The Democrats were convening in Charlotte. The Cowboys were scoring in the Big Apple. And the Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show & Luncheon patrons were partying at Michelle and Houston Hall‘s fabulous 11,102-square-foot palazzo Wednesday night thanks to underwriting by J.P. Morgan. The Hall’s mansion with its curved archways and endless rooms is built around a courtyard and fronting a marvelous backyard.
With a bar set up in the center courtyard and high-top tables in the backyard, the fear of West Nile-bearing mosquitoes kept the crowd largely inside with trays of drinks and food being passed.
Thank heaven the Hall’s multi-leveled mansion was ready for the hundreds to stay inside sipping champagne and readying for Thursday’s fashion show at downtown Neiman’s. At times it was so crowded with beautiful people that a cluster of them stood over an air vent to keep their cool.
But once word passed through the crowd of the delicious ice drinks being served up in the courtyard, caution was briefly thrown to the wind and guests braved the elements.
And what was the fashionable color of the night? Black, of course. That is, except for 10 Best Dressed Hall of Famer Lana Andrews, who looked like the poster girl for Fort Knox in a platinum-and-gold Prada cocktail press.
Barbara Daseke‘s Lanvin proved a last-minute challenge. Seems a slip of a thread had caused the black wool cocktail dress to overlap with fabric. Interior designer Barbara dug up a fabulous broach from her collection and pinned the extra fabric at the waist.
Doris Jacobs was in another stunning Lanvin black cocktail dress, but this one had one very bare shoulder.
With still another fashion emergency, Emilynn Wilson had just picked up her outfit for the Thursday show from the store and discovered the tailor has not quite got it right. Needless to say, the dress will be heading back to the shop and Emilynn will be wearing a backup outfit. BTW, she reports her Kidney Texas luncheon is within a hair’s breadth of being sold out.
Upon seeing fellow 10 Best Dressed classmate Kim Miller in a marvy black Lanvin cocktail dress, first-time 10 Best dresser Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt told her, “I almost got that one. It’s so wonderful.”
That was earlier in the evening. Later Ashley emerged with husband Ward from the courtyard feeling like a mosquito buffet. Her concern was the itching and red marks on her legs and how they would look on Thursday’s runway. Ward’s concern was whether she had been bitten by one of the West Nile variety skeeters.
Other snapshots around the room included:
10 Best Dressed freshman Lynn McBee admitted little concern, smiled and said, “The escorts won’t let us fall.” Immediately after the show, Lynn reported that she was catching a plane to attend the 37th Toronto International Film Festival. As Dallas Film Society board chair, she was checking out films for possible inclusion at the Dallas International Film Festival. Lynn was especially interesting in two films: “Looper” (an action thriller starring Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt) and “Argo” (which looks at the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis and stars Ben Affleck).
- Despite the Cowboys playing and CCB Chair/wife Aileen giving him the night off, Jack Pratt was on hand.
- Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala co-chair Jennifer Clark was excited and pleased about Saturday night’s gala. They’re expecting about 700. For the first time ever, she said, they’ll have to open up the “second [or upper] tier” of seating in the performance hall for the Yo-Yo Ma concert. Jennifer had been on Scott Murray’s radio show explaining the evening and how men could wear black tie or tails, etc. Someone asked jokingly if all attendees would be issued berets in keeping with the Parisian theme. Uh, no!
Billie Leigh Rippey in Lanvin, of course, and her daughter Paige Locke were talking about Billie Leigh’s left ear problem. Ever since January, she hasn’t been able to hear out of it. She discovered the problem when Caroline Rose Hunt called her one day in January and Billie Leigh couldn’t hear what Caroline was saying. She since has gone to UT Southwestern and other medical facilities, and it was determined that it is simply a “nerve” problem. Joked Billie Leigh: “Well, I’ve always had nerve.” One Houston doctor wanted her to do some sort of stem cell treatment—where they take “fat from your tummy” and use it on the problem area—but Dr. Phil Williams said, “She doesn’t have any fat!” Billie Leigh doesn’t want to do that anyway. For now she’s just living with it.
- Vicki Chapman found a bottle of mosquito spray and carried it around to help others.
- Annette and Harold Simmons were among the early arrivals. Annette spotted the open door in the big room and asked, “Why is this door open?” One guest said it’s because a waiter just came through the door with a tray of drinks. Annette promptly closed the door, to keep out the mosquitoes. The Simmons departed early so Harold could get home to watch the Cowboys game.
- Janie Condon reported that her mother Patsy Donosky was home nursing a broken nose.
- Ten BD-er Ellen and Don Winspear were introducing future daughter-in-law Erika Dubreuil, who will be marrying the Winspears’ son, Frank, an Army sergeant with the Special Forces. The wedding will be in May in Fayetteville, N.C., where Frank is stationed at Fort Bragg. The rehearsal dinner will be at the Pinehurst (golf) Resort. Erica is used to the military way of life, since her dad is a retired Army sergeant major.
- Erin Mathews was wearing Fendi pants, a Gucci blouse and Tom Ford “spiked heels.” She joked about having to step very deliberately as she walked across the path leading to the Halls’ house. After making the rounds at the party, she and Russ Davis headed to Salum for a late dinner.
Amara Durham arrived looking for fella co-worker Michael Fowler, who reported that mom Lee Ann White hadn’t been able to attend the Cowboys/Giants fame due to dental surgery. Amara, like Emilynn, had to wear a second choice outfit when the one she had bought just didn’t look quite right.
But the evening didn’t go on too long for this group. The ladies had to hustle home to rest up for the next day of fashion.
One poor soul had to wait at the curb just a couple minutes longer than planned. Seems the valets brought the wrong Bentley. You just know they all look alike.