After a Fashion
Undead or nonliving, Your Style Avatar dutifully shuffles along the coil of costume contests
I was a zombie for sure. Undead. Nonliving. The day of the Zombie Ball, where I was to receive an award and to present an award (Best Costume), I woke up feeling dead. Zero energy. Zero motivation. All I knew is that I hurt all over and wouldn't consider leaving the house. Being extremely low on energy and ability since my surgery two weeks ago, my heart just wasn't really in it. I'd halfheartedly been working on an ensemble to wear, but I knew that there would be a few people dressed as me, so I just couldn't pull off any of my run-of-the-mill over-the-top ensembles. Definitely a look of my own was in order, and knowing that hair and makeup would be provided by the fabulous Method Hair guaranteed that originality. I went to the "Best of Austin"-winning Coco Coquette wig salon and spied this tripped-out black-and-white wig in a Cleopatra cut with layers of black and white cut into it. There would be no other choice. My friend Rusty Irons selected a sexy blond number to complement me and paid the check and we were off. To me, the black-and-white wig determined everything about my look. I found some old white faux fur with six-inch black fur spikes sticking out of it; the fabric had a delicious Cruella de Vil feel to it, and I made a full-length coat with shawl collar and huge cuffs (all lined in sapphire blue). Everything else would take a backseat to the coat, hair, and makeup. Wearing black jeans and a black turtleneck sweater, I added minimal jewelry, dispensed with sunglasses, carried no fan, and wore no fragrance. Well, if that's not unlike me, then I don't know what is. I hardly recognized myself. Ensemble and accessories complete, I headed for Method, where an exhausted team of stylists had just completed 16 models' looks for the ball. But all the models were gone, so I had the stylists all to myself. I confess that I had so much fun there with these talented, intelligent women that I didn't care if I ever left the salon. But the ball was nigh, and Rusty arranged for me to be picked up and taken to her house, the Irons (the swanky single residence hotel in the heart of the South Congress entertainment district), for last-minute touch-ups, then off to the W Hotel for the ball. The line to walk the red carpet was a mile long, it seemed, so we just bypassed it until the photogs saw us and demanded that we instantly model for them. And model we did, along with the other Method Hair models. I loathe large crowds of any variety, so we were ushered backstage where we could hang out until my services were needed. I got to sit back and watch. So many bands and 2,500 ghoulishly dressed fans! The costumes ranged from dull to sublime, from basic stripper clothes to deliriously executed fantasies. The contestants had been chosen in advance, and I was to select the winner. Okay, we had Beetlejuice, Michael Jackson, some wild ninja thing, and an assortment of other looks. The winner? I chose an elegant pair of zombies in period evening clothes and the makeup of the undead. And a number of Stephen Mosers were present. My own photographer, Seabrook Jones, came dressed as me, wearing some old fake Versace I'd given him. Neil Diaz nailed the look with a fur throw, faux Versace, fan, and a ton of jewelry. Justin Brown of Wilhelmina Brown nefariously got Rusty to surreptitiously borrow my espresso mink. He looked so much better dressed as me that I was embarrassed. His date was dressed as my regular date, Jackie Oh. Oh, if Jackie could have been there, she would have screamed. But what Jackie would have really screamed about was her roommate Nico dressed as me (faux Versace, sunglasses, turquoise jewelry everywhere) and Nico's boyfriend, Lucas, went dressed as Jackie, too. Though both Jackies were hysterical, Lucas had the edge because he wore a jacket of Jackie's that she adores but has never worn herself. There will be fireworks upon her return. As a tribute, I was presented with a quirky but absolutely stunning portrait of Frankenstein. I'm not sure what they were trying to tell me; I will treasure it nonetheless.