The Austin Chronicle

After a Fashion

By Stephen MacMillan Moser, May 14, 2010, Columns

O COME, O COME, EMANUEL I read recently in Women's Wear Daily that Estrella Archs has left the vaunted fashion house of Emanuel Ungaro. "Who is Estrella Archs?" you might ask. Not exactly a household name, but let's just say that Ms. Archs was hired as chief designer by the House of Ungaro last year to work alongside the house's newly hired artistic designer, the one and only Lindsay Lohan. It was madness in the first place to even consider hiring Lohan (who appears to be auditioning for her next role as a cracked-out juvenile delinquent) to design a world-class couture collection. What they needed was a wizard like Karl Lagerfeld to come along and work with the existing history and reputation of the house and take it further than it could have been imagined ... but always remaining impeccably true to the original concept. For now, it seems, Ungaro's notable signature looks are a distant memory, and what remains is the nightmarish memory of the collection Lohan "designed" for them last year. This year, maybe they should hire Amy Winehouse or Whitney Houston to design for them. But in reality, it's unlikely that Ungaro will ever hire a nondesigning celebrity to take the design aspect again. That bit of brilliance was engineered by the house's former director, who is long gone. Gone like Lohan. Gone like Archs. And gone like the House of Ungaro's once-pristine reputation.

THE SNAKE WHISPERER An e-mail from the homeowners association of our neighborhood noted that a neighbor's puppy had been bitten by a rattlesnake this weekend. When the owners took the pup to the vet, they were told it was the eighth rattlesnake bite of the weekend. I loathe snakes. Ever since I read this, I've been shuddering in my garden clogs every time I step into the yard. I don't know what I'd do if confronted with a rattlesnake – probably put my hands on my hips and snarl, "Get the fuck out of my yard." Unfortunately, that may not work as well on snakes as it does on Mormons, but damn, I've worked so hard in my yard that I refuse to be intimidated by any ol' snake. One of my next projects is to move the rocks that form a planting bed around a tree out back. But knowing all about rocks and snakes, I've planned a lovely couture ensemble to deal with the situation, consisting of a Kevlar vest, hip-waders, a beekeeper's headdress, rubber opera gloves, and a tennis racket. Yes, the outfit might get hot, but I tell you what – if I saw someone roaming around their yard dressed like that, I'd get the hell out of there.

BUST SUPPORT Okay, the cause is wonderful, and I'm happy to support it ... but the name of it sticks in my throat like a piece of CiCi's pizza. Thursday, May 20, 6-9pm at Antone's is the third annual Bust a Move Date Auction put on by Texans for Tah-Tahs ( An auction of dates with notable bachelors and bachelorettes, the event supports the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation and promises to be a rip-roaring success. All info is at the aforementioned website.

TONIGHT! TONIGHT! Won't be just any night. Tonight (Thursday) is the Arthouse 5x7 Art Splurge, 7:30-10pm at the Whitley Building – that legendarily festive art sale that brings together artists and art lovers in a collision of speed and desire as buyers vie for the 5-inch-by-7-inch pieces of art that line the walls. At only $100 apiece (a few go for more), the works spark drama and suspense worthy of an HBO series. All the art will be on display for the rest of the weekend. Tickets and further info can be found at

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