Well-dressed women—and a sprinkling of men—surveyed the latest inventory of needlepoint pillows: whimsical landscapes, animals, nudes, and more. It seemed that almost every inch of shelving and couch space was littered with pillows, beautiful pillows. As the guests mingled, nibbled on hors d’oeuvres, and sipped on wine, Kate Hersch—arts patron, mother of two, community volunteer, and tastemaker extraordinaire—worked the room. Literally.
At first glance, Zoltan David’s jewelry store in the Hill Country Galleria, just outside Austin near Lakeway, is reminiscent of Bulgari: gleaming glass cases display millions of dollars worth of diamonds and platinum beneath Fortuny chandeliers and high barrel ceilings. But the massive ottoman upholstered in steer hide that sits in the middle of the gallery reminds us that we’re in Texas.
It’s not just about the dress. Or the shoes, or the jewelry, purse, or makeup. It’s more than prom, says Kim Peters, founder of the Prom Shop Project. She wants to show girls that despite the fact that they can’t afford a brand-new formal gown, they can still go to college. Peters grew up on the East Side of San Antonio, next door to a housing project. “It wasn’t uncommon to hear gunshots. I was raised in a loving supportive home, but right outside our door, it was nutty,” she explains.
When the idea of putting together a special Texas Monthly style issue was first laid on the table, it was greeted with consternation. Did we intend to dispatch Paul Burka to the fashion shows to analyze the spring lines or Skip Hollandsworth to the nearest perfumery to fill his untutored nostrils with the newest Parisian scents? Eyebrows were raised; heads were scratched. One sartorially lax staff member shrugged, “At least I’ll have the month off.”
NAME: Ken Downing | AGE: 46 | HOMETOWN: Dallas | QUALIFICATIONS: Senior vice president and fashion director of Neiman Marcus since 2006 / Attends six hundred runway shows a year, in New York, Paris, London, and Milan
• Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast or just someone who dabbles in the trends, it’s important to buy things you love, that you know you look great in.
Designer Judy Aldridge (mother of Jane, as in Sea of Shoes Jane) posts photos of new pieces from her revived clothing line Atlantis Dry Goods (formerly Atlantis Underground) and updates on what’s new.
His LFT is a BFD—those f’s are for “fashion”—and therefore he is too.
1. Your quest for inimitable footwear begins with the leather, so first give thought to your stomping grounds (cattle pen or cubicle?) and your image (rhinestone cowboy ?). Your basic, most traditional option is calfskin. Need extra-tough work boots? Elephant, shark, or bull offers durability. Dress boots? Go with lizard, stingray, ostrich, or crocodile. And then there’s kangaroo. “The cashmere of leathers,” says Nevena Christi, co-owner of El Paso’s Rocketbuster Boots. “Soft, sturdy—and expensive.”
THERE ARE TWO MAIN SCHOOLS OF thought when it comes to after-hours dressing (especially on the evening of February 14): archetypal tart or minimalist androgyne. Corsetry houses such as Victoria’s Secret, Frederick’s of Hollywood, and Agent Provocateur specialize in the former, with their feathers, sheers, and high-tech wonders, while Eyes Wide Shut’s Nicole Kidman was the poster girl for the latter, cavorting in only Hanro’s white cotton camisoles and briefs.
In 1932, when the Citrus Fiesta held its first PRODUCT COSTUME STYLE SHOW, Mission’s beauties slipped into outfits that were, shall we say, crude—just imagine the look, and smell, of models decked out in cabbage leaves.