2017 Crystal Charity Ball Hit The Mountain Tops Of Fundraising With Fabulous Fashions, Feasting And Faces At “An Evening In The Alps”

The munchkins wandering through the Anatole toward the hotel’s Peppermint Park must have thought the Crystal Charity Ball’s “An Evening In The Alps” was part of the Park layout on Saturday, December 2. So did their parents, as they shot photos of the kids standing in front of the snowy hill scene with red sleigh tilted picture-perfect on the upper level of the Chantilly Ballroom’s lobby.

Bob McCreath, Brandon Perella, Medley Wollenman, Vin and Pam Perella, Lauren Perella, Adam Ryan and Carolyn Curl

The backdrop proved to be ideal also for the CCB crowd in their finery. First to try it out was 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella and her family (husband Vin Perella, mom Carolyn Curl, dad Bob McCreath, daughter Lauren Perella with Adam Ryan and son Brandon Perella with Medley Wollenman). That was quickly followed by a snap of Pam with the members of her leadership committee (Anne Besser, Leslie Diers, Elizabeth Gambrell, Cheryl Joyner and Kristina Whitcomb).

Elizabeth Gambrell, Cheryl Joyner, Pam Perella, Leslie Diers, Kristina Whitcomb and Anne Besser

No sooner had the final official photos been taken than the 1,500+ guests, including Diane and Hal Brierley, Barbara and Ralph Babb, Luanne and Aaron McWhorter, Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Martha and Doug Hawthorne, Liat and Amit Berger, Calee Dillon, Christina and Christopher Durovitch, Lee Bailey, Brent Christopher, Robin Robinson, Lindalyn Adams with grandson Carlton Adams, Greg Bieberding, Eddie Ortega, Isabell Novakov with Trey Higginbotham, Kathleen Gibson, Kim and Greg Hext, Linda Perryman Evans, Joanna Clarke with Michael Royal, Cindy Stager with Oscar Durham, Kristen and Reed Gibbins, Kristi and Ron Hoyl, Angela Nash with Billy Martin Jr., Margot and Bill Goodwin, Louise and Guy Griffeth, Caroline Rose Hunt with Del Frnka, Karen and David Shuford, Barbara and John Stuart, John Clutts, Dr. Sami Arslanlar, Billie Leigh Rippey with daughter Paige Locke, Norma Hunt with son Dan Hunt and his wife Toni Munoz-Hunt, Brenda and Bob White, Su-Su and Jerry Meyer, Dana and Greg McGowan, Scott Everett with Kristy Lohse, Elizabeth and Paul Dougan, Susan McSherry with John Zogg, Jan and Fred Hegi, Peggy and Dr. Dan Meyer, Laura and Paul Hudson, Andrea Devaldenebro and Leonardo Gonzalez Sangri, Amy and Michael Meadows, Kimberly and Justin Whitman, Stacey and John Relton and the Neiman’s crowd (Mimi and Rich Sterling, Neva Hall and soon-to-retire Malcolm Reuben with wife Vinnie Reuben), arrived through a tree-lined entry hall that immediately set the mood with a whiff of the evergreen.

Christina and Christopher Durovich

Ralph and Barbara Babb

Jerry and Su-Su Meyer

Trey Higginbotham and Isabell Novakov

Lindalyn Adams and Carlton Adams

Calee Dillon and Amit and Liat Berger

Oscar Durham and Cindy Stager

Del Frnka and Caroline Rose Hunt

Pat and Charles McEvoy and Jill and Bob Smith

Norma Hunt, Dan Hunt and Toni Munoz-Hunt

Lee Bailey

Mimi and Rich Sterling

Malcolm and Vinnie Reuben

Since the evening’s temperatures didn’t require outerwear, guests bypassed the coat check and headed to the gaming tables, the lavish silent auction gallery, James French’s pop-up studio, The Alpine Shop for perusing and the rustic “warming hut” with its mountains of shrimp and buffets of other delicacies.

And, of course, there were the CCB committee members with the balloons selling chance tickets for the 2018 Lexus. CCB newbie Lisa Singleton was joined by CCB vet Lynn McBee in selling raffle tickets. Her goal was $15,000, but within the first 20 minutes she had only sold $350. A few minutes later, she had doubled that amount. Things were looking up.

CCB-ers Lisa Cooley and Alison Malone set up shop at a table to the left of the entry and next to the bar. They had come in second last year and were bound and determined to sell the most tickets this year. Not only did they, but Alison’s husband/advertising guru Mike Malone told Katherine and Key Coker that Alison won the raffle last year and it would bring them good luck to buy their ticket from her. He was right. The Cokers had the winning ticket. And, yes, Lisa and Alison sold the most tickets of the night.

Key and Katherine Coker

Jim and Kristen Hinton

Among the first-time guests in the crowd were Baylor Scott Scott and White Health CEO Jim Hinton and his wife Kristen Hinton and Dallas Summer Musical’s Ken Novice and his wife Kouy Novice. Despite having been in town just seven months, Ken reported that the DSM had just signed a 20-year partnership agreement with Broadway Across America and is planning on an aggressive outreach to young people — around Fair Park and via the Dallas Independent School District. He admitted that, “We’re going to need to increase our budget,” which means stepping up fundraising efforts. He also wants to update the Music Hall at Fair Park, including changes in parking and traffic flows and increasing seating capacity.

John Clutts, Ken and Kouy Novice and Sami Arslanlar

And speaking of business, RED Development’s Paul Rowsey was optimistic about Amazon’s coming to North Texas. He believes Amazon will split its new headquarters between two cities, with Dallas having a good chance of being one of them… Ben Lange was introducing Evelyn Costello, who had just been named executive director for Luke’s Fastbreak Shirts.

Evelyn Costello and Ben and Tracy Lange

Robyn and Don Conlon

But it wasn’t just guys talking business. Former CCB Chair Robyn Conlon was beaming over her son Keith Conlon’s recent accomplishments. Not only did he get $10K taken off the price of his Rangers 2018 season tickets after hitting a home run over the Bud sign at Globe Life Park, but Keith had just been named general manager at Allie Beth Allman and Associates as well.

Midway through the cocktail reception, word was passed — “Do you know Tagg?” Was it a new social media hashtag? There was just a bit of distress as the question continued to be asked. The answer was that, thanks to high-tech cars, “Mr. Tagg” had left his car running with the valet and joined the throng inside. Only problem was he had taken the key with him. When he disappeared into the throng inside, the car dutifully came to a grinding stop, creating an unplanned conversation piece blocking the valet line. Finally, he …or, more importantly, his key was found and the flow of high-end vehicles rolled back into place.

And while the crowd grew in the lobby, the final preparations were being made in the Chantilly Ballroom for the doors to open at 9 p.m. The ballroom’s walls were covered with shimmering floor-to-ceiling draping, with towering screens displaying videos of wintry ventures. A mammoth stage was set up along the back of the ballroom for the bands.

At Pam’s and Annette Simmons’ table were monogrammed napkins along with gargantuan floral arrangements. 

Other tables also impressed with centerpieces highlighted by candles in suspended globes hovering over silver tablecloths, crystal. In the chairs were such favors at Tiffany boxes containing Tiffany weave porcelain bowls and the 2017 Children’s Book and the 2018 Calendar.

Right on cue, the Anatole’s Catherine New did the countdown for the staff to open the doors at 9 p.m. to the elegant dinner starting with a first course (poached lobster and roasted beets , arugula and frisée salad and grilled figs, shaved fennel, pickled watermelon radish, citrus mountain blooms and champagne vinaigrette) followed by the entrée (grilled filet of beef, roasted Cipollini red wine demi-glace, gratin dauphinoise, grilled farmer’s market carrots and turnips and seared asparagus). For dessert, it was Toblerone Swiss milk chocolate mousse with honey and almond nougat, Basler Brunsli crisp and coconut snow.

Ciara Cooley, Bela Cooley and Isabell Terry

Betsy Crousen

Dwight and Claire Emanuelson

Libby and Al Allred

But as glorious as the room and menu were, the CCB guests once again were setting a standard for OMG fashion with the ladies in labels bearing such names as Herrera (Pam Perella, Christi Urschel, Jennifer Dix, Piper Wyatt, Kristina Whitcomb, Laura Moon), Zac Posen (Claire Emanuelson, Pat McEvoy, Delilah Boyd, Patty Leyendecker), Pamela Roland (Lisa Troutt, Gail Fischer), Armani (Paige Slates), Anne Fontaine (Amy Hegi), Chanel (DeeDee Lee), Dior (Betsy Crousen, Kara Goss and Dianna Miller), Badgley Mischka (Nikki Webb), Tom Ford (Heather Esping), Galvan (Lynn McBee), Oscar (Annette Simmons, Lisa Singleton), Tom and Linda Platt (Cheryl Joyner) Lela Rose (Linda Secrest), Marchesa (Ciara Cooley), Etro (Janie Condon), Escada (Caren Kline), Mackenzie Brittingham (Bela Cooley, Nancy Collins), Worth Collection (Alicia Wood), Patti Flowers (Lisa Cooley, Tanya Foster) and Michael Faircloth (Tracy Lange, Tiffany Divis, Mary Martha Pickens, Libby Allred, Elsa Norwood, Diane Byrd, Sue Scala, Stephanie Scala). Michael is probably in designer recovery.

On their well-pedicured feet were such slippers as Jimmy Choo, Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Weitzman, Rene Caovilla, Gianvito Rossi and Adrianna Papell.

Needless to say, Judith Leiber dominated the clutch department, followed by Chanel, Charlotte Max Design, Alexander McQueen, YSL and Jimmy Choo.

And, of course, it just wouldn’t have been a glittery affair without the bling-bling from Eiseman, Diamonds Direct, Bachendorf, Neiman’s, Sue Gragg, deBoulle, Julianna LeBlanc, William Noble, Cartier, Tiffany and family treasures.

Kara and Randall Goss and Dianna Miller

Delilah and Sam Boyd

Pete and Tanya Foster and Alicia and Scott Wood

Paige and John Slates

Crayton and Nikki Webb

 

Mike and Piper Wyatt

DeeDee Lee and Randy and Ginny Bailey

Tiffany and Paul Divis

But the most popular look of the night for the ladies was the caterpillar false eyelashes that would have made Liz Taylor’s double row of lashes look thin. It seems that along with having hair done, makeup applied and nails polished, one must have an appointment to have an extra layer of lashes.

On the other hand, the gents in the crowd held their own with tuxedos by Bob Baumann (Richard Dix), Chris Despos (Clay Cooley), Isaia (Vin Perella), J. Hilburn (Kenny Troutt), Bruno Cucinelli (Dwight Emanuelson), Edward Baumann Clothiers (Scott Wood), Zegna (Charles McEvoy), Q Custom Clothier (Al Allred) and loads of Armani (David Condon, John Slates, Les Secrest).

Amy Simmons and Joe Crafton

Lisa and Kenny Troutt

Laura and Dennis Moon

Christie Carter and Hudson Weischel

Simply Irresistible

Mary and Robert Black and Cliff Fischer

As Atlanta’s Simply Irresistible took the stage, Amy Simmons and husband Joe Crafton were the first on the dance floor followed by Francie Moody-Dahlberg and husband Kevin Dalhberg, Laura and Dennis Moon, Mary and Robert Black, Gail and Cliff Fischer, Christie Carter and Hudson Weischel, Connie and Denny Carreker, Pam and Vin and Leslie and Bryan Diers.

Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse

Kelli and Jerry Ford

Jerry Jones

Gayle Stoffel, Gene Jones and Anita Arnold

Having just as much fun on the sidelines were Michal Powell, Aileen and Jack Pratt, Mary Clare Finney with Chris Branscum and Annette Simmons’ “Jerry table” including her husband Jerry Fronterhouse, Jerry Ford with wife Kelli Ford and Jerry Jones with wife Gene Jones as well as Anita and Truman Arnold and Gayle and Paul Stoffel. But the music was too hard to resist, so soon Annette and her Jerry were on the dance floor, too.

JUST IN: 2018 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses, Escorts And Details Revealed

The 2018 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas details including the 40 duchesses, escorts and beneficiaries were revealed at announcement reception last night at Belo Mansion.

Anne Besser (File photo)

Elizabeth Gambrell (File photo)

La Fiesta Co-Chairs Anne Besser and Elizabeth Gambrell and their committee have selected the gala theme to be “Exploring Colores de Espana” to “highlight the art, architecture and breathtaking colors associated with the landspaces and seascapes of Spain.” The black-tie presentation at the Hilton Anatole on Saturday, June 9, will be chaired by Mary Parker and Pam Stegenga.

Mary Parker (File photo)

Pam Stegenga (File photo)

Representing various duchies will be Elizabeth Lawson Armistead, Erin Elizabeth Arthur, Madeleine Ainsley Basso, Marguerite Grace Bellman, Virginia Grace Carlile, Carly Paige Cooper, Caroline Cox Cooper, Elizabeth Lynne Copeland, Natalie Ann Dargene, Alex Ann Echols, Kara Littlefield Fronterhouse, Kate Manon Gioldasis, Victoria Elizabeth Gregory, Sharon Rebecca Hayhurst, Neva Lynne Henderson, Amanda Paige Hodak, Jennifer Elizabeth Humann, Gracelyn Marie Hunt, Claire Demontigny Johnson, Caroline Sinclair Keith, Sydney Elise Kilpatrick, Mary Sullins Lancaster, Abigail Marie Lindwall, Katherine Schutt Lorio, Mira Caroline Martin, Avery Hardin Mercurio, Landry Kathryn Myers, Margaret Anne Petty, Elizabeth Grace Reid, Flora Kate Richards, Brooke Elizabeth Rothwell, Maryellen Rebecca Salter, Margaret Claire Sarfatis, Kyla Ann Sayre, Caroline Grace Sloan, Sarah Katherine Stone, Laura Elizabeth Tedford, Madeline Walker Thomas, Paige Christine Walters and Sophie Jane Ward.

Serving as escorts will be Blake Alexander Beckman, Ernest Tutt Beecherl, Bennett Tyler Brock, Ethan Atwood Cherry, Harlan Robert Crow, John Montgomery Doherty, John Hopps Fain III, Brennan Reece Fewin, Lowell Kuphal Giffin IV, Barrett Southcott Graham, Logan Asher Gwinn, Marshall Slaughter Hammack, Alexander Baron Holmes, Patrick Scott Kennedy, Jack Ware Kozmetsky, Bennett Hill Landen, Matthew Hays Lodwick, Cooper William Marchetto, Kyle Chester Massimilian, Cyrus Armer McCullough, Quillin Stephen McKenney, William Richard McPherson, Griffin Daniel McVeigh, Davis Brown Milton, Jon Phillip Page III, John Mansfield Parsons, Charles Parker Quinn, Carver Andrew Ramey, Nicholas Campbell Ruk, John Clay Sell, Michael Robert Stegenga, Jack Pepper Toohey, David Oakes Turner III, Jack Dunford Vandermeer, Christopher Michael Walker, Stanley Denton Walker IV, Elias Bradshaw Ware, Jonathan Max Welfelt, William James Whitlock and Hudson Smith Wood

This year’s fundraiser will benefit the following 16 organizations: Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, CARE, Connecting Point of Park Cities, Dallas Children’s Theater, The Elisa Project, Friends of the Highland Park Library, Friends of the University Park Public Library, Habitat for Humanity/HPHS Campus Chapter, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Student Emergency Fund, Moody Family YMCA in the Park Cities/HPHS Youth and Government Team and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village.

Since being founded in 1986, the fundraiser has provided more than $8.4M to selected beneficiaries that help meet the educational, cultural, and civic needs throughout the Park Cities area.

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Came Off Flawlessly Despite Some Behind-The-Scenes Hiccups

There was the most glorious, huge orange sphere hovering over North Texas on Saturday, June 10. After days of drizzle, lighting and thunder, the skies were pristine. And this was summer!

Over at The Fairmont Dallas, it was equally perfect for the 31st  Annual La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas … except for a needle and thread situation and too many toasts.

Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning

But first the backstory. Overseeing the months of La Fiesta preparations were Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning. Among the committee heads were the Gala Co-Chairs Anne Besser and Michelle Johnson. Those four were known for running a tight ship and still maintaining a smile and cool composure. Each year one of the six flags that had been part of Texas history was selected as the theme. This year it was France, and the ladies were delighted with the theme “La Fete Royal.” They were inspired by the 2017 beneficiaries (C.A.R.E., Connecting Points of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place, Friends of University Park Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, HPHS Science Festival, HPHS Student Emergency Fund, HPHS Youth and Government/Moody Family YMCA and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village) to raise the funds.

Anne Besser and Michelle Johnson

But hiccups happen even to the best.

The first one was a real hit. The Anatole had to pull out from holding the event due to a convention or something. Anne and Michelle put out calls and locked down The Fairmont. The smiles said it turned out to work with the French theme, since The Fairmont was French-owned.

But Anne, who will be overall co-chair with Elizabeth Gambrell for 2018, reported that not only would they be returning to the Anatole, but the Anatole team came through this year with additional staging without a charge or hesitation.  

As for the relocation, it required some adjustments. The tried-and-true, 17,967-square-foot Fairmont Regency Ballroom just didn’t have as much space as the 30,360-square-foot Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom. So sacrifices had to be made. The number one was the dance floor, which meant no post-presentation dance for the couples. Another issue was accommodating all who wanted to attend. The tables of black-tie guests were downright cozy.

But it was all coming together. After all, it was the first time that the Duchesses, who had just finished their freshman year in college, were able to see former high school classmate. It was like a black-tie class reunion.

However, the mammoth group pictures that were to be taken in the ballroom as parents and friends cocktailed in the adjoining lobby ran into a bump in the road. Photographer James French and his team were already with cameras in hand. The ladder was set dead center at the end of the runway. The idea of photographing 40 Duchesses in ball gowns and their escorts was a daunting challenge. But James and his folks were old hands at this situation.

2017 Duchesses and escorts waiting for the final four

However, it seemed that not all the Duchesses and escorts realized this wasn’t a casual selfie. There was a schedule to be kept. The escort group photo was delayed by five minutes due to some MIA escorts. Next, the group photo of all 40 Duchesses and their 40 escorts was on the list. Only when the headcount took place, four Duchesses were missing. It seems they were “being sewn into their gowns.” Five minutes passed, then 10. The couples that had stood so erect for the photo setup were now seated on the stage. The clock kept ticking, and still the foursome was missing. Evidently one designer was responsible for all four dresses. When James was asked if they should go ahead and shoot the photo without the four, the presentation photo vet knew just the right answer: “That’s not my call.”

Napkin with honey bee ornament

Still they waited. Finally, just minutes before the ballroom doors opened, the tardy Duchesses arrived to applause by the 76.

Quickly, the group photo and the Duchesses’-only photo were taken. James removed the ladder and just in time, as the doors to the ballroom opened and the chimes called all 900 guests to their seats, where they discovered elegant place settings with napkins tied in bows and topped off with French symbolic honey bee ornaments.

Eliza Parker, Jackson Parker and Gwen and Doug Parker

Rick and Allison Kraft and Angela and Brad Cheves

Jack Gosnell and Ellison Gosnell

Around the room were the Parker clan (Gwen and Doug Parker with their kids Eliza Parker and Jackson Parker) to see son Luke Parker escorting Lillian Cockerell, Angela and Brad Cheves were on hand for son/escort Conner Cheves, who was escorting Duchess Sarah Unkefer, Leslie and Jack Gosnell were front-rowing it for daughter/Duchess Ellison Gosnell. Was it really that long ago that Jack had been the escort pick of the debutante crowd?

Rock Le Minuette

Rock Le Minuette

The presentation started off with the escorts parading from the back of the ballroom via the runway to their places on the stage. Then a couple arrived on stage dressed in 18th century French attire and started performing “Rock Le Minuette,” starting with an elegant Baroque  with the escorts in the background. Suddenly, the mood changed with the male assisting the young woman out of her billowing skirt revealing long legs encased in fishnet stockings. The tempo picked up and so did the couple as the gent picked her up on his shoulder and whirled around. Still the escorts stood solemnly. 

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas escorts

After a brief welcome by Rebecca and Nancy, the escorts (Nick Alexander, Paxton Baird, Grayson Borrego, Henry  Bould, Watson Brown, Christopher Buell Jr., Harrison Buford, Ty Burke Jr., William Caldwell, Kevin Cassidy, Conner Cheves, JD Cochran, Cole Ellis, Robert Farrow, Vale Fitzpatrick IV, Stanton Geyer, Thomas Glieber, Chase Govett, Garrett Hall, Bobby Hrncir, Cade Kimzey, William Kraft V, Parker Lacour, Mitchell Laughlin, Spencer Lorio, Jack Martin III, Hoyt Matise, Charles Mencke III, Wade Nicolas III, Charlie O’Brien, Austin Overton, Luke Parker, Adam Rathjen, Turner Rejebian, Barton Showalter, Benjamin Smith, Zach Snelling, Sam Stewart, Matthew Vandermeer and Hunt Wood Jr.) were individually introduced and exited. Then the formal presentation took place, with eight Duchesses being introduced on their fathers’ arm. As each of the 40 Duchesses (Emily Anwar, Clara Beecherl, Elizabeth Bradshaw, Kate Brayshaw, Laura Brayshaw, Anna Buford, Jeanne Ann Bullington, Helena Burns, Ellie Bush, Keaton Calhoun, Emily Carvell, Lillian Cockerell, Annie Combs, Elizabeth Cooper, Katie Dalton, Elizabeth DeBeer, Fields Dunston, Maddie Fehlman, Ellison Gosnell, Claire Green, Kristen Haggerty, Elizabeth Hubbard, Shanley Huckabee, Savanna Jones, Hannah Jurgensmeyer, Kendall Klingaman, Lane McCormick, Alexandra McGeoch, Caroline McGeoch, Dorothy Meachum, Clare Obenchain, Caroline Robertson, Avery Roosien, Peyton Schlachter, Madison Stuart, Madison Tedford, Madeline Toole, Sarah Unkefer, Emily Weisfeld and Erica Yaguchi) walked the runway, emcee Al Raya described her duchy.

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses

It came off without a hitch on stage.

Jeanne Anne Bullington and Michael Bullington

Elizabeth DeBeer and Bob DeBeer

Claire Green and Arthur Green

Sam Dalton and Katie Dalton

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite the same in the audience. During the early part of the presentation, the guests were quiet to hear the narration and to watch the deep bows. However, by the fourth round of eight couples, some adults had been fueled by trips to the bar, resulting in their returning to their tables and sounding oblivious that there were still Duchesses being announced. A couple of gals were feeling no pain as they greeted friends at a nearby table loud enough that the announcer couldn’t be heard.

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses and escorts

But the Duchesses and escorts soldiered on, concluding with all 80 on stage for a final bravo. They then joined their families and friends for a seated dinner, followed by dancing and a “late-night party” in the International Ballroom.

However, some of the honorees didn’t quite make it to the International Ballroom. It seems that the day’s activities may have gotten the best of one or two of them. It surely couldn’t have been due to imbibing, though, since organizers had stated in the program, “It is unlawful to serve alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of twenty-one. Valid identification will be required.”

For more than 50 photos of the Duchesses and guests, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Fashion Guru Tim Gunn, Who’s In ‘Awe’ Of Dallas Women, Attracts Huge Crowd To CPD’s 10th Anniversary Chick Lit Luncheon

Anyone doubting the popularity in Dallas of “Project Runway” co-host/producer Tim Gunn should have checked out the scene at the Friday, April 1, Chick Lit Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole. The event benefiting Community Partners of Dallas and featuring the author and TV star drew a crowd of 1,100—up from the annual luncheon’s 650 or so that it’s usually drawn at its longtime venue, Brook Hollow Country Club.

This was Chick Lit’s 10th anniversary luncheon, but surely the huge crowd wasn’t due only to that? “I give credit to our chairs—and to Tim,” CPD President and CEO Paige McDaniel said before the luncheon at the VIP reception in the Anatole’s Stemmons Ballroom. “All girls like fashion, and he’s just … well, when Joanna [Clarke, CPD’s development VP] and I used to talk about guests at our fantasy dinner party, we each had two people in common: Tim Gunn and Jesus!

“So, it was easy this year,” McDaniel went on. “Everybody wanted to come.”

Tim Gunn, Lara and Robert Tafel*

Tim Gunn, Lara and Robert Tafel*

At that moment, the star of the day was demonstrating his charisma across the room at the step-and-repeat, where guests were lined up to meet Gunn and have their photos taken with him. Among them were Elizabeth Gambrell (she’s a CPD director), Anne Stodghill, Dee Simmons, D’Andra Simmons, and Lara Tafel, who was once again the luncheon’s presenting sponsor along with her husband, Dr. Robert Tafel.

Megan Flannagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo and Samantha Wortley*

Megan Flannagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo and Samantha Wortley*

Jennifer Evans Morris, Krissy Turner and Lauren Reed*

Jennifer Evans Morris, Krissy Turner and Lauren Reed*

Soon Dr. Bob joined his wife for a photo with Gunn, who promptly remarked on the doctor’s colorful pocket square. The TV star pulled the handkerchief out of Tafel’s suit coat, demonstrated another way to fold such an adornment, and then stuffed it back into Bob’s breast pocket—much to Bob and Lara’s delight.

Soon enough, the 1,100 guests including CPD Board Chair Krissy Turner, Jocelyn White, Lee Bailey, Lisa Cooley, Faisal Halum, Holly Davis, Lori Williams, Alissa Gearing, Jennifer Evans Morris, Lauren Reed, Megan Flanagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo, Samantha Wortley, Katherine Coker and Simona Beal began making their way into the Imperial Ballroom upstairs.

Kristi Hoyl*

Kristi Hoyl*

Nancy Rogers and Brian Bolke*

Nancy Rogers and Brian Bolke*

Luncheon Chair Kristi Hoyl made the welcoming remarks, thanking the Tafels, Honorary Chair Brian Bolke, Underwriting Chairs Cindy Stager and Jill Tananbaum, and Paige and Joanna (“they are angels walking on the earth”). Then Kristi brought up Rev. Elizabeth Moseley from Highland Park United Methodist Church, who delivered the invocation. (Rev. Moseley, BTW, was introduced as a “minister of discipline,” rather than with her actual title, “minister of discipleship.” Hmmmm. Maybe Queenie needs to hire a minister of discipline for misbehaving elves.)

Paige McDaniel and Jill Bee*

Paige McDaniel and Jill Bee*

After lunch was served—a delicious Mediterranean chicken salad and a strawberry “Happy Birthday” cupcake—videos were played honoring Jill C. Bee with the 2016 Partners for Children Award and the Tafels, who were presented with the 10th Anniversary Champions of Hope Award. Then Paige took the stage, telling how all the guests had “agonized over our outfits” trying to impress Gunn, before launching into a tearful talk about children who’d been helped by CPD, like two toddlers nicknamed Princess and King. Paige gave way to Bolke, who introduced the featured speaker as one of two people who’ve had a profound recent influence on the fashion world (the other, he said, was Sarah Jessica Parker of TV’s “Sex and the City”).

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Tim Gunn*

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Tim Gunn*

With that, Gunn—a former chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne Inc. who’s written four books—mounted the stage along with Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, who would interview him. Kim began by asking the fashion guru what led him to write books (his latest is titled “The Natty Professor: A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating, and Making It Work!”). Gunn, the son of an FBI agent, grew up with words and books, he replied, and developed an interest in fashion history as an academic at the Parsons School of Design. “Most of the books [about fashion] are giant snoozefests,” he said. He set out to take a livelier approach, crediting the success of such works as “Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible and “Gunn’s Golden Rules in part to his editor and co-writer, Ava Calhoun.

Kim asked next what’s behind Gunn’s “kind but firm” approach to young designers on Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” now entering its 14th season. “I can’t want you to succeed more than you do,” Gunn said he tells the fledgling designers. In lieu of direct criticism he peppers them with questions about their design choices, hoping they’ll eventually see what he sees. What’s his favorite of Gunn’s “golden rules”? “The world owes you absolutely nothing!” he replied quickly. “Even though young people don’t like it. … We each have to make our own way and establish our value.” Gunn also explained his “TEACH” philosophy with students and mentees, using an explanation for each letter in the acronym: Truth-telling; Empathy; Asking lots of questions; Cheerleading; and Hoping for the best.

Tim Gunn*

Tim Gunn*

Prompted by his interviewer, Gunn said that when it comes to fashion, “I’d rather work with women than with men. Women are more open to experimentation, and men are so ridiculously intractable. I’ll tell them, ‘Good heavens, it’s a shirt. Put it on!’ ” He also complimented Dallas women on their fashion sense, adding, “I’m in awe of you! … I’d like to take you home with me!” Expanding on fashion in general, he said most people wear their clothes too big. (“Never use the phrase, ‘I only dress for comfort’ with me,” he said. “If you want to feel like you’re in your pajamas, don’t get out of bed.”) He also ripped the current “athleisure” trend including yoga pants, tights, and leggings worn as pants. “It’s an excuse to be a slob,” he said, calling leggings “a form of underwear.”

Wrapping up with a few questions from the audience, Gunn was asked his advice for budding designers. Since designers are barometric measures of our culture, he answered, they should watch TV and movies, read blogs and newspapers, and “assimilate it all” in order to “have a point of view and know who you are. [Knowledge of] construction is important, too,” Gunn said in conclusion, “as are perseverance and tenacity.”

The thunderous applause from the big crowd that followed was a testament to the fashion guru’s tremendous popularity, as mentioned by Paige at the VIP reception. But so, too, was the long wait for their cars that some in the huge crowd had to endure in the lengthy valet line. Although the luncheon wrapped up by about 1:15, some 50 guests were still standing outdoors in the cold breeze, scanning the horizon hopefully for their vehicles, nearly an hour later. There were just too darn many cars, it seems, for the valets to easily handle.

* Photos provided by Community Partners of Dallas