The Austin Chronicle

After a Fashion

By Stephen MacMillan Moser, September 21, 2007, Columns

ACL-ING We just couldn't do the shorts and T-shirt thing at ACL. It's against our religion. You know, the religion that says a cloud of fragrance and too much jewelry is fine, but shorts and T-shirts are not. So we wore a new rococo-print cotton shirt, skinny black jeans, and mules. And jewelry, of course. We didn't care that we looked like a whore in church. Our taxi dropped us off very conveniently at the gate, but when we found out we had to trade our passes for a hideous plastic wristband that we were supposed to wear for three days, we were verklempt. We had many things to do during the weekend in which we'd prefer not to be branded as an ACL attendee! Three days? We felt like we were being sentenced to wearing those alcohol ankle monitors that are so fashionable among the racy set. But we submitted. Wandering around the park, sometimes we weren't sure exactly who we were hearing – some of it sounded fabulous, and some of it would require a periscope to reach true mediocrity (but we're not going to talk about her). At the end of the night, the Killers put on a powerhouse show. Their controversial lead singer, Brandon Flowers, is unquestionably one of the best-dressed performers around. Walking to the far side of the park, we watched the tininess known as Björk hopping around the stage in a golden cocoon caftan, immersed in her own little world, squalling incomprehensibly. We don't really get the Mystery That Is Björk, but that's okay. She has lots and lots of fans who do. "Thank you, Texas!" she squeaked endearingly. We'd have thanked her personally but were already on our way out ... thinking, of course, that we could beat the crowds, but one band had just ended, the Killers were playing their finale, and everyone was trying to leave at once. It was indeed orderly and organized, but when we returned to the taxi stand and saw at least 8,000 people in line, we had to face the ugly fact that we were going to have to hike out of there. In mules. Our companion, the trusty Seabrook Jones, led us onto a trail along the river, and soon we were teetering along in the dark, with one of us feeling distinctly like Ginger in Gilligan's Island. And it wasn't him. We now can assure you with complete authority: Mules are not appropriate hiking footwear. We also can assure you that there are only two ways to get in and out of ACL conveniently: bicycle and helicopter.

A FASHION MOMENT We knew it was going to be a Fashion With a Capital "F" kind of night from the moment we were ushered into our (free) parking space on Congress Avenue by a gracious homeless man who waved us forward and signaled when to stop. As if we needed assistance in pulling into a parking space. We knew, of course, there would be a financial angle involved and walked away after closing the doors. "Excuse me, sir," the gentleman said. "Are you wearing Versace?" We stopped in our tracks, smiled, and said, "Yes." "Then can you give me $4 for a beer?" If we'd had a keg of beer, we'd have given him that, just for being a homeless fashionista. We laughed and gave him a five. We continued on to our fashionable destination, the Get Involved fashion show for UNICEF at Sky Lounge. Okay, we haven't ranted about a nightclub fashion show in forever – mainly because, tired of seeing the same thing over and over, we stopped going to them after a few years. But! We steeled ourself and, under duress from our old friend Miss Kitty at Mix 94.7, went. We hadn't been to Sky Lounge in a thousand years, it seemed. Maybe back in 2002? A very cool space with fab sound, a great DJ, and a decidedly younger (than us, anyway) and stylish clientele, it's just not really somewhere we wind up very much. But we were very happy to wind up there that night. We were more than a bit surprised at how slick and smooth the show was: some really talented models showing fun pieces from Flirt, terrific dresses from Kiki Nass, sexy denim from G-Star, and multiple trends from Goodie Two Shoes and Mercury Mens Fashion House, with smart make-up by Sephora and hair by Sirens Salon. The thing is, Mercury blew us away. Some of the most creative and unusual menswear in Austin. We've been ridiculous to not have gone in there already, but we loved the clothes, and now that we can fit into them, we can't wait.

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