After a Fashion

This week, Stephen judges the judges on 'Fashion Star'

Larry Connelly, James Armstrong, and Your Style Avatar pose with Red Carpet at the fabulous Art Erotica.
Larry Connelly, James Armstrong, and Your Style Avatar pose with "Red Carpet" at the fabulous Art Erotica. (Photo by Seabrook Jones/


I spent Thursday with a handful of other fashionistas selecting winners from the current crop of UT apparel design graduates. I was thrilled to see more overall excellence. The collections have become increasingly more sophisticated over the 12 years I've been a judge. The designers came from every background and presented a dazzling array of style and color. There was softness and hard tailoring, classics and edginess, opulent embellishments and stark simplicity, luxury and mass- market. All this, of course, in preparation for this year's fashion show: Contour, a free public event at the Erwin Center, Thursday, April 19, 7:15pm. In a related story, the night before the big show, a University of Texas student organization on campus called Face AIDS is producing their own fashion show, with all the garments having been constructed using condoms. Clever way to make a statement, yes?


I started the evening at a viewing party at the UT Club, thanks to a charming invitation from Thea Wood, chairperson for the UT Club Women's Organization and a noted fashion stylist and personal shopper ( It was another good week for our Ross Bennett. He sold a very cute and trendy double-breasted vest to Macy's for $50,000. When combined with the $120,000 he earned two weeks ago from Macy's for the pleated shorts, it brings his earnings to a total of $170,000. Sounds faaabulous, right? But he still has to produce the clothes out of that $170,000. I'll get the dirt for you just as soon as I can, and we can all grab a bowl of milk and discuss. I still have a hard time with Jessica "Chestica" Simpson being on the panel. She critiques poorly at best, always using her personal taste as a barometer of whether or not an item will sell. Basically it means that if Chestica doesn't want to wear it, then no one else in the world will want to wear it. Sure, she has a shoe company that seems to be minting money, but that doesn't necessarily mean she has taste. John Varvatos not only critiques well, but has an empire of beautifully made goods to back him up. Then there's Nicole Richie. OK, I know we're all trying to banish the memories of Richie on The Simple Life. Richie owes a huge debt of gratitude to Paris Hilton for Richie getting any attention at all, but while Hilton's name is wallowing in past-tense mediocrity, Richie has proven to have a more versatile and flexible image by putting herself in the capable hands of good clothing, hair, and makeup stylists. While Hilton looks exactly like she did 10 years ago, Richie has matured into an attractive, stylish woman. A bit trendy, but that is her business, after all.


Something called the Clothing Hospital has scheduled a Grand Opening and Clothing Drive on Sunday, April 22, to coincide with Earth Day. The hours are 1-6pm, inside the Fabricker store (4631 Airport, in the Concorde Shopping Center). Clothes donated at the event benefit the Arc of Texas. The event hopes to promote a message of sustainability and frugality through the restoration and refashioning of existing items in one's wardrobe instead of creating waste – but I'm confused about all the things hospital owner Jen Delk does and when she does them. Perhaps write to Jen at or call her at 693-7553. Sounds like a lot of mending, alterations, and garment restoration going on over there ....


The always fab Women & Their Work benefit is this weekend. I promise to bring us all some morsels of gossip, glamour, and giving. And don't forget that Zach Theatre's fabulous Red, Hot & Soul is this Saturday. See for more info.

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Austin style, Apparel Design, UT, Fashion Star, The Arc of Texas, Fabricker, Clothing Hospital

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