After a Fashion
A child is born ... in a manger ... in New Orleans
NORTH BY NORTHWEST I wasn't quite sure whether I could manage everything on my agenda last week – so I didn't. Employing the delete button suddenly made my schedule much more manageable. I nailed down Roggie Baer as my date for Dress by Candlelight, the Candlelight Ranch benefit at Saks last Wednesday. And since it was that particular Wednesday, we both wore purple to show our support for the anti-bullying crusade. We wound up at the Arboretum about 30 minutes early. Refusing to stand in front of Saks like those pathetic guests who actually arrive on time, Roggie and I ducked into Sephora. And boy, did we kill time. Neither of us felt entirely ready for the evening, so the Sephora staff rallied and provided the finishing touch we so desperately needed: makeup. I flitted around looking at foundation with Victoria while Roggie had her face done by makeup artist Linda, who used some sort of machine on Roggie's face. It turned out to be the first home airbrushing kit for applying makeup. These machines have been used in movies and photo shoots for a long time but were complicated and messy. Sephora developed an easier-to-handle home version in the $250 range. The makeup goes on flawlessly. Roggie looked gorgeous; when they finished with me, I felt like Linda Evangelista ready for her close-up. Saks was already crowded when we walked in – Candlelight Ranch has a very large base of supporters from all walks of life. Susan Platt and Greg Boyd, Saks' ambassadors to Austin, welcomed the hundreds of guests to indulge in food, drink, shopping, and a star-studded fashion show. We hung with Olga Campos and Charlotte Herzele, having such a good time that I was late for the fashion show and missed my prime front-row seats. Sometimes life can be tragic when you try to be all things to all people.
HOUSE OF LOVE Oh. My. God. The newly renovated Arthouse is incredible, from glimpses of the original turn-of-the-century neoclassicical columns painted on the concrete supports dating from the building's inception as a movie palace; the spacious, newly formed galleries on the first floor; a sweeping staircase that is a work of art itself; and the enormous second-floor space decked out with acres of artisanal glassware on tables, many of which, including the detailed plates and platters, were by artist Kathleen Ash of Studio K Glass (www.studiokglass.com) to the rooftop lounge that is the Arthouse renovation's crowning achievement. I'm sure there's already a waiting list for this space, and I'm sure Arthouse will soon make enough money from it to erect a canopy that will make it usable all year long. That just might be enough to satisfy the crowds that support Arthouse and its work. Fittingly for the beginning of the Halloween season, Chris English drove me home in his heavenly hearse (www.atxhearserides.com) – a truly novel way to travel.
NATIVITY On the starlit night of Oct. 25, 1957 – 53 years ago – at 8:49pm, the heavens parted and radiant beams and harp music announced to the universe that a magnificently beautiful, unusually gifted child had been born in the Crescent City of New Orleans. Now you all have this wretched, bitter old queen to deal with. Last Sunday I had the smallest birthday party ever. Well, maybe not ever, but certainly the smallest I've had in Austin since I moved here 11 years ago. Small, yes, but deeply moving to have most of my family and a half dozen of my dearest friends surrounding me. My mom and my sister threw the shindig for me in the backyard that I'd worked like a dog all year to make beautiful. It was gratifying to show it off to guests amid flickering torches and pools of colored light as the sun set. Food from Maudie's (yes, it's my favorite Tex-Mex), flowers from the "Best of Austin" Mandarin Flower Co. (omigod, they're always so glorious), and spectacular peonylike garden roses from Emmanuel at Le Fleur Vintage (www.lfvaustin.com for flowers, gifts, and event planning, not vintage clothes) set the scene for lots of relaxed good cheer. Unlike previous years, I awoke the next morning and could walk and speak. Now that is something worth celebrating.
AND! And the very night I was celebrating my birthday, Austin style pro Deborah Carter was marrying her beau, musician Pat Mastelotto, in Mexico. May they live happily ever after.