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THE TEXAS Bill Clements’s new face. 0 Pho to by Bill Le iss n er S FRYER February 6, 1987 A Journal of Free Voices One Dollar THE INAUGURAL GALA And What It Demonstrated Austin IT WAS A NIGHT for stretch limousines, for sequined gowns and gold lame and cummerbunds stretched around Republican paunches, and for buffet tables and dessert tables that stretched the meaningof sumptuousness to new limits. It was a night for the exotic denizens of Highland Park and River Oaks to be seen in the quaint capital city. For once, it was perfect weather for mink coats; the wind was blowing and the temperature was dropping and the coat i checkers at the Four Seasons Hotel said they felt that perhaps half the mammalian population of Alaska had ended up in their care. Of some discussion was the person who wore a badger pelt. Certainly an original choice, badger, but how did it stack up to mink, or to fox, or to, say, otter? And what of the new governor and the new First Lady? Only a week before, our local fashion editor, describing the new Clements style in the Austin American-Statesman, had penned the confident lead paragraph: “She’s Adolpho, he’s strictly shirt sleeves.” But at the Four Seasons, she wasn’t Adolpho, and he wasn’t shirt sleeves. She was Arnold Scaasi and he was navy cashmere with pinstripes and a red silk foulard. The fashion editor, of course, took notice, recalling Bill Clements’s sportcoats with “cacophonous patterns” that he wore in his first term as governor, and recalling, too, Rita Clements’s one-shouldered gown she wore for the inaugural ball in 1979. “Bill’s been working on his presentation tremendously,” said an expert quoted by our fashion editor. “He smiles more and he’s been trying to change to the Reagan extreme, and Reagan is probably our bestdressed president.” This is an insight of some importance as we look forward to the next four years tinder Republican leadership here. CHANGING TO THE `REAGAN EXTREME’ 0