After a Fashion

What's that on Rick Perry's head?

Sky Van Vliet models a Malissa Long gown from the 40 mash-up team at the Austin Fashion Week kickoff party.
Sky Van Vliet models a Malissa Long gown from the 40 mash-up team at the Austin Fashion Week kickoff party. (Photo by Chad Harlan/

FASHIONATING I took my friend Jessica McMillen (the Terror of Tarrytown) as my date for the kickoff party for Austin Fashion Week ( at the Cowboy Harley-Davidson dealership on South I-35. I especially loved that it was so close to my house that I didn't need to pack an overnight bag. The location spurred a great deal of Facebook chitchat because no one knew quite what to wear to a fashion show at a motorcycle dealership. Adhering to my plan to wear something of my own design every night of AFW, I wore a black handkerchief linen shirt with inset strips of black and silver embroidery on organza. Black jeans, cowboy boots, and dozens of fine chains on my wrists and neck completed the ensemble. It didn't occur to me until I arrived that it was the perfect ensemble for a fashion show at a motorcycle dealership. We checked in and were given our VIP badges, which were so huge it was like wearing a sandwich board, but our front-row seats at the end of the runway made me feel like Anna Wintour. The first set showed Harley-Davidson clothes – and we already knew what those would look like without even seeing them. It's a look, and there's a large market for it. (And the Harley folks were excellent hosts.) The next set was from the Betsey Johnson store. Again, we already knew what those clothes would look like before we saw them. Johnson seemed to be channeling Vivienne Westwood with the tartan plaids, and I could hardly restrain myself from running backstage and styling the tulle skirts as they should have been styled (though the black feathered skirt was faaabulous). The models from Wilhelmina Brown were a mixed lot, an improvement over the open-call results of years past, but all the models looked beautiful with hair and makeup from Roar Salon. There was a lengthy break while Eighties hair/cover band LC Rocks screeched out hits of yesteryear. Many of us chose to retire to the front landing, where I hung out with some fabulous folks: Champagne Derelicts' fashionable Hunter Lohse, who with his partner Jennie Woys, will be debuting vintage collections at a private event on Friday; designer Kathy Scoggin of My Gigi children's wear; Dawn Younger-Smith of Boudoir Queen and her husband, Mark Younger-Smith; Blackmail owner and designer Gail Chovan and husband Evan Voyles (just returned from their Parisian adventure); Fashionably Austin's Cheryl Bemis; and stylist Ricky Hodge, among others. Once back inside we watched the last set, which featured the mash-up teams that combine the talents of a photographer, model, makeup artist, hair stylist, clothing designer, and jewelry/accessories designer. Of particular note was the mash-up team called 40, with photographer Chad Harlan of La Pistola Photography, makeup by the fabulous Rochelle Ray, hair by veteran stylist Lisa Brooks, dress by Malissa Long, and jewelry by Femailler, all modeled by Sky Van Vliet. I do look forward to seeing more original designs from the designers themselves throughout the week and less merchandise from boutiques. But the Austin Fashion Awards this Saturday will undoubtedly be the highlight for me, since it is primarily focused on local designers, stylists, etc.

A 4,000-MILE JAUNT It's time again for the Texas 4000 Tribute (, celebrating the successful completion once again of a 4,000-mile bike ride from Austin to Anchorage, Ala., by a selfless group of riders who raise money for cancer research. This incredible feat of endurance is the crowning glory of this nonprofit's benevolent mission, and having the riders themselves present to greet guests at the tribute makes for a deeply moving experience. I know this personally. The event is Saturday, Aug. 27, 6:30pm at the Hyatt Regency. Z Tequila is a sponsor and will be serving its Frizky Z cocktails, KVUE's Tyler Sieswerda is the master of ceremonies, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is the live auctioneer, Doug Ulman of Livestrong will speak, and Radiostar will entertain.

THE LAST WORD A major focus of coverage of Rick Perry's presidential campaign seems to be his hair. I keep hearing his style referred to as a pompadour. I haven't a clue what his hairstyle is really called, but it is emphatically not a pompadour – though combining the words "pompous" and "dour" does describe him very well.

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Austin style, Jessica McMillen, Austin Fashion Week, Texas 4000 Tribute, Rick Perry, pompadour, pompous and dour

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