fashion houses have decided that celebrities aren’t worth what it costs to have them sit in their front rows, to fly them in, to fit them in their clothes. Who wants a repeat of the Perry incident at Moschino?

“I love a celebrity,” Fulenwider said. “I’m meeting with them all week, and we rely on them for our business, magazines. The thing is, everyone really just wanted to see the clothes and wanted the show to start.”

It’s also possible that the houses are fine with sitting models in the front row seat (Kate Moss sat front row at Gucci, along with Charlotte Casiraghi, the new face of Gucci Cosmetics). September’s Vogue cover featured a group of models instead of an actress (that’s something that even Anna Wintour admitted was a surprising choice). One of the big headlines was the return of Gemma Ward at Prada’s show, the first time the Australian model walked a runway in six years. Of course, with Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana still to come, it’s possible that this trend will be reversed. But for now, a temporary verdict is in. And fashion editors, and most likely designers, are just fine with it.

“The emphasis is back on the fashion,” Fulenwider said.