A dark cloud hung over Anna Wintour's trip to Texas. Make that clouds, as stormy weather peppered the Vogue magazine editor's whirlwind weekend in Houston. But Wintour didn't let the inclement weather get her down as she hosted a luncheon at Neiman Marcus and attended an exclusive wedding in River Oaks.
As champagne flowed, Wintour and Neiman Marcus senior vice president and fashion director Ken Downing welcomed some of Houston's best-dressed individuals to the intimate affair in the Galleria store's couture department on Saturday. Wintour, dressed in "top-to-bottom Chanel and it was beautiful," according to one guest, offered attendees an exclusive peek of the April issue with Serena Williams on the cover before it appears on newsstands and carped about how social media has ruined the runway experience.
"Sorry, ladies, mini-skirts are done," Wintour declared.
"They're there, but they're not present," Wintour said, describing how those attending fashion shows are now so busy snapping and sharing photos on Instagram that "they're not experiencing the moment."
Downing joked that if someone invented an app that replicated applause, he or she could make a fortune peddling it to the fashion crowd.
Wintour also offered her assessment of the recent fall collections that she saw in New York, London, Milan and Paris. "Sorry, ladies, mini-skirts are done," she declared. Designs are instead inspired by the Victorian era, she said, with a more covered-up look featuring long sleeves, tea-length dresses and high neck blouses with lace insets.
Wintour, who hosted a similar luncheon at the Neiman Marcus store in Austin on Friday, noted that while everyone who attended in Austin wore black and white, the Houston audience was much more colorful and individualistic.
"Here there's not a single black and white dress in the room, and there are two Valentinos," Wintour noted, playfully pointing out Vivian Wise and Cynthia Petrello had the same embroidered print dress designed by the iconic Italian fashion house.
"Double vision. My gals in Val," Downing posted on his Instagram page, along with a photo of him, Petrello and Wise, who joked that they both had impeccable taste.
Among those also joining in the fun were Lynn Wyatt, Pat Breen, Isabel David, Nina Zilkha, Lauren Cox, Roz Pactor and Neiman Marcus general manager Bob Devlin.
While Wintour mixed in a little business in Houston, the prime reason for her visit was to attend the wedding of Daniel Zilkha and Jane Wilde. Wintour and her longtime boyfriend, Houstonian Shelby Bryan, are close friends of Daniel's father, Michael Zilkha. Wintour was among a dozen or so high-profile individuals who donated to the AIDS Walk 2005 when then-young Daniel had adopted the effort as his bar mitzvah project.
Wintour and Bryan attended the couple's rehearsal dinner at River Oaks Country Club on Friday night, and the wedding at Michael Zilkha's River Oaks home on Saturday night. A large tent was erected on the property for the ceremony, which included a giant chuppah of wisteria, and the groom's cake was in the shape of the state of Texas. The lavish wedding, attended by several hundred guests, snarled traffic in the normally quiet residential area.
Wintour's signature bob hairstyle remained in place despite the stormy weather, thanks to Joel Quinones, owner of Q (the salon). Sources say that Quinones was on call through the weekend and he was seen several times entering the St. Regis Hotel, where Wintour and Bryan spent the weekend.
On Sunday, as Wintour and Bryan left Houston, the sun finally came out.