dscoop Dot Dot Dot

Kick-Off Party for Fashion Stars for a Cause

When YVONNE CRUM tells me to do something, I’ve already grabbed my fan and sunglasses and am off to do her bidding. I don’t care what it is she wants - backbreaking manual labor or pearls from the North Sea - I’m ready to get it taken care of instantly. She just commands that kind of respect. She’s very high on my list of GTLs (GREAT TEXAS LADIES), and I’m so flattered that she’s cast her discerning eye upon me… as if she could have ignored my social onslaught ;)...

...So when Yvonne announced the KICK-OFF FOR FASHION STARS FOR A CAUSE at BELK GALLERIA, I wrote her immediately offering to help. It wasn’t because the event had FASHION in it, or STARS, and it wasn’t because I was (in my own submissive, wall-flowerish way) trying to curry favor with one of the most high-profile and influential social icons of Dallas... it was because it was a benefit for the SUICIDE AND CRISIS CENTER OF NORTH TEXAS. Suicide has touched my life in many ways - from my beloved father taking his own life when I was a very impressionable 16 years old; to my youngest cousin’s sad suicide; to several friends taking that oh-so-final step. It has always lingered within me throughout my adult life as an option when both chronic lifelong depression and terminal cancer were eating me alive, and I’d been that broken, sobbing voice on the far end of those suicide hotlines (and thank you eternally to PATHWAYS CORE TRAINING, an emotional intelligence training program, www.CreateAGreatLife.org, for helping take the option of suicide off the table for me)...

...A well-meaning friend who was there said, “I wish there had been more survivors on the runway,” but as she said it, I thought, “Well, there aren’t really too many survivors of suicide…” Later, when that thought stuck in my craw, I realized that those of us like myself, and certainly like the SAVVY STYLIST herself, DAWN MELLON (forgive me, Dawn, for revealing so indiscreetly the thoughts you confided in me), a thoroughly confident, shrewd woman with a powerful presence whose own experiences with the suicides of several those close to her, help shape who she is now - a devoted, dedicated and deeply caring woman. She makes it clear that it’s people like us who are the survivors of suicide…

...Among the first guests I pounced on were the Unsinkable Molly Brown herself, GINA MARX, and my latest fashion idol, designer ANDRÈ YABIN of BINZARIO COUTURE... We laughed and joked and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company, along with Gina’s gregarious husband DAVID MARX, while the paparazzi snapped away… ...Though I missed Andrè’s partner, mi fabulouso amigo LUIS NAZARIO, at the event, André assured me the Luis bade André to convey his affection to me. I sent mine in return, and made plans to see them this weekend...

...I’d looked forward to seeing the divine artist TATYANA MURPHY there - we’d been playing social tag for quite awhile. She’d say she would be appearing at some social event, and be a no-show, then I’d promise I’d be at some social event and be a no-show… You know how it goes… But at last, the glowing platinum goddess, swathed in a deliciously tangerine-colored dress and coat ensemble, found me

and we settled down on the end of the runway and chatted breathlessly…

Seeing Tatyana had an additional benefit as well - in her car, she had the faaabulous black and white portrait I’d commissioned from her, and presented it to me with a heart-wrenching story of how deeply she could, through another close friend, understand the pain, struggles and obstacles that growing up gay presents… I love you, Tatyana!...

...While Tatyana and I were chatting, jewelry designer AMY VERTREES WINSLOW came up and said hi. She showed me a photo of the two of us together at FASHION X DALLAS: FINALE, looking hi-glam and chic, noting that it was a “cute” picture. “Cute?” I said, “The fuckin’ picture’s divine!” She laughed and agreed, and joined Tatyana and me, posed at the end of the runway… Amy is adorable...

...I arrived at 7:20pm for a 6:30-8:30pm invitation… and apparently missed the entire Fashion Stars presentation. I’m beginning to see that you Dallas folk actually seem to arrive on time for all invitations. Personally, I’m utterly appalled by that. I just have a genetic inability to be on time. If fact, my best friend JACLYN HAVLAK even coined a term and a website (unused) called ImpeccablyLate.com. I mean, you want to arrive when everyone else is already there, don’t you? I arrived at the 6:30-8:30pm event at precisely 7:20pm, and there were a few handfuls of fashion types lurking around, but the event, the presentation of the FASHION STARS FOR A CAUSE… was already over. Not only was it over, but some of the Fashion Stars I came to drool over, were already gone (yes, I’m talking about you, CARMEN SURGENT)... When I tried to complain to Yvonne, she coolly looked me up and down and simply said, "If I am on time, I consider I am late." I'm sure there's a lesson here somewhere...

...Aside from Gina Marx and Carmen Surgent, the list of 2016 Fashion Stars for a Cause includes WHITNEY ROBERTS-KUTCH, SHAYEMA RAHIM, LAURIE GRAHAM, AMANDA WARD, BRIDGET MCGOWN SOMMERLATTE, SHELLY O'NEAL, LAURA FEDOCK, FRANCIS HARRISON, KRISTY J. MORGAN, and SHERICE BROWN...

These wonderful women will begin selling raffle tickets for opportunities to win prizes including a $5,000 gift card from Belk and a trip for two to Havana, Cuba from Conscious Cuba. One winner will be chosen for each of the two prizes, and they will be announced at the black-tie Fashion Stars for a Cause gala on March 25 at the Dallas Country Club. Attendees enjoyed tasting hors d’oeuvres and sipping on the signature Fashion Stars cocktail, courtesy of Zodiac Vodka.

Notable guests include: Margie Wright (Executive Director of SCC), Carolyn Tillery (Creator of FSFAC Magazine), Terry Bentley Hill (Honorary Chair), Holly Quartaro (Galleria Dallas), Catherine Guidici Lowe, LeeAnne Locken, Tiffany Hendra, Dawn Mellon, Regina Bruce, Britt Harless, Rebecca Lopez, as well as former Fashion Stars, Naila Malik and Jamie Fowler.

  • yvonne

    What a lovely assessment of the evening Stephen and for sharing your story.. you captured my heart when we first met.. you look right in the eye and say hello .. Like you mean it.. not just a formality.. I love that.. and I also love your passion for Fashion and your Flair.. you have it.. we are a kindred spirit.. I look forward to seeing you soon.. and you telling your family history could just the catalyst to help another.

  • Savvy_Stylist

    Stephen, after we met at Britt’s party, I was immediately captivating by you…not by your obvious extravagantly-stylish appearance, but by qualities that cannot be seen – only felt. I thought about our conversation, albeit a short one, for days afterwards.

    Then, much to my delight, you were at the Fashion Stars launch party, and, in a matter of minutes, I found myself compelled to share my experience with depression and suicide. More important (to me), however, was the testimony you shared because it began to validate the reason I’d spent so much time analyzing our first encounter. A few days later, I read your amazing biography in ‘Fashion Scoop Daily’ and the puzzle pieces started to shift from obscure independent shapes into a somewhat discernible picture.

    Alas, after reading this article, the puzzle is coming into focus.

    You’re right, we are survivors. We have survived suicide, either literally or figuratively. We have survived cancer (surprise…yes, I’ve starred in that movie, too). In fact, I imagine we’ve survived many, many things that are neither fashionable nor suited for the runway. And, now I know what I ‘felt,’ what captivating me during our first meeting, what gave me pause: It was an immediate ‘understanding.’ An understanding born from a lifetime of experiences that can never be truly captured or expressed in words alone. But, an understanding that people like you and Yvonne and I have in common.

    We are like butterflies…bright and colorful creatures who endeavor to bring joy to others as we flutter about our beautiful world, yet ever cognizant of the exact origin or our wings.