After a Fashion
Your Style Avatar is officially a 'tween' and is pretty bored with Fashion Weak
FASHION WEAK As I've said before, Fashion Week is an event held seasonally in the fashion capitals of the world to exhibit designers' new collections to the press and buyers. It's apparent that there is a small segment of citizens here who have imagined that Austin is also a fashion capital; last week's Austin Fashion Week from Launch787 proved them misguided. The opening party at GSD&M featured a performance by Tiffany (really?), and according to one friend in attendance, confusion about VIP seating made the fashion show portion look poorly attended. I virtually ignored the rest of Fashion Weak. I simply did not need to attend one more series of in-store "events" in which the same old stores show off what they bought this season while serving limp drinks and "entertainment" of some variety. Not that there's anything wrong with events like that; it's just that they happen here all the time – not just during Fashion Weak. The series of events culminated with the Austin Fashion Awards. The publicist had invited me previously, but I hadn't made up my mind until the last moment to attend, primarily because several close friends were presenting awards. What I wasn't invited to was to be on the fashion critics' panel of 40 of Austin's most prominent fashion critics. Forty. Four. Zero. Did you have any idea that Austin has 40 fashion critics? I certainly did not, but when I saw the 40 "critics," it was abundantly clear that Austin does not have 40 prominent fashion critics. There were plenty of fine Austin citizens who do indeed wear clothes – sometimes fashionably – but know nothing about fashion (go ahead – pronounce "Balenciaga"), no-name news reporters, socialites, and dozens of other unrecognizable faces that did not belong on a panel of fashion critics. It didn't really bother me too much. After spending 35 years in the fashion business, I would have been uncomfortable sitting on a panel like that. Mandy Lauderdale emceed the show cleverly and amusingly (Flatteringly, she paid homage to me in her opening number. Thank you very much, Mandy.), keeping the audience's attention, which was wandering due to lackluster presentations and confusing staging. To Dawn Younger-Smith at Boudoir Queen: Your collection was just fabulous. I'd be livid if I were you over the producers having a Lady Gaga-esque performance going on behind me while I showed a collection. There were some other fun clothes being shown, including René Geneva and Celestino Couture. The show highlights included a presentation from the Betsey Johnson store at the Domain (Betsey Johnson is Austin fashion because she has a store here? Hmmm.) as well as Project Runway's Chloe Dao. (When I think Austin fashion, I always think Chloe Dao; don't you?) But as the awards were given, my heart shriveled a little bit more each time winners were read. It was clearly more of a popularity contest for twentysomething crafters and DIY-ers, ignoring some of the finest people that have truly made Austin's fashion scene happen. Notable exceptions included the Critics' Choice award to Giacomo Forbes for Best Hair Stylist – he really deserved that – and Best Colorist to Rory McNeill of Roar Salon – yeah, Rory! All in all, the show was considerably better than last year; sadly, it has a very long way to go before it really understands Austin fashion. In the words of one of those involved, it was a great production with no values.
CLUBBED Last Tuesday around 9pm, I got a text from Mark Mueller telling me his twin sons, Max and Andy, would be playing at Emo's. Max and Andy (who turn 21 this week: Happy birthday!) have a band called Porifera that I'd heard about but not yet seen. I've seen the band now, and I am a serious fan. Their hip-hop-free set (oh, joy!) was a hard-driving tour de force – kickass performers. Why trust me when you can see them for yourselves this Friday, Aug. 27, at Red Eyed Fly, 10:30pm. In a celebratory mood, we all moved on to Barbarella – the epicenter of chic clubbing right now – before moving on to Elysium. I'd really wanted to see John Wickham, Elysium's owner, but he wasn't there because he was across Red River at his new club, Valhalla (which will eventually have a rooftop patio). Valhalla provides lots of gaming, seating, and a terrific staff. Having earned many, many "Best of Austin" awards for Elysium, I'm sure John's Midas touch will make Valhalla a must-see destination.
MILESTONES This column marks my 11th anniversary with The Austin Chronicle, without which I'd be nothing. Thank you, Louis.