The Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Fashion Show is not the show-iest. It’s not the highest money maker. It’s not the biggest. But still there’s a gentility and quality to it that has made it one of Dallas’ must-attend events.
This year’s Equest fundraiser proved that point with laser precision on Tuesday, October 8, at Brook Hollow.
As the Equest mini-ambassadors (Tex and Sugar) grazed in the grass outside in picture perfect weather, 400 guests including Neiman Marcus Downtown’s Jeff Byron, designer Jan Barboglio, Lindalyn Adams, loads of 10 Best Dressed (Nancys Carter and Rogers, Robyn Conlon, Claire Emanuelson, Lynn McBee, Kim Miller, Pam Perella, Lisa Troutt, Ellen Winspear, etc.) arrived.
Before the fashions from Highland Park Village (Lela Rose, Diane von Furstenberg, Leggiadro, Anne Fontaine, Stella McCartney/Kids, Escada, Trina Turk, Saint Laurent Paris and Carolina Herrera) were on the runway, Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Ann Dyer reported that the auxiliary had doubled its membership in the past year. After recognizing key people in the audience, Luncheon Chair Tiffany Divis and Underwriting Chair Jennifer Houser presented Honorary Chair Francie Moody-Dahlberg with a Tiffany blue box.
The mood changed to a heart-rending one when Tina Wentz described the importance of Equest in the life of her late son Jonathan, who died just a year ago. She told how each horse that had worked with Jonathan had impacted his all-too-short life.
A video was shown which further explained the effect of Equest on children in the program. A quote summed up the confidence and feeling instilled in program participants: “If a child can control a 1,000-pound animal, why can’t they go out and control their own lives?”
That was a hard act to follow, but jeweler/horse lover Bill Noble, who has recently been named president of the newly formed Equest Men’s Auxiliary, handled it with charm and humor. In addition to his and wife Lezlie’s both being raised on ranches, Bill scored major points saying, “Dallas is a city where women do all the work.” Being the consummate salesman, he then followed it up with a pitch for the ladies to have their husbands sign up for the men’s auxiliary. When he told the group about the upcoming Equest Men’s Auxiliary Golf Classic on November 3 and 4, Jocelyn White hollered out from the audience that women could play in the tournament, too.
Next up was Equest Women’s Auxiliary Founder Louise Griffeth, who presented her dear friend and Equest supporter Nancy Carter with the Community Service Award in another Tiffany blue box.
It was now time for the show, with the kid models upstaging all the pros once again. Pops in the audience who rearranged their schedules to see their model children included Key Coker. His son Key Jr. last year proved himself a real showman and he once again didn’t disappoint.
But a fashion show is more than showcasing the latest and hottest fashions of the upcoming season. It’s about raising money for the organization. Event producer Jan Strimple explained how she did it in this case: “We literally saved about $5,000 on lighting. We were able to focus existing overhead lights on the runway, plus use chandeliers. It’s all about saving money and making money for the charity.”