Mack Jack & McConaughey’s smashing fashion show

This year, for the first time, I focused my coverage of the giant Mack Jack & McConaughey benefit — which just raised more than $1.7 million for targeted children’s charities — on the fashion show and its creator, Camila Alves, TV star and wife of Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey.

Camila Alves introducing the MJM Fashion Show.

My profile of Alves will come at a later date, but I can reveal now that our conversation at the new Hotel Granduca Austin was warm, wide-ranging and deeply informative. She’s impressive on so many different levels, so our profile must await more careful composition and placement than usual for a mere column item.

But we can readily report on the Fashion Show, which started life as an in-store affair, graduated quickly to the W Austin Hotel, and now occupies the roomier JW Marriott. Alves and her collaborators wisely disconnected the shopping, chatting and lunching from the stand-alone, space-specific runway show.

Eileen Gonzales and Fanya Chandler at MJM Fashion Show

Partnering with Nordstrom department store and designer Veronica Beard, the team imagined a crisp, subdued atmosphere for Beard’s spring collection. A U-shaped runway followed the long room’s floor — no platform — with double or triple rows of white folding chairs lining the U.

Everything was geared for ease and comfort, from the program that numbered and annotated all 31 looks to Beard’s soft, functional apparel, and the opportunity to examine and purchase the looks later. Alves made the whole event feel friendly and accessible, even for those of us who will not be taking advantage of the offerings.

The accompanying MJM gala, concerts and golf games clearly retain their original appeal. MJM is one of Austin’s biggest — perhaps the biggest — annual charity fundraiser. Maybe I should report on the golf next year.

Author: Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes writes about Austin's people, places, culture and history for the Austin American-Statesman and

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