Fashion / Style

Cool Girl Sexiness Helps This Dallas Power Woman Make a Chic Fashion Impact

Going Back to the 1990s with Bomb Girl Brooke Davenport

BY Billy Fong // 03.22.19

This is a classic case of love at first sight. Perhaps it’s not as Shakespearean as Romeo and Juliet, but ours is a Waylon and Madam or Joan Rivers and Jim J. Bullock kind of love. I first spied the ravishing Brooke Davenport across the table at a dinner for Fendi at the well-appointed home of Ann Hobson, following the store-opening party at Highland Park Village.

We locked eyes.

Miss Davenport moved back to Dallas in late 2016 after a decade-long stint as one of Los Angeles’ It-girls, assembling a coterie of confidantes that included Tom Ford, the late Betsy Bloomingdale, and Kathy Hilton. She and gorgeous husband, Blake Davenport, had relocated to the Left Coast to run one of his family businesses.

Blake’s family is old-school Midland, and his and Brooke’s daughters, Charlotte and Chloe, are apples that haven’t fallen far from the couple’s well-cultivated tree.

Born in Austin, Brooke’s parents traveled in the smartest circles and her soigné mother, Sally Byram, was renowned for hosting some of the city’s greatest parties. Brooke shared vintage press clippings of one shindig in particular, during which designer and costumer Bob Mackie was guest of honor.

During Brooke’s post-college years, she lived in NYC and L.A. (But then again, who didn’t? Myself included. It was the ’90s, after all.) For the CliffsNotes version of this period in her life, Brooke sums it up with a quote from her father: “I’m not paddling your canoe anymore.”

River Oaks District

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This promptly brought her back to Texas, where she met the charming man of her dreams — Blake.

Brooke has a genuine love and appreciation for fashion. She is definitely not a label whore like me. Her style is at times girly-girl and not one bit the au courant unisex and gender-blurring dress so popular right now. But one would never call her style precious or prissy. In fact, Brooke can at times err to a shock effect.

Case in point: her sublime Pucci pink-fringed number she wore to this year’s TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art gala. In terms of theme music, she is equal parts over-the-top Maria Callas singing Puccini and LL Cool J’s “Around the Way Girl.”

Brooke has an understated cool-girl sexiness. J’adore the terms louche and languid of late, and she does it well in chic pajama dressing. Her style is timeless, but if I could put her in a time machine, I would send her back to the ’70s, where her aesthetic would have been truly appreciated.

I fantasize about her lounging on one of Halston’s ultra-suede couches in his home on East 63rd Street, while she regales the designer with naughty stories of taking socialites to off-the-beaten-track bars, keeping him wrapped around her jeweled fingers well into the wee hours.

Approximate date of this photo.

December 1998 in Aspen.

The occasion.

I was having cocktails at the après ski bar at the Little Nell in Aspen, which has always been an energetic and glamorous fashion setting. Afterwards, I was en route to a seated dinner party at the legendary Mandalay Ranch.

What you were wearing.

A Ralph Lauren Purple Label strapless off-white jumpsuit and a timeless floor-length, snow-white mink coat from the fur salon at Saks Fifth Avenue, which was given to me by my ultra-chic mother. Also, I’m wearing JP Todd’s off-white lace-up snow boots, and carrying one of my top mini-accessories at the time, one which was commonly at my side: my Yorkshire terrier.

What price fashion.

Valentino was always one of my favorite designers, especially when he was still designing. Extraordinarily expensive, Valentino was limited to splurging once or twice a year, and sometimes when I could sneak a piece or two under the radar when my husband wasn’t looking. If I got caught, it was well worth the consequences.

Why is this a picture of you.

This picture brings back the countless and precious memories I have of my years in Aspen — from a little girl learning to ski for the first time on Buttermilk mountain to my wedding day with my husband, Blake, at the base of Ajax, and now creating the next generation of memories with our two darling daughters.

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