ON THE ROAD, WYATT STYLE
HOUSTON — When Lynn Wyatt travels, crowds part — to make way for her sea of Louis Vuitton luggage. So when the jetsetter revealed “The Art of Packing, or How to Travel From Swimsuit to Ski Suit With Just 14 Cases,” Houston’s best-dressed — and best-dressed wannabes — listened raptly.
Wyatt doesn’t intend to stop traffic, she told about 50 followers at the Museum of Fine Arts Textiles and Costume Institute. “I won’t take a big luscious fur coat. I like to call less attention to myself.” To demonstrate, she wore one of her travel outfits: a Geoffrey Beene charcoal jumpsuit with a fist-sized Bulgari brooch.
But you’ll never see Wyatt carrying more than her purse and Louis Vuitton makeup case. Two porters trail behind, lugging industrial-size carts. “I decided early in life I didn’t want to be a camel,” she said.
“I saw you at the airport,” said an admiring Sharon Buschman, one of many in the audience wearing Chanel-style suits, chain belts and brooches, “and you looked like you’d stepped out of French Vogue. You did the gloves, the accessories and everything.”
Wyatt’s luggage is equally chic. Outside, it’s Louis Vuitton, and inside, makeup pouches by Carolyne Roehm. “It’s color coordinated (Vuitton gold and bronze outside and Roehm blue and white inside),” Wyatt said. “It’s not to impress anyone — certainly not the maids. It’s just more organized.”
In Wyatt’s makeup case, which was too large to be a carry-on bag, she stocks three sets of hair curlers, three hairbrushes, two jewel-inlaid alarm clocks, two eye masks, two makeup mirrors, two pairs of scissors, six lipsticks, a clothes steamer, hairdryer, manicure set and large makeup bag just for face creams.
Wyatt said she never goes anywhere without her makeup case, whether it’s to the North Pole, Tibet, the Cote d’Azur or Bangkok. “This sounds like a beauty parlor ad,” she quipped. “And that’s just one bag of 14. It weighs a ton.”
The secret to packing for a trip to Mustique, London and Gstaad is simple, Wyatt said. She brings one outfit per occasion with only one extra outfit, even though “one’s moods change as easily as the weather.” She packs separate trunks of beachwear, skiwear (custom-made Chanel) and citywear.
“I’ve traveled with Lynn,” said Nina Wickman, who stood out among the bejeweled suits in her jeans, navy blazer and khaki baseball cap. “Even when we came in for lunch from skiing, somehow Lynn would take off her tight cap and there’d be no mark on her forehead. Her blonde hair would cascade down and she’d look marvelous. She travels better than anyone I’ve ever seen. I think it has to do with the genes.”
Lynn often asks her husband, oil and gas baron Oscar Wyatt, to lug home one of her trunks when he returns later than she. Complains her spouse, “I’m the least-paid luggage porter in the world.” — Michele Meyer
FASHION BECOMES ELECTRA
FORT WORTH, Tex. — Suffering from O.J. overload? Try stepping back to a more elegant era with a visit to Thistle Hill.
This vestige of turn-of-the-century grandeur — Texas style — sits just south of downtown Fort Worth. Its Georgian Revival architecture, period furnishings and antique lingerie collection are main attractions, but the tale of its original owner adds to its intrigue.
The story goes that cattle baron Thomas Waggoner built the home as a wedding gift for his daughter, Electra, with the ulterior motive of insuring that she didn’t move north to her fiance’s hometown in Pennsylvania.
Taking up residence in 1904, Electra Wharton furnished the home lavishly with imported woods and decorative painting, showing it off frequently at elaborate fetes.
A clotheshorse flush with oil money, Wharton holds the period’s spending record at Neiman Marcus — dropping $20,000 one day in 1920 and almost as much the following day. In today’s dollars, that adds up to more than $250,000 of fashion.
Today the home is operated by Texas Heritage Inc. and is open for tours every day except Saturday for a $4 fee. It’s also popular for weddings. For information, call (817) 336-1212.