Evan Smith: This is an issue all about style, which is not just fashion or just design—it’s those things and more. When you think about style definitionally, what do you put in that bucket?
Shudde, a fourth-generation hatter, was born and raised in Houston. He runs Shudde Bros. Hatters, near Brookshire, which has been making hats since 1907.
To be a good hatter, you have to listen to the customer. Be patient and let him or her tell you what they need to tell you. Sometimes they’ll give you a lot of information that’s irrelevant, like, “I was in my house sweeping and my hat fell off my head and into the ketchup and the cat ran out the door and . . .” Just listen and keep asking questions.
“I have too many clothes,” says seventeen-year-old Jane Aldridge as she examines a black Comme des Garçons dress that looks like a spacesuit for a bombshell from an old sci-fi movie (think broad shoulders and narrow waist covered in lustrous, slightly puffy hexagons). That’s quite an admission for a teenager. Especially one that has a closet full of vintage designer clothes, describes one outfit as “too boring to wear even to driver’s ed,” and claims Karl Lagerfeld as her father. But Jane isn’t your average adolescent.
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.