After a Fashion

Your Style Avatar's Swish Alps of the social season loom on the horizon. Time to strap on those designer skis.

Longtime fashion maven Leslie Bonnell and local fashion superstar Jacki-OH present a photographer's award at the Austin Fashion Awards.
Longtime fashion maven Leslie Bonnell and local fashion superstar Jacki-OH present a photographer's award at the Austin Fashion Awards. (Photo by Seabrook Jones/

LET'S BE SPECIFIC While I am indeed critical of Launch787's recent Fashion Week, it is not to say that it didn't honor some excellent talent. It did. But I think that People's Choice Awards, in general, are popularity contests. And in the hands of promoters who in many cases have vested interest in promoting certain factions or members of Austin's creative community (Charging models $45 to appear in the show? Excuse me?), the results can be dubious. I loved that Avant held an Anti-Fashion Week Party (that I read about on Facebook). The point was to take back the fashion scene in Austin (I've long contended that we only have a fashion scene as opposed to a fashion industry here) from the corporate promoters and put it back in the hands of the Austin fashion artists. I agree with that entirely. I love the fact that Austin design professionals are being honored; I just really want it to mean something.

OFF THE RACK In the arena of niche retailing, Venus Envy Consignments – a resale shop for plus-sized gals – has opened on the Drag. Carrying better sportswear and formals, Venus Envy (502 W. 30th, 836-8768) will also purchase clean, gently used plus-sized clothing. More info can be found at And another new niche entry is the soon-to-open Bella Bridesmaid (, located at 500 N. Lamar #165. It's scheduled to open at the end of September.

PURRRRR Dance music lovers will rejoice that the legendary radio personality Miss Kitty is back on the air again at KOOP 91.7FM with Miss Kitty's 3 O'Clock Body Rock, Wednesdays, 3pm (and online at

ANOTHER MILESTONE I noted last week that it was my 11th anniversary as a columnist for The Austin Chronicle. But I failed to mention that it's also the 11th anniversary of meeting Gail Chovan of Blackmail, who instantly became my once and future favorite fashion icon. We met through a fax machine. She responded to my very first column with a warm and welcoming letter, full of praise for having a columnist covering Austin's burgeoning fashion scene. After my second column (which displeased Mme. Blackmail), I received a fax full of fire and brimstone about what really needed to be covered and how disappointed she was in me. She was right, of course, but I had already established that "After a Fashion" was not always about fashion per se. When I met Gail in person, I was smitten. Her store was so conceptual, it was electrifying. Through her, I met all the most interesting and talented people, and together with Neil Diaz and Levi Palmer, we founded the Designers' Guild of Austin as well as Idol, a boutique dedicated to local designers. Over the years, we have carefully watched what was happening in the Austin scene, and I learned so much from her. She has remained a staunch ally of mine, even in the face of withering criticism – even when I wasn't always there for her. That's friendship, and one I've been grateful for every day for 11 years.

THE SWISH ALPS There are so many events coming up in a short period that I'll probably have to start wearing layers of evening clothes so I can just peel one outfit off and already be dressed for the next party. Friday, Sept. 10, brings us Hospice Austin's Beauty of Life Brunch at the Renaissance Hotel, 9:30am. Carson Kressley returns with his wicked wit, and the event also features the Glossy 8 Style Makers awards. I never miss this event ( – so fun, so glam, and a rare opportunity to see some of these folks in broad daylight... That very evening at 6pm, Ballet Austin presents the always incredible Ballet Austin Fête. Sponsored by the W Hotel, this high-glam extravaganza starts at Ballet Austin and then moves to the Seaholm Power Plant, where untold surprises await (well, okay, there will be a Carolina Herrera fashion show)... Sunday, Sept. 12, the John Girard Salon (800 W. Third #1308, 469-9997) is hosting the second annual Great Wig-Off from 4 to 7pm, a benefit to kick off OctoTea season. Last year's debut event drew an astonishingly large crowd of fans and supporters. ( And coming up after that is the Women & Their Work Red Dot Art Spree on Sept. 16 (

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Austin style, Launch787, Fashion Week, Austin Anti-Fashion Week Party, Facebook, Venus Envy Consignments, Bella Bridesmaid, Miss Kitty, Gail Chovan, Blackmail, After a Fashion, Designers' Guild of Austin, Beauty of Life Brunch, Carson Kressley, Ballet Austin Fête, Tribeza

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