F1 1: As the number of posh Formula One parties diminishes, the value of the survivors tends to concentrate. Case in point: The pop-up Amber Lounge. This year, the hosts took over the PGi building, formerly La Zona Rosa. They made no effort to accentuate PGi’s sleek new interiors, but rather curtained off what was once the stage and house to create an enticing lounge. The high space was dominated by low, white couches arranged around ubiquitous bottle service platforms. Unlike some other F1 parties, this one started to roar as early as 11 p.m. I spent a good deal of time talking to reps from Haymen Talent Austin, who provided the essential models to go with the flowing G.H. MUMM champagne. (How else to get people dancing to elastic sounds?) Learned a lot about how much prep goes into these pop-up parties and about the increased oversight from governmental forces. Selective readers will disdain the whole idea of a ritzy nightclub that rises like a apparition for just one weekend. Yet if you appreciate the ephemeral joys of global nightlife, you would have savored the Amber Lounge.
F1 2: Little things can make all the difference. Designer Linda Asaf is not the first person to list short descriptions of all the garments in a stylish runway spectacle. Yet the F1-themed Full Tilt Fashion Show benefited immensely from the printed program, at least for those of us who are more verbally than visually inclined. It’s so much easier to recall Daniel Esquivel‘s “Faux leather peplum top with plaid palazzo pants” or Bryon Lars‘ “Electric fabric jacket with bottle green tailored bungee pant” — courtesy of the Garden Room — with the written clues left behind. I know, most fashion folks will look instead for the stills and videos online, but now you have words to go with the pictures. This event at W Austin Hotel, part of the F1 “Blu” series, has settled into a nice rhythm and into a comfy early-evening time slot.
F1 3: Leave it to the British. An F1 Garden Party, given by the Houston-based British Consul General, turned up the best conversations from this sybaritic sequence of social events. Staged on the Whole Foods Market terrace with triumphant weather, the party included a few words from dignitaries, including Gov. Rick Perry. Yet I don’t think the business leaders, race fans and expats had gathered for fine, clipped oratory. They seemed hungry for real conversation. I was particularly fascinated by soon-to-be-wed Amanda Russell and Kyle Cox, who both lived up to Russell’s Twitter bio: “Whip smart. Cucumber cool.” Also around for discussions of all things local, regional and international was Ben Wright from the Briscoe Center for American History. “Just seeing where my tax dollars are going,” says the waggish young Brit.