The Austin Chronicle

After a Fashion

By Stephen MacMillan Moser, September 7, 2001, Columns

A VERY HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Huge congratulations to Louis Black and Nick Barbaro on the 20th birthday of their groundbreaking Austin Chronicle -- an amazing accomplishment in an era where publications come and go as quickly as fashion trends. And further congratulations to them for having the foresight and bravery to allow coverage of fashion and style-related matters. No more back of the bus for Your Style Avatar! Next week, you'll have to look elsewhere in the newly redesigned Chronicle for your style news -- like toward the front, thank you very much, and you may expect more photos and expanded coverage from me. Champagne and caviar, anyone?

I LIED Contrary to last week's announcement, the Chronicle will not be bringing you the Austin Style Awards in November. It is such an enormous undertaking to produce the kind of event that the Style Awards must be, that we've postponed it. Disappointing, of course, but we know you wouldn't expect anything but the best from us, right? Look at it this way: It gives you more times to assemble your outfits.

MORE LIES I am possessed. Last week I mentioned the Designers' Guild of Austin's first-anniversary fundraiser, the Favorite Figure of Fashion party this Saturday, Sept. 8, at the beautiful new Le Privilege, 912 Red River. Well, I'm afraid I disseminated some misinformation -- the party is at 9pm, not 8, and the limited number of VIP tickets are $30, not $25 (general admission is $15, as stated), available at Pink Salon on S. Congress and Vylette in Davenport Village. But be there and be Cher -- or Grace Jones, James Dean, Coco Chanel, Princess Diana, Anna Nicole Smith, Elvis, Alexander McQueen, or a supermodel.

GHOST OF FASHION PAST While researching the years 1989-'90 for the 20th Anniversary Timeline in this issue, I could hardly take my eyes off the ads for the salons and retailers of the time. Fashion was undeniably still in an Eighties rut: The Nineties looks, as we know them, didn't really start until at least 1991 … there was still lots of mousse and permed hair, swing coats (remember them?), and leggings. And the make-up… like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl. There were no visible tattoos, facial piercings, catsuits, or goatees that ruled the last decade. What was amazing was the freshness and stylishness of the ads: Some from establishments that are long gone, some from establishments that still rule the local style scene. The lamentably deceased Dressed to Kill featured wonderful looks in a drop-dead glamorous campaign shot by Mark Guerra (welcome back from NY, Mark!). Notable also were campaigns from former stylemakers such as Samuelson's, XO...@#!, and Statement. But some of the coolest things were the ads for Avant that were beautifully styled and photographed by owner Roy Fredericks (finally, we've gotten around to getting an appointment with him and will give you a complete rundown in a couple weeks). By George was in its infancy, and ushered in a new approach with its beautiful ads (they still lead the pack for retailers), Emeralds ads were lovely, and most amazing was to see Flashback's' campaign that set them waaay apart from any other vintage retailer. Forbidden Fruit was (and continues to be) among the edgiest advertisers, and even the ads for Gardens were gorgeous (another fabulous Austin institution that we haven't covered yet: Forgive me, guys, we'll cover you soon!). What a trip down memory lane it was; though I was around Austin only for the first issues of the Chronicle, I've been a devoted reader for two decades, no matter where I lived, and was always impressed with the number of style-related ads. That was the very thing that made me think I might be able to come back to Austin and cover the scene here.

THE SHERMAN REPORT Vis-à-vis Bob Sherman's recent run-in with Russel Simmons' company over the use of the name Phat Farm (Sherman's use of the name pre-dates that of Simmons), attorneys for Simmons have offered to foot the cost of changing the name of Bob's company to Bob Sherman Art. Sherman has graciously agreed. See examples of his many talents at

TONIGHT September 6, First Thursday on the chic SoCo strip. See last week's column for details. Another event occurring on the first Thursday of each month (unrelated to the SoCo event) is Tiara Night at Jovita's. The delightful and handsome manager Brad Reed says it's a riot, so dig out your tiaras and make an appearance.

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