Old Hollywood had its Taylor-Burton liaison. Today’s Hollywood has its Brangelina. Dallas has its “Colandra (aka Colin Duchin and D’Andra Simmons).” With their amazingly good looks, that might be enough to get notice. But with their commitments to non-profits, they ramp it up to a place where naysayers feel guilty for being jealous.
While many headed out of town for the spring break holiday, on March 10 they opened up their newest project — their Park Cities home — for the major sponsors and friends of the March 24th No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party at the Frontiers of Flight Museum.
This two-story home is a blending of international finds and special collectives from family and friends. Lucky were those folks who got the extra-special VIP tour of the residence. Whether it was Colin taking you past the band playing on the landing between the first and second floor, or hopping the lift, it was an amazing presentation of personal special furnishings (D’Andra’s grandmother’s dresser) and newly found discoveries (a cellulite buster that Colin found at St. Vincent de Paul for $49. Turned on its side and switched on, Colin showed how it could be a revolving side table).
One of the very special spots was the Colandra dressing area with shelves, closets and cubbyholes to the ceiling. And it was a high ceiling at that. While Colin managed to get a few square feet of space for his Dolce & Gabbana shoes, jeans and suits, D’Andra’s legendary collection of 600+ couture shoes surpassed speculation. Each pair of shoes was nicely placed in see-through shoe boxes neatly in individual cubbyholes. . . with a color photo of the pair showing through the box for quick identification.
Ever the perfectionist, D’Andra was still not satisfied. The lone rolling ladder needed a partner to handle the other part of the closet.
The bathing area with its gargantuan shower and toilet with bidet stopped the tour when one of the guests said, “I found something that we have in common with D’Andra and Colin — the bath mat.” Upon hearing that comment, Colin piped up, “Aren’t they great? Makes taking a shower worthwhile.”
Throughout the home were remarkable fingerprints of roads traveled. The temple gate that is now a headboard; the marvelous collection of first-edition books and favorites from author friends; some of Colin’s art projects including a piece dedicated to Nicole Simpson.
At one point in the evening part of the living room back wall disappeared, opening the great room to the backyard with its showplace pool to provide additional entertaining space.
But in case this night might require even more room, the three-car garage was transformed into a posh party room.
Soon No Tie Dinner Chair David Nelson replaced the band on the landing to welcome the 200-plus guests, telling them more than 1,500 guests are expected at the No Tie Dinner, and recognized Honorary Chair Dr. Gary Tigges. David notified guests that this year’s event will have 52 different pre-dinners, up from 20 last year. In addition to dancing, cocktails, silent and live auctions and tons of desserts, there will be a surprise performance produced by Rob Cahill “that will ensure the event is unforgettable.” And David knows unforgettable. He was the one who styled the Neiman Marcus mystery gifts for NBC’s “Today Show.”
Wisely David kept his comments brief and then turned the “stage” over to D’Andra.
Nearly tearing up with Colin at her side, she said it was hard for people to understand HIV, but AIDS Services does a great job — “a magical, wonderful, welcoming place.”
Afterward one guest commented of D’Andra, “She was so right. We came from Katrina, lost our home and everything, but she’s so right. She’s Dallas’ Elizabeth Taylor — beautiful inside and out.”
If AIDS Services isn’t familiar to you, you’ve either been living in the abandoned Superconducting Super Collider or you don’t know someone with AIDS. AIDS Services provides housing for those affected by HIV AIDS. And, while many would like to think AIDS is under control, rethink that one. It’s still a devastating disease knowing no boundaries that results in economic challenges as well as combating the disease. Thanks to AIDS Services, 225 men, women and children have housing and resources as they battle HIV/AIDS and deal with being economically disadvantaged.