After a Fashion

What Stephen watches and where Stephen shops

BAFTA BRIEFS Such a great alternative to the stuffy, stuck-up Oscars, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts gave out their awards Sunday night. Stephen Fry, the excellent actor noted for his portrayal of Oscar Wilde, hosted the event with style and wit (so unlike the self-consciously overscripted Billy Crystal/ Whoopi Goldberg approaches). The big winners were The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Master and Commander and Scarlett Johansson. There, I've said it, becoming the last person on Earth to utter her name. Her diamond necklace was faaabulous ... Holly Hunter looked glorious with Botticelli tresses ... Sofia Coppola was very charming as she accepted Bill Murray's Best Supporting Actor award for him, reading a very funny letter he wrote, but Sofia, darling, your daytime hair was unsuitable for daytime, even. Renée Zellweger looked very sweet accepting her Best Supporting Actress award, though a sweep of a hairbrush would not have been out of order. The men were uniformly well-dressed, but nothing that pushed the envelope, so to speak. Joely Richardson has the same beauty now that her mother Vanessa Redgrave had at the same age, and I think other daughter Natasha Richardson is simply amazing. What a dynasty ...

THE BIG DECISION Shopping for clothes when you are a generously proportioned plus-sized babe can be a nightmare: Anna Nicole Smith and I both know it ... but have you seen her lately? Omigod, she must have had every ounce of fat sucked out of her. However, I am not as fortunate as Anna Nicole; she has a lot more money than I do. And being several years older than her, I'm also not as likely to land an elderly millionaire on his deathbed to keep me in luxury the rest of my life. When I was in the design business, I was able to whip up creative and interesting outfits at the drop of a hat, and that served me very well, considering that even if I did have a 32-inch waist, I still couldn't find the clothes I wanted to wear. With the upcoming Texas Film Hall of Fame breathing down my neck, I went into panic mode, realizing that I have now been seen publicly in every single interesting outfit that I own. I am so honored to be a part of TFHOF, but sartorially speaking, hanging out with movie stars makes me very nervous. (Movie stars be damned, the person I'm most excited about meeting this year is Dr. Carolyn Farb. She is a social and philanthropic icon with staggering achievements to her name. What I cannot tell her is that I've worshipped her since I was a young teenager in Houston poring over the gossip columns and thinking she was a goddess!) I called my friend Neil bemoaning that there is simply nowhere in town to find interesting large-sized men's wear. He understood, but with his fabulous new Atkins-induced figure, it's not a problem for him. I yearned for my favorite big boys store in Manhattan, Rochester Big & Tall. While the merchandise tended to be relatively safe and conservative, it was possible to find beautiful clothes from top designers. But of course, New York always always offers a better selection of everything. I used to love going to Orchard Street, combing the stores and stalls and finding excellent knockoffs in big sizes, but to my chagrin, I do not get to New York as often as I'd like. So I went on the Internet, where all things are possible. Entering a few keywords, a plethora of options popped up, including I was thrilled to find it, and immediately ordered several items, but nothing dressy enough for TFHOF. Continuing my search, I came upon something that said "zoot suit" and took me to a link on eBay. I found myself looking at a cream-colored riverboat gambler-type suit with black lapels and trim. It was intriguing, primarily because it was so unusual. I clicked on the link for the seller's other auctions and up came hundreds of suits from (where else?) an Orchard Street shop. I honestly couldn't tell you who the target market is for these suits – silver suits with black trim, burgundy tuxedos, gold satin suits with knee-length jackets woven with interlocking GVs (implying Gianni Versace, but actually meaning Gianni Veroni) – but I was in heaven. Never one to shy away from a bit of garishness, I actually found myself considering a lavender suit with purple lapels and pocket flaps, simply because I'd never seen anything like that in my size. After I had taken a tranquilizer, I found what I wanted: a black peau du soir (matte satin) suit with white figured pinstripes, a cutaway vest, and pleated trousers – and only $102, plus shipping and handling. When it arrived, I opened the box with trepidation (fearing that the tranquilizer may have clouded my judgment), but was thrilled to see that the suit did not look like a $102 suit. Was it fabulous quality? No! But it looked great, fit well, and was only $102. It was an enormous relief, and I'm sure I'll order again. I just can't get that lavender and purple suit off my mind ...

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AAF 23.25, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Stephen Fry, Texas Film Hall of Fame, Dr. Carolyn Farb, Atkins, Rochester Big & Tall,, eBay, Orchard Street

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