For years, I've coveted the beautiful work of local pillow designer Deborah Main (www.deborahmaindesigns.com), but have never indulged myself in one of her creations. I invited her for a visit, and she came bearing a magnificent pillow designed especially for me, a glorious affair of black-and-red paisley velvet with black iridescent coque feathers surrounding a silver-jeweled cross bearing a royal coat of arms. Breathtaking, and so me. But also, so Deborah. She handcrafts her confections from vintage and modern textiles and every manner of ornamentation, offering multiple collections and price ranges (starting at about $200). My favorites are the Luxe VIP Collection ($750-1,500): Incorporating vintage brooches (always removable and wearable, and sometimes signed by such notable designers as Hattie Carnegie, Stanley Hagler, Miriam Haskell, and Chanel), often paired with magnificent lace, extravagant ribbons, and trim, the pillows drip with unabashed luxury. As her site says, "Once seen, never forgotten."
Designer Sunny Haralson wrote last week to tell me about a book she's written: Beauty Tips for the Bereaved: A Survival Guide. In it, she told me she writes about her "crazy life, and overcoming depression and loss to triumph in the end. It's also about fashion, of course." Sunny's story is outlined in a 27-page preview on Kickstarter, where she's raising money for publication. Sunny is truly one-of-a-kind, a survivor to the end. Help her publish her inspiring and funny memoirs. Search "Sunny Haralson" at www.kickstarter.com.
Conjuring up images of Scarlett O'Hara, widows in mourning, turn-of-the-century bathing beauties, and Mary Poppins, parasols have returned, thanks to the rigorous resourcing and importing by Austinite Tillie Policastro and her online boutique, Hoopla Parasols (www.hooplaparasols.com). With so many major outdoor events, stylish Austinites are likely candidates to begin sporting parasols, especially Hoopla's. The dainty black-and-cream striped Carnival ($59) parasol with the white ruffle and the striped handle? To die for. The enchanting coral Pagoda ($58) parasol with gold trim? Omigod, with my coral-colored capri pants? The extreme shape of the violet Pagoda parasol with crystals? Faaabulous. Policastro's site is completely refreshing and informative, and she presents an extremely select group of gorgeous styles, just waiting for you. Or me.
Okay, I did not intend to be so mysterious two weeks ago and imply I was leaving Austin. But Grant and I are going to take a journey. First off, we have to be out of our grand little house and its magical setting by August 31, so it can be demolished for more condos. At the same time, I essentially know that the market for my clothing design is in L.A. and want to show my collection there. Grant also feels drawn to L.A. We are making it a spiritual quest through the Southwest to explore some of the sacred Native American traditions. We are both in a rare place to do this, so we are taking a trip; a journey with rich possibilities. But after 14 years, Austin is my home, and regardless of where my clothes sell, I will work out of Austin. You can bet, however, that I will write about our adventures. Stay tuned.
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