Socialite Lynn Wyatt shares story of life, hardships

July 21, 2010 7:31:08 AM PDT
She's considered one of the most glamorous women in the world, and she lives right here in Houston. We're not talking about Beyonce, but someone who was setting trends long before Beyonce was born. Her name is Lynn Wyatt. She's a jet-setting fashion icon who counts movie stars, rock stars and royalty among her closest friends. She's been dazzling the fashion world for decades, in hundreds of magazines and the international best-dressed hall of fame.

Now in her 70's, Wyatt can still rule a runway.

At a recent panel on fashion, Wyatt was greeted like visiting royalty.

If some women seem to be born with style, that's almost literally true with Wyatt. She was the only daughter in the Sakowitz family, who owned the now-defunct upscale clothing store.

"My classmates used to think, 'Oh you get everything for free because you have a store,' and I would say 'Oh, no, no, no'," Wyatt said.

Instead, her mother would let her try on lots of outfits then make her choose only three.

"To this day, I ponder about what I'm going to buy," Wyatt said.

And Wyatt never takes her fashion status too seriously.

"Powder and paint makes a girl what she ain't," she said.

But to many who admire her, "She's just the Texas Grace Kelly," one person said.

That's fitting, since one of her closest friends was the late Princess Grace.

"She was serenely graceful," another friend said.

Among other close friends, more royalty, movie stars and rock stars, like Elton John.

"Elton, I would say, is probably one of my closest friends through my troubled times," she said. "He's just always been there.

In 2007, her husband, Oscar Wyatt, was indicted in the Iraqi oil for food scandal, and at 83, served almost a year in federal prison.

"Every single weekend, on a Saturday and a Sunday, I would be driven out there, for 10-and-a-half months with the exception of four times," she said. "I just felt like you know this is something that you just have to deal with. You deal with whatever life gives you."

Then one month after her husband was released, another blow came.

"But when he had a stroke, it really got me; it got me because it was a severe stroke; it affected a part of the brain that governs language, and here he was this great communicator that can't communicate," she said.

She got him into therapy, pushing him to fight back.

When she was honored by the Houston Grand Opera this year, Oscar Wyatt was able to get up and announce he was giving a million dollars in her name.

It's another big priority for Wyatt -- giving back. When it comes to charity, she's very hands on.

"Well, I never put my name on anything unless I know what it's about," she said.

A mother of four and grandmother of two, Wyatt says fashion is not her life.

"At the end of the day, it is your family and friends that are the most important in your life," she said.

And her philosophy in life is simple.

"Live a lot, laugh a lot and love a lot," she said.

It's why her friends say Wyatt has a lot of style, and even more substance.


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