After a Fashion

Stephen goes west, sees some big rocks, and only adds to the splendor of the Marfa lights…

Bride and groom JD DiFabbio and Brian Bowers on the eve of their West Texas wedding
Bride and groom JD DiFabbio and Brian Bowers on the eve of their West Texas wedding (Photo By Brian Alesi)

OUR LADY OF THE FLOWERS Nowhere are Lady Bird Johnson's wildflower efforts more obvious than on the drive to West Texas. Her lifelong campaign to bring beauty to the roadside is a noble one that has brought enormous rewards to the public. On Friday, May 7, 6:30pm, Texas tunes, mariachi serenades, and jazz rhythms will fill the night air at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's annual spring gala benefit, the Hill Country Celebration. At this Mother's Day tribute by daughters Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Johnson Robb, guests will enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and a fabulous dinner by the Four Seasons while being serenaded. A highlight of this year's gala will be a silent auction of original artwork by local and national artists. The artwork, along with ticket info, will be displayed on the center's Web site (www.wildflower.org/?nd=gala), and beginning Wednesday, April 28, at the center in the McDermott Learning Center. Come be a part of such a worthwhile cause, and celebrate the work of the first lady of our hearts.

WEDDED BLISS It was a seven-hour drive in gorgeous weather, but Gail (Chovan) and Evan (Voyles) and I passed the time playing the Hollywood Name Game (you know ... I say the name of a movie star, and you have to come up with another star's name that starts with the first letter of the last name of the person before). West Texas has long been a creative destination for Austin's art crowd: The Chinati Foundation in Marfa (where Giant was filmed) has annual events that prompt a pilgrimage westward, and Marathon is the home of noted photographer James Evans, who has his gallery there. The setting is pure Texas Gothic, combining dramatic and ghostly Southwestern terrain with contemporary art, so it was not a surprise when photographer Brian Bowers and artist's rep JD DiFabbio chose to be married there. We arrived at the historic Gage Hotel on Good Friday in time for the prewedding cocktail party. We mingled with friends, met members of the couple's families, and had wonderful Mexican food on the grounds of a turn-of-the-century mansion. That night, the hotel was more like a dormitory, as many friends from Austin strolled in and out of each other's rooms and spirits were high ... and the wind started blowing. With all the exquisite planning, who could have expected a cold front in April? By Saturday, the wedding day, the wind whipped relentlessly and the temperature plunged. But the out-of-towners headed off in many different directions; some went to Big Bend, others to Marfa, and many of us just relaxed in our rooms or wandered through the town. At 7pm, we gathered in the lovely courtyard for the ceremony, our carefully selected wedding ensembles obscured by blankets to keep us warm. As the bride made her way down the aisle in her exquisite Narcisco Rodriguez gown, we all developed sympathetic goosebumps until she finally put on a jacket. The exchange of vows was lovely, but mercifully brief. At the reception, the chill disappeared and the real party began. Mouth-watering food, exquisite floral design (all succulents and desert flowers by Barbara Frisbie), and a very dedicated cover band from Midland carried us through the night. JD, the bride, let me examine the necklace she wore (by Marnie Greenwood of Houston's Marnie Rocks). It was a dazzling, jaw-dropping 5-pound piece composed of dozens of strings of faceted green tiger's eyes spilling across the chest, looking like it came from a Maharani's treasure trove. It seemed that as soon as we went to bed, we were up again for a sumptuous Easter brunch – piles of biscuits, bacon, sausage, fruit, and chicken-fried steak – before most of us packed up and returned home. Everything had been so romantic, but nothing can make a single person feel more single than attending a wedding. Celebrating a couple's union amid so many other married and almost-married couples serves as such a strong reminder that even if I could legally marry the person I loved, I'd have to find one first. Applicants may forward their résumés to the e-mail address below.

TONIGHT! Tonight, Thursday, April 22, is the annual UT Fashion Show at 7pm at the Erwin Center (admission is free and formal dress is encouraged). This showcases the work of graduates of the Department of Human Ecology's Apparel Design program and is a major highlight of the Austin spring fashion season. The show itself has always been a good one but over the last couple of years has really taken flight under the auspices of Mary Margaret Quadlander, who has imbued it with a sleek, professional approach that ranks it high on my list of fine quality fashion presentations... Also in the style calendar, the Garden Room is hosting an open call to designers to show their work for possible retail sale and other promotional possibilities. Contact the Garden Room at 458-5407 for more info... And 2040 Gallery (2040 S. Lamar) presents "American Beauty," an exhibition of work by noted photographer Brian Alesi and painter David Leonard. The show runs Wednesday, April 21, through Saturday, June 5, with an artists reception Friday, April 23, 6-8pm.

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