After a Fashion

Oh, it's spring -fever time in fashion-land, and you know what that means: events, events, events. Also, find out about the Kerrville designer who influenced millions.

George Carr at the F8 Fine Art Gallery before his booksigning
George Carr at the F8 Fine Art Gallery before his booksigning (Photo By bobshermanart.com)

BROTHERLY LOVE I remember Kerrville from when I was a child. My father, a minister (and professor), would often drive us through on our way to some distant country church where he led the Sunday services. Back then, in the Sixties, it was a misty, verdant little hamlet in the hills, far removed from modern life. And yet, it was during that very period that Kerrville spawned a clothing designer whose influence would shape America's taste for the next 30 years. It's not a name that comes to mind quickly when considering the world's most important designers; someone else always got credit for his work. Zack Carr graduated from UT in 1969 with a degree in interior design, though he had always sketched fashion. Making the logical move to New York, he turned to clothing design, first for legendary retailer B. Altman, then for a new young company whose founder was a young man named Calvin Klein. Klein's rise to the top of the fashion heap was due, in no small part, to Carr, whom Klein trusted implicitly. Carr, sketchbook in hand, shared Klein's privileged world, bringing to it a particular point of view that helped establish Klein's signature look. By the mid-Eighties, Carr was made creative director of womenswear, and brother George had joined him there, marketing menswear. The brothers continued sharing their lives and careers together, traveling all over the world. Zack Carr's work for Calvin Klein was phenomenal, with a special blend of chic and simplicity that made it one of the most desirable names in the world. By the mid-Nineties, Zack Carr, who had left Calvin Klein briefly to launch his own collection, soon returned to Klein and was appointed creative director of the entire company. In 1997, Zack Carr was diagnosed with P.O.E.M.S. Syndrome, a rare and incurable multisystemic disease. It destroyed his health, but not his spirit. Through it all, he sketched. In 2000, ravaged by the disease, he laid down his sketchbook and died. George, now an actor and writer who currently lives in L.A., was faced with what to do with the hundreds and hundreds of sketchbooks his brother left behind. Knowing that his brother's work was not done, George vowed to bring Zack's work to a larger audience, and mounted his ideas in a glorious, glossy coffeetable book called Zack Carr (powerHouse Books, $75). George, who also acts and writes fiction, has also created a foundation in his brother's name, dedicated to helping charitable agencies battle incurable illnesses. At his recent booksigning at the wonderful F8 Fine Art Gallery on West Sixth, the charming and erudite George held court among his brother's sketches, and his grief, as well as his hope, was palpable. "I stood with Zack on the Gulf shores, atop the hills of Kerrville, beside the banks of the Guadalupe, against the walls of the Alamo, through the hallways of the University of Texas, and on the tarmacs of Dallas on our way to dreams of distant unconquered lands ... but we always came home ... home to Texas." Zack Carr is a remarkable tribute to a major design talent ... and to brotherly love.

YES, TONIGHT!!! (Thursday, May 15) Our friends Selena Souders and Dylan Robertson of Big Red Sun (1102 E. Cesar Chavez, 480-0688), announce the second annual Hello, Birdie! benefit. It is a three-day affair beginning with a gala tonight, from 6:30 to 9pm, featuring catering by Jeffrey's and a performance by Torch. Tickets are $50. The event then continues on May 16 and 17 with musical guests including Shawn Colvin, Patrice Pike, and Sara Hickman as well as the coolest showcase of birdhouses in the city, beginning at noon. Call BRS for details... Also tonight, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation will launch the first-ever Shop for the Cure event at the Palmer Events Center. Shop for the Cure features more than 70 vendors displaying fine merchandise including clothing, jewelry, antiques, and home furnishings. The event opens with the Pink & Black Gala, tonight, Thursday, May 15, 7-11pm, featuring hors d'oeuvres from some of Austin's finest restaurants (including Hudson's on the Bend and the wonderful Cafe Josie, among several others), music from the Jon Barry Project, and a silent auction (including a painting commissioned from the fabulous Kathy Womack); gala tickets are $75. Then, Friday and Saturday, May 16 and 17, 10am-9pm, are the Market Days where the public is invited to shop. Tickets are $8 per day. Purchase online at www.komenaustin.org or call 473-0900... Damon Williams, publisher of Feedback magazine, invites you to celebrate the magazine's fourth anniversary tonight, 9pm-2am at Club DeVille (912 Red River), featuring music by DJ dAb, Experimental Aircraft, and Liquid Stereo Project. Tickets are $10. Call 751-0107 or e-mail damon@feedbackmagazine.com for more info.

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