After a Fashion

All style, all the time, from the Houston Ballet Ball to the Oscars

Sophia Loren at the 81st Academy Awards
Sophia Loren at the 81st Academy Awards

HOUSTON No sooner had I realized how badly I needed a break when Doug and Jennifer Bosch, whom I think of as my fairy godparents even though I'm older than they are, invited me to Houston for the Houston Ballet Ball. I knew it meant hanging out by the pool in their palatial River Oaks mansion, which, in a perfect world, would be my main pursuit in life. I especially like going to big events in Houston because no one there has seen all my outfits and jewelry. I wore black leather and cashmere with a white fur; my jewelry was on loan to me by the talented designer Shayna Weeden (, who was repping this particular collection for her teacher, Nacho Gomez. I'd fallen in love with the jewelry upon seeing it – enormous life-sized iguanas, horny toads, and other reptilian motifs whose tails wrapped around the neck and wrists in chunky silver. Girded by such fearsome accessories, I felt every bit ready to cause a sensation when I entered. Once our party was assembled, which included Doug's glamorous daughter Regan Bosch, as well as the suave make-up maestro Edward Sanchez, among others, we took a limo to the Wortham Center. The theme of the ball, Magnificent Marie, was a tribute to Marie Antoinette, so there were a number of period costumes on the guests, as well as a bevy of grand couture gowns. The decor was gorgeous, and no detail was overlooked in this sumptuous display – one that gave no indication of the state of our economy, much like Antoinette herself. On the other hand, it's parties like this that can make you forget about economic woes for just a few minutes ... and who wouldn't enjoy that? A lively afterparty topped off the evening, and I have to admit to being pretty cross-eyed by the time I dragged myself to bed at 6am.

HOLLYWOOD Sunday night was the Academy Awardsalways a fun foray into fashion and film. There was a dearth of beautiful gowns; most tried too hard, but there were some exceptions. By and large, it was evident that the economy had affected Hollywood. So many of the stars appeared to have employed such cost-cutting measures as doing their own hair and make-up, and in the case of Jessica Biel, it looked like she made her own dress as well. Amy Adams was a definite DHOH (Did Her Own Hair), as were Jennifer Aniston and even Sophia Loren, who went a step further by appearing to have DHOW (Done Her Own Wig). Reese Witherspoon economized on hair and make-up but appeared to have borrowed the still-warm dress that Queen Latifah had worn in the In Memoriam segment. E! Entertainment Television's preshow coverage was full of unintentionally funny moments – Taraji P. Henson lifted her skirt to show her shoes to the camera but wound up showing her undergarments as well. I like Taraji P. Henson's name and presume that the "P" is to separate her from all those other Taraji Hensons out there. Mickey Rourke was curiously repulsive-looking. Alicia Keyes was a nightmare in fuchsia with the strangest eye make-up I'd ever seen. The contouring around her nose did little to hide whatever it was she was hiding. Marisa Tomei's gown showed exquisite workmanship in an overly done hideous design, dowdy Meryl Streep lived up to her reputation by wearing a sackcloth, and Miley Cyrus wore an execrable copy of a gorgeous Christian Dior gown from the Fifties. And then there were Angelina Jolie's emeralds. Major emeralds. So big they looked like plastic but jaw-droppingly beautiful. I did love the idea of bringing out former winners in the acting categories to introduce the nominees – as if the nominees were being inducted into a secret society. Eva Marie Saint was glorious, Shirley MacLaine looked embalmed, and Goldie Hawn showed off her underarm baggage in a dress that looked like it hurt to put on. Best dress? There were two of them, but they weren't on celebrities. The first was the silver gown of draped charmeuse (not the one with silly chiffon panels hanging here and there on it) on the stage escort, and the other was the cranberry-colored draped charmeuse with contrasting lining on the very windy woman who won for short documentary. It was Bollywood meets Hollywood as Slumdog Millionaire swept the race with seemingly dozens of awards, and watching Milk snag a few awards was extremely satisfying. All in all, what did we learn by watching the Oscars? That economy is not pretty. Not pretty at all.

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