After a Fashion

The stars at night are bigger and brighter, deep in the heart of Texas: Check out these local Hollywood sightings … Goth is alive and well and living in San Antonio … bra straps are still ugly and … your Style Avatar goes out on a "Denim Edge."

Ugly Shyla, the Queen of the Night
Ugly Shyla, the Queen of the Night (Photo By Bob Sherman)

HOLLYWOOD ON THE COLORADO Austin's awash with visiting royalty these days, causing double-takes all over town. Thursday night had Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson dining with Howard Carey at the Starlite -- Gwyneth gave hearty approval to the champagne cocktail, the Ruby Fizz, and the trio began their meal with an appetizer of figs with gorgonzola, carpaccio, and crab cakes. The totally charming Leon Hall of E!'s Fashion Emergency, and New York designers-to-the-stars Badgley-Mischka worked the crowd at the St. Thomas cocktail party Friday night, as well as St. Thomas' glamorous charity benefit at the Four Seasons Saturday night. Sunday brunch at the Starlite brought Kevin Spacey, director Alan Parker, and three companions -- they feasted on steak-and-eggs, eggs Benedict, and white wine (just for the record, Spacey began with a bowl of granola). Julia Roberts was the big catch: After spending Sunday night at the Continental Club, she and her consort strolled up and down the chic SoCo strip on Monday, visiting Goodie Two Shoes and Therapy, among other establishments. Cool. Keep those sightings rolling in, folks.

THE DIVINE WRONG A while back, we had the opportunity to see one of the most abysmal productions it has ever been our displeasure to see. It has taken a long time to put into words how awful it was. It should have been fabulous. It wasn't. Amateur producers with massive egos presented the Pageant of the Divine Right, a Goth Beauty Pageant in San Antonio. They were fortunate, I guess, to convince MTV that the event was noteworthy; MTV was there filming the "event," but the pageant producers were obviously so excited that they forgot about putting on an interesting show. Hopefully, through the magic of video-editing, MTV can make this look like something more than it was. The emcees, who shall remain nameless, smirked and mumbled their way through lame speeches and introductions. With a few exceptions, the contestants appeared to have little sincerity about their involvement in goth and certainly had no business in a beauty pageant -- goth or otherwise. A Louisiana beauty by the name of Ugly Shyla was a standout, however, perverse and truly disturbing (she described goth, not as a phase, but as a disease). She was dazzling in her despair and took top honors. She also produces a line of some of the most gruesome dolls ever created: View examples of her surrealist and satanic art at Notable also was the lovely Jessie Sparkgirl whose rendition of Tori Amos' "Me and a Gun" won the talent award. The best part of the show was in the audience -- fabulous clothes, hair, and make-up on the attendees. It was fascinating, however, to realize what an attraction the goth scene has for women who are size 18 and over -- sometimes way over. There were close to a dozen in attendance. The big girls are as outré as the skinny girls, sometimes even more so. They seem to find comfort in the trappings of goth -- the major hair, heavy make-up, and outlandish clothes -- in a way that they can't when judged by "normal" standards of beauty. It's almost a concept of finding comfort within themselves by wearing a disguise and is certainly more interesting than the looks they have available in the Big Girls department at Wal-Mart. Bravo to them for their bravery in stepping out of the bounds of the norm.

VINTAGE EDGE Dropped by Denim Edge (2716 Guadalupe, 472-7786) last Sunday ... not our usual beat, but, then again, what is our usual beat? (Don't say it.) Specializing in straight-leg Levis 501s, 505s, and boot-cut 517s, owners Bill & Kim Schultz know their stuff. Having exported the styles to Europe and Japan before opening their store, they have a pretty amazing selection of vintage jeans, as well as T-shirts. The lovely and gracious salesperson Aliqae gave us a quick tour of the merchandise, and I was astounded by the collection of 70s shearling and curly lamb coats in the $100 range; perhaps a bit hot to think about right now, but they'll be flying out of there soon. There was a fabulous blue leather jacket adorned with studs and rhinestones: Run down there and snap this beauty up immediately! Even if you miss these particular items, Denim Edge gets new shipments weekly and will always have something new (I mean, old) and interesting.

WWJD What would Jackie do about the current propensity that many less fashion-savvy women have for their bras to be completely visible under tank tops, camisoles, and halters? We're not talking about a sexy Madonna-like lace bra peeking out occasionally, but more like some babe's sweaty, yellowish bra with its entire back and sides exposed. We see complete straps, closures, and cups poorly contained beneath a wisp of cheesy knit, something more akin to the fashions seen on shows hosted by Jerry Springer and Ricki Lake. Don't these fashion victims look in the mirror before leaving the house? Apparently not. It's not sexy or stylish: It's as trashy as it gets.

FIRST THURSDAY October 4: The fall season promises a new round of entertainment on the chic SoCo strip. Spend the evening strolling through some of Austin's most interesting businesses, like Under the Sun, Wet Salon, and Uncommon Objects.

THE EYES HAVE IT A trunk show of new eyewear collections will be held at Santa Fe Optical's West Lake Hills location (327-1913) on Saturday, Sept. 29, 10am-3:30pm. Santa Fe's Stacy Friedman informs us that they will be presenting designs from France's Anne et Valentin and Belgium's Theo. Says Friedman, "Both collections are playful, brightly colored, and completely unlike anything else you've seen!" Examples can be seen online at and the very clever site Drop by for wine and snacks, and visit with representatives while viewing all the extraordinary styles Santa Fe offers.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More After a Fashion
After a Fashion: A Stitch In Time
After a Fashion: A Stitch In Time
Fort Lonesome will not be lonely for long

Stephen MacMillan Moser, July 5, 2013

After a Fashion: The Main Event
After a Fashion: The Main Event
Your Style Avatar would look great sporting these parasols

Stephen MacMillan Moser, June 28, 2013


Pageant of the Divine Right, goth, Beauty Pageant, San Antonio, MTV, Ugly Shyla, Jessie Sparkgirl, Bill & Kim Schultz, Denim Edge, bras, Santa Fe Optical, Anne et Valentin, Theo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Howard Carey, Starlite, Ruby Fizz, Leon Hall, E!

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle