Prt--Porter Ranch

Prêt-à-Porter Ranch

It's a sausage fest in Old Town Scottsdale on this Thursday night. And the J-grrl and I are at Martini Ranch, beholding a sea of horny, white and mostly male faces. I haven't seen this many ofays since the last time the Boston Celtics won the NBA championship. The testosterone is flowin' in here like Cristal champagne at the VMA awards. There are some ladies present. I just wish there were more to offset the frat-house feel of the joint. A couple of brothers wouldn't hurt, either, though I do see one holding it down on the security detail.

Onstage is the house band, which looks a little like Huey Lewis and the News, the Early Years. They're doing Top 40 covers while this drunken blonde in a blue-jean skirt is dancing by herself. The dudes ogle the dudette, trying to keep themselves from going into pre-gang-bang mode. After all, they're here for the same reason the L-word Uma Thurman and I are here, to peep the triangles on the shorties at the Ranch's "Summer's End" back-to-school bikini fashion show. So I reckon I can't blame them much.

"Kreme, where the tight boo-tays at?" the Jettster asks me like I own the damn place.

"I dunno," I reply. "Should be starting soon, but the Average White Band here is making me nauseous. Let's look out back."

Like an OG Green Hornet and a lezzie Kato, we move through the crowd, trying to sniff out the babeage we were promised by the promos. Past Martini Ranch's Hard Rock Cafe-esque main room, we enter the large, enclosed patio and catch a glimpse of some model honeys clustered toward the back waiting for the band to take a powder so they can move into the limelight. Hanging with these ladies is the fashion triumvirate of the evening, Susan Di Staulo, Sommer Christine and Jaymie Chague. Di Staulo, the leader of the pack, is an ex-New Yorker who left behind her career in Gotham to follow some formerly lucky fella out to the desert.

"Oh, I've had a hundred boyfriends since then," the thin, attractive blonde explains. "I've been in the Valley since 2001, and it's a lot easier doing fashion out here. There's a real thirst for design. I mean, I made my debut at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. You don't get that kind of access in New York."

Di Staulo relates that she was asked to create bikinis for this show by the folks at Superstar Entertainment, part of whose thing is pairing fashion events to unlikely venues, like Martini Ranch, where Daisy Dukes seem more appropriate than haute couture. Bikinis are always a crowd-pleaser, and so perfect for the masses at the Ranch.

"Is it easier designing bikinis than other types of clothes?" inquires my gal pal Jett, who fancies herself a bit of a style maven. "After all, there is less fabric."

"You know, the human body is amazing," says the delicious-looking Di Staulo. "Ultimately, all fashion is about being naked, so with the bikini you can work with that and take it any place you want."

"So if I'd like one of your designs to prance around the house in, where could I buy them?" wonders Jett.

"The Lilypad Shop in Scottsdale, and Kontrive in Tempe," answers the design diva.

Next to her in a skintight, violent orange Pucci shirt is fashion-meister Chague, 22, who has his own line called J'Mi. He has five pieces in the show, and explains he moved out to the Zona (by way of Cali) from Connecticut, partly for the weather and partly -- like everyone else -- to pursue his dreams.

"I plan on staying here for a while," says the young, talented fella. "I'm still sort of experimenting with my line, but my forte's always been evening gowns, and that's what sells. Big skirts and lots of ruffles. Plenty of velvet and taffetas, and you're all set. But doing bikinis for this show has been fun. I just tried to make mine girly and cute. Though one of them has a sort of James Bond theme. The others are sort of basic bathing suits."

To his right is the 23-year-old Christine, a homegirl all the way from Ahwatukee. She has a young, girl-next-door look, and has been creating ever since her mom stuck her in front of a sewing machine when she was a kid.

"I'd always get compliments on my designs," she tells us. "So I finally decided to take it to the next level. I'm working on developing my own line right now. This is my first adventure into bikini-land, so to speak."

"So what was the inspiration for your bikinis?" I query, getting all Harper's Bazaar on her.

"Whatever I make, I want it to be sexy, but soft and sophisticated," says Christine. "I love the juxtaposition of ideas in context. So I like to be girly, but at the same time, you've gotta be able to move. I'm a girl, but I'm not going to sit by and let someone do something for me. So anything I make has that availability."

That wack-ass band is finally gone, and the show's ready to roll. Jett and I cluster with the designers and the models next to the entrance to the stage, where the lissome-limbed lovelies vogue it up for our cameras before strutting their stuff in front of the howling crowd. As they should be, those fabric triangles are skimpy and there's plenty of butt cheek being flashed. The models are black, white, Asian, all with flat stomachs and come-hither eyes. My fave is this futuristic tangerine get-up by Chague, and a white bikini with brown horsies on it worn by one of the Asian goddesses. Giddyup!

Afterward, Jett and I hang with the booful ones as they attempt to deflect the attentions of the bologna-boppers (those guys who can barely keep their hands off their jimmys), and from the lez Casanova Jett, who's got her eye on the prize as always this evening. I see her off in the corner talking to two dimes who've had their top halves body-painted over, while I have a seat and conversate with Tara Berry, a pale babe with long raven tresses. I soon discover that Berry, 21, is studying aromatherapy, Chinese herbalism and about a dozen other disciplines besides. She's done modeling for some time, and she seems to want a career in fashion. Says she's starting her own skin-care line called Pearl Skin.

"You could say I'm a bon vivant and a jack-of-all-trades," she tells me.

"Aromatherapy, huh? What's good for stimulating the brain?" I ask.

"Patchouli and peppermint," she tells me. "Patchouli also makes a good aphrodisiac. Bergamot, too."

"When I think of patchouli, I always think of chicks with hair on their legs who're taking women's studies classes or getting their Ph.D. in semiotics," I crack. "Hey, anyone ever tell you that you have a sort of Bettie Page thing going on with that hourglass figure and the black hair?"

"You know, I'm going to be in this Bettie Page calendar for Playboy coming up. It's going to be for Bettie Page's birthday, and it'll be out in October."

I bid farewell to the Scottsdale native, as she has a boyfriend awaiting her. Lucky sod! So I stroll over to where Jett's hanging with the nearly nude gals. One is a thin lass of Indian descent named Sumita Tamerlin, and the other's a girl with brown hair and an alabaster complexion. I studiously avoid staring at their painted breasts. I strive to be a gentleman, you see. Jett, luckily, doesn't have that problem.

"They asked to paint my breasts," I smirk. "But they didn't have enough paint."

"There's not enough paint in Scottsdale to paint your boobs, Kreme," Jett snarks. "Meet Sumita."

"Is Jett behaving herself, Sumita? Or is she trying to pick you up?"

"Kreme!" cries Jett, smacking my side.

"Well, I don't know, maybe she doesn't even like girls," I whimper.

"Oh, I'm heterosexual," says Sumita. "But I tend to pick up girls faster than I pick up guys. I appreciate beauty of all kinds. So you could say I'm open-minded. Sometimes, it's like, 'I'm hot, you're hot, let's . . .'"

"Whoa, good attitude!" I say. "We should hire you out."

"Yeah, like Heidi Fleiss did with her girls," she replies.

"Jett wants to be Heidi Fleiss," I say, smiling.

"Who wouldn't?" asks Jett. "Heidi Fleiss was the shit!"

"Except for that whole getting caught part of it," I remind.

It's getting to be about that time, so we begin to perambulate toward the door. There are plenty of knuckleheads still about, pawing the few chicks remaining. Meanwhile, I'm walking out with a passel of fine fillies. All the time, the jocks holding their cocks are looking at me with menacing eyes, wondering, I'm sure, how the fuck this fat boy is making his way past them with all these hot chickies in tow. Heh, it's driving those dillweeds crazy! Gotta love it.

Outside, we say goodbye to Sumita and her model friends, as they await a limo in the cool evening. I escort Jett to her vehicle, like the good Baptist boy my mama raised.

"So what were you talking to that girl Tara about?" she asks as she opens her car door.

"Oh, nothing . . . aromatherapy."

"What's that?"

"You really want to know?"


"Okay, then." I stick my hand out. "Just pull my finger."


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