After a Fashion

DIVINE DEVILLE I had a terrible fear that it would just be canceled completely, but neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night could have stopped the show -- this time. After several postponements due to weather, the Club DeVille Fall Fashion Extravaganza went on last Wednesday night, amidst falling leaves and drizzly skies, which added a festive, seasonal air to the affair. CDV owners Abigail, Michael, and Nathan have a great deal to be proud of in having produced this "Best of Austin"-award-winning event that encompasses all the diversity, brashness, and homegrown sophistication that represents Austin. It would be wrong to say that the irrepressible emcee, Emily Fawcett, was in rare form. It's not rare form -- she's like this all the time. It's a combination of snottiness, humor, and raunch, all dolled up in some outrageous get-up, and makes her a true treasure of self-creation. I must mention her absolutely incredible shoes from Legs Diamond: Run over there and see their selection! She is such an asset to CDV, even without the support of partner-in-crime Joel Mozersky, who was off having a glamorous visit to L.A. Claude 9 provided DJ services -- a great mix of old and new from a pro who really knows how to keep a party going. Have I complained before about the difficulty in getting cocktails at this event? That complaint is a thing of the past. I practically had my own waitress, a vision named Lana, who anticipated my every need. Give that girl a raise!

Elise Chittic and Mark Kamburis from Flipnotics, in their first CDV appearance, opened the show with style and spirit, presenting combinations of new and vintage. Their models were having a good time on the runway, and the energy they created overcame the slightly awkward staging. There's no doubt that the kinks will iron out with a little more experience, and we can look forward to plenty of fun from them in the future. Gail Chovan from Blackmail was up to her usual tricks. She cleverly took advantage of the weather and sent her always stunning models out as homeless women, albeit gorgeous ones, bundled up in vintage overcoats, and huddling together for warmth. Then, off came the overcoats and we were treated to a parade of spectacular vintage gowns and accessories -- all black, of course. Kirk Haines from Service Menswear showed his blue-collar chic. The collection is not high-drama, but the seemingly endless succession of males of every size, shape, and description definitely was. The charming Jane Vanisko McCan from Shiki has great merchandise -- sexy, sharp, and strictly modern, and presents her clothes with humor and sass. She also uses model Eva Anoma, who, in my esteemed estimation, makes Naomi Campbell look like dog food. I know I rave about Eva every time I see her in a fashion show, but she is magnificent -- a mass of fire and music, as my hero Addison DeWitt would say. Seeing is believing. The endearingly modest Jyl Kutsche from Therapy added substance to the Studio 54 theme that popped up all night. She carries the coolest jeans in town, and puts together outfits that are fresh and youthful, yet sexy and sophisticated without a hint of the trashiness that's so prevalent in women's fashion.

Suzie and Jen Barker-Benfield from Blue Velvet opened the second half of the show with a minimal performance with maximum effect. Sending out two plus-sized lovelies in their "working-girl" finest, they looked like nothing so much as the Weather Girls headed for the disco. Then the girls ushered out their Superfly pimp, replete in orange crushed-velvet with zebra trim. Then off came that outfit, revealing another one underneath. Then that one came off, revealing another and another. A very clever presentation on Blue Velvet's part. Therapy presented again, this time showing original creations by Kutsche: glamorous sequined skirts and leather halters that perfectly meld the contrasting materials. And then there were Cindy Crowe's painted skirts for Therapy: Wow! Shiki's reprise furthered the Studio 54 theme even more with a dazzling presentation and great music. Flipnotics gave us a tribute to Seventies TV sitcoms -- funny vignettes in vintage styles. Blackmail closed the show with sexy vintage YSL-like le smokings for a Bond, Jane Bond effect. Sleek and soignée, they paved the way for the real stars of the evening: Chovan's original designs of evening coats and dresses in fabulous gold and black combinations.

Good work all across the board. Each show leaves me eagerly anticipating the next.

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Club DeVille Fall Fashion Extravaganza, Claude 9, Flipnotics, Blackmail, Service Menswear, Shiki, Addison DeWitt, Therapy, Studio 54, Blue Velvet, YSL

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