Fashion / Style

Dallas Loves Fern Mallis — Inside the Fashion Legend’s Texas Moment

And Her Take on Lone Star Style

BY // 05.25.23
photography Jonathan Zizzo

For those in the know, Fern Mallis is a fashion icon. The Brooklyn-born creative was the executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of American (CFDA) for ten years. During her tenure, 1991-2001, she also was the mastermind behind 7th of Sixth Productions — or as it is better known today, New York Fashion Week.

Mallis also began a wildly popular speaker series in 2011 at New York’s 92nd Street Y, where she hosted engaging, insightful conversations with some of the most respected and prestigious talents from the world of fashion — designers, models, photographers, and editors. The list of noted personalities on stage with Mallis has included Oscar de la Renta, Bill Cunningham, Iman, Marc Jacobs, Polly Mellen, and Tom Ford.

Many of those conversations, along with never-been-seen photographs, have been put into a two-volume book titled Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis. The warm and witty Mallis was recently in Dallas to accept DIFFA‘s Legend In The Fight Against AIDS Award at their annual creative black tie gala. (She was actually one of the founding members of New York’s Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS [DIFFA].) While in Dallas for the weekend, she accepted Brian Bolke’s invitation to do a book signing at the Conservatory on Two in Highland Park Village.

The ever-gracious Mallis spent time with all of her devoted fans who came to get score a signature and an obligatory selfie. She also allowed us to ask a few questions about her legendary career in fashion.

The Conservatory X Fern Mallis (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
The Conservatory X Fern Mallis (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

PaperCity: Dream dining companions, one on either side of you (living or dead).

Fern Mallis: Barack Obama and Steve Jobs.

Let's Rodeo Houston!

  • Bering's Gift's Rodeo 2024
  • Bering's Gift's Rodeo 2024
  • Bering's Gift's Rodeo 2024
  • Bering's Gift's Rodeo 2024

Wittiest designer you’ve interviewed.

Michael Kors.

What you always pack for a trip.

Phone charger.

Most glamorous moment from your years working in the Fashion Week Tents at Bryant Park.

It was 20 years of glamour and thousands of moments.

Most challenging incident from your years working on the Fashion Week Tents at Bryant Park.

Shutting down fashion week on 9/11.

Best suggestion for a runway show soundtrack.

Completely depends on the show, but I love a reel of Nina Rota music.

Fashion Icon you wish you could have interviewed (living or dead). 

Ralph Lauren, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, Halston, YSL.

What defines Texas style to you?

Big warm hearts and great boots.

Curated Collection