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 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

Melanie Steele, Wig Master

Steele, a Colorado native, moved eleven years ago to Austin, where she is now the wig master for the Austin Lyric Opera. She has toured the U.S. and Mexico with the Broadway production of The Lion King and served on the beauty crew of the world premiere of Elton John’s Aida, and these days—for fun and extra money—she tends to the artificial locks of several drag queens.

How to Design a Custom Belt Buckle

Western-yoke, pearl-snap plaid shirts and straight-fit jeans may currently be trending, but custom-made belt buckles will never go out of style. “It’s an item you can wear every day for the rest of your life, then pass down to the next generation,” says Ingram’s Clint Orms, who has crafted buckles for clients ranging from ranch hands to Ralph Lauren during his 36-year career as a silversmith. But the style befitting a cowgirl in Alpine might not be best for a bank president in Dallas.

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