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The Honky-Tonk Where the High Fashion Elite Celebrated in Dallas

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Dallas loves an icon.

Our football team can't just be ours, it must the whole of America's, whether that means the whole of America loves those boys or hates them. A new arts structure cannot just quietly appear in Dallas. It must complete the largest contiguous district of its kind. The contents of the structures of these building are made more notable in their very notable homes. A symbol of quality isn't the same as quality, but you know what they say about chickens and eggs.

Dallas loves luxury.

I used to prefer to park at Barney's during its tenure at NorthPark Center. It was a parking lot that was easy to escape from, they sold a cosmetics brand I was loyal to and they would always offer me a glass of Champagne, even when I wasn't shopping. It was somehow so quiet in there and the lush carpet tricked you into thinking designer shoes were comfortable.

Dallas is competitive at hospitality.

When Dallas was hosting the Super Bowl XLV, the planning committee was concerned with only one thing -- hospitality. We would make up for our lack of oceans and mountains with warm meals, intimate parties and an abundance of ... everything. When those snowstorms hit, I remember overhearing a call from a Dallas concierge looking to borrow fur coats and winter wear for underprepared packers: "The spring lines are already in stores, we need the Dallas furs."

So even if Dallas, thanks to the "Merchant Prince" Stanley Marcus, hadn't so aptly embraced Coco Chanel in 1957 on behalf of the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service, surely in the modern age The House of Chanel and the Métier d'Art still would have found themselves here at some point.

Last week Chanel set up in Fair Park for their annual couture showcase and on this occasion a special screening of the Coco Chanel biopic The Return in the shadow of one of Dallas' most beloved icons, the Texas Star. There in our underrated art deco paradise, the glitterati of fashion media, supermodels of the most super persuasion and flat-out famous people would descend. But not without first flocking to our museums, our hotels, our restaurants and our barstools.

For anyone with a taste for fashion, last week was quite the game of hide and go seek. And from my view the invite-only list included quite a few more Dallasites then the rumors really gave credit for. Enough to get yourself to the right afterparties and bar lobbies if you were looking for a Chanel-fueled adventure on the outskirts of the decadence in Fair Park.

Anytime Dallas is chosen for events of this nature, I must admit I take some pleasure in seeing our city through the eyes of these well-coiffed visitors.

What recommendations would they heed? Where would they eat? What counts for Texas tokenism these days?

In a back and forth with a friend the night of the big show, we wondered where the fashionable flock, now entirely assembled, would land for last call.

"Well, we know they will start at Dolly Python. What would Gretchen Bell do?"

"Oh, well then they might end up at Double Wide?"

"But if they want a real dive, won't they end up at Ships? Or maybe be lured over to Lee Harvey's?"

"Oh, Texas Theatre?"

"But what do you want when you come to Texas?"


"Oh," I responded, "you guys, everyone will be at Round Up Saloon."

They were.

"And that was Alexa," said the karaoke host. He meant Alexa Chung, who had just finished singing Nelly's 2002 hit, "Hot In Here."

On the dance floor, New York Times best-selling fashion writer Derek Blasberg was surrounded by models, of whom the most strikingly beautiful in person may have been Georgia May Jagger, and young men eager to steal his attention. Chung, now on the floor, was copying the dance moves of music videos playing on screen while Giovanna Battaglia, editor of L'Uomo Vogue and contributing editor of W magazine, passed through the crowd with a tray of seemingly endless Jell-O shots. Decked in a "Don't Mess with Texas," T-shirt and fur coat, it should be noted.

Grazie for the shot, Ms. Battaglia.

Outside, a model who looked like a teenage Jessica Stam (it may have been Jessica Stam) let us bum a smoke. Insisting that one wasn't enough, she looked at us as travelers exclaiming, "No, really. Take two. Do you know how much cigarettes cost in Dallas? They cost $5. FIVE."

I don't know who she was, but she had a sweet Auburn bob and she took off her skirt and danced in her tights and a cropped green sweater. She danced and danced. She pulled her friends on the floor. She pulled models on the floor. She pulled editors on the floor. And then she let all of them pull her around because her body slid so easily across the hardwood floor of the Round-Up Saloon. And to be fair, it's the most slippery dance floor in town. It's made for a two-step. And she was having a lot of fun.

Erin Wasson was said to be hosting an even later afterparty. But Dallas gallery That That may have beat her to the punch rounding up a mixture of Dallas natives to entertain Hot Chip. All over town we danced with the beautiful people. We were the beautiful people.

The honor isn't overstated. That Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld chose Dallas for the 2013 Métier d'Art presentation is important for our ZIP code. Criticisms of the collection's cowboys and Indians stereotypes aren't unfounded, but Métier d'Art is thematic in nature and generally skews towards overstated and beautifully presented, um, stereotypes.

I am sure every city does, but it came as no surprise that Dallas loves Chanel. Dallas loves an icon. Dallas loves luxury. Dallas is competitive at hospitality.

But with an outsider magnifying glass of this magnitude pointed to our city, the most fun may have been to look through it yourself and just maybe seeing it through new, couture-colored glasses. Just like Stanley saw us.

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