Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show Ponied Up With Fashions, Awards And Laughs Thanks To Chair Beth Thoele

Beth Thoele and Angie Kadesky

There are those rare people in fundraising who literally break the ice much to the delight of others with their oops and refreshing spontaneity. On Tuesday, October 3, Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele rose to the pinnacle of those ranks of endearment.

Initially, it was a challenge with the weather. One guests swore, “Houston shipped their humidity up here.”

Equest team

Still, the ladies marshaled on as they checked in at the club’s porte-cochere just past the Equest mini-ambassadors, Cisco and Dare, and the dapper riders on their steeds. While the equine set was quite content on the club’s lawn, the guests like Equest Board of Directors Chair Andy Steingasser, Sarah LosingerCara French, Melinda Rathke, Nuz Morshed, Allison Presser, Stacey Walker, Emilynn Wilson and Joanna Clarke discovered rows of beverages awaiting them. One gal announced, “There’s a mimosa with my name on it.”

Inside the club, the ballroom was filling to the max with the likes of Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Angie Kadesky, Equest Executive Director Lili Kellogg, Sarah Losinger, Lisa Cooley, Linda SecrestJennifer Dix, Pam Perella, Leslie Diers, Christie Carter, Claire Emanuelson, Amy Hegi, Libby Hegi, Leigh Anne Haugh, Jennifer Swift and Vicki Howland.

Nuz Morshed, Melinda Rathke and Allison Presser

Leslie Diers, Pam Perella, Christie Carter and Claire Emanuelson

But according to schedule, the infamous voice over the PA system stressed the need to get guests in chairs, which this crew did.

Considered the little sister of the Crystal Charity Ball (perhaps that’s because so many past chairs, presidents and attendees are CCB-ers), there was a certain panache in the air.

Robyn and Don Conlon

Unlike the week-ago KidneyTexas Runway Report with celeb emcee Ron Corning with a glittery crutch and KLUV’s Jody Dean raising funds with a live auction, this one is traditionally as proper at your grandmother’s thank-you notes. Instead of a live auction or the fearful shout-out for funds, there is just a certain simplicity that keeps things a-going.

Reins of Hope scarf

 After Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Angie Kadesky introduced Tova Sido for the invocation, Beth arrived at the podium to present Honorary Chair Robyn Conlon with her husband Don Conlon at her side and daughters-in-law Marybeth Conlon and slowly-becoming-blonde Megan Conlon.

Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne

Beth then announced that a one-of-a-kind scarf had been created by Katherine Coker celebrating Equest and would be on sale at the lunch for $150. She then introduced Mother of Equest Women’ Auxiliary Founder Louise Griffeth, who reported that despite last year’s anonymous matching offer, they were gearing up to top that number for the Equest Hooves for Heroes and other programs supported by Equest. The 2017 Equest Awards for Community Service Co-Honorees/sisters Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne were presented Tiffany boxes by a couple of hunky dressage-attired fellas.

But this year there was an unplanned twist. It was Beth. Sure, she had a script, but it didn’t always go as planned. For instance, in announcing that she was handing over the “reins” to 2018 Luncheon chair Heather Randall, she said, “Good luck.” But there was a slight tone in Beth’s voice that resulted in the crowd busting out in laughter. Beth quickly recovered saying that she meant really, sincerely good luck. The laughter only continued.

Veronica Beard fashion

Hadleigh fashion

Lela Rose fashion

Escada fashion

Etro fashion

Market fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

Then it was on with the show with fashions from HP Village merchants Veronica Beard, Hadleigh’s, Lela Rose, Escada, Etro, Market and Carolina Herrera. Naturally, the willowy, poreless models were upstaged by the adorable munchkins in Hadleigh’s fashions.

The show was well edited with HP Village merchants videotaping their merchandise on the catwalk.

So as the guest adjourned to their tables, what was the talk of the day? St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon Co-Chair Nancy Gopez was receiving congrats on moving the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of North Texas fundraiser to NorthPark Center… Table talk was about what TV shows were being watched — “Game of Thrones,” “Rain,”  etc. ….Tanya Foster was snapping shots of The Garden Gate centerpieces with a spanking new iPhone 8 Plus. Seems husband Pete Foster was using Tanya as sort of a guinea pig and was holding out for the iPhone 10… Lisa Ogle was writing a check for a scarf or one of the centerpieces…Mary Meier-Evans had to duck out early and get back to work at Sons of the Flag.

Despite all the festivities and laughter, no one knew that in the days preceding, red-haired Beth had been masterfully juggling another life issue… her mother-in-law had been in hospice and died the weekend before. But that is Beth. She champions on with compassion and without a glimmer of self-pity.   

For more photos of the fashions and faces, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show

Beth Thoele and Angie Kadesky

During the fundraising luncheon circuit, some guests get jaded by the very scripted and rehearsed speakers at the podium. On Tuesday, October 3, at Brook Hollow Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Style Show Chair Beth Thoele received great vibrations as her refreshing and off-the-cuff remarks broke the guests into smiles, chuckles and one really big laugh.

Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne

Robyn and Don Conlon

Following Beth, the awards presentation of the Community Service Award to sisters Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne and recognizing Honorary Chair Robyn Conlon, the runway was filled with an array of Highland Park Village fashion curated by fashion producer Jan Strimple.  

Veronica Beard fashion

Hadleigh fashions

Lela Rose fashion

Escada fashion

Etro fashion

Market fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

While the post is being prepared, check out the peeps and fashion at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Fashion Show

According to 2017 Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Fashion Show Chairman Beth Thoele,

Beth Thoele (File photo)

Equest Therapeutic Horsemanship was founded in 1981 and was the first riding center in Texas for children and adults with all types of physical, cognitive, emotional and learning disabilities. One of the organization’s most important sources for funding is the annual Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Fashion presented by Highland Park Village.

We have selected “Reins of Hope” as this year’s theme for the luncheon that will be at Brook Hollow Golf Club on Tuesday, October 3. The event will include presentation of the Equest Award for Community Service to Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne whose family has been longtime supporters of the organization. In addition, Equest stalwart and philanthropist Robyn Conlon is serving as honorary chairman and will be recognized for her contributions to the community.

Elisa Summers (File photo)

Heather Washburne (File photo)

Robyn Conlon (File photo)

Jan Strimple (File photo)

The day’s activities will include a runway fashion show produced by the renowned Jan Strimple, featuring clothes from Highland Park Village retailers, seated luncheon and raffle.  We will reveal the participating fashion partners in early September.

Help us empower, enrich and educate through horses by visiting www.equest.org.

The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show And Luncheon Had Guests Shopping And Re-Invented Fashions On The Runway

Even before the official open got underway, the cars were lined up for The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show and Luncheon at the Meyerson on Tuesday, May 2. Perhaps the reason was the sneak peek of the Chic Boutique of “experienced” clothes and accessories.

Joyann King

Surprisingly, most guests headed to the Opus Restaurant, where the silent auction was taking place. It didn’t take long for the smart shoppers to bird-dog the goodies on the upper level where folks like Tracy Lange, Dee Simmons and others checked out the racks curated by Tootsies. Among the shoppers was HarpersBazaar.com Executive Editor Joyann King. When asked if she had missed attending the Met’s red carpet the night before, she smiled and didn’t hesitate —“No.”

Despite a scheduled VIP group photo scheduled for 10, it didn’t happen. Event Chair D’Andra Simmons-Lock was behind the scenes taking care of last-minute details; Majors Barbara and Jonathan Rich were at the front managing things along with Women’s Auxiliary President Kathie King and daughter Joyann.

Suzanne Palmlund, Dee Simmons and Marian Barnes

Billie Leigh Rippey

Ramona Jones and Julie Patrick

Barbara Daseke

Louise Griffeth and Carol Seay

As the crowd including Bobbie Sue Williams, Linda Custard, Chris Hite, Mary Clare Finney, Christie Carter, Ruth Altshuler, Annette Simmons, Connie Carreker, Barbara Daseke, Lynne Sheldon, Angie Kadesky, Pat McEvoy, Suzanne Palmlund,  Marian Barnes, BJ Ward and Louise Griffeth grew, some decided to move into the McDermott Concert Hall. Love the Meyerson, but time and time again guests struggled to find the rows. Perhaps the grand old lady hall needs a little refreshing to make seat finding less challenging.

Dee Collins Torbert

Another problem was the seating of Dee Collins Torbert, who relies on a wheelchair. Her assignment was on the front row of the Orchestra Terrace. While the location provide an ideal place to observe the stage, it also required her to leave her wheelchair and for two gentlemen to help her carefully navigate the three steps down to the front row.

Finally, the chimes rang and Event Producer Jan Strimple’s voice called all to their seats. The lights dimmed. Serving as a backdrop for the “Fashion Is Art…You Are The Canvas!” theme was a wonderful, mammoth curved screen.

D’Andra Simmons Lock

Kicking things off was D’Andra, who told how this event was her dream come true. It has been rewarding and humbling. Recognizing Honorary Co-Chairs Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne, D’Andra told how she and Elisa’s and Heather’s mother Vicki Howland had “prayed together many times” on whether the girls should be part of the fundraiser. It must have worked, because the Al G. Hill Jr. family (BTW, their dad is Al G. Hill Jr.) and the family business — Highland Park Village — served as presenting sponsor. It was a first for the event to have a presenting sponsor.

Kathie then introduced SAWA Founder Margot Perot to present the Margot Perot Award to Ramona Jones. From serving as president of the Women’s Auxiliary of The Salvation Army in 2003 to making and taking food to the Carr P. Collins Center every Thursday for the past 15 years, Ramona has exemplified the purpose of the Margot Perot Award.  

Margot Perot, Ramona Jones and Kathie King

D’Andra then returned to the podium to introduce a video testimony revealing that she had been a victim of domestic abuse with her husband, Jeremy Lock, at her side. While obviously heartrending and sincere, some in the audience wondered who the perpetrator of D’Andra’s suffering was. But the reason for her admission was to support the Salvation Army’s work with such victims.

Following the video, Major Barbara alluded to the fact that the Salvation Army would soon be announcing more news about its domestic violence efforts and how the Army continues its efforts to help those in need.

Simone Garman

With that, cellist Simone Garman performed “Pray,” while a beautiful photomontage by Jeremy of Army clients was displayed on the curved screen behind her. Barbara returned to the podium to thank D’Andra, Jeremy, Kathie and her husband Randy King, Joyann and all involved.

It was a nice transition from Jeremy’s and Simon’s presentation to Joyann’s sharing tidbits about the upcoming fashion season.

  • Think pink
  • Bright, modern floral designs
  • Blue jeans combined with other non-traditional pieces
  • Light, frothy white dress
  • A brand new bag
  • Stripes
  • Blushes on eyes and cheeks and striking blue eye shadow

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show finale

It was then time for the fashion show of gently used clothes that had been adapted for today’s hottest looks courtesy of Strimple’s direction, followed by lunch in the lobby giving organizers enough time to bid on ‘em before the silent auction ended at 2 p.m.

Check out the countless fashions that were on the runway and on their way to new owners at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show And Luncheon

The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show and Luncheon is the one occasion when guests see “old friends” on the runway as models display donated outfits up for bid. There have even been rumors that some ladies have bought back their own outfits, especially after having fashion show producer Jan Strimple edit them to current trends.

D’Andra Simmons Lock

Joyann King

So, when Event Chair D’Andra Simmons Lock moved the fundraiser to the Meyerson on Tuesday, May 2, it called for more clothes, a celeb guest like HarpersBazaar.com Editor Joyann King, honorary co-chairs/sister Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne and a first-ever presenting sponsor.

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

It all came to pass and even more, like a photographic tribute to The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command. So, while the post is underway, check out the faces and fashions at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show Letters About The Annual Fundraiser At Brook Hollow Hit The Mailboxes

Louise Griffeth and Angie Kadesky

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Founder Louise Griffeth’s dining room was jammed the other day with gals. But they weren’t brunching. Instead of plates of croissants and cucumber sandwiches, the ladies with pens in hand were facing stacks of letters inviting Equest friends and supporters to be a part of the Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Style Show.

While Louse and EWA President Angie Kadesky were in the kitchen providing fuel, Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele was in the dining room supervising the handiwork. Beth’s plan was to take the personalized letters to the mailbox on Tuesday following Memorial Day.

Elisa Summers (File photo)

Heather Washburne (File photo)

Before you head to cooler places, check your mailbox. If you don’t find a letter from an EWA-er, don’t feel left out. Chances are that it’s trapped in the postal universe. Just so you don’t have to fret or stalk your postman, here are the highlights. Presented by Highland Park Village, this year’s theme is “Reins of Hope” with Robyn Conlon as honorary chair. The annual Equest Award for Community Service will be presented to sisters Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne.

So, even if the letter didn’t make it through the rain today, ink in Tuesday, October 3, for the Equest fundraiser lunch and fashion show produced by Jan Strimple at Brook Hollow. The Equest Mini Ambassadors are hoping you’ll be there.

Still have questions and can’t wait for your letter? Just check with Beth!

JUST IN: More News Revealed About Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show And Luncheon Revealed Including Presenting Sponsor

Heather Washburne, Al G. Hill Jr and Elisa Summers (File photo)

Heather Washburne, Al G. Hill Jr and Elisa Summers (File photo)

As much as a drag Mondays may be, they also tend to be the day of the week when great news bubbles up. And today is a perfect example.

Just announced is that the annual Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show And Luncheon will have a presenting sponsor! According to Event Chair D’Andra Simmons, the Tuesday, May 2nd fundraiser at the Meyerson for The DFW Metroplex Salvation Army will have the “Al G. Hill Jr. Family (and) Highland Park Village” holding that title.

Makes absolutely perfect sense. After all, Hill daughters/HPV first ladies Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne are the honorary co-chairs.

Another tidbit of news is that Harper’s Bazaar Digital Editor/Event Emcee Joyann King will be bringing “a select group of her colleagues to the show and to the patron party the night before.” Joyann, whose mom Kathie King is The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary president, is also going to provide “some truly remarkable fashions for us to bid on, straight off the New York runway!”

These signs indicate that this year’s fashion show and luncheon are going to be a dramatic change from the past, over the top and make loads of ca-ching!

The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s 2017 Fashion Show And Luncheon Chair D’Andra Simmons Reveals Surprises For Fundraiser

Try as she might, D’Andra Simmons cannot do anything without sparkle, splash and special. In this case, it was The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s 2017 Fashion Show And Luncheon on Wednesday, September 21, at Market.

It was pretty obvious to area shoppers that something was up with the mini-billboard graphic promoting the 20th anniversary of the SAWA fundraiser.

Barbara Rich, Elisa Summers, D'Andra Simmons and Kathie King

Barbara Rich, Elisa Summers, D’Andra Simmons and Kathie King

Then when folks like Elisa Summers, Heather Washburne, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Majors Barbara and Jonathan Rich, The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary President Kathie King and D’Andra posed in front of the billboard, it was definitely hints of what’s to come. And why did that Lynn Dealey illustration include a copy of Harpers Bazaar?

Inside Market, staffers gathered in groups as guests joined among the goodies and what goodies they were.

Vicki Howland and Kim Rozell

Vicki Howland and Kim Rozell

Carol Seay and Jimmy Westcott

Carol Seay and Jimmy Westcott

In the back showroom there was a mammoth graphic in a gold frame about The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex fundraiser, but it would wait until the guests cocktailed in the main room with Ramona Jones, Mary Potter, Lynn McBee, Vicki Howland, Kim Rozell, Jeri Kleiman, Kunthear Mam-Douglas, Carol Seay, Jimmy Westcott, Ann and David Carruth and Warehouse Couture Co-Chairs Toni Turner and JoAnna Turner.

Then the guests were herded into the back show room where a floor-to-ceiling frame with the graphic stood. As Elisa and Heather slipped behind a curtain surrounding the frame, husband Ray Washburne leaned against the wall across the way.

Joyann King

Joyann King

Then the reveals were underway with D’Andra and Major Barbara telling of the many ways that The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary and The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex were doing more than ringing bells with kettles during the holidays.

D’Andra then announced this year’s fundraiser on Tuesday, May 2, would be a first in many ways. Instead of being held at a country club or hotel, it would be at the Meyerson. It would also be the first time that a national media group would be involved. D’Andra and Kathie King had arranged for Harpers Bazaar to not only be part of the festivities, but Kathie’s daughter, HarpersBazaar.com Editor Joyann King, will also emcee.

Then the reveal of the honorary co-chairs was made as the huge graphic slid to the side and the sisters stood in the frame.

Carlos Nicholls

Carlos Nicholls

The final announcement was the reveal of the event’s theme. Against a black canvas, artist Carlos Nicholls dipped his brush in yellow paint and wrote, “Fashion is art. You are the canvas.”

But thank heaven not everything would be different for the 20th anniversary. Fashion show producer Jan Strimple will once again be coordinating the runway action. What some folks do not realize is the behind-the-scenes preparation. Once clothes are turned in, SAWA volunteers sort through the merchandise. In the meantime Jan does far more than match the donated clothes with models for the runway.  Some of the items are from bygone seasons and need some updating. That’s where Jan’s wizardry comes into place. Perhaps a hem needs to be shortened, or the ruffles on the cuffs need to be taken off, or a belt needs to be added to accentuate the waist. Jan goes through the hundreds of donated outfits, picks out the showstoppers and has them refreshed where there is need.

D’Andra stressed the need for donations. After all, the luncheon’s Chic Boutique, where some of North Texas’ most fashionable types scour the bargains, is a key to the fundraising success.

Speaking of the donations, Jan reported that the deadline for turning in clothes is earlier this year. “We’re doing pick-ups and taking dropoffs all fall, hoping to have the majority of donation in by the end of January.” Clothes and accessories may be dropped off at Tootsies.

JUST IN: D’Andra Simmons Announces Deets About The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show And Luncheon

D’Andra Simmons’ summer vacation was nonexistent. For months, she’s been working around the clock on two mammoth undertakings — chairing The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary 2017 Fashion Show and Luncheon and co-chairing Cancer Blows. Both will take place at the Meyerson within a week of each other.

Elisa Summers, Barbara and Jonathan Rich, Heather Washburne and D'Andra Simmons

Elisa Summers, Barbara and Jonathan Rich, Heather Washburne and D’Andra Simmons

Wednesday night she unleashed news about the fundraiser for The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command. While more deets will be provided in the days to come about the jammed gathering at Highland Park Village’s Market and typical over-the-top reveal, here is a rundown of the news.

Being a smart business woman, D’Andra had already raised $125,000 from two donations — $50,000 and $75,000. Now for more biggie news that Ms. D unveiled last night.

First the showing of “experienced clothes” will take place on Tuesday, May 2, at the Meyerson. But you already knew that. Just wanted to refresh those brain cells. And remember it’s not going to take place on the traditional Monday.

Joyann King

Joyann King

Second, the event will have a national sponsor — Harper’s Bazaar with HarpersBazaar.com Editor Joyann King as the event’s emcee. King trivia: Joyann’s mom just happens to be The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s President Kathie King’s daughter.

Third, the honorary co-chairs will be sisters Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne.

Fourth, fashionable producer Jan Strimple will be orchestrating the fashion extravaganza.

Fifth, the theme for the event will be “Fashion is art. You are the canvas.”

Sixth, clean out those closets now and drop them off at Tootsie’s. But if you have too many to fit in your SUV, give SAWA a call at 214.637.8121 and they’ll send an 18-wheeler over.

Whew!