• "Live Colorfully" umbrella from Kate Spade
  • Pantone's "Fashion Color Report Spring 2013"
  • The colors of spring 2013 on the runway, with creations by Diane VonFurstenburg, from left, Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Rucci

Although fall has just begun, spring is in the air with showers of reports from fashion weeks in New York, London and Milan (with Paris to come). One especially trending topic: The colors of the upcoming season, which span across the rainbow spectrum, from Pantone’s 2012 color of the year, “Tangerine Tango” and variations on that theme, to lime greens to cooling blues.

Put them all together, and you have Kate Spade’s new “Live Colorfully” umbrella, available now for $78 through the company's website. The umbrella comes with a matching sleeve for easy toting.

The refreshing palette perfectly reflects Pantone’s “Fashion Color Report Spring 2013,” which was released just prior to the annual New York fashion event. The umbrella employs dusk blue, lemon zest, emerald and yes, nectarine in playful stripes, adding a dose of delight to even the wettest of weather.

Just pop your new umbrella open, and you’re sure to be on the color target. You can’t miss!

  • Barbara Tfank hydrangea blue French cloque cap sleeve side draped slim dress
    Photo by Bryce Pinchon
  • Barbara Tfank neon geranium and white grid suit, photographed on the terrace ofan Upper East Side New York apartment.
  • Barbara Tfank gold and creme foiled trench
    Photo by Bryce Pinchon
  • Lavender rose French cloque cap sleeve side-draped long slim dress by BarbaraTfank
    Photo by Bryce Pinchon
  • Barbara Tfank maize matelasse V-neck slim dress
    Photo by Bryce Pinchon
  • Barbara Tfank black sateen scalloped tunic with rosy red sateen flared pants
    Photo by Bryce Pinchon

Finding the perfect fashion show with André Leon Talley: Why can't they all belike this?

Cliff Notes

NEW YORK — For a decade, I've been a regular at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (when I first started, it was Olympus Fashion Week and was held in Bryant Park) and if I had a penny for every time someone said, "Can I go as your assistant?" I'd be a rich man.

To most outsiders, fashion week is glamorous. The celebrities! The models! The clothes!

But it's not one big party.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining (OK, maybe just a little). It's a privilege to watch the creative process in action, interview some of the best and brightest minds in the business and watch the next season's styles unfold before my eyes. I still get goosebumps at the end of an Oscar de la Renta or Michael Kors show at the sheer magic conjured up on the runway.

Even so, there's a lot of immature behavior for an adult event. Ticket holders push and shove to be the first to get into a show and some would just as soon die as be seated on the third row.

Even so, there's a lot of immature behavior for an adult event. Ticket holders push and shove to be the first to get into a show and some would just as soon die as be seated on the third row.

Tempers flare regularly. At the Zac Posen show a few nights ago, a snaufu developed after fire marshals ordered the last-minute removal of 60 seats and a French publishing executive slapped a respected publicist for not immediately finding her a place to sit.

There are way too many shows for one person to see, so everyone is racing uptown and downtown on the subway or in a cab (or in a private car if you're Vogue's Anna Wintour or Harper's Bazaar's Glenda Bailey) at a breakneck speed to get to the next show on time.

And we're constantly dealing with a lot of self-important hangers-on and vapid fashion assistants who abuse what little power they have. (Yes, The Devil Wears Prada is pretty close to the truth.)

In short, fashion week has strayed from its roots. It's grown too big, too unwieldy and too corporate. (Did Diane von Furstenberg really need to hawk the Google Glass prototype on the catwalk last weekend?)

So it was pure pleasure to attend a show this week that evoked memories of what it must have been like when couturiers held small gatherings in a salon for people who really cared about fashion.

Designer Barbara Tfank, too, has grown tired of the fashion chaos, so the Los Angeles-based designer picked a friend's private penthouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side with a terrace that overlooks Central Park to showcase her spring/summer 2013 collection. Tfank has an uptown sensibility, reflected in her signature jewel-toned dresses, gowns and cocktail coats of brocade fabrics, that fits in well with these surroundings.

"I wanted to have the clothes in a setting where they would actually end up being in life. I feel like these rooms reflect the same aesthetic that I have, which is a love of beauty and a love of quality textiles."

"I wanted to have the clothes in a setting where they would actually end up being in life. I feel like these rooms reflect the same aesthetic that I have, which is a love of beauty and a love of quality textiles," she explained.

"I love the quote that Slim Aarons said, 'Attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.' But that's the whole point. I think certainly in Texas, they would appreciate this."

Tfank and her team positioned models in three rooms — the living room, bedroom and terrace — of the posh apartment. In slim V-neck dresses or long cap-sleeve gowns, they looked as if they were ready to entertain at a small dinner party or go out on the town.

The clothes — and the atmosphere — caught the eye of Vogue contributing editor André Leon Talley, who has been a front row regular in New York, Paris and Milan for more than 25 years.

"Everyone wants to be in the tents, thinking they're getting a ticket to something that's like a big sports event. It's like going to the U.S. Open. And it's just frustrating for the people who have to work," he said.

"I wasn't there when the people used to be at Dior and you could touch the clothes. But I love that you could be so close to the clothes that you could touch them as you can here. This is what fashion should be. Barbara has created a backdrop and she has created a lifestyle in one fell swoop."

"I'm very old school," Talley continued. "Technology is great and global fashion is fabulous, but I'm all for the intimacy of this. It's like being in a couture salon. This is like Paris. This is like London. Couture should be shown in a setting of elegance. I think it's just wonderful that people are going in and out (of the rooms), don't you think?"

"Barbara," Talley called out, "come here, darling, and talk to me. This is your best show ever."

"I thought all these overproduced fashion shows that everyone is tired of, the loud music, your eardrums hurt, it's a circus," Tfank said. "I wanted to be more civilized and chic."

"It's special," Talley replied. "That's why it works."

He then commandeered the bedroom with a photographer to shoot the models for a Vogue story and I tiptoed out.

But as I prepared to leave, I ran into Tabatha Coffey, the star of Bravo's Shear Genius and Tabatha's Salon Takeover, who did the wigs for the presentation. "Normally, Barbara has a theme, but this year it's different," Coffey explained.

In previous shows Tfank had incorporated wigs emulating hairstyles of Justin Bieber and early Elizabeth Taylor. The Taylor-inspired collection, which featured silky slip dresses, 3/4-length jacquard coats and shiny capri pants, was showcased at Fashion Houston last fall.

For this presentation, Coffey adapted some wigs from a new line she will debut on QVC in November. "I think they're all fabulous. They work beautifully with the dresses," she said.

  • Backstage at Peter Som (okay, maybe I wasn't a total nobody)
    Photo by Caitlin Ryan
  • The line for Timo Weiland
    Photo by Caitlin Ryan
  • People waiting outside the tents to see what stellar outfits or celebrities theymay find
    Photo by Caitlin Ryan
  • The scene before Rebecca Minkoff's show begins
    Photo by Caitlin Ryan
  • The home of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Lincoln Center
    Photo by Caitlin Ryan
  • A look from Nicholas K
    Photo by Caitlin Ryan

What it's really like: The joy of navigating New York's Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek as a nobody

Fall for Fashion

An Austinite might understand it this way: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is a lot like SXSW — except you have to look good. The days are long, the nights are longer, you exist off of a grid schedule outlining what shows you want to see when and where. And to ensure entrance into said shows, you spend the weeks prior hustling for invites and pleading via RSVPs.

It is no walk in the park. People spend their summer training for the spring/summer shows of September (or their holiday season prepping for the fall/winter shows of February), running drills in sky-high heels while studying up-and-coming designers or reserving all interest for the upper echelon of fashion that only the most tenacious or most connected can see in the flesh.

Perhaps if you're like me, you'll be relieved you don't have to compete on that trendsetting stage fulltime. Rather, if you have some distance, you're able draw from it.

Street style bloggers and fashion journalists station outside the tents at New York's Lincoln Center, waiting in rows to catch the man or woman who will ignite a wildfire of clicks on their websites for their chic or unique look. Where the clean, streamlined looks of editor Zanna Rossi Roberts, socialite Olivia Palermo, and off-duty models cover the home pages of Elle and New York Times, the Facehunter and the Sartorialist zone in on the sometimes wacky, dramatic self-presentations of self-made fashionistas.

To survive the week, one needs a strong dose of self confidence and a thick skin. As a non-Vogue attendee, you will be rerouted at check-in, you will have to identify your affiliation so many times you'll wish it were tattooed on your forehead, you'll ask repeatedly for directions, and in weak moments, you might feel a bit out of your league and ask yourself if you're falling victim to consumerism by carrying two pairs of shoes in your bag and lusting after wardrobe you'll never afford.

But if you take a deep breath and larger look at the entire production to see the melding of so many disparate demographics in one place all in the name of expression (whether inside or outside of the tents), you'll feel a bit stunned by its magnitude.

And when the music starts reverberating throughout your chest, the lights dim and the models walk out — it's art. The hustle, the blisters, and the waiting in line is all worth the inconvenience when you play witness to the presentation of an idea, concept or collection that one person has pored over for many months or, in some cases, a lifetime.

Perhaps if you're like me, you'll be relieved you don't have to compete on that trendsetting stage fulltime. Rather, if you have some distance, you're able draw from it.

You'll take that one moment of perfect harmony back with you to wherever you came from, and you hope you'll find a way to channel that energy and devotion into something in your own right.

That's the unadulterated joy of Fashion Week as a nobody.

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New self-guided tour showcases iconic Fort Worth Stockyards' many Hollywood ties

Tinseltown in Cowtown

A new self-guided tour showcasing the Fort Worth Stockyards’ many star-studded appearances in cinema throughout the years recently debuted in time for the 16th annual Lone Star Film Festival, which took place earlier this month in the Stockyards for the first time.

Called Stars of the Stockyards, the eight-stop, go-at-your-own pace walking tour guides folks to famous film sites where celebrities have stepped foot in front of Hollywood cameras. Visitors to the Stockyards can access the PDF tour map on their smart phones via QR codes (no app required) posted throughout the district, namely at hotels and tour kiosks.

"The Stockyards is a historic and celebrated destination for many reasons, but one that may be lesser known is its popularity as a filming location for some of our favorite movies and TV series," said Ethan Cartwright, VP of marketing for Stockyards Heritage Development Co.

The tour and corresponding QR codes are a permanent addition to the district, he said.

Stops on the map include the iconic White Elephant Saloon, a hotbed for Hollywood performances including several by legendary actor and martial artist Chuck Norris in the longtime TV series, Walker, Texas Ranger when the watering hole was portrayed as the fictional CD Bar. The White Elephant was also graced by country music superstar Tim McGraw and Academy Award-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton for their appearances in Paramount Plus’ hit series 1883.

Also in 1883 and featured on the tour is Hookers Grill, hidden in the less flashy West side of Exchange Ave. The burger shack transformed into a gambling den in the show called The Texas House of Liquor & Sport. It’s the only building in the Stockyards that preserved the façade constructed by 1883’s production team. During operating hours, customers can order at the outdoor burger window and dine at patio tables within the two-story structure.

Cowtown Coliseum is marked on the map for its appearances in the 1983 film Tough Enough, where actor Dennis Quaid played an amateur boxer. It’s also the home of the final rodeo scene in the 1992 movie Pure Country starring country music legend George Strait.

Billy Bob’s Texas, the Stockyards Hotel, and even unassuming historic cattle pens also make the list on the tour, along with notations for the Texas Trail of Fame, which features more than 240 bronze markers honoring contributors for preserving and perpetuating the Western way of life.

Veteran actors Sam Elliot and Robert Duvall, both stars in the megahit TV series Yellowstone, are among the most recent Texas Trail of Fame inductees.

For more information and to get started on the tour, go here.

Favorite Austin burger chain joins local music nonprofit for $50,000 grant campaign

Musical Tastes

In Austin, the bell of the ball is the rockstar. Black Fret, a nonprofit that creates gigs and organizes funding for local musicians, makes sure these rock stars get their spotlight at the annual Black Fret Ball, now in its ninth year, and this time with some unexpected help from a burger bar.

Staff at Hopdoddy Burger Bar (a local favorite for lovers of toppings) got to nominate their favorite artists from across the country for a total of $50,000 in grants, an initiative called “Tuned In.” The restaurant asked guests to vote on favorites and landed on a group of nine final artists, including one from Austin.

Bonnie Whitmore, an Austinite, a singer, and a bassist, makes nostalgic country and Americana with bold, feminist themes. Although her candid tone matches that of the pop stars taking over the industry from their bedrooms, she’s been an active member of the music industry for more than 20 years.

Other Texas musicians made the final nine: Gold Fighter, from Dallas, leans back into the good old days of pop punk; Piñata Protest, from San Antonio, also plays pop punk while moving the needle more into Tejano traditions; and Will Van Horn, from Houston, makes the pedal steel languidly cool and a little psychedelic. (Listeners may recognize Van Horn’s work in records by the unique and popular Houston trio Khruangbin.)

The Black Fret Ball is returning for its first in-person year since 2019, on Saturday, December 3 at ACL Live at the Moody Theater. The fundraiser will distribute grants totaling $250,000 to 20 local artists, with performances from all but two. The 2022 class of musicians includes Whitmore, rap duo Blackillac, blues guitarist Buffalo Nichols, R&B singer Mélat, and one of Austin’s most frequently booked and buzzed about bands, Quentin and the Past Lives.

Black Fret members ($750 annually) are invited to join the ball at 6 pm. See the local lineup at hopdoddy.com.

Santa Claus comes to town for a fight in Violent Night

Movie Review

When it comes to movies themed around Christmas, there are an infinite number of heartwarming films and a surprising number of horror movies. But, unless you are among those who count Die Hard as a Christmas movie, there are almost no holiday action films, and even fewer where Santa Claus is the hero at the center of it.

That makes Violent Night a unicorn of a film, one in which Santa (David Harbour) is a disillusioned, drink-addled mess whom we first meet downing beers in a bar on Christmas Eve. After stumbling through house after house, complaining all the while about kids’ obsession with video games, he makes his way to the estate of Gertrude Lightstone (Beverly D’Angelo).

Instead of seeing a happy family, he encounters two jealous siblings and their families, and a coordinated attack by an outside group led by a man nicknamed Scrooge (John Leguizamo) looking to steal $300 million in cash. Somewhat reluctantly, Santa uses his holiday magic – and long untapped military experience – to take on the bad guys and ensure a merry Christmas for those who deserve it.

Written by Pat Casey and Josh Miller (the team behind the two Sonic the Hedgehog movies) and directed by Tommy Wirkola, the film more than lives up to its title, splattering much of its running time with enough blood to satisfy any hardcore action fan. The creative ways in which villains are killed or maimed are numerous, including a fantastic final death and an homage to Home Alone that’s only slightly more graphic than the sequences in that classic kids movie.

Photo by Allen Fraser/Universal Pictures

David Harbour in Violent Night.

It’s surprisingly easy to accept Santa Claus as a vengeance-seeking action hero. Harbour is clearly having a ball in the role, and because he plays Saint Nick as grizzled and grumpy, there’s no disconnect between the kindly version we know and love and this more intense one. He also gets the majority of the laugh lines in the film, with a good number (though less than expected) giving a fun twist on holiday clichés.

The problem with the film is that it can’t sustain the momentum of the Santa mayhem scenes. The filmmakers try to have it both ways, pairing ultra-violence with a (dysfunctional) family story, using a cute girl who still believes in Santa as the bond between the two tones. The lack of attention paid to the dialogue of the Lightstone family is glaringly evident, especially since all of their roles, with the exception of D’Angelo, are filled by relatively unknown actors.

Anytime Santa Claus is on the screen – which is less than you might think – the film works. But any other time, it’s clear that they’re just trying to come up with something – anything – for the characters to do until they can get back to Santa kicking ass. And most of the time, what they’ve come up with is so eye-rollingly stupid or poorly written that you wonder why they included it in the first place.

Harbour is the glue that keeps the film watchable, committing himself 100 percent to the idea of the role. He doesn’t go overboard with the typical Santa elements, and the fact that he looks different from your typical Santa Claus also helps with the believability factor. Almost no one else is worth mentioning, save for maybe Leah Brady, the aforementioned cute girl who shines amid the depravity.

The potential for an alternative holiday classic was there with Violent Night, but the filmmakers focused too much on balancing the film instead of delivering on what the concept promised. If there is a next time, they should just let go of the reins and let Santa Claus go completely loose.


Violent Night opens in theaters on December 2.