While some will swear on their trust fund that Crystal Charity Ball and the deb balls are the showcases for Dallas’ mostest in formal attires, this year’s Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala set a standard for the upcoming soirées.
That standard was set on Saturday, September 8, far in advance by Co-chairs Jennifer and Coley Clark. Not only had they arranged for cellist to the gods Yo-Yo Ma to perform with the DSO (a first coming together for Yo-Yo and DSO star child Jaap van Zweden), but they had managed a sell-out for the dinner/concert plus 600+ for the after-party hosted by Anna-Sophia van Zweden and Katherine and Eric Reeves.
Oh, that Jennifer. In addition to getting her husband Coley to look pretty darn fabulous in white tie and tails, the brunette with hair pulled back in a bun wore a stop-traffic-yellow Michael Faircloth gown with pockets that seemed to be oblivious to wrinkles throughout the entire night. Thank heaven, her arms were just meant for the sleeves look.
And, no, it was not a coincidence for the color matchup between Jennifer’s look and the French-themed decorations by Todd Fiscus, who revealed the evening’s look of a French café: black and white striped awnings, reminiscent of the 1920s, with a pop of yellow. Another model was the Viceroy Hotel in Palm Springs, which does a modern take on art deco—awning stripes/greyhound dogs were popular in the deco era. But Todd didn’t have time to dawdle. He was off to Palm Springs the next day, then back at work on a Cabo wedding, an April wedding for “Elaine” and a lot of other special occasions including the Wednesday night gala for the Klyde.
But this evening, Todd’s handiwork provided the perfect backdrop for Dallas’s most gorgeously dressed music lovers including Pat McEvoy‘s black lace Elie Saab and Judith Leiber bag, Kara Petersen‘s hot red J Mendel on the arm of Randall Goss, Tiffany Divis in a dazzling green Michael Faircloth with red hair swept up, Stephanie Fisher in an ivory and crystal Badgley Mischka, Diane Klein in a one-shoulder midnight blue David Meister, Anne Stodghill with red hair in curls in an Alexander McQueen, Linda Ivy in a Chris Cole low-cut gown with Judith Leiber bag and marabou boa from Trina Turk (husband Steve claimed the feathers actually came from Big Bird), Nelda Cain Pickens in a black lace by Oscar de la Renta, Nancy Carlson in Chanel, Margo Keyes in Armani picked out by husband Jim, Nancy Cain Marcus in beige and brown Mary McFadden, Christi Urschel in a swirling delight by Angel Sanchez with a Judith Leiber bag, Sarah Perot in a short Monique Lhuillier, Shelle Sills in a moss green Vera Wang and Brooke Shelby in another Vera Wang but dark blue with a low cut back.
As a matter of fact, low cut was the game of the night. Who could get the lowest? For front deep down there was a tie between Jacqueline Anderson and Leilani Baker. Thank heaven for those well-placed threads that crisscrossed the gowns keeping the gals PG-rated.
Regarding the lowdown on the skin revealing on the back, it couldn’t have gotten much lower than Anna Sophia van Zweden‘s skintight tomato-red Khanh gown. As one person observed, “She spent more money on her makeup than her lingerie.”
But don’t go thinking that everyone shelled out wads of cash for designer dreams and Judith Leiber. Lucy Wrubel got her black-and-white shortie from a resale shop, Claire Emanuelson recycled a dress she bought for Neiman’s 100th anniversary (that was five years ago) and Nancy Fisher simply bought “antique fabric and had it made” into a dress.
But it wasn’t all about clothes on this night. There was a lot of chatting up about the past summer. Best story belonged to Katherine and Key Coker, who were vacationing in a rented home at an old fishing village called Siasconset near Nantucket. With rose bushes all over the place, they were taking photos one morning when a couple of bicyclists came by. The Cokers asked if the man would take their picture. Sure! Then Katherine and Key noticed that the female of the twosome looked oh-so familiar. Surely, they knew her or had seen her before. It was Katie Couric in a white t-shirt. Got pix. They were there for Katie’s emceeing the Nantucket hospital fundraiser.
On the business front, Jim Keyes reported that he’s acquired the Wild Oats name, and by the end of the first quarter, products bearing the name will be seen under a new venture. Think healthy.
Another reason for the evening being special was the official debut of the DSO’s new CEO/President Jonathan Martin and his wife Amy. The Atlanta-born Jonathan said he’s been a “Texas boy for seven days and two hours,” and that he’s thrilled to be here. Having traveled to Dallas over the past 20 years, he’s impressed by the growth of the city and what Jaap has done here. His goal is creating a sustainable funding platform for the orchestra. In other words, he wants to match what Jaap has done with the orchestra.
After catching up, everyone took their places for a two-course dinner including salad (blended quinoa salad with dried cherries and toasted pine nuts and citrus port dressing) with 14 Hands, “Hot to Trot,” white blend, Washington state (2012) and dinner (slow braised boneless short rib with natural pan burgundy sauce along with golden chive whipped potato, honey glazed baby carrots and haircot vert) with first press, cabernet sauvignon, Napa Valley (2009). A darling couple hunks of chocolate sat at each place only hinting of the dessert feast to follow the concert.
When the Meyerson bells chimed calling the elegant masses to the hall for the concert, the hosts and DSO management personalities headed backstage. While waiting to welcome the audience, Amy Martin recalled a concert in Ohio where Yo-Yo slipped in and settled in with the rest of the strings section for a concert. He was just one of the musicians and was happy as a SMU co-ed boulevarding on the Quad.
As for the concert, let Scott Cantrell and FrontRow review it, but from backstage, Yo-Yo and Jaap were observed to have worked together as well as Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Those in the audience might just have witnessed classical music’s titans having a heck of a great time with the DSO.
Afterwards the masses scurried (okay, so this group doesn’t scurry; they stroll) to the after-party, but a small VVIP group gathered in the east loge. Talk about a feast! No, food was not the piece de resistance. It was the faces and the power behind those faces. In one part of the loge the Arts District hotties Jacqueline Anderson and Anna-Sophia van Zweden chatted. It was a coming together of super novas. They’re oh-so scary magnificent when put together. Just imagine Barbies on steroids. Quietly to the side was newlywed Jessica Olsson Nowitzki sans Dallas Mavericks hubby Dirk and buds Joyce Goss and Barbara Buzzell. However, Jacqueline and Anna-Sophia spotted the real woman of the region in their presence — philanthropist Margaret McDermott seated nearby glowing in white in her wheelchair.
As the top rollers waited their turn to have two seconds of bonding with Yo-Yo and/or Jaap, someone wisely wheeled Margaret to that area of the loge. Like eager freshmen vying for the attention of the homecoming queen, Yo-Yo and Jaap left the photo lineup to kneel at Lady Margaret’s chair. She graciously smiled and accepted their attention. Then a handler commandeered her chair, someone else handed her a glass of white wine and she was gone.
While all of this was going on upstairs for the VVIP’s, the gala attendees and post-party revelers were cramming into Opus for hearty partying. With Lucy in charge without last year’s tot trampoline, she managed the crowd on the dance floor led by Linda and Steve Ivy, Lynn and Peter Dauterman, Hannah and Searcy Ferguson and Laura and Malcolm Ferguson. On the sidelines were Lisa Ogle, Kristi Hoyl, JB Hayes and Sally and Tom Dunning.
It was a great launch of the fundraising season. What lies ahead? Can’t wait to see, hear and witness.
For additional photos of the evening, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.