After a Fashion

Stephen takes off the gloves, throws down the gauntlet, and whips out the wire hangers. Dang.

Model Sabrina Duffy in Vivienne Westwood at Dennis Quaid Charity Fashion Show
Model Sabrina Duffy in Vivienne Westwood at Dennis Quaid Charity Fashion Show (Photo By Jesse Knish)

SHOWTIME We came; we saw; we screamed. I couldn't believe it. Honestly, I'd expected much less from this fashion show, even though I'd agreed to emcee it and coerced my editor Kate X Messer into appearing with me. The Top Drawer Thrift Store ( on Burnet is a major source of funding for Project Transitions ( and was the setting for the Top Drawer Couture Fashion Show. The show was put on by Almost Impatient (, a production team composed of hairdressers, make-up artists, and other fashion-related types – an all-purpose event company whom I first saw when they stole the show at last year's Style Cup. The outfits were assembled from the racks at Top Drawer, including a collection of gorgeous outfits and jewelry donated by my dear friend Sue Hammer specifically for this event. The show opened with the group Flamin' Desire ( Any group that opens a show by singing the Shangri-Las "Sophisticated Boom Boom" is all right by me. This four-member band performs dance, pop, and retro music with a very original and very gay sensibility. The food by Jules Bignell was a real treat, and we sure look forward to seeing her on the scene a lot more in the future. The fact of the matter is that I have seen much more expensively produced shows that weren't nearly as entertaining nor smooth-running as this one. Congratulations are in order for all involved.

THE DIRT Speaking of fashion shows, many of you may remember that I crucified last year's Dennis Quaid Charity Fashion Show. I thought the show was abysmal in so many ways, it was jaw-dropping. What was even more jaw-dropping was that the advertorial for the show printed months later in the Fall 2005 issue of a tiny little publication called Waterways. WaterWorks would be more accurate, the way this one-person publication gushes over every single thing it covers. Ever heard of Waterways? This publication seems to be nothing more than a vanity rag dedicated to promoting its advertisers (primarily real estate agents and jewelry stores). Nine of the 10 stories in this particular issue are written by the publisher/editor/writer/photographer Kathie Parssinen. The only other story in that issue not written by Mme. Parssinen is written by a "John Parssinen," which might be her great-grandchild or her drag name. I've met Mme. Parssinen before – a frowzy, gaseous woman whose "story" about the Dennis Quaid show is so full of punctuation and spelling errors that one wonders if she edits and proofs her own work. Furthermore, she uses the "story" to review my review of the show. In it, she chides me for not running photos of the hideous clothes in my column. So she runs the photos herself – which manages to underscore exactly what I said about them. She then apologetically states that "of course, the outfits featured aren't for everyone." It's clear that Miss Thing likes everything she sees, but to make her point that there's something for everyone, Parrsinen says, "There's an ass for every saddle." Glad she's found her saddle.

HOWEVER! This year's Dennis Quaid Charity Fashion Show was amazing. Everything was right about it. Gary and Laurie Spellman, along with the gracious John Zaring and his production company, did a fabulous job in refining the show and repackaging it into a slick, glamorous presentation that made the runway come alive. They took it out of the sterile Renaissance Hotel and into the Austin Music Hall and used some of Austin's best models combined with former contestants from America's Next Top Model to show off Estilo's men's and women's collections (including a preview of Vivienne Westwood's glamorous fall collection). The hair by Paul Mitchell Systems and make-up by Ultimate Salon Services were perfect. It's not just that the show was a mere improvement over last year; on its own, it was a huge achievement.

AGENDA Saturday, May 13, 11am-4pm, Anthony Nak presents exquisite jewels and fashions from Estilo in a Mother's Day event that is as luxurious as it is irresistible, featuring cocktails and spa treatments, with catering from Suzanne Court. Prowl around AN's gorgeous Web site for more info… Or for a different kind of Mother's Day experience, Sunday, May 14, 9:45pm, Lonny Stern and the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF) presents its annual Mommie Dearest Roast with audience participation, wire coat hangers, and an audience costume contest. See more details at… Thursday, May 18, 6-9pm at the Cedar Street Courtyard/Málaga is the Blue Moon Dance & Fashion Soirée, a fundraiser for Blue Lapis Light dance company, featuring a Sally Jacques choreographed performance, live music, food, auction, and cash bar. More details are available at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle