After a Fashion

Barbara, Jenna, and Ranch dressing? What do you think this week's column is about?

Style queens at the Beauty of Life brunch: (l-r) Anne Elizabeth Wynn, Karen Landa, Carson Kressley, Ava Late, and Your Style Avatar
Style queens at the Beauty of Life brunch: (l-r) Anne Elizabeth Wynn, Karen Landa, Carson Kressley, Ava Late, and Your Style Avatar (Photo by Gregg Cestaro)

BACK AT THE RANCH ... I thought it would never end: the spate of pomegranate everything – cocktails, dish-washing liquid, lotions, potions, sprays, and ointments. But now? It's the back of the bus for pomegranates, while mangos take the forefront. Watch. Now that I've mentioned it, you'll see it everywhere. For me, it brings up another question. How could Ranch dressing have become a food group all its own? [Two words: Texas. Sororities. – Editor] Does anyone really know what a ranch tastes like? Even worse, can you imagine what it smells like? I remember back when "ranch dressing" meant plaid shirts, cowboy boots, and shearling jackets, but over the past couple of decades, Ranch dressing has come to dominate the condiment market. It's truly shocking to see the things that people put it on. Pizza? Does pizza really need salad dressing to give it flavor? But, wait. You see, even I have made the grievous error of thinking of Ranch as merely a salad dressing. Now you get it on french fries, fish, meat, and vegetables. I guess we could say that Ranch is the new ketchup. Though ketchup certainly hasn't gone anywhere. I've seen people whom I actually know put ketchup on every single item on their plates. But with Ranch, I wouldn't be surprised if it turned up as a selection all its own on menus: Ranch: cup $1.99, bowl $3.99, pitcher $7.99. I'm shocked that we don't have Ranch-flavored ice cream, Ranch-scented hand lotion, and a fabulous new Eau de Ranch fragrance from Coty: Ranch. It's not just a lifestyle anymore. Ranch is life.

FASHION WEEK IN NEW YORK? It was a very fashionable week here. From the glitzy, shiny party at Neiman Marcus for Will Wynn's birthday to Karen Landa's Beauty of Life brunch to the opening of W3LL, the week sizzled. The party for Will Wynn on Wednesday was huge, and almost everyone looked as fabulous as they could (you know who you aren't). I love partying in a large department store; it's a childhood fantasy of mine. Some of the same crowd was at the Les Amis de Hospice Austin fundraiser, the Beauty of Life. I think I've been at this brunch every year it's been in existence, and, boy howdy did this one kick ass! First off, every society dragon in town attends this event. It's virtually a reunion of the most important women I know (and a few men). I'd never really been a big fan of Carson Kressley. I've admired his outrageousness on his television shows but somehow wondered about his own style sense. But in person? I fell for him hook, line, and sinker. The man is so wickedly funny; he really gave the audience (including Texas first lady Anita Perry and other notables) a run for its money. With Gail Chovan on my right and Michelle Valles next to her, I had Ava Late on my left, next to Kressley, Anne Elizabeth Wynn, Karen Landa, and Andrea McWilliams. Primo seating – and as Carson was making his speech, he remarked that only in Austin would he be seated with two socialites and a white André Leon Talley. He also said, "Only in Austin would I wind up at a club called the Cockpit with the Bush sisters: No, I don't mean Barbara and Jenna, I mean two hygienically challenged lesbians." I loved it and him. They should bring him back every year. I did overhear Anne Elizabeth Wynn lean over to Carson and say: "Excuse me, I'm not a socialite. I'm an intellectual trapped in the body of a game-show hostess." Exactly my sentiments. We all barely had a few hours to change our outfits and lipstick to attend the fashion show at the Austin Music Hall. I have to admit, for this glamorous event, I behaved very badly. Though I'd been assigned a front-row center seat next to ex-Heatherette designer Richie Rich, I wasn't happy about another aspect of the arrangement and threw a fit. Though somehow this is exactly the kind of display people expect out of me, I very rarely actually subject anyone to it publicly. I apologized for my divaness, and the night went on as the event unfurled. So many great looks, a few clunkers, but the shoes from Fetish were predictably wonderful, as were the vest-back sweaters from Girl Next Door, among other things.

ONE THING If you do only one thing this week, go to the Octo Tea Dance at the Long Center on Sunday afternoon ( And if you can't be there, you'd better be tuned in to KOOP 91.7FM for Heath Riddles on OutCast, which will be featuring me this week, along with my sister and partner-in-crime Stephen Rice.

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