The Austin Chronicle

After a Fashion

By Stephen MacMillan Moser, February 14, 2003, Columns

I CONFESS I have fallen deeply in love with Patricia Vonne, but she doesn't know it. I wrote recently about how she dazzled me at a recent fashion show; she is so beautiful and talented that every time I see her, I know I am witnessing greatness. At El Sol y la Luna, my sister Margaret and I parked ourselves at a table close by and watched her work her magic. I love watching her. Her posturing conspires with the music, and she becomes a snake charmer weaving her arms in front of her like a siren as she plays the castanets, taking us on dark seductive journeys and looking like Norma Desmond making her final descent. Robert LaRoche provides excellent acoustic accompaniment and co-writer, and his voice blends beautifully with hers. They did so many great songs -- I love "Bandolero," among others -- but when they sang the Everley Brothers' classic "Dream," I stood outside enchanted by the beauty of their voices. The sweetness of the moment will not soon be forgotten. Her self-titled CD is her first full-length one, and she fills it with drama and passion. You can catch Patricia at El Sol (on South Congress) on Feb. 20 and 27.

MADE FOR TV Ill-fitting clothes, horrible hair, wretched make-up, and frighteningly mismatched eyebrows ... our local TV news is rife with it all! I absolutely do not understand why this is. These folks have the eye of the public, yet many of them appear on camera in distressing disarray. Whether it be a halo of flyaway frizzies or a jacket that's unattractively snug, obviously these poor people are forced to groom themselves, and that's a terrible thing to impose upon them. They are people with important jobs who are just too busy to worry about such trivial matters. The men generally fare pretty well -- the range in which they are allowed to dress doesn't leave a lot of room for errors. But when it comes to the women of TV -- ay-yi-yi. It is my firm belief that Austin is blessed with talent to burn in the style department, and all our local TV stations should consider creating special part-time positions and hiring style designers/consultants from local retailers and salons. Heck, the stores wouldn't even have to provide skirts or pants, unless that person were doing the weather. I believe that anchorwomen should present themselves as the style-leaders that they should be. This isn't radio, after all, where the owners of dulcet voices can wear anything they want. While obviously not every anchorwoman is in such need of assistance, who couldn't use a little help? The hair can be abysmal; they all seem to wear the same style long after it has achieved mall status, often bowing to the current street ethic that says that it's OK to have messy hair. I hold most hairdressers and fashion magazines out there responsible for this. It is they who let the American public believe that it is OK to leave the house with unkempt hair, and now look what they hath wrought. But we can redeem ourselves. Do you think for a minute that Connie Chung, Diane Sawyer, or Barbara Walters goes before the camera without expert assistance? Hell no. So why should our babes?

JETSETTING I'd have to say that Giada (704 W. Sixth, 457-8881) certainly seems to be raising its public profile by putting on many shows, and from the looks of things at the most recent show at the Jetset Lounge at Texture, they are working hard to upgrade their reputation from conservative to hip. They showed a run of beautiful dresses, followed by daywear, to an appreciative audience. Model Yolanda was a total knockout, and Chris Linn showed 'em how it was done. Hair was by Aziz, and Jeff Strange worked the turntables.

THE DISH She's here in Austin so often, you'd think she lives here. And when she's in Austin, she's at Starlite so often, you'd think she lived there. We are, of course, talking about Gwyneth Paltrow, who I can report, recently came sashaying up the ramp of the restaurant arm-in-arm with her new beau, Coldplay singer Chris Martin, who had just played the Erwin Center the night before. Regardless, Gwyneth seems to need no encouragement to visit, or maybe it's just a ritual she puts all her prospective dates through... As if she didn't already have enough fabulous things happening to her, famed local PR whiz Jennifer Hill is marrying her Hoopla Media & Communications business partner Fritz Robenalt. Hill's longtime friend and mentor, the wonderful Liz Carpenter, will be among the wedding party, as will canine friend Felix, who will perform as ring bearer. Some of Hoopla's clients include Meringue Design, Red Frame Productions, Girlstart, Alliance Abroad Group, among many others. Ahhh ... a new power couple in the making... Speaking of power couples, my sister Margaret and I (stop laughing right now) performed our brother-and-sister act at Güero's recently, on the same bill as another equally famous and equally fabulous brother-and-sister act of Clifford


Susan Antone. We all have a special affinity, dating back at least a thousand years, to Port Arthur, where the Antones are from and where Margaret and I spent a great deal of time as children. The Antones' contributions to Austin are vast, and it's great to have Clifford back among us.

STONED IN LOVE AGAIN Oh what great service I got at Planet K on Riverside ... It was late, I needed a pipe in a hurry, and they were open. After selecting what I wanted, I was given a free screen and a poke. That to me is excellent customer service. I highly recommend them for all your accessories.

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