Off the Cuff
Editor's Note: With 350 designers at fashion week, there's no way Clifford Pugh could see all the shows. CultureMap contributor Lindly Arnoldy sought out some new fashion talent. Here's her report.
NEW YORK — Viewing the runway shows of major fashion houses at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is a thrilling experience. There is something truly glamorous and titillating about being a stone’s throw away from the key editors and photographers who have long standing presence in the industry.
However, there is also something to be said about seeing an emerging designer present for the very first time, where the talent is palpable but the crowd is much thinner.
There is something to be said about seeing an emerging designer present for the very first time, where the talent is palpable but the crowd is much thinner.
One of my favorite experiences from fashion week was viewing the presentation of newcomer Mathieu Mirano in the Box at Lincoln Center. Unlike a typical runway show, Mirano’s presentation felt exotic and otherworldly, paying homage to his background in piano with intense classical music setting the tone.
His 2012 fall collection was inspired by a dream he had involving women and dragons, which was visible in his use of fiery reds, golds and blacks with the incorporation of exposed zippers, claw studs, dragon heads and talons.
The result was a dark, somewhat mystical collection that reminded me of the sort of ostentatious, regal feel of something put forth by Balmain or Versace. My favorites were actually two gowns — a black turtleneck velvet gown that had a sort of renaissance appeal to it and a red and gold floor length satin with a V-neck and cap sleeve.
At only 20 years old, Mirano is making a name for himself for his sense of imagination and couture skills focusing on high levels of construction. He dropped out of Parson’s School of Design and in the last year morphed from a student trying to sneak into the tents at Lincoln Center to a talented, emerging designer presenting from the inside. I was very impressed with his work and predict he will be one to watch.
Sea monsters on the runway
Another favorite at fashion week was newcomer – though not first timer – designer Karen Walker. She has really made a name for herself in the industry with her sunglass line, a gift to all of the attendees in the first two rows at her runway show. She used the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea as the inspiration for her “Sea Monsters” presentation, which translated into lots of navy, yellow and orange separates with funky paisley prints, brocades and boxy coats.
The wild colors and prints were refreshing next to all of the black seen at many of the other shows.
I love Walker’s ability to offset a sweet peplum or pussybow blouse with a boyish, drop crotch trouser. There were also '60s mod undertones, seen similarly in her signature round sunnies, with her use of fuzzy sweaters and A-Line silhouettes. I particularly loved how she brought the paisley prints into her pointy toe booties with vibrant colors and sweet ruffles. The wild colors and prints were refreshing next to all of the black seen at many of the other shows.
The show attracted some notables. I spotted well known blogger Man Repeller tweeting from the front row and Elle style director Kate Lanpher seated directly in front of me. Walker’s knack for eclectic mix and her ability to execute multiple influences really made her stand out to me as a whimsical, talented designer who we will continue to see more of.
Lindley Arnoldy writes the fashion and style blog The Flip Side.
A familiar new look: Lacoste's latest collection keeps it classic and classy,with a touch of sporty style
Let it snow
NEW YORK — Once a stuffy old brand, Lacoste has made a comeback in recent years, just as its alligator emblem has grown bigger and shown up on clothing in dozens of different ways.
Under the guidance of designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista, Lacoste remains sporty but has grown hipper looking, too. The Lacoste fall 2012 collection, shown during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week with large rectangular snow globes bisecting the audience, was a winter wonderland of cool styles that you'd be tempted to wear even if you didn't come anywhere close to the slopes.
Baptista looked to the styles created by Lacoste for the 1966 French ski team and mountain challet photos from the 1930s featuring founder René Lacoste and his family as inspiration for his second Lacoste runway collection.
He updated knits and tweeds in space-age fabrics that range in shapes from form-fitting sweater dresses and matching leggings to large egg-like parkas with a rounded edge. Raw seams and zippers add an urban touch. The sleeves of several dresses in fabrics ranging from colorful tweeds to black leather zip open to create a cape-like cocoon.
In menswear looks, ski sweaters feature rows of crocodiles along the arms and nifty coats are quilted to add texture.
The fabrics throughout the collection are so light that layering never looked so good. Makes me wish for a cold spell in Texas.
See the Lacoste fall 2012 collection - and the snow globes:
Tory Burch and Narciso Rodriguez cast a spell with moody fashion & "can't get itout of my head" music
music & the magic of fashion
NEW YORK — Fashion always reflects the times. So with the uncertainty in the economy, the popularity of The Hunger Games and interest in paranormal activity, many fall collections shown during Meredes-Benz Fashion Week were a little dark and unsettled. "It used to be happy endings. Now it's all about the dark side," Roseanne Morrison, fashion director at The Doneger Group, explained to me before one show.
Ever perennially sunny Tory Burch seemed a little moody. She based her fall collection on a prim girl who is obsessed with a bad boyfriend. "She's innocent, unaware of her own sex appeal," Burch wrote in the program notes. Influenced by the 2000 Hong Kong movie, In the Mood for Love, in which neighbors each suspect their spouses of being unfaithful, Burch created a collection that is polished and proper, but with subversive undertones.
Influenced by the 2000 Hong Kong movie, In the Mood for Love, in which neighbors each suspect their spouses of being unfaithful, Burch created a collection that is polished and proper, but with subversive undertones.
To evoke the mood, the designer, a big music fan, selected the hypnotic song, "Under Your Spell," by Desire. (It was featured in the movie Drive.) Models walked down the runway to the words, "I don't eat, I don't sleep, I do nothing but think of you. You keep me under your spell."
Burch has quickly built a worldwide brand by offering stylish clothing well below designer prices. Her latest collection rachets up the level of sophistication and sensuality, with snugger silhouettes and a mix of fabrics like tulle and leather.
Yet it still includes plenty of saleable separates, including cardigans trimmed with pearls (very Chanel), tweed blazers with fringe detail, sweaters trimmed in tulle appliques, crinkled leather coats, patent skirts and handpainted plaids with sequin detail.
A variety of handbags, which range in styles from boxy with a chain link strap to embellished clutches, and shoes (T-strap and spectator pumps) gave each look a polished touch.
It was only Burch's second full-scale runway show and when I caught up with her that night at the Narcisco Rodriguez show, she seemed exhausted by the rigors of putting it together. Later, on her website, she listed the numbers involved in creating the runway show. It entailed:
Racks of clothes: 10
Pairs of shoes: 500
Trips to fabric stores: 75
Sequins sewn by hand: 3,500
Hours to create custom hand-painted Gracie wallpaper: 1,200
Stores called for Fogal tights: 40
Pre-show food deliveries: 21
Boxes of Girl Scout cookies consumed: 12 (surprisingly, less than we expected)
Rather than get some rest, Burch and her boyfriend, record producer Lyor Cohen, sat in the front row of the Rodriguez show, alongside Gloria Estefan and Claire Danes. Burch and Rodriguez are close friends even though their design sensibilities couldn't be more different. In nearly 10 years of watching Rodriguez's shows, I don't recall ever seeing anything embellished. His designs are so pure and deceptively simple that it was surprising when several outfits in the fall collection were marked with T-shape fabric that looked a bit like flying birds.
Rodriguez's designs are so pure and deceptively simple that it was surprising when several outfits in the fall collection were marked with T-shape fabric that looked a bit like flying birds.
This collection is also populated with eye-assaulting colors of deep orange, chartreuse and wine in colorblock patterns as well as black and shades of gray. Eyecatching dresses in angular patterns and bell-shaped coats showcase Rodriguez's unique design style.
Front row at fashion week: Glenda Bailey explains Gwyneth's racy Harper's Bazaarcover & picks "must have" items for spring
fall means business
NEW YORK — As editor of Harper's Bazaar for more than a decade, Glenda Bailey realizes the importance of constantly reinventing the magazine to keep up with the ever more frenzied pace of fashion. She recently unveiled a new design for the monthly, beginning with the March issue, on newstands now.
Before the DKNY show began, I caught up with her in her customary front row position to discuss the magazine's changes, spring trends and her special affection for Paris designer, Andrew Gn, who will be in Houston next month.
CultureMap: Why did you decide to make over Harper's Bazaar?
Glenda Bailey: Actually it's evolution, not a revolution. Every six months we always update the design. But the reason why it looks particularly different now is because we've actually grown one inch wider. I know I'm the only person in fashion that wants to be wider. And the paper quality has improved. So the evolution of the design feels very substantial.
"I know I'm the only person in fashion that wants to be wider."
The timeline has changed in terms of where we get our fashion information. We go online to get our news. For something to be important enough to stay in your home for a month or longer, then it really needs to be something you treasure, a collectible, something you want to keep.
We looked back on our history and were inspired by Alexey Brodovitch and that wonderful typeface that he does and it was a question of bringing that up to date.
CM: How have you changed the inside the magazine?
GB: We're trying to make it easier to navigate because I am so conscious of our readers' time. It's the most precious commodity any of us have. We are in a priviledged postion of seeing the very best in the world, regardless of the price point, and being able to present it to our readers. If I can show it in a very clean and concise way, then it's going to help her make her decisions more quickly.
CM: Are you keeping some of the popular features?
GB: Yes, "Fabulous at Every Age," "A Fashionable Life" — all of these reader favorites remain in Bazaar. But we have signposted our sections a little bit differently. The shopping section is called "The Bazaar," and if you look at it, it's more similar to online shopping. We look forward to be able to announce our e-commerce venture later in the year.
CM: How is the cover different?
GB: The subscriber cover is very daring. I like to take risks. We have Gwyneth Paltrow, which is very appropriate because she is relaunching Goop this month. It's a full-length (photo) of her, with her hair down, and you can't see her face.
Also a star of the cover is an Anthony Vaccarello dress. He's a designer that's had only two collections in Paris. He's an Italian who grew up in Belgium. He works in Paris, but he has very little publicity in the American market. Since the cover came out only days ago, I'm happy to report he has received so many offers of backing. It goes to show the power and authority of Harper's Bazaar, not with just our grand tradition but showing the stars of tomorrow.
"I think pencil skirts look right right now. And I would really invest in a pair of stilettos with a pointed toe."
CM: What about the newstand cover?
GB: We have to show what the magazine is about to readers who aren't familiar with Bazaar. It's Gwyneth looking incredibly sexy in a black all-in-one YSL pants suit. We have cover lines on the news stand because it's very important to attract new readers and to tell them what's inside the magazine. Whereas with the loyal readers they know exactly what's in Harper's Bazaar.
CM: Let me ask you a couple of trend questions. What are you excited about for spring?
GB: I love the sleeveless jacket, particularly when it's like what I'm wearing today, like a tuxedo, this is a Lanvin coatdress. I think it looks incredibly modern. I also love a peblum top. I think pencil skirts look right right now. And I would really invest in a pair of stilettos with a pointed toe.
CM: It looks like what we're seeing on the runways for fall is a tougher-edged look.
GB: We're seeing lots of military, lots of black, red and gray. We'll see a lot of document-case style bags because you want to look like you mean business. In the pre-fall collections, one look that really stood out was a three-piece pinstripe Céline trouser suit. What that's saying is it's fashion waking up to the economy and realizing that women have to compete against men in the workplace. All of a sudden it's even more important to look smart, strong, confident, because you want to look like you mean business.
"All of a sudden its even more important to look smart, strong, confident, because you want to look like you mean business."
CM: You have been a champion of Andrew Gn's work since early in his career.
GB: The reason I love Andrew's work is he very much has a couture sense of design. He has a love of fashion history and is able to produce something that is a distincitive signature that is right right now. He really understands his customer and her needs in terms of how she needs to dress for certain occasions in her life. And he really fulfills those needs.
Past and Present
NEW YORK — No once does the English countryside look better than Ralph Lauren, so it came as no surprise that America's iconic designer looked to the PBS blockbuster hit, Downton Abbey, for his fall 2012 collection.
Music from the British soap opera, which ends its second season on KLRU Sunday night, wafted through the intimate studio as models came out through a carved dark wood entrance and walked down a runway parquet floor with massive chandeliers overhead.
While the female characters in Abbey, which is set in pre- and post-World War I England, aren't quite ready to wear pants, we can imagine the rebellious Lady Sybil adopting the look in future episodes.
The first third of the Lauren show featured tailored menswear looks that the designer does best. Models appeared in three-piece suits, with button-down shirts and contrasting white collars, houndstooth coats, Fair Isle sweaters and plaid jodhpurs, accessorized with top hats and bowlers. While the female characters in Abbey, which is set in pre- and post-World War I England, aren't quite ready to wear pants, we can imagine the rebellious Lady Sybil adopting the look in future episodes.
Eveningwear had a tingle of the roaring '20s art deco influence, particularly in the closing look, a wavy all-gold gown. Other nifty nightime looks included black evening gowns with jeweled collars, evening pants with jackets trimmed in gold, and a black-and-gold ostrich feather cape.
While such obvious references to the past were evident, Lauren created looks that feel modern and fresh. He included some nifty cropped motorcycle jackets and paneled leather skirts that added a dash of pizzazz.
Lauren, who has often appeared at the end of previous shows in jeans and a casual shirt, dressed in a three-piece gray suit with matching tie when he made his runway bow. With such an uptown Downton collection, it seemed appropriate that he dressed for the occasion.
View the Ralph Lauren fall 2012 collection:
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Faces and Places
In Lubbock, Texas, where locals have been pouring their livelihood into both the city and their craft, the community has created a Texas experience like no other. What sets apart a destination from others is the welcoming faces who meet travelers with open doors and a willingness to share the West Texas way of life with all who wander through.
CultureMap recently checked in with three Lubbock luminaries to learn what drew them to the city, what dreams they're making come true, and how visitors can take part in the magic.
Matt Bostick, sommelier and hospitality director of Llano Estacado Winery
Though his roots are in Texas, Matt Bostick found his passion for wine in Italy. While studying hospitality in Florence in 2011, he met Parisian sommelier Quinton Paillard, who encouraged his budding love of vino and set Bostick on the path toward becoming a sommelier himself.
After earning his degree in restaurant, hotel, and institutional management from Texas Tech University in 2012, Bostick joined Jackson Family Estates in Los Angeles. From there, he further honed his expertise as the lead sommelier for Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, under the mentorship of Sarah Clarke A few years later, Bostick co-founded a restaurant called Baldoria and even developed a line of ready-to-drink cocktails with his business partner, David King.
"When David and I decided to create B&K Cocktail Company, our business venture brought us back to Texas," Bostick says. "With my family residing in Lubbock, it was a natural choice to settle here. Lubbock holds significant personal and professional values for me. It's my hometown, where I was born and raised, and where most of my family continues to live and contribute to this community."
Today, Bostick is the events director and sommelier at Llano Estacado Winery, Texas’ second oldest winery. Bostick guides visitors through a sensory journey, introducing them to the complexities of different wines, regions, and vintages while offering insights into history, production techniques, and the unique characteristics of each varietal.
"I help individuals identify tasting notes, appreciate nuances, and even recommend food pairings that enhance the overall culinary experience," he says.
Grape Day on October 21 is an ideal time to visit the winery to see Bostick in action. To celebrate the end of the harvest, which spans late July to early October, Llano features captivating self-guided tours, diverse art booths, delicious offerings from the finest local vendors, exciting games for kids, and a mesmerizing lineup of live music on the Lubbock Listening Room stage.
Admission is free, but for $35 attendees will receive a commemorative Grape Day wine glass along with two tickets redeemable for a glass of wine. Pre-sale drink tickets will also be available for purchase in a bundle of three tickets for $15 (otherwise each ticket is $8 at the event).
"Grape Day holds immense significance to me. It's a celebration that represents the culmination of hard work and a sense of community," Bostick says. "Llano Estacado Winery has not only been a pioneer in the Texas wine industry but has also contributed to our local community's growth. Events like this shine a light on the rich heritage and traditions of winemaking, connecting our community to a broader narrative of craftsmanship and appreciation for the finer things in life."
Ian Timmons, pitmaster and third-generation owner of Tom & Bingo’s BBQ
It's been called a West Texas legend since 1952, and as soon as you step inside Tom & Bingo's BBQ, you'll understand why. This old-school barbecue joint — and Lubbock’s oldest restaurant — is packed with nostalgia and dishes out authentic barbecue that would make original owners Tom and Bettye Clanton proud, and current owner Ian Timmons intends to keep it that way.
While studying at Texas Tech, Timmons worked under Dwayne Clanton (Tom and Bettye's son, who gained ownership of the restaurant in 1980) and earned hands-on experience as a pitmaster. Upon graduation, he moved to Denver with his wife, Kristi, where he worked at Denver Biscuit Company.
"I’ve always worked in restaurants," says Timmons. "From my first job at Dairy Queen to a local restaurant called Orlando’s, where I was a server and got fired for making pizzas during my shift."
Timmons' wife also happens to be Dwayne and Liz Clanton's daughter, making him the obvious choice to carry on the legacy when the couple was ready to retire in 2017.
Now, Timmons pays homage to Tom & Bingo's 70-year legacy by smoking modern bark-on-brisket, his own coarsely ground smoked beef sausage, and pork spare ribs on the original brick pits the predecessors used for decades. He's also expanded the menu to include scratch-made potato salad and slaw, but one item remains a constant since the early days of the restaurant: the steak burger.
"This fall we are switching from our legendary brick pits to a new Centex offset smoker, so it’s back to square one for us," reveals Timmons. "This fall will be a learning season for us! But we are excited to see what a new smoker can do for us."
You can also catch the eatery's new food truck out and about and look forward to more biscuit collaborations with Monomyth Coffee (inspired by Timmons' time in Denver, of course). "We'll also hopefully open a Biscuit Club location to help grow the breakfast scene in Lubbock," Timmons hints.
But perhaps the tastiest way to experience Tom & Bingo's, besides visiting the restaurant itself, is by sampling its goods at the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest in November. Held in Lockhart, November 4-5, the event helps raise funds for Feeding Texas and a network of food banks across the state.
Yung Cry Baby, aka Aaliyah Limon, resident artist with Charles Adams Studio Project
Full-time musician and vocalist Aaliyah Limon was born and raised in Lubbock, but when she was younger, she didn't feel the city had a place for her yet. After graduation, the aspiring talent took off to explore both coasts, working as a model and artist, but after a while realized she wasn’t as fulfilled as she had hoped and missed her family.
"I needed a break from my fast-paced lifestyle," she says. "I came back home to be with family, take a step back, and reassess what I really wanted to do with my life. When I moved back, my music took off much faster than I ever anticipated."
Now Limon is professionally known as Yung Cry Baby and serves as a resident artist with the Charles Adams Studio Project, a nonprofit that supports working artists in Lubbock.
"Because I'm passionate about it and motivated by the people who resonate with what I sing about, I've kind of kept with the momentum of things," Limon says. "I'm excited about what I do, and I love helping people heal through my music. Even if it only helps a little, it gives me a lot of joy knowing I can maybe help someone not feel alone."
Fans can see Yung Cry Baby perform not only at the karaoke bar she hosts at, but also at First Friday Art Trail, a monthly arts festival located in downtown Lubbock with a mission to bring together collectors, artists, and community friends for an evening of art, music, and fun. Participants are ever-changing, offering something for everyone.
"I love doing community-based things, especially when it comes to art," Limon says. "First Friday is always a blast for me."
Yung Cry Baby is currently working on her first full album, following the earlier release of her EP. Follow her on social media for updates.
Experience the people and places of Lubbock yourself by planning your next vacation here.
The University of Texas at Austin continues its streak of high rankings for its high-quality educational experiences. The home of the Longhorns earned a coveted top three spot on U.S. News and World Report's just-released list of the Best Colleges in Texas for 2024.
UT Austin claimed No. 2 in Texas, and ranked No. 32 nationally. The public institution had an undergraduate enrollment of more than 41,300 students in fall 2022. The school, which costs $11,698 in tuition for in-state students and fees each year, ranks No. 9 for "Top Public Schools" by U.S. News.
In April, UT's Cockrell School of Engineering ranked No. 7 in U.S. News' ranking of the best graduate schools in the country, while McCombs School of Business earned the No. 20 spot among business schools.
UT Austin actually fared similarly in Niche'slist of top public universities, in which it ranked No. 6 nationally.
"UT Austin has been a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities since 1929," the site says. "The university attracts nearly $800 million annually for research. Top accolades include the creation of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines and the worlds’ fastest supercomputers for open research."
The university also boasts a rich campus culture that encourages students to participate in different organizations and activities.
"Students can participate in more than 1,000 clubs and organizations or in the sizable UT Greek system," the site says. "The university has several student media outlets, and its sports teams are notorious competitors in the Division I Big 12 Conference. UT also offers hundreds of study abroad programs, with the most popular destinations being Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, and China."
Ahead of UT Austin in the ranking is Rice University in Houston. The "Ivy League of the South" ranked No. 1 in Texas and No. 17 nationally.
Just behind UT Austin is College Station's Texas A&M University, which placed No. 3 in the Texas rankings and No. 47 nationally.
U.S. News' top 10 best colleges in Texas in 2024 are:
- No. 1 – Rice University, Houston
- No. 2 – University of Texas at Austin
- No. 3 – Texas A&M University, College Station
- No. 4 – Southern Methodist University, Dallas
- No. 5 – Baylor University, Waco
- No. 6 – Texas Christian University, Fort Worth
- No. 7 – The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson
- No. 8 – University of Houston
- No. 9 – Texas Tech University, Lubbock
- No. 10 – University of St. Thomas, Houston
The full rankings can be found on usnews.com.
in her tour era
The famously pink Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is making its way down to Austin in October for a special day of treats and cartoon cat collectibles.
The cutesy vehicle will bring a horde of new Hello Kitty clothing, plushies, and accessories to The Domain from 10 am to 7 pm on October 14.
Among the new items is a bright pink tote bag with rainbow straps and desserts decorating the front, an assortment of Hello Kitty baked goods, and a transparent coffee mug with sprinkles in the handle and different desserts printed on the glass body. Visitors can also snag an adorable lunchbox and a 18-ounce or 32-ounce stainless steel rainbow thermos.
The bright pink reusable tote bag has rainbow straps.Photo courtesy of Sanrio
As for the hand-decorated baked goods, guests can expect to see Hello Kitty's classic friends Keroppi the frog and Chococat appear on petit fours. The leading lady appears on miniature cakes, a giant sugar cookie, small box sets of madeleines, and French macarons.
The popular attraction has been touring around the country for nearly a decade, drawing crowds of thousands of people every year. Austin will be its third Texas stop on the tour, before it visits San Antonio's North Star Mall on Tuesday, October 21.
As a note, the cafe truck only accepts debit or credit cards, and not cash.
Other Texas cities on the tour route include:
- September 30 – Arlington
- October 7 – Houston
- October 21 — San Antonio
- October 28 – El Paso