Runway etiquette, what's in Lauren Bush's closet & more Whataburgers forHouston's fashion week faithful
If somebody sees me standing in front of the Wortham Theater Center Friday wearing an LBD and a bewildered look on my face, gently steer me away and hand me a glass of champagne. I’m getting accustomed to my nightly helping of pretty clothes and pretty people at Audi Fashion Houston and don’t want it to end.
Mind Your Manners
Three years ago, IMG Fashion staged FashionWeekLive, an elaborate one-night event with top models like Naomi Campbell and looks fresh off the fall runways. The tent, located near the Galleria, was gorgeous and many of the clothes were breathtaking but was the behavior of some in the crowd was embarrassing. Talking loudly, asking if there was a waiter for more champagne and even people yelling at each other from across the runway IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SHOW.
Those attending Fashion Houston festivities this week have been better behaved, although they do rise to give standing ovations for every designer who shows on the runway. We Houstonians are a lovely bunch of highly social people, but sometimes discretion really is the better part of valor. With that in mind, I chatted with Lenny Matuszewski, a former model who has been a successful fashion show producer for years, about the do’s and don’t's just off the runway.
I’m guilty as charged when it comes to quietly commenting to my seatmates when something amazing comes down the runway, but I began to wonder if I was speaking out of turn. In Matuszewski’s view, a little chatter can go a long way.
“Pay attention and table the conversation. Retailers, designers, organizations and charities have spent a lot of energy, time, talent, thought and money for this program to happen, so respect and honor these 20 - 25 minutes by focusing on this special moment,” he says. “It doesn’t mean one cannot talk at all, especially if the 'wow' moment happens on the runway. Applause and sophisticated cheers are welcome, but remember, this is a fashion show, not the Super Bowl.”
Most shows are short affairs, meaning most of us can — and should — stay put until the show is over. Matuszewski says to think stealth when moving around.
“Moving, relocating and seat or table swapping to visit during a show is distracting to the other guests and even to the models on stage. If there is a need to move, do it during a blackout (when the runway goes dark for a moment) if there might be one or during a moment when all eyes might not be on you,” he says.
And a note to anyone fortunate to sit on the front row of a show: Mind your manners and posture because you are being watched.
“This front row crowd usually knows they are 'on' and are a bit extra mindful of media and other attendees. That's part of the thrill of sitting front row. Not only do you get the best bird's eye view of the show but you are also part of it. No slouching here, sit upright, tight in the seat with a pleasant expression,” he advises.
What’s In Your Closet Lauren Bush?
I have to hand it to Lauren Bush. She immediately recognized me from the last time I interviewed her, three years ago, and was just as real and warm as I last remembered her. Her dedication to making and wearing environmentally friendly clothing takes some work, which was refreshing to hear, because honestly, it IS hard to find cute eco-chic clothes. Her personal aesthetic is very easy, kinda flowy and not at all flashy.
"We wear a lot of Ralph Lauren obviously and I wear Thakoon for good work basics. I also wear Rogan and Rag & Bone,” Bush says. “It’s hard when it comes to shoes and belts and I know it’s a contradiction to wear leather. When Natalie Portman designed her vegan shoes, I tracked down the store in New York to buy them.”
In case it isn't obvious why Bush wears a lot of Ralph Lauren, here’s why. She and Lauren’s son, David, have been an item for a long time. She's in the front row with the Lauren family every time Ralph Lauren shows on the last day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Red Carpet Glam, Green on the Mind
Marc Bouwer is a red carpet darling, but he’s also a green fan and an animal lover. He is showing his collection in two parts during Fashion Houston: Wednesday is ready-to-wear and Thursday he sends his drop-dead gowns down the runway. He practices what he preaches and doesn’t use fur and has a full vegan line of purses he sells on QVC.
Laura Mercier PSA
I’m not on retainer for Laura Mercier, nor is the company secretly paying me in tinted moisturizer and lipstick, but it breaks my beauty-product loving heart to see the talented crew of makeup artists doing a whole lotta nothing in the Audi Pavilion tent just outside the Wortham Center.
Yes, you can shop (free shipping and a gift-with-purchase when you spend $25) but you can also take advantage of the company’s super talented artists and it doesn’t require sitting in the middle of a busy department store.
They have loads of products and are there to do touch-ups, but since traffic is so light, you can really have a full consultation. The Flawless Space gets a little busy before the shows, but Fashion Houston organizers are squeezing in a bit more time between presentations so ticketholders can pop out to the pavilion, get some bubbly and try a new lip shade too.
After the shows, nobody is in the pavilion, so plan to stop there before heading out to your next fabulous destination.
Whataburger 2, Fancy Dining 0
I’m sensing a trend here and I don’t mean on the runway. After watching her custom shoes cruise down the runway in David Peck’s show and mingling in the green room, Elaine Turner and her husband Jim zipped off for an after-hours snack at where else, but Whataburger. Anybody else thinking sponsorship for the next Fashion Houston event?
Editor's note: Interested in seeing more from Houston's fashion week? Check out KTRK Ch. 13's extensive photo gallery from night three.