After a Fashion

RETAIL GOSSIP In response to a blind item of two weeks ago, we received a report that an upscale jeweler in Austin got a call from one of their clients to see if the owner was going to be in that afternoon. You can imagine owner's surprise when four black Suburbans arrived and out tumbled a plethora of Secret Service agents who went to check out the swank store. When the coast was clear, the client walked in ... with First Lady Laura Bush. Mrs. B. was impressed with what she saw and bought a dazzling pair of diamond earrings. When the question of her exclusive jewelers Anthony-Nak came up, Mrs. B. responded that they never had an exclusive arrangement. I'm not so sure Anthony-Nak ever said they were her exclusive jewelers, but Mrs. B. is amassing quite a collection of their work nonetheless. The particular blind item referred to was about the owner of a women's boutique who would be managing the flagship store of a famous local jewelry team. Well, since the word is out already, I might as well broadcast it. First off, the person I referred to as "stepping down" from ownership to management is not stepping down at all -- she will be a partner with the jewelers. And you may as well know that it's Amy Weaver of Vylette who's becoming a partner of (as if you didn't guess) Anthony Camargo and David Nakard Armstrong, otherwise known as Anthony-Nak. And after scouting numerous locations, they have safely decided on (you guessed again!) Davenport Village (you know: home of Susie Dell's boutique). Anthony and David are such great guys, I wish them the fabulous success that I'm sure they'll have.

Meanwhile, Davenport Village is certainly becoming the high-end destination for shopping. Or have we said that before? In addition to the upcoming Anthony-Nak store, and on the heels (pardon the pun) of the opening of Vën Shoe Salon, DV is now the home of Stiletto. Located next to Vylette, Stiletto promises an amazing range of shoes that will add a counterpoint to the rather conservative stylishness of Vën. Carrying selections from Givenchy, Calvin Klein, Pucci, Richard Tyler, Vera Wang, Roberto Cavalli, and Alberta Feretti, this is owner Heather Gomez's entrepreneurial debut. Open for a few weeks already and receiving a great response, the grand opening is today (Thursday, April 18), 10am-8pm. Cool. Between these two places, you can let your shoe fetish run rampant

BITCH-EEE We conspicuously held our tongue over the uproar surrounding Liza Minnelli's wedding to Michael Jackson's best friend David Gest. The circus-like event, unfettered by taste, resembled a three-ring big-top joke. Of course, we all know it's simply another misstep in Liza's lifelong quest for love and happiness, but, please ... this guy's problems are far larger than hers. The biggest brouhaha (aside from the Fellini-esque cast of characters, too numerous to mention) was all the whisperings that Liza's new husband was gay. Well, whisper no more. According to Infobeat.com, 86-year-old soap opera veteran Ruth Warrick says Gest, 48, dated her for 15 years (now there's a pretty picture ...) so he could create the illusion of being heterosexual. Said Warrick, "David's been secretly into men, not women, for the entire 25 years I've known him." The All My Children star says a desperate Gest even begged her to marry him five years ago, while they were on vacation in Hawaii, to quash rumors that he was gay. "Finally he admitted, 'I need to be married.' He said, 'People are talking. Marriage is the only answer.' He wanted a wife, and as long as she was elegant, in showbiz, looked good on his arm, and knew the score, he didn't much mind who she was." She puts the final nail in the Minnelli marriage coffin by saying, "If Liza was expecting passion with David on her wedding night, believe me, she's still waiting." I did think this was very funny, but what's even funnier is the mathematics involved. If Gest is 48, and Warrick is 86, that makes a 38-year age difference. So, if they've known each other for 25 years, that means they met when Gest was 13 and Warrick was 51, and started 'dating' 10 years later. Warrick is to be commended for waiting longer than she legally had to.

LMAO On March 12, the Associated Press reported that "Domestic Security Chief Tom Ridge unveiled a color-coded terrorism warning system on Tuesday, and said the nation currently is on yellow alert, meaning it faces a 'significant' level of danger." Naturally the fashion world reacted quickly, as evidenced by the timely Web site forwarded to me by Chronicle Litera contributor Ric Williams. At www.modernhumorist.com/mh/0203/warning/, we are offered a hilarious color-coded fashion forecast. For instance, the color periwinkle would indicate a "Springtime Elevated Alert" that sends the message, "Be on the lookout -- for my curves," and the color crimson for a "Wintery Severe Alert" -- the color "your pajamas should be when you stay home after all government facilities are closed and you've lost your job." Also thanks to Tim Thompson for reminding us to mention Supermodels Are Lonelier Than You Think at www.geocities.com/good_blog/, which is truly a scream. Filled with all kinds of fashion-related news, it is wicked, funny, and informative in its selection of stories. Sort of like "News of the Weird-- meets Women's Wear Daily... In a discussion with my sister Margaret about television actors who fail on the big screen, naturally the subject of the cast of Friends came up. I had to laugh: A poll on AOL last week asked people to vote for an ending to the mysteriously popular television show. My vote? A fiery bus crash in which they all perish. Except maybe Lisa Kudrow, who could then go on to star in the sequel, Friendless.

THE BUS TO HELL I know, I know ... it's ill, but somehow, the bus theme has always been predominant in my nature. All through the Eighties, I had this fantasy about a bus that would go around picking up passengers, and when it is packed to the gills with people piled on the hood and hanging onto the bumper, the bus, driven by Michael Bolton, careens out of control and plunges off a cliff. Among the passengers lost were Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers, Richard Marx, New Kids on the Block, Steven Tyler, David Crosby, and Stevie Nicks, who was strapped to the grill. To this day, the simple phrase "on the bus" indicates persons with far too many loathsome qualities to not be relieved of their misery. Today's passengers? Eminem, Tommy Lee, Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears, and Mariah Carey.

A BIRD IN HAND With spring spreading its magnificence across Texas, it would be a great time to drop into Selena & Dylan Souders' Big Red Sun for their gallery exhibition of birdlife, with featured artists Stella Alesi, Jean Martin, Jane Schweppe Scott, and Lisa Beaman. The exhibition is on now through May 31, and is a prelude to BRS's Hello, Birdie benefit for the Travis Audubon Society, which happens Saturday, May 11, and features a birdhouse contest and other family fun.

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