Photo by Thomas Concordia/WireImage for STYLE360

NEW YORK — Serena Williams had the shock of her life at the U.S. Open last week when she lost in the semifinals, thwarting her attempt to make sports history. But you can't keep her down.

With an admiring crowd that included her rumored boyfriend Drake, Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour and Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts, Williams showed her second collection for HSN during New York Fashion Week. Unlike some celebrities who lend their name to a line but aren't really involved, the tennis star has studied fashion design and is serious about the craft.

The casual Serena Williams Signature Statement collection features python-patterned leggings, drop shoulder knit tops, side button cardigans, nifty leather jackets, sleek jumpsuits and fringe everywhere — from a leather jacket dripping with fringe in the first look to a halter dress with a train of fringe at the end.

"Fringe is sexy, fringe is classy and fringe is fun and it's modern and current," Williams told Extra correspondent Tracey Edmonds backstage before the show.

A fit for everyone

Williams also said that her clothes are made to fit all sizes. “My collection fits me and you know, I'm not a stick. It doesn't matter what size you are, we want to send that message that you are beautiful, you are powerful, you are strong and you can look amazing and love who you are," she said.

The collection is largely in neutral colors of beige, gray and black, although a magenta fringe jacket and forest green leather moto jacket add a dash of color. It also includes hats, glasses and other accessories, all available on the popular shopping channel. Most items are under $100.

Williams was so charming when taking her runway bow — doing a quick twirl that sent the fringe on her skirt flying — that it brought a smile to the normally taciturn Wintour, who shared a laugh with Drake.

Drake not laughing

But after the show ended, the superstar singer had some heated words with the DJ over a version of his song, "Back to Back," played during the runway show that featured constant use of the N-word. Drake seemed upset that a cleaner version of the song wasn't used and embarrassed that Wintour (and the crowd) heard it. The DJ said that was the version that he was given.

Earlier, Roberts praised Williams for following her fashion dreams after her shocking loss.

“Well, she doesn’t like to lose, and she doesn’t lose that often. So I think she’ll be living with this for a while — to get that close to history. But she's a pro. And she was really looking forward to the launch of this collection," Roberts told CultureMap.

"You know she's not one of these people who just puts her name on a brand — she really studied fashion. So this is important to her. She was talking about this collection before the Open. She was really looking forward to it.”

Serena Williams waves to the audience after her runway show.

Serena Williams runway bow at HSN fashion show
Photo by Thomas Concordia/WireImage for STYLE360
Serena Williams waves to the audience after her runway show.
Courtesy of Yigal Azrouël

Dashing designer lets his romantic side come through with a little edge

Romance at Fashion Week

NEW YORK — Yigal Azrouël's designs are often minimal and very contemporary, with an urban edge. But for spring, the designer, who is known for his dashing good looks (The Daily Beast has called him "Fashion's Hottest Playboy" and the Wall Street Journal labeled him a "fashion stud"), has let his romantic side shine through.

His spring collection, which will be available in Houston at Elizabeth Anthony, has more of a feminine edge than some of his previous work, with delicate florals in pink and silver, see-through lace, colorful hand-crafted embroidery and collars and hemlines with scalloped edges.

But his minimalist sensibility remains with fluid architectural shapes, tiered overlays and cutouts at the shoulder that frame a part of the body that is usually covered.

And just when you think Azrouël may be edging toward a "too girly" look, he throws a dove gray leather motorcycle jacket over a lace panel dress for maximum effect. Jumpsuits in guipure lace or abstract black-and-white florals and a lace jabot gown also get the mix between edgy and feminine just right.

Most front row guests were enthusiastic as the models came out, but one toddler, sitting on his photographer father's lap, squirmed as his dad attempted to hold him and take photos at the same time — with varying degrees of success.

Yigal Azrouel floral silk chiffon gown with framed front detail.

Yigal Azrouel Spring 2016 collection
Courtesy of Yigal Azrouël
Yigal Azrouel floral silk chiffon gown with framed front detail.
Photo by Getty Images for Michael Kors

Michael Kors fragrance launch is supermodel heaven, led by Kate Upton, with a Duran Duran moment

Kors Makes Scents

NEW YORK — Michael Kors is a model magnet.

To launch his new Michael Kors Gold fragrance collection, the designer hosted a party at the Top of the Standard hotel Sunday night that attracted wall-to-wall models-of-the-moment, including Kate Upton, Constance Jablonski, Jacquelyn Jablonski, Nina Agdal, Lindsay Ellingson, Devon Windsor, Tao Okamoto, Karmen Pedaru, Alessandra Ambrosio and Amber LeBon. Her father, singer Simon LeBon and his band, Duran Duran, entertained the crowd with a mix of their greatest hits and their newly released album, Paper Gods.

Amid all the young models, Naomi Campbell slipped in practically unnoticed on the arm of famed fashion photographer Mario Testino.

Also on hand were starlets Camilla Belle, Hailey Steinfeld, Halston Sage and Jaime King.

But Upton attracted the most attention in a Michael Kors black and suntan embroidered racerback dress with black sandals and clutch.

Kate Upton and Michael Kors.

Kate Upton and Michael Kors at Kors Gold fragrance launch
Photo by Getty Images for Michael Kors
Kate Upton and Michael Kors.
Photo courtesy of Pamella Roland

Pamella Roland's fashion show at the fabulous new Whitney Museum is a real work of art

Fashion And Art Mix

NEW YORK — It pays to have connections.

As vice president of the board of trustees at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Pamella Roland was able to secure the coveted venue for the first-ever fashion show held at the new Renzo Piano-designed building that is the talk of the town.

It merged Roland's love for fashion and art with a spring collection inspired by the legendary Frank Stella (a retrospective of the artist's work opens at the Whitney next month) with high-tech panache.

Noting that Stella used unorthodox materials in his paintings, Roland incorporates such unusual fabrics as PVC Nebula lace, reflective taffeta, LED fibers and plexiglass beading into her dressed-up designs. The opening look, a strapless silk ivory gown, gets a futuristic sheen with an organza LED shrug. Satin coats and shift dresses look almost 3-dimensional with intricate pearl beading and plexi designs.

Roland also utilized the origami pattern she is known for in gowns and dresses, creating striking color combinations of red and pink, citron and mint, or orange and pink. And a silver strapless sequined jumpsuit is a real sparkler.

At the end of the show, which attracted celebrity guests Mary J. Blige and Fashion Police panelist Brad Goreski, a wall lifted to showcase the models in a tableau lit with colors from the collection. It, indeed, looked like a piece of fine art.

In Houston, Roland is carried exclusively at Elizabeth Anthony.

The finale of the Pamella Roland runway show at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Pamella Roland spring 2016 collection
Photo courtesy of Pamella Roland
The finale of the Pamella Roland runway show at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Photo by Eric Sandler

Korean concept from Dosi's owner to join Midtown's mix of Asian restaurants

Welcome new Korean taste

Midtown is already home to a vibrant mix of Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine. Whether it's fusion sushi at The Fish, Japanese-style barbecue at Gyu-Kaku, Texas-influenced Japanese bar food at recently opened Izakaya or more traditional Vietnamese fare at places like Thien An, Les Givrals and Cali Sandwich, diners can find something to suit almost any taste (and price point).

While that diversity does not currently include any Korean restaurants, that will soon change. Dosi owner An Vo tells CultureMap that he will soon bring a restaurant called Anju to the former West Gray Public House space. Just as Izakaya is named for a Japanese style of restaurant where the drinks and food have equal importance, the name "Anju" refers to a style of Korean food that's designed to be served with alcohol.

"We always wanted to be in Midtown," Vo says. "That was my first choice for Dosi. It was really crowded at the time . . . but more of a drinking crowd is where we want to be."

Renovations to the space have already begun, and Vo hopes to be open in November. If he hasn't received a liquor license by then, Anju will initially be BYOB. "We’ll be open late hours until 2 am." Vo says. "Definitely catering towards the Midtown crowd where people walk around."

Compared to Dosi, Anju "will be more of a casual, Korean eatery," Vo says. "As always, we’re going to have a little Southern flair to it. We will be focused on medium to full size entrees and sides." Anju will serve dishes like large format bibimbap, Korean chicken and waffles and whole fish sourced from local purveyor Frixos Chrisinis, according to Vo. Like Dosi, prices will run between $8 and $16 with some larger items like Korean pork shoulder (bo ssam) sold by the pound. Anju will feature a selection of soju, but it won't offer as many infused varieties as Dosi does.

The success of both Dosi and Dak & Bop suggests Houstonians will embrace modern Korean restaurants that appeal to the local palate and offer affordable prices. If Anju delivers on Vo's intentions for it, the restaurant will bring some additional diversity to Midtown's exploding dining scene and give residents another fun, drinks-oriented option.

Photo by Wilson Parish

Houston Symphony scores record everything on best opening night ever, applause, applause

Opening Night Windfall

"Black-tie energy" can often seem an oxymoron. But Saturday night's Houston Symphony season opener and black-tie dinner obliterated any notion of sleepy formal evenings. The party popped from the moment that Andrés Orozco-Estrada took the podium in Jones Hall and continued with an out-of-the-gate fervor throughout the late-night dinner at The Corinthian.

Surely, the stirring musical program contributed as did the soaring talents of guest artist violinist Joshua Bell. The swell mix of guests, well beyond the coterie of the symphony's most ardent supporters, ignited a further spark. And then there was the honoree — the much-beloved philanthropist Margaret Alkek Williams, her 80th birthday celebration continuing and inspiring a record evening.

The Corinthian overflowed with the largest attendance ever for the opening night dinner — more than 660 guests. They helped raise another record — more than $800,000, that super figure due in part to generous gifts from Kristina and Paul Somerville and Joella and Steve Mach, Houston Symphony Society president.

The symphony had its own gift for the birthday girl — the full orchestra performing "Happy Birthday" while the Jones Hall entourage joined the chorus. It was her hour again at The Corinthian, where she was honored with a champagne toast, the entire room raising their glasses in salute.

Applause, applause for chair Janet F. Clark, recently retired CFO of Marathon Oil and chair of the symphony board's strategic planning, for honorary chair Vicki West and for David Wuthrich, gala underwriting chair.

Icing on the cake of the glorious evening was provided by Bergner and Johnson which decorated the striking hall in shades of purple, green and fuschia; the multi-course dinner which concluded with a divine Sacher torte (in Margaret's honor and worth every calorie) from Jackson and Co.; and dance tunes from the Richard Brown Orchestra.

There were so many notables in the crowd that it's difficult to name a few but here we go: Linda and Gene Dewhurst, Betty and Jesse Tutor, Jana and Scotty Arnoldy, Cora Sue and Harry Mach, Sydney and Don Faust, Linda Chin and Dr. Ron DePinho, Ralph Burch, Nancy and Bob Peiser, Ellie and Michael Francisco, Amy and Jim Lee, Beth Madison and Catherine and Andrew Kaldis.

Special guests on this evening were Magarita and Hans Graf, the symphony's longest tenured music director, back in Houston for a week of what he described as "fun and friends."

David Wuthrich, Margaret Alkek Williams, Vicki West, Janet F. Clark.

News, Shelby, Houston Symphony Opening Night, Sept. 2015, David Wuthrich, Margaret Williams, Vicki West, Janet Clark
Photo by Wilson Parish
David Wuthrich, Margaret Alkek Williams, Vicki West, Janet F. Clark.
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Eva Longoria's Flamin' Hot serves up a spicy underdog story with fairytale qualities

Movie review

Underdog stories are a reliable go-to for filmmakers, as there is something universal about beating the odds and rising above someone’s supposed station in life. While typically associated with sports stories, the underdog arc can be especially potent when it’s an individual rising above the system to become more than anyone thought they could be.

Flamin’ Hot is an especially successful version of this story, centering on Richard Montañez (Jesse Garcia), a Mexican-American man trying to escape his rough past in the Los Angeles area. He and his wife, Judy (Annie Gonzalez), both struggle to find work until Richard is hired to work as a janitor at the nearby Frito-Lay factory.

Richard soon proves himself to be an extremely hard worker, as well as an insatiable learner, bugging various higher-ups, including Clarence Baker (Dennis Haysbert), about everything that goes into making the brand’s snacks. Noticing a lack of flavors that would appeal to Hispanic people, Richard takes it upon himself to create a spicy flavor, one which would go on to become a cornerstone of the company.

Directed by Eva Longoria in her feature debut and written by Lewis Colick and Linda Yvette Chávez, the story is irresistible – even if it may not actually be true. If you’re willing to suspend a little disbelief, the film works like a charm, as Richard is a compelling character whose drive and easygoing nature make him someone for whom it’s easy to root.

Subtle but effective scenes dealing with racism and classism reinforce the uphill climb he faced toward success.

Richard is almost relentlessly positive, able to withstand slights in a manner that few others would be able to do. To accomplish this, Longoria and her team employ a lot of humor, sometimes in straight-up funny situations and other times to defuse the tension built up from a particular confrontation. Richard is also complemented extremely well by Judy, who brings her own energy to make their struggles seem less daunting.

Even if you weren’t aware of the dispute of Richard’s claims, it’s clear that the film is meant to be a type of fairy tale, one that gives Latinos a showcase they don’t often get. While the film is family-friendly, Longoria doesn’t avoid unsavory topics like Richard being abused as a child or dealing drugs in his younger days. The difference is that the characters are shown as three-dimensional humans, ones who are capable of good and bad things.

Both Garcia and Gonzalez are getting their biggest roles to date, and each does a fantastic job. Garcia is in 95 percent of the scenes, and he carries the film as if he’s been a longtime star. Gonzalez is equally impressive, playing the supportive wife in a way that doesn’t diminish her own performance. Haysbert, Tony Shalhoub, Matt Walsh, and others turn in great supporting roles.

Flamin’ Hot is full of all the right elements that make for a rousing underdog story. With great performances, a solid combination of drama and comedy, and a brand that’s instantly recognizable, it’s a feel-good film that earns its spicy stripes.

Brice Gonzalez, Annie Gonzalez, Jesse Garcia and Hunter Jones in Flamin' Hot

Photo by Emily Aragones; courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Brice Gonzalez, Annie Gonzalez, Jesse Garcia and Hunter Jones in Flamin' Hot.


Flamin' Hot is now streaming on Hulu and Disney+.

Elegant supper club and upscale dining restaurant tunes up big comeback this weekend in Briargrove

return of the cap

A Houston restaurant and bar devoted to live music begins its comeback this weekend. Caps Supperclub & Bar opens this Friday, June 9.

Located in the Briargrove neighborhood at 2610 Briar Ridge, Caps Supperclub (styled CAPS in press materials) is a reimagining of Caps Piano Bar, which operated at that location for almost 40 years until it closed in 2021. Dr. Venkata Diddi saw an opportunity to preserve the space’s intimacy while adding a full food menu and upgrading the interior.

“I immediately recognized the potential. Not only is it a great location in Houston, it’s also a concept that any customer at any age enjoys — a sophisticated spot with delicious food and entertainment,” Diddi said in a statement. “We are not a dueling piano bar or a jazz lounge, but an upscale dining establishment with great live music Tuesday through Sunday. And I think that’s rare to find in Houston.”

To create that delicious food, Diddi retained consulting chef Omar Pereney of Culinary Concepts. He created a familiar menu built around shareables (deviled eggs, calamari, a cheese board, and more), raw dishes such as caviar and oysters, and steaks. Other entree options include a burger, pastas, and seafood items, all of which can be paired with sides such as creamed spinach mac and cheese, roasted root vegetables, and parmesan truffle fries.

“The dishes we will serve will only hold three or four components, but they make each other stronger,” Pereney said. “Our menu will be constantly evolving, and though there isn’t one flavor or ingredient that inspires it, seafood will be a main theme carried throughout.”

The Tighten Up Band will take the stage nightly. Carl Davis, Gale Evans, Travis Doyle and Cleveland “Moose” Hendricks have performed together for more than 20 years, according to a release, in a refreshed dining room that seats 94 people.

"We're thrilled to be back at Caps, and can't wait to create new memories with our loyal fans and provide an unforgettable experience for all who walk through the doors," Davis added.

Caps will be open Tuesday-Sunday beginning at 4 pm.

Caps Supperclub bar interior

Photo by Laziza Mukhamedova

Caps Supperclub offers an intimate environment.

Posh and palatial Post Oak penthouse towers on market with a potentially historic $5.9 million asking price

all about the views

A monumental 26th floor penthouse with a mighty price tag in downtown H-Town has commanded the eyes and ears of our city’s highly active real estate market.

The four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom condo spans across 9,503 square feet in the Astoria building at 1409 Post Oak Blvd. Stunning floor-to-ceiling windows and a spacious balcony allow guests to overlook the beautiful downtown skyline.

Access to the penthouse is provided by a private elevator entrance, allowing future owners and guests to retain their privacy in a city that knows it all. Once inside, guests are introduced into a world of elegance with the home’s designer finishes and resort-style amenities.

The master suite boasts two walk-in closets, a private spa-like bathroom with separate his-and-her vanities, a glass-enclosed shower with entrances on two sides, and a deep tub for a relaxing bath.

Other extravagant features of the penthouse include:

  • Chef’s kitchen with Eggersmann cabinets
  • Miele appliances and a wine chiller
  • Formal dining room
  • Media room
  • Steam room
  • Sauna
  • Gym
  • Pool
  • Two assigned parking spaces
  • Downstairs storage unit

If the condo is sold for the list price of $5.9 million, it will be the fifth most expensive penthouse sold in Houston’s history, calling to mind the River Oaks’ Penthouse Two West and Astoria’s 28th floor penthouse that sold in 2022.

The condo is situated within the heart of the Galleria, bringing its future owners within walking distance of all the high-end shopping excursions, fine dining experiences, and more. And for any necessary traveling on the Loop and beyond, the Astoria building is just minutes away from 610 and 69.

The listing is held by agents Geron Fuller and Nadia Jubran of Geron Fuller of Nan and Company Properties.

1409 Post Oak Boulevard 26th floor penthouse.

Photo courtesy of Turnkey Visuals

Who can say no to a skyline view like this?