The Austin Chronicle

After a Fashion

By Stephen MacMillan Moser, July 8, 2005, Columns

SHOPPING: Everyone was eager to see the new 2nd Street District stores. I caught up with dozens of people I hadn't seen in a while. Leah and Jasper Latane of Legs Diamond opened their fearless and fabulous new downtown boutique, Lucky Soles (stylishly designed by David James Crawley) on Colorado. Design Within Reach, a nationwide chain carrying pricey midcentury modern design, has a spacious spread on the corner at Colorado. Estilo, next to DWR, is the only boutique in Austin with a built-in 25-foot runway. Owners Stephanie Coultress and Cami Cobb had a lovely fashion show, in spite of the fact their team was working madly to get the store open on time. Across from Estilo is Jane Vanisko McCan's new branch of Shiki. With collections such as Rachel Ray, Shiki's clothes are always beautiful. On Second and Lavaca is Home Retreat, for exotic home accessories, owned by Wini Graziano and designed by Pete Gasper of Laurie Smith Design Associates.

SHOPPING AND SCHMOOZING: When my good friend publicist Jill McGuckin called me and asked if I would give her client singer/songwriter Susan Gibson some image direction for her photo shoot for her new CD, Outerspace, I jumped at the chance. The fabulous Susan (, who wrote the Dixie Chicks' huge hit "Wide Open Spaces," is beautiful to begin with, so there was a lot there to work with. I followed my friend Paula Lundgren's advice and made the first stop Petticoat Fair to get properly fitted for lingerie. They have such great personal service there, and Susan and Jill were thrilled with their purchases. Next I took them to Wardrobe, which I consider to be one of the most sophisticated boutiques around, offering ultra-artsy, very unusual selections – and Susan loved it, purchasing a number of items. Wardrobe is right next door to Vickmay Skin & Body Spa, so we swung in there for a quick eyebrow wax. Next, it was on to Pink Salon for consultation on Susan's luxurious blonde locks. Deborah Carter put Susan on an easy hair-care maintenance program, and we breezed next door to Blackmail, where Susan added a few more tops (under my strict guidance, of course). Eventually we retired to El Sol y La Luna to hash over what had been done and declared the day a success.

SCHMOOZING: Watched Fourth of July fireworks with my writer friend Mark Sullivan from the deck of PR and real estate whiz Robert Nash's West Austin home. The view was great, but we loved the view inside, too, visiting with gadabout Jeremy Ellis, the handsome singer-songwriter Michael Clay, his manager Marci Fletcher, and art director Stephen Arevalos.

SWAG: I love how everyone seems to overlook the fact that the Ten Commandments monument at the State Capitol, despite its holiness, is nothing more than movie swag – part of a long-forgotten campaign to publicize Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 movie The Ten Commandments, starring (who else?) Charlton Heston as Moses. In the years following the movie, DeMille helped finance this monumental swag in many locations across the country. But with the debate raging about separation of church and state, I think the state ought to put this movie swag up for auction on eBay and deposit the proceeds into the general fund. Then, everyone benefits.

CAFE MANHATTAN: Last Saturday evening, my friend Dale Newberger and I went to see Karen Kuykendall and Sterling Price-McKinney in Cafe Manhattan, part of Zach Scott's fabulous Z-Cabaret series. Mme. Kuykendall is one of Austin's living treasures – an actress/singer/performer extraordinaire who has been entertaining Austin audiences for longer than she might care to remember. She shared the stage with Mr. McKinney, whom I hadn't seen perform before. What an experience! Along with songs by Noel Coward, Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Cy Coleman, among others, there included a good bit of original work written by McKinney and performed by both of them – either as a duet, or by each of them separately. When they sing together they create a sound that is like a third voice. Naturally, we had to see them after the show and worship at their feet. We also visited with Zach Scott's Ann Ciccolella and Dave Steakley. I also ran into the entire Chisholm/Faires Theatre Dynasty there – Barbara, Robert (esteemed arts editor for The Austin Chronicle) and Rosalind. Each of them are such talented performers that I like to think of them as the Barrymores of Austin.

SOCIAL CALENDAR: Saturday, July 9, 11pm, the newly Re-Souled Platforms make their debut at the tragically fabulous Trophy's on South Congress… Also, 8pm is A Dreamy Midsummer's Night hosted by Big Red Sun (1102 Cesar Chavez. Cover is $5 and includes libations). The event features fashion and accessories by Chia Guillory, along with her co-host Donna Soo of OtterOtto jewelry. Ten percent of all sales will benefit Green Corn Project… Also on Saturday, the Bob Bullock Museum offers its new "Texas Movies" exhibit, and presenting artifacts from more than 80 Texas-related films such as James Dean's oil-drenched costume from Giant; and Cloris Leachman's Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in The Last Picture Show.

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