Celebrating Hermès Scarf Artist Kermit Oliver
Across Texas, it has become the stuff of legend: An African-American postal worker from Waco became the only American artist ever to design a scarf for Hermès, thanks to an introduction made through Neiman Marcus. While the full story is much more complex, it remains true that Kermit Oliver, who worked the night shift at a Waco post office for 29 years until his recent retirement, has designed 16 scarves for the legendary French luxury goods company, with a 17th design unveiled this spring.
The new scarf, “Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Conservation” ($430), has been released in a limited edition of 2,000 that is available only in Texas, and only at the Dallas Hermès boutique (it’s already sold out in Houston). A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute in Kingsville.
The scarf’s release coincides perfectly with an important exhibition of Oliver’s work that opened May 5 at the Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University. On display will be scarves, paintings, watercolors and etchings. It’s the first time since 2000 that Oliver’s work has been on display in his hometown, says museum director Karin Gilliam. “The exhibition not only honors Oliver and his achievements, but it also lets people know that we have a very important and treasured artist living right here in Waco,” Gilliam says. The show runs until July 13, and admission is free. For a complimentary one-day museum parking pass, email firstname.lastname@example.org. 60 Baylor Ave., Waco, 254-710-1867, www.baylor.edu/martinmuseum.
A Tactical Trunk Show
Military buffs, get ready to gear up. On May 17, The Man’s Shop in Arlington will host a tactical trunk show featuring DSG Arms, a local company that specializes in weapons components for the defense, law enforcement and aerospace industries. DSG Arms clients include the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, the Naval Special Warfare Command and the Joint Special Operations Command. The company will set up its massive mobile showroom stocked with tactical gear for the private shooting enthusiast, ranging from equipment and optics to gear like boots, belts, utility knives, T-shirts and caps. There will be bites and beverages, a raffle benefiting a local charity and also a show of military artifacts; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 100 S. West St., Arlington, 817-265-1116, www.themansshop.com.
If you’re a guy who likes a close shave but you find yourself running short on time, the newly launched Bevel shaving system subscription service could be your face-saver, especially if you have coarse or curly facial hair. Begin with the 30-day “starter bundle” that sends everything you need for a great shave right to your front door: a double-edged safety razor, a badger shaving brush and a premium selection of soothing oils, creams and balms to reduce razor bumps and burns, and smooth and tone skin. Then, move to the 90-day “continuity kit,” with new blades and product refills. $59.95 for the initial bundle; $29.95 a month thereafter. www.getbevel.com.
Aged to Perfection
Want to try your hand as a home distiller? Deep South Barrels’ Oak Aging Barrels promise to elevate mid-shelf spirits to top-shelf quality in as little as 58 days. The barrels are handmade by a cooper (or barrel maker) from premium quality American white oak and charred. As alcohol ages inside the barrel, it begins to take on some of the compounds found inside (such as the vanillin and wood tannins). Then, as the barrel breathes, the alcohol passes back and forth through the charring, causing impurities to be filtered out into the wood. The end result? A beverage that is smoother and more flavorful. Non-engraved barrels range from $54.95 for a 1-liter size to $160 for 20 liters. Laser engraved barrels are $74.95-$190. For more information or to order from the Pearland-based company, visit www.deepsouthbarrels.com or call 713-340-3103.
The Golf Gift that Keeps on Giving
With a continued rise in popularity of specialty subscription boxes, it was only a matter of time until someone designed one that catered to the needs and wants of the avid golfer or golf fan. Enter the BirdieBox, full of premium golf, lifestyle and nutritional products. Here’s how it works: subscribers begin the sign-up process by answering a series of golf and non-golf related questions online. Those answers are then used to customize their BirdieBox goodies to match the profiles. Among these top-notch products are popular brands like Nike, Titleist and TravisMathew. All boxes have a retail value of $100 or more and contain the current issue of Golf Digest magazine. Boxes are available for both men and women; they get delivered every month, three months, six months or 12 months, depending on the subscription. Prices range from $44.95 for one month to $500 for one year. For more information or to order, visit www.birdiebox.com.
Coddle Those Clubs
Techies may already be fans of OGIO’s backpacks and luggage, which sensitively cradle laptops, tablets and other gadgets with armored pockets and fleece-lined pouches. With the company’s Chamber Golf Bag, it brings that velvet touch to the greens. The bag holds 14 clubs and features Silencer technology — a protective membrane keeps your precious irons from jostling about and scratching each other. The bag also includes a zipperless ball pocket along with nine more zippered pockets, including a fleece-lined one for your valuables. All this, and it’s just 9.8 pounds. Welcome to the game, baby. Available colors include carbon (dark gray with white piping), cynderfunk (a gray abstract and subtle geometric pattern with orange piping) and zigpin (a gray zigzag pinstripe with red piping). $304.99 at ogio.com.
Vintage Couture on Crockett Street
Manhattan-based vintage couture dealer Alexandra Sacchi has dressed celebs like Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Williams and Gabrielle Union, worked with legendary Sex and the City stylist and costume designer Patricia Field and provided merchandise to fashion editors at magazines ranging from ELLE to Nylon. This month, she’s bringing the best of her New York City showroom to Fort Worth for a two-day trunk show at Lane-Knight. On May 9 and 10, browse racks filled with designer labels like Lanvin, Moschino, Chanel, Hermès, Jean Paul Gaultier and Azzedine Alaïa, plus peruse Sacchi’s own line of colorful one-off clutch bags, above, crafted from vintage Lanvin dresses. It’s a collection that’s carefully edited to provide a range of styles and prices to fit into any modern wardrobe, says Sacchi, whether it’s a breezy YSL blouse or an investment bag from Chanel. Prices start at $225; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 2959 Crockett St., Fort Worth, 817-731-4002, www.laneknight.com.
A Local Project Runway Alum’s Latest Line
Ashlins Ltd. in Grapevine will be among the first retailers to carry ASKARI, the just-debuted line from Dallas-based designer Shirin Askari. Fashionistas may remember Askari from Season 6 of Project Runway, which she participated in just months after graduating from the University of North Texas’ fashion design and merchandising program. Since her star TV turn, she’s shown at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City’s Lincoln Center (with Mary-Kate Olsen and Kristin Chenoweth in the audience), been named a Rising Star by Fashion Group International and built a reputation as a couture bridal designer. Her new casual ASKARI line has become an instant hit, with more than 40 boutiques across the country signing on to carry the collection, which boasts vivid color, sassy prints and easy-to-wear styling. That’s what attracted Ashlins, says owner Debbie Kellum. “I loved the fact that ASKARI doesn’t look like everything else, yet it is so relevant,” she says. “Shirin is a fresh designer who’s adding her unique twist to current trends.” 413 S. Main St., Grapevine, 817-442-0400, www.ashlins.com.
The Duchess of Cambridge gave fans and followers a lesson in how small jewelry can have a big impact when she donned a trio of tiny Asprey London charms last month during the royals’ tour of the Land Down Under. The charms, which celebrate English flora, are from the Woodland Collection, and were created for Asprey by British jewelry house Shaun Leane. Each is about an inch high, and there are 10 from which to choose. On a gold necklace, fashion maven Kate grouped the Acorn ($3,900), the Mushroom ($5,250) and the Oakleaf ($2,600), all yellow gold and all with sparkling pavé diamonds. The charms can also be worn on bracelets, of course, a variety of which are available on the company’s website, including one with more pavé diamonds for $14,950. Perfect for Mother’s Day, a lucky grad or just for fun, these collectibles are a compelling way to tap into the style of the duchess’s charmed life. All at www.asprey.com.
Tribute toVan Cliburn
A rare collaboration between two of the most important arts organizations in Dallas and Fort Worth — the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Cliburn — will bring a legendary pianist together with those who have an eye for future greatness. A concert called “Soundings: A Tribute to Van Cliburn” will welcome renowned pianist Leon Fleisher and the Juilliard String Quartet to the Nasher on May 15 to honor the legacy of Cliburn, who died in February 2013. Six recent Cliburn competition participants — Lindsay Garritson, Andrea Lam, Alex McDonald, Tomoki Sakata, Yekwon Sunwoo and Amy Yang — will perform, as well; the featured work will be Olivier Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen. The concert is sold out, but fans of Fleisher are invited to attend two public master classes he will lead at Texas Christian University’s Ed Landreth Hall in the days leading to the concert. A class 6-8 p.m. May 12 will feature Garritson, Lam and Yang playing Brahms and Schumann. A class 3-5 p.m. May 13 will feature Sunwoo, Sakata and McDonald playing Mozart, Beethoven and Ravel. For more information and tickets, $10, visit www.nashersculpturecenter.org.
Twenty & Counting
Domain XCIV (that’s 94 for those who stumble over the Roman numerals) is celebrating 20 years in business in Fort Worth’s ever-evolving Museum District. The tony home store set up shop in 1994 (see the connection?) on Camp Bowie Boulevard between a dime store and a bakery, and almost instantly outgrew its four walls. Three years later, owners Tad Watts and Mark Vaughan moved Domain down the street to a larger location, and opened a second store — dh collection — that showcased their luxury linen lines.
All was well for quite a while, and then the Museum District construction forced Domain to move again. The owners considered relocating farther west on Camp Bowie but were so set in their ways and on their neighborhood, they chose to stay. With great expectations, they signed a lease on 6,500 square feet of retail space in 2009 and watched the economy crumble. They managed to weather the storm.
They owe their longevity to their resilience, their customers’ loyalty and Vaughan’s tough fingernails. He says during the bad times, he chewed his fingers to the bone worrying about their fate and the bad timing of their expansion. “It was just naive optimism that got us here,” he says. “We stayed in business because our customers came in and spent money. I am humbled by that every day. They trust us and respect us.”
Domain XCIV has matured along with Vaughan and Watts. They used to carry more antique furniture, but the wars in the Middle East made shipping containers of antiques from Europe extremely difficult, so they refocused their direction and surround their inimitable giftware lines with more contemporary furniture and a custom upholstery business. It worked; the store looks as glorious as ever.
They have scheduled a calendar of events for the year in conjunction with some of their longtime vendors, so expect to see announcements of Domain XCIV events in the coming months. 3220 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-336-1994, http://domainxciv.com.
The Secret Sculptor
Los Angeles-based painter Mark Grotjahn, known for his two series — “The Face” and “The Butterfly” — has been secretly toiling for the past 10 years on sculptures. These medium- to large-scale works will be shown for the first time in an American museum at the Nasher Sculpture Center, beginning May 31. The medium- to large-scale free-standing works begin as cardboard boxes and tubes that Grotjahn casts in bronze. He often paints the cast pieces so that they become a lovely hybrid of paintings and sculptural forms. The Grotjahn exhibit will be on view through Aug. 15 at the Nasher Sculpture Center. 2001 Flora St. Dallas, www.nashersculpturecenter.org.
Adams Imitators Take Note
One of the great amusements of visiting America’s national parks during the summer months is to see the clusters of photographers gathered in the exact same spot Ansel Adams once stood to replicate one of his famous photographs. It doesn’t matter that Adams got his spectacular photo in November on the night of a full moon. The worshipful just want a chance to stand where he stood and get their own versions. To see why there are so many disciples of the great nature photographer, visit the Arlington Museum of Art this summer, where “Ansel Adams: Masterworks” is on display. More than 45 of his most famous images will be on exhibit through Aug. 3. Tickets, $5-$8, are available online at www.arlingtonmuseum.org or at the door. 201 W. Main St., Arlington, 817-275-4600.
Hammering Down at the Modern
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is hosting an art auction May 10. Proceeds will benefit the acquisitions and programming of the Director’s Council. This is the group that funds the 10-year-old Focus exhibitions of young and mid-career artists. Pieces were donated to the museum by the former Focus artists — many of them now worthy of a solo exhibit upstairs in the museum — and by established artists with strong ties to the museum. The reserve prices range from mid-hundreds to thousands. You can preview the auction works on the Modern’s website. On the day of the sale, the silent bidding begins at 6:30 p.m., and the live auction, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $225 for Director’s Council, $325 for museum members and $425 for non-members. Reservations can be made by calling 817-840-2115. To see the auction items and for more information, visit www.themodern.org.
Daireds Salon and Spa Pangea has created a Mother’s Day package of pampering for two. Perfect for mother and daughter, the “Celebrate Mom” special includes a Pangea pedicure with a shea butter foot and calf massage, a blow-dry and style, and a makeup consultation and application. It’s two hours and 15 minutes of heaven for $290 plus tax and gratuity. 2400 W. Interstate 20, Arlington, 817-465-9797, www.daireds.com.
hosts a Mon Cheri Collections trunk show May 9-18. In store will be designs from the company’s Montage and Cameron Blake lines of special-occasion gowns (many of which are perfect styles for mothers of the bride) along with cocktail gowns, party dresses and suits from Social Occasions by Mon Cheri. 4601 West Freeway, Suite 400, Fort Worth, 817-377-1141, www.whatpromdress.com.