Meet supermodel Coco Mitchell, the elegant fox

Coco Mitchell's "Off the Runway: Behind the Scenes at Chado Ralph Rucci" talk: Tuesday, July 15, at Phoenix Art Museum

By Clay McNear

Coco Mitchell is 48. She's a model. This doesn't compute.

Mitchell freely gives her age on her Web site (Coco Mitchell). She's twice as old as your standard-issue dessicated diva, yet she continues to prowl the runways for Bill Blass and Chado Ralph Rucci. Further, she looks really, really fine doing it.

You'd think this would be cause for stoning by her fellow fashionistas -- or at least some old-fashioned shunning -- but everybody seems to love Coco. She's a throwback to a vanished age in which sophistication was a tangible thing, like an exquisite fabric rustling against your thigh. She's also the only person we can think of who is simultaneously foxy -- as in, Foxy Brown foxy -- and elegant a la Audrey Hepburn.

Thinking about elegance got me thinking: Who are our new standard-bearers of refinement? I went poking around on the Web and finally landed on a site called Art & Style Magazine Online. Here are their picks for "United States Most Elegant Stars," which sound about right, meaning yecch:

Naomi Watts, Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Liv Tyler, Renee Zellweger, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Garner, and Nicole Kidman.

Zeta-Jones came close, but her frequent filmic missteps and willing decision to mate with Michael Douglas doomed her in the end. As for the rest, I wouldn't trust one of 'em to walk my dog, much less refrain from making a scene at an important business function.

Coco Mitchell, bless her graceful heart, makes an entrance, as you'll see if you attend her talk at Phoenix Art Museum in conjunction with PAM's "Chado Ralph Rucci" exhibit. She's perfectly positioned herself for a transition from runway to executive suite, so there's probably no one better to cast a light on the inner workings of the fashion industry, from front row to loading dock.

Should be educational. Plus, she's hot.

Coco Mitchell's "Off the Runway: Behind the Scenes at Chado Ralph Rucci" talk is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 15, at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue. Admission is free. Call 602-257-1880 or go to Phoenix Art Museum.

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Clay McNear
Contact: Clay McNear