After a Fashion: Entertainers

What's between DIFFA and Austin Fashion Week? Your Style Avatar

Walking the runway to receive my award for Best Newcomer at the DIFFA Dallas House of DIFFA event
Walking the runway to receive my award for Best Newcomer at the DIFFA Dallas House of DIFFA event (Photo courtesy of William Neal - WJNphoto.com for Dmagazine.com)

It is no secret that my beloved friend Eva Strangelove (burlesque dancer extraordinaire, aka Eva Wolfe) checked into a room at death's door for many weeks recently, battling a hideous strain of pneumonia while sequestered in the ICU. Devoted husband, St. Elmo Soundstage owner Dave Wolfe, camped by her bedside and kept their friends and fans updated on her dire condition. Well, you know how we feel about things like that. Ill? In need? Well, let's do what Austin does best and have a fabulous benefit for her to help with the staggering medical bills that continue to mount. Please attend a benefit on Eva and Dave's behalf, Save Our Strangelove: An Evening of Burlesque Benefiting Eva Strangelove on Thursday, April 4, at Spider House Ballroom, 7pm (21+). Tickets are $15-35 and are available through www.brownpapertickets.com/event/359801.

The Runway

The Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (www.diffadallas.org) annual blowout in Dallas was the longest runway and the biggest, most beautifully produced show I've ever seen. Legendary show producer Jan Strimple pulled off a glorious vision of styles running from sweet and simple to elaborate couture. Arriving for the rehearsal Saturday morning, Grant Hicks and I were led through the labyrinth of massive backstage areas lined with dozens of racks of clothes, make-up tables, and hairdressing stations. It was a far cry from huddling in an alley with fully-dressed models waiting to walk up three flights of stairs to make their runway appearance. We were at rehearsal that morning because DIFFA had chosen to give me an award for Best Newcomer. I'd run through all my financing and ended up sewing much of the 26-piece group myself; DIFFA was concerned whether I'd be able to come through. Each time I missed a deadline, they were so supportive and compassionate, telling me that if I didn't do another single thing that they were still deeply appreciative of my donations. I felt like I failed them. Then I realized that if I delivered the last two outfits, Grant and I would have none of the new menswear to wear ourselves to this A-list event. But dress to kill, we did. Perennial muse Jacki Oh was in liquid gold with black guipure lace; Grant wore an ivory and gold metallic brocade jacket trimmed with silver fox collar and cuffs; and I wore a deep red and gold metallic brocade trimmed with a deep fawn-colored mink collar with matching mink tails. Dripping in opulence, we began watching the show. Shortly thereafter I was called backstage. Suddenly it was my turn to hit the runway. I willfully ignored instructions to proceed quickly and come back. Decked in over-the-top design work, I wore crystal-covered safety glasses and my trusty fan and worked the runway like a supermodel, making sure that no one would forget my performance. They did not forget. The show continued, eventually my collection came out, and I was verklempt. The Marie Antoinette finale was absolutely stunning – the kind of runway magic that every producer prays for. The event was an incredible success financially and many of the old-timers at DIFFA said it was the best show ever. What an honor to have been asked. Thank you Greg Johnson, Carol Quist, and everyone at DIFFA for giving me one of the biggest highlights of my life.

SPEAKING OF HONORS

Matt Swinney and Austin Fashion Week have released the lineup for May's event (www.fashionweekaustin). The most eagerly anticipated Austin Fashion Awards will feature collections by Gail Chovan, Kendra Scott, Boudoir Queen, and will close with a finale from Made in Heaven by Stephen MacMillan Moser. Duh. By the time you read this, I will have returned from DIFFA and already be involved in producing this finale collection for AFW, a stomach-churning process at this point. But would I decline the honor? Um, I think not. I'm deeply touched. See the AFW website (www.fashionweekaustin.com) for complete information on all related AFW events.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin Style, Eva Strangelove, burlesque, Save Our Strangelove, Austin Fashion Week, Matt Swinney, Austin Fashion Awards, Made in Heaven

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