Hooray for Big Hair!

It arrives like a blimp, floating ethereally through the door before the rest of the woman’s body does. For a moment, you can look at nothing else. You try to stare at the woman’s face, at her dress, even down at her shoes—but your eyes keep wandering upward. No matter how many times you’ve seen it, you find yourself once again awestruck by that towering, impenetrable edifice known as…Big Hair.

Lip Shtick

First, a confession: I do not like to wear makeup. Whether this is a consequence of living in Austin, where flawless, full-coverage foundation can mark you as a hopelessly unhip out-of-towner—"That's so Dallas," Austinites like to sniff—or simply my own failure as a woman, I'm not sure. Only when it was forbidden by my mother, in junior high, did I wear makeup with abandon.

FASHION • Tom Ford

IN TERMS OF BOTH fashion vision and marketing savvy, Tom Ford, the guru of Gucci, is the envy of other designers. Since 1995, his sleek, sexy creations have quadrupled the Italian company’s gross annual sales (now $1 billion), and the New York Times ranks him with Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent in the pantheon of fashion greats. The irony is that the 37-year-old Ford—the toast of Europe, the darling of the haute couture—went from riding cow ponies to draping clotheshorses.

The Belt Buckle

1. This sterling buckle affixed with the Medal of the Immaculate Conception takes Austin brothers Demian and Alex Vazquez fourteen hours to craft. $1,495; dandabrothers.com

2. Each creation by Ingram-based Clint Orms is named for a county in Texas. Kenedy inspired this overlaid and filigreed sterling trophy buckle with a ten-karat rose-gold steer head. $7,150; clintorms.com

Cowhide

1. Sisters Stacy and Laurie McFadin produce this fold-over clutch, a celebrity favorite, at their family’s fifth-generation cattle ranch in Sabinal. $180; McFadin.com

2. Stash Studios constructs this soft but sturdy messenger out of rare curly white cowhide, using vintage boot-making equipment in a century-old former mattress factory in Sealy. $429; stashstudios.com

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