After a Fashion
Art Institute presents a show, and the kids are all right ...
The Perfect Gentleman: The Pursuit of Timeless Elegance and Style in London by James Sherwood (Thames & Hudson, $65) is an elegant coffeetable book about elegant people in elegant eras. British luxury brands are coveted the world over. Heralded as the finest when first introduced, many products and "heritage houses" have lasted for centuries. But the things that comprise a gentleman change and evolve with different economies, politics, technology, and current mores. Fortunately, this book is not so snobbish as to dismiss the new wave, and the author is savvy enough to know that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The pursuit of exquisite luxury never changes.
Magic & Music
Two weeks ago was a very special night at the Long Center, as the Austin Symphony Orchestra held its first event specifically inviting the LGBT community in Austin. John Cherico along with the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce oversaw the event, inviting many high-profile gay and lesbian music lovers to enjoy this performance. The endless labyrinth beneath the Long Center led to a backstage VIP room where we met with friends, shared delicacies and holiday cocktails, and mingled. Taken to our front-row seats in the Dell Hall, my companions Jacki Oh and Mitch Schultz were truly honored to be there for a special program of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. I'll leave the review of the musical production to someone who knows more about it than me, but it was the fascinating breakdown of the music that included actors portraying Stravinsky, and set designer Nicholas Roerich sharing the inspiration and process for creating this momentous piece of work. I also got to spend more time in proximity to actor/Chronicle Arts Editor Robert Faires (who portrayed Roerich) than I ever have in the over 13 years I've known him, and that was wonderful. Though not a die-hard fan of symphonic music, I was excited to be at such a thoughtful and inspiring event. Bravo to the performance, bravo to Austin Symphony, and bravo to John Cherico for pulling this great event off. More, please!
On Wednesday, Dec. 12, the Event-Planning and Production Design Program at Art Institute Austin threw their annual show, Winter Bazaar, at Lucky Lounge. Big compliments to the crew behind this. The front row sported fashionista glitterati Jacki Oh, Grant Hicks, Lara Semmelmann, Ross Bennett, Erin Bennett, and Kim Woolery. The house was packed. The staging reminded me of Gail Chovan's show with the models at table-level, strolling down the catwalk along a narrow path lit with dozens of candles. But there, the resemblance ended. There were some wonderful models, exactly the right age and shape to show off the designs. Daisy Duke shorts seemed to be the garment of choice on the runway, which tells you a lot about the age of the designers, but the garments were creative and professional. The finale was a thrill: an edgy collection of black evening wear by young Sofia Mariel. Suprisingly sophisticated and perfectly paired with this production, Ms. Mariel could be one of the chosen ones. Though there may have been nerves on edge behind the scenes, there was no evidence of it on the runway. Each model strolled at an easy pace, showing off the details of the garments and representing the work beautifully. As a fashion-show veteran, my only complaint was that (as happened in my own recent show) there were occasional pools of darkness on the stage where the model could only be seen in silhouette. If I have any parting advice to these students, it would be to make sure your runway is lit perfectly. Also, no offense to Lucky Lounge's incredible hospitality, but clubs are not a great place for a fashion show. Aside from that? Faaabulous time, terrific show, great company, and excellent work.