The Austin Chronicle

After a Fashion

By Stephen MacMillan Moser, May 11, 2001, Columns

DIVINE DEVILLE Rock & Roll (are you yawning yet?) was the rather pedestrian theme of a fabulous show, Club DeVille's Spring 2001 Fashion Extravaganza, hosted by that irrepressible bon vivant, Joel Mozersky, and the ever-lovely and thoroughly over-the-top Emily Fawcett. CdV's semiannual affair is so popular, as a matter a fact, that the VIP seats are already taken two hours beforehand -- not really a problem if you don't care about seeing the clothes. For those not seated at the end of the runway, it was more like a Kabuki-ish shadow show, due to a lack of backlighting. But, how can I complain? They treat me like a queen. I got to sit at the well-shod feet of Emily (in denim sausage-casing from Shiki, with divine shoes from Legs Diamond and accessories from Therapy) and Joel (wearing the only "rock" style he understands: Gucci-rock). Their offstage comments are as funny as their onstage schtick, and they keep the show rolling. It was a noticeably lower-keyed show in many ways. Gone were the sky rockets and paper dragons of seasons past, which made for a somewhat more sedate, but never dull presentation. Blue Velvet was an absentee; a year ago, they complained that I hadn't mentioned them. Six months ago, at the fall show, I made a special point of it … and they complained again, not liking what I wrote about. Sorry, guys, it's difficult being all things to all people.

Opening with Chimera, one of the first-time participants, owner Angela Ware showed everything from Pamela Anderson-ish separates to exquisite chiffon dresses. With Ware's own original accessories and fab shoes from Creatures boutique, her models strutted the catwalk in everything from faux-Pucci to Lipservice deluxe. Twin beauties Kate & Maggie -- drop-dead gorgeous and so sweet -- helped make it an excellent first show. Legs Diamond is also new on the runway and took the rock & roll theme very seriously. At CdV, someone always pulls off some sort of trash-chic (definitely not très chic!) look, but, omigod, Legs Diamond blew them all out of the trailer-park! With models obviously courtesy of the Jerry Springer show, LD showed everything from biker babes and pit-stop pretties in wonderful glittering belts to greaseball delinquents and cowpunk princes. Legs Diamond says (if I may coin a phrase) Fuck You to High Fashion, and succeeds brilliantly. Then there's Under the Sun, also debuting on CdV's runway. Divine. Lisa Dean is already one of my Top Three Style Icons (informed readers know who the other two are!), and imparts in her store the same unbelievable personal style that she let run rampant on the runway. She pulled out all the stops in a knockout presentation that wins my personal award for Best of Show. Gorgeous vintage rockabilly wear ruled the catwalk, and all the shoes were spectacular, as was Dean's stable of models, including Dean herself. (Note to Lisa: Darling, your smile can light up a room -- it's all right if you act like you're having a good time.)

Gail Chovan for Blackmail showed the exquisite vintage gowns she is famous for, as well as an excellent segment of original design (rave-reviewed two weeks ago). On the whole, her models have the most presence on the runway, and her finale with the balloons released from under a hoopskirt was very fun. Jane, at the ever-stylish Shiki, showed disco babes and psychedelic prints as well as lovely spring dresses in cool candy-box colors; it was "da bomb," as Emily said, and Jane's husband is DJ Claude 9, who entertained with perfect music. Elise at Flipnotics showed retro looks for men and women, from beachwear to clubwear, with a tribute to rock style from Axl Rose to Björk -- the swan dress was a hilarious spoof of the famous Oscar dress. Though Therapy owner Jyl Kutsche showed the best of the jeans-and-little-rock-&-roll-T-shirt combinations that litter the stores and magazines, she dazzled once again with pencil-slim skirts paired with drapey chiffon tops, and day dresses of every description. Therapy's always-fabulous accessories were by Laura Maclay, Cindy Crowe, and Joy Standefer.

Thus closes another season of fashion shows, once again underscoring the amazing unity of the local design and retail scene. Good work all the way around.

CONSIDER YOURSELF INVITED Sunday, May 27, CdV presents the first Club DeVille Prom. The theme for the prom is (please don't make me say it) "Lost in Love" -- yes, as in Air Supply. Gee, I think I'll show up dressed as Carrie -- you know… a pink prom dress and a bucket of blood could be just the ticket, no? Call the club at 457-0900 for details.

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