After a Fashion

Cherchez la Femme restores Your Style Avatar's faith in local fashion shows

Lust, as interpreted by Drea DiPret and India Jade Gail at Coco Coquette's stunning wig, fashion, and performance extravaganza Cherchez La Femme
Lust, as interpreted by Drea DiPret and India Jade Gail at Coco Coquette's stunning wig, fashion, and performance extravaganza Cherchez La Femme (Photo by John Leach)

ECSTASY & ME I was absolutely thrilled, ecstatic, and blown away by the Cherchez La Femme show at the ND at 501 Studios last Tuesday night – thrilled to see a show that has restored my faith in local fashion presentations. Though this show wasn't really about fashion, per se, some fabulous design work was shown. A Valentine's confection interpreting 12 stages of love through wigs, makeup, music, dance, and fashion, the show was produced by the magnificent wig designer Coco Coquette aka Allyson Garro (whose shop is in the Maison d'Etoile style collective at 2109 E. Cesar Chavez, 344-9173, I love fabulous wigs, and these were some of the best I've ever seen anyone do. The show was a brilliant collaboration between so many talented artists: Emceed by the very clever and funny Chris Lane from New Orleans, the show broke the love stages down into the Crush, New Love, Disillusionment, Jealousy, Obsession, the Breakup, Heartbreak, the Comeback, Lust, Reconciliation, True Love, and Marriage – and for each stage, there was a different song, a different outfit, different wigs, different makeup, and different dancers. It was truly performance art. Though I enjoyed every single aspect of the show, there were a handful of sequences that were simply extraordinary. (Come on, when was the last time you heard me use so many superlatives?) I particularly recall the Crush, delightfully danced by Jules Jezebelle to the Rolling Stones' "She's a Rainbow" while wearing an ensemble by Tina Sparkles; Jealousy was beautifully danced by Lise Wilson and (contorted by) Mizarre aka Raven Hinojosa wearing outfits by Amanda Martinez; the Breakup was marvelously danced by flamenco dancer Sarah Paloma wearing Lovecraft Vintage; and Marriage was danced (or should I say stripped) divinely by bride Ruby Joule wearing an amazingly engineered outfit by "Best of Austin"-winning designer Chia. At the end of the show, Ruby touchingly presented me with the bridal bouquet, which I returned to her during the curtain call. But what really got me worked up was the Lust segment, danced aerobically by Drea DiPret and India Jade Gail wearing workout wear from Teddy Darling. The segment reminded me of the very early Eighties, when Showtime first debuted on cable and filled the gaps between movies with two aerobics dancers with incredible hair; pouty, glossed-to-death lips; and the most salacious looks on their faces, while the camera traveled across their breasts, crotches, and legs. Drea and India Jade captured this particular moment in time to a T and then performed as backups for the outrageously fabulous MC Sweet Tea aka Tiana Hux, who sang her song "Properfukt" to the wild, riotous delight of the audience. This show was everything you want to see when you go to watch fashion as entertainment. Edgy beauty abounded not only with the showstopping wigs, but also the awe-inspiring, gorgeous makeup done by one of my favorite artists (and hairdresser extraordinaire) Johanna Esper of Salon d'Toile (293-6602) along with Fiona Robinson of Sassy Miss Waxy. I know – I'm gushing so much I'm practically floating away, but it was such an spectacular experience that I will never miss one of Coco Coquette's productions ever again. It was that creative and that good. That good.

PROLOGUE AND EPILOGUE I did indeed go on OutCast (KOOP, 91.7FM, Tuesdays, 6-7pm, last week. What I didn't know was the that show's founder, Heath Riddles, had turned the show over to his co-host, Stephen Rice, permanently. Heath, I love you and wish you the best with the next part of your journey. And Stephen, I congratulate you heartily on your achievement with this show. I'll be making another appearance on March 1, discussing (of course!) the Academy Awards. After the radio show, Stephen and I retired to the fabulous W Hotel, where we met up with the insatiably glamorous model Irish Rose, who works there (Stephen says W bartender Dustin's Bloody Marys are beyond compare). The divine Kelly Cardiff, assistant manager of the W's Living Room, offered us a VIP tour that included the remarkable stylish Wow Suite (a rock star's delight), the spa, ballrooms, and the new Moody Theater, home of Austin City Limits. Wow. Just wow. Though the Four Seasons is pretty damn swank, the W sends Austin into the stratosphere of world-class glamour. It was after that incredible experience that we arrived at Cherchez la Femme (see photo above). The de facto afterparty was, of course, at Barbarella for Tuezgayz, which was throbbing all night with excitement and beautiful people. Sheer bliss, and an unforgettable night.

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Austin style, Cherchez La Femme, Allyson Garro, The W, Wow, Chia, Tina Sparkles, Jules Jezebelle, Raven Hinojosa

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