After a Fashion

AT THE BALLET: This spring's social season seems particularly busy with one thing right after another. We went to the Women on Their Toes benefit at the Hilton for Ballet Austin – a classic ladies' luncheon with a Cat Swanson fashion show as entertainment. Austin designer Swanson's bright and soft Quetzal collection, recently shown in New York, is her most cohesive collection yet. My tablemates were Lance Morgan, who knows everyone; Janice Burckhardt (wife of artist Marc Burckhardt, whom we'll tell you about soon); Ballet Austin board members Forrest Preece and Suzanne Lewellyn-Moore; Marcia Purvis (she accepted the civic service award for her deceased aunt, the philanthropic powerhouse Roberta Crenshaw); and fave local celeb Ron Olivieras. Dropping by the table to visit were board president Nora Linares-Moeller, Kelly and Pam Fielding of Paper & Ink, and Dianne Nicholas.

ART BALL: I made my pilgrimage to the Austin Museum of Art's annual Art Ball at the Four Seasons. Year after year, this is such a great party – a live auction of fabulous art including works from Annie Leibovitz and Ed Ruscha, wonderful, dazzling guests, excellent cause ... who could ask for more? Upon entering, I ran into Anne Elizabeth Wynn, who is a luminous beauty and one of the chicest public figures, then visited with my dear friend Margaret Shaw. My NBF (new best friend) Sara Fox glowed in her silver Versace, as did her pal Leanne Raesener in Prada. At the afterparty, where Fastball was playing, I went up to the force that is known as Deborah Green to tell her what a fabulous time I had at her pre-Texas Film Hall of Fame party ... and she made me dance. Dear god, I didn't want to dance; I gave that up many dress sizes ago – but she made me. I was trying to make the best of it, but she's a tough babe to keep up with. Everything was fine until my heel slipped off the dance floor, and I landed flat on my back. You can imagine what a pretty sight that was. But when the gracious Deborah put out her hand to help me, I was transfixed by her Harry Winston diamond bracelet, which lured me up off the floor like a spirit in the night. This is a woman who knows how to enjoy her accomplishments. There were a lot of big jewels there: I examined a glittering armload of antique Art Deco diamond bracelets on Mary Ellen Golden, who sparkles even without diamonds, and honorable mention goes to whoever the woman was wearing the ruby and diamond breastplate – way to go, babe. We visited with artist Brad and Cindi Ellis (his art is currently on display at D Berman Gallery and at www.bradellisart.com); designer Jerri Kunz and partner John McCullough; Chris Wellington (www.wellingtondesigns.com) of Lone Star Media and John Saba Jr. of the attorney general's office (together, they are part of the country band San Saba County, playing this Friday, April 22 at Trophy's, and April 28 at Beerland); Kateri Gemperle and Ginger Roddick of the Andy Roddick Foundation (Gasp: Even I can't get invited to the foundation's swank but oh-so-private event next week at the Four Seasons starring Sir Elton John, with supermodel Cindy Crawford and Donna Summer in attendance, benefiting various children's charities.); Laya and Glen Oswald of the Oswald Gallery; artist Bob Wade and the effervescent Lisa; Heather Brand of the Bob Bullock Museum; arts patron Johnny Neill; and others too fabulous to mention. Even Michael and Susan Dell drifted past. I gotta say, Susan, you look beautiful and your new hairdresser is so much better than your old one.

UPCOMING: The UT Fashion Show is this Friday, April 22 at the Erwin Center – always surprising, always packed, and always free. Thursday, April 28, 6:30-9:30pm, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum (605 Robert E. Lee Rd.) hosts its annual Garden Party, with food and drink by many of Austin's best restaurants, silent auction, and the Nash Hernandez Orchestra. The highlight of the evening is the Celebrity Seeds Auction featuring decorative terra cotta pots donated by Austin personalities including Dusty Mangum, Governor and Mrs. Rick Perry, Jimmie Vaughan, and Kathy Womack. Go to www.umlaufsculpture.org for complete information. Friday, May 6, 6:30pm, is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's 2005 Gala and Silent Art Auction. In such a wonderful setting, this is one of my favorite annual events. The center also announces their Gardens on Tour program beginning Saturday, May 7, a self-paced tour of six exceptional private gardens in Austin. Go to www.wildflower.org for further info.