After a Fashion

Pills in the hand are worth a mouthful of Bush and some Texas Film Hall of Fame teasers are the tip of this week's dish iceberg.

THE FIRST NOELLE In the aftermath of September 11, scandal mongering seemed so ... well, trivial, and a columnist was almost afraid to dish the dirt about someone's personal life. And you can be sure there were lots of people who had reason to breathe a big sigh of relief that the national disaster deflected attention away from their personal disasters -- people like Gary Condit, Lizzie Grubman, Robert Blake, and Michael Skakel (dare I add the boozy Bush babes?). It seemed almost tacky to delve into all that while, as a nation, we were reeling from the devastation. But what's really tacky is the part of the media that encourages the plague of paranoia. A promo for the news last week informing us urgently, "Terrorism at the Super Bowl: Will It Happen? Tune in at 11." They might as well have been saying, "Hurry! It's your last chance to get concerned!" But did it occur? No ... there's always the Oscars or the Olympics. As time has distanced us a bit, we may, in fact, welcome some distraction. And whither shall we turn? Well, apparently we need to look no further than the First Family ... again. Now we have First Brother and Florida Governor Jeb Bush's daughter caught forging a prescription for tranquilizers. But, duh, Noelle! If forging prescriptions were that easy, wouldn't we all be doing it all the time? Excuse me, but hasn't this babe heard of the Internet? Why, a First Relative (or anyone else for that matter) need never be out of tranquilizers again! But the most scandalous part? The picture! The sure-to-get-out-of-this Noelle looks like what you'd expect your basic run-of-the-mill drugged-out prescription-forging Bush girl to look like: bad hair, bad make-up, glassy eyes ... Oh, well, I'm sure my mug shot wasn't so pretty either ... kinda Frances Farmer-ish, I'm afraid. My favorite part of the whole Bush ordeal was the official statement that said this was a private matter for the Bush family. Sorry, guys, privacy is something you bartered away when you sold your souls to the public eye.

THEIR GREAT REWARDS Lots of notable deaths lately, including gossip icon and pioneering columnist Igor Cassini, who named a young Jacqueline Bouvier as Queen Deb of 1947. In addition to being the brother of designer Oleg Cassini, he was most famous for his society-chronicling columns for the New York Journal-American under the name of Cholly Knickerbocker. He was also a mentor to Liz Smith, who is among the few to write gossip columns in the same manner as was done in the Fifties. The sultry-voiced Peggy Lee joins Cassini in the Great Beyond. Lee had a remarkable career, though to many people she will always be remembered for asking the musical question that was on everyone's tongue, "Is that all there is?" Afraid so, Peggy. Also joining them is Stanley Marcus, of Neiman-Marcus, purveyor of luxury goods par excellence. As the longtime president and son of the founder of Neiman's, Marcus delighted the world with his over-the-top approach to retailing and turned the stores into temples of fashion. Lance Loud died, too, recently -- one of the stars of the original reality television series An American Family in 1973, and two follow-ups. Loud was the drama-plagued gay son in a family whose lives were disintegrating before the eye of the video camera. Approximately the same age, we had a great deal in common, and the parallels of our lives were very clear. Loud should be in good company with Jean Patchett, who died two weeks ago at age 75. An absolutely stunning creature with a signature beauty mark, she was a supermodel decades before the term was coined, and, staggeringly, has had more covers than any fashion model in history. Said agency owner Jerry Ford of Ford Models, who represented Patchett in her heyday during the Fifties, "Jean Patchett was to Ford what Babe Ruth was to the Yankees." But the one who will rule the roost up there in heaven "Little Edie-- Beale, the bald-headed, babushka-wearing cousin of Jackie Kennedy. Along with her mother, "Big Edie,-- Beale was the subject of the magnificently bizarre documentary Grey Gardens by the brothers Maysles. Both the Edies lived their twisted lives in a dilapidated Long Island mansion until publicity forced Jackie to step in and take care of them.

THEIR GREAT REWARDS Lots of notable deaths lately, including gossip icon and pioneering columnist Igor Cassini, who named a young Jacqueline Bouvier as Queen Deb of 1947. In addition to being the brother of designer Oleg Cassini, he was most famous for his society-chronicling columns for the New York Journal-American under the name of Cholly Knickerbocker. He was also a mentor to Liz Smith, who is among the few to write gossip columns in the same manner as was done in the Fifties. The sultry-voiced Peggy Lee joins Cassini in the Great Beyond. Lee had a remarkable career, though to many people she will always be remembered for asking the musical question that was on everyone's tongue, "Is that all there is?" Afraid so, Peggy. Also joining them is Stanley Marcus, of Neiman-Marcus, purveyor of luxury goods par excellence. As the longtime president and son of the founder of Neiman's, Marcus delighted the world with his over-the-top approach to retailing and turned the stores into temples of fashion. Lance Loud died, too, recently -- one of the stars of the original reality television series An American Family in 1973, and two follow-ups. Loud was the drama-plagued gay son in a family whose lives were disintegrating before the eye of the video camera. Approximately the same age, we had a great deal in common, and the parallels of our lives were very clear. Loud should be in good company with Jean Patchett, who died two weeks ago at age 75. An absolutely stunning creature with a signature beauty mark, she was a supermodel decades before the term was coined, and, staggeringly, has had more covers than any fashion model in history. Said agency owner Jerry Ford of Ford Models, who represented Patchett in her heyday during the Fifties, "Jean Patchett was to Ford what Babe Ruth was to the Yankees." But the one who will rule the roost up there in heaven "Little Edie-- Beale, the bald-headed, babushka-wearing cousin of Jackie Kennedy. Along with her mother, "Big Edie,-- Beale was the subject of the magnificently bizarre documentary Grey Gardens by the brothers Maysles. Both the Edies lived their twisted lives in a dilapidated Long Island mansion until publicity forced Jackie to step in and take care of them.

HIDE THE TURKEY BASTER God save us from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (or, as Chronicle Arts Editor Robert Faires quips, "Wilford Brimley, Stills, Nash & Young"). They're dragging their tired routine to Austin again. Actually, I really like Graham Nash; he's also a noted photographer. But sperm-donor David Crosby is easily one of the most loathsome people on the planet; it's just revolting to imagine it's his seed that spawned the child of Melissa Etheridge (Melissa, what were you thinking?) and her spouse, the Anne Heche-ian Julie "I'm really straight now!" Cypher.

CLEARING THE AIR I had been pleased recently to receive press releases about current events at a local salon, which we'll call Salon B. As a prominent establishment, their decision to include me in their loop was quite the honor. So, I printed the glowing information they sent word for word, only to raise the hackles of another salon (let's call them Salon A), who questioned the veracity of the claims. Upon investigation (by Salon A), it turns out that some of the claims were not only untrue, but that Salon B claimed that I had made a mistake. Dear Salon B: There was no mistake on my part, and how dare you say so! If there was a mistake, it was on the part of your fanciful publicist, who is obviously an amateur. Don't make me spill the details. It's bad enough that I'll have to double fact-check your press releases in the future.

Columns (fashion)

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Jeb Bush, Noelle Bush, Frances Farmer, Igor Cassini, Jacqueline Bouvier, Oleg Cassini, New York Journal-American, Cholly Knickerbocker, Liz Smith, Peggy Lee, Stanley Marcus, Neiman-Marcus, Lance Loud, An American Family, Jean Patchett, Jerry Ford, Ford Models, Little Edie

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