JUST IN: Neiman Marcus Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron Has Retired

Jeff Byron (File photo)

Gee, whiz! Talk about starting the week with more boo-hoo news. It seems that Neiman Marcus Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron’s last day was Thursday.

After being in the luxury retailing industry for nearly 40 years, the mustachioed baby boomer decided to retire. Despite reach-outs for confirmation that he’s burned his Brioni suits and Zegna ties and headed to some Caribbean island, he is staying put in  North Texas.

During his four years at the downtown store, he “enjoyed the privilege of working with so many great people both at Neiman’s and within the community,” and admitted that he “will miss interacting with all on a regular basis.”

Regarding his involvement with the area’s non-profits, Jeff revealed that his three-year term on the Equest board had ended, but he still plans to continue volunteering for various North Texas charities…that is, when he’s not enjoying the landscape at his lake house.

Hopefully, Jeff’s replacement will be on hand for the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Ten Best Dressed Fashion Show and Luncheon hoop-la with cutie pie Zac Posen’s fashion brightening up the runway on Friday, September 15, at the flagship store.

Surrounded By French Fashions, Equest Women’s Auxiliary Committee Learned About Wylie Sale And Style Show’s Honorary Chair

With French designer Roland Mouret holding court in the Glass House of Neiman Marcus Downtown, the Equest Women’s Auxiliary committee members like Auxiliary Founder Louise Griffeth, Elsa Norwood, Linda Secrest, Di Johnston and Stacey Walker, were being hosted by NM Downtown VP Jeff Byron for lunch on Thursday, May 18.

Roland Mouret fashion

Roland Mouret fashion

As models floated around the tables, Roland didn’t mind taking a purse from a couple of models and setting them aside until he spotted another walking mannequin whose look was ramped up with the addition of one of the errant purses.

Roland Mouret

Andy Steingasser

The big news of the day was Equest CEO Lili Kellogg’s reporting that the original Equest home base in Wylie had been sold thanks to Equest Board Chair Andy Steingasser, who also negotiated the cash deal and donated his commission to Equest.

According to Lili, the Equest program would be based at Texas Horse Park, where they could focus all their energies on established programs and expand to include partnerships with Paul Quinn College, the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas Independent School District.

Lili Kellogg, Beth Thoele, Jeff Byron and Angie Kadesky

In the meantime, she reported that the staff was busy making the move out of Wylie with a deadline of Thursday, June 1.

Regarding the Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Style Show on Tuesday, October 3, at Brook Hollow, Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Angie Kadesky and Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele revealed that Robyn Conlon would be serving at the honorary chair.  

JUST IN: Zac Posen To Present His Collection At The Crystal Charity Ball 2017 Ten Best Dressed Women Of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon

One of Dallas’ favorite designers will have his collection on the runway for  The Crystal Charity Ball’s 2017 Ten Best Dressed Women of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon on Friday, September 15. It will none other than that cutie pie Zac Posen!

Zac Posen*

Christi Urschel (File photo)

According to Fashion Show Chair Christi Urschel, “Everyone is thrilled to have Zac Posen’s collection featured at this year’s event. We are honored that he will be joining us for this very special day.”

And what a special day it will be. Instead of pitching the mega-tent in the adjacent parking lot, Neiman Marcus Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron is going to have the CCB fundraiser back in the NM flagship. The Fashion Show will take place on the second floor followed by a seated luncheon on the store’s fourth floor.

Jeff Byron (File photo)

Pam Perella (File photo)

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella commented, “The generous support of Neiman Marcus allows all proceeds from the event to support children served by the 2017 beneficiaries. We are most grateful to Neiman Marcus for planning such an exciting fashion show and luncheon.”

In addition to the Fashion Show, the annual presentation of the Ten Best Dressed and Hall of Fame honoree will take place. And just who will make up the 10 BD and the Hall of Famer? That reveal will be made at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 12, “at a reception and preview of the Zac Posen Resort 2017 Collection at the downtown store.”

Before you start writing that check or calling to reserve your spot, stop! Tickets and sponsorships won’t be available until late April.

However, it would be wise to save your coins now for a sweet sponsorship, since there are some delicious perks that go with ‘em. For instance, Comerica will host a seated dinner at the Dallas County Club on Tuesday, September 5, for Platinum Level Patrons. And for Fashion Show Patrons, there will be a cocktail buffet sponsored by JP Morgan the night before the Fashion Show at Shirley and Bill McIntyre’s fabulous Bluffview estate with Zac in attendance.

Thanks to the Fashion Show and The 2017 Crystal Charity Ball on Saturday, December 2, at the Hilton Anatole, the following children’s nonprofits will benefit: Autism Treatment Center Inc., Big Brothers and Big Sisters Lone Star, Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Dallas Holocaust Museum, Hunger Busters, Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, Rainbow Days and Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy.

* Photo provided by The Crystal Charity Ball

Like Featured Designer Carolina Herrera, 2016 Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show Was Elegant Perfection At Neiman Marcus Downtown

Like a fabulous aria, this year’s Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show and Luncheon seemed to have elegance, class and just a whiff of history. But more about that later.

Unlike years past, this year’s fabulous fashion show opted out on the usual Thursday showing for Friday, September 16. Didn’t matter one iota. The tent-arama was locked down in parking lot adjacent to Neiman Marcus Downtown. And just in case rain was on the agenda, the NM folks had had an awning installed along the sidewalk leading from the store to the tent. But Mother Nature behaved herself and rain was not part of the day. Still the shading was still a blessing to curtail the glowering sunshine. Hmm, perhaps a permanent shade might be a perfect addition?

While the beautiful coifed and dazzling guests chatted and compared sideway looks on the NM ground floors, the upper levels of NM were bustling.

On the sixth floor, Nancy Rogers hosted her annual reception in the Michael Flores Salon. Instead of past Nancy pre-CCB Fashion Show receptions with backdrops of floral display, Nancy’s welcome entry was an archway of hundreds of Calla Lilies.

Entrance to Michael Flores Salon

Entrance to Michael Flores Salon

Time and time again guests exclaimed upon seeing the floral delight, “These are my favorite flowers!”

Nancy Rogers

Nancy Rogers

DeeDee Lee and Ginny Bailey

DeeDee Lee and Ginny Bailey

Pat McEvoy

Pat McEvoy

Shelby Wagner, Claire Emanuelson and Niven Morgan

Shelby Wagner, Claire Emanuelson and Niven Morgan

Pat McEvoy, DeeDee Lee, Ginny Bailey, Anne Reeder, Ann Dyer, Claire Emanuelson, Shelby Wagner, Niven Morgan, Shelle Sills, Gloria Eulich Martindale, Alicia Wood, Tanya Foster and the Perella clan (Laurena Perella, Vin Perella and Carolyn Curl) came, saw, were photographed and entered the salon for flutes of champagne. Topic making the rounds was Nancy’s downsizing her nonprofit activities. Well, gee, who can blame a girl? After years of supporting and chairing major fundraisers, doesn’t she deserve some time off for great behavior?

Another supposedly deciding to take a fundraising break was attorney Gina Betts, who had co-chaired this past year’s St. Valentine’s Day and Genesis luncheons. She’s gonna focus on her family and work.

At 11 the 10 Best Dressed (Anita Arnold, Katherine Coker, Janie Condon, Tucker Enthoven, Heather Esping, Mary Clare Finney, Margaret Hancock, Pat Harloe, Julie Hawes, Piper Wyatt) plus Hall of Famer Honoree Betsy Sowell, CCB Chair Christie Carter and Fashion Show Chair Pam Perella gathered in the Glass House on the second floor for the formal get together. And what do these fashionable types do while waiting for their presentation? They compare fashion notes. Winner of the day was Mary Clare’s heels.

Another was Piper’s preparations. The first timer 10 BD-er was a very smart cookie. It seems that the day before the outfit that she had picked out just didn’t work, so the NM staff and Piper put together a dramatic black Herrera ensemble with leather pencil pants and wool cape. However, Piper realized that it was also going to be a toasty look. So, she snuck an ice pack under the wool top at her waist to cool the situation, Just before going on stage, she removed the chilly accessory. When did the cool idea hit her? Was it online? Nope. Piper just woke up in the middle of the night with this idea and it worked!

Unlike years past where the designer du jour posed with the CCB chair, fashion show chair, 10 BD-er and HofF-er, the show’s featured designer Carolina Herrera begged off. She was backstage making final checks on preparations.

From the left: (front row) Katherine Coker, Anita Arnold, Christie Carter, Betsy Sowell, Pam Perella, Pat Harloe and Heather Esping; (back row) Julie Hawes, Janie Condon, Piper Wyatt, Margaret Hancock, Mary Clare Finney and Tucker Enthoven

From the left: (front row) Katherine Coker, Anita Arnold, Christie Carter, Betsy Sowell, Pam Perella, Pat Harloe and Heather Esping; (back row) Julie Hawes, Janie Condon, Piper Wyatt, Margaret Hancock, Mary Clare Finney and Tucker Enthoven

 

After the official photos were taken, the 10 BD-ers, Betsy, Christie and Pam were led through NM’s back halls taking the freight elevators to the first floor and strolling to the tent’s hustling and bustling backstage. Upon arrival, the male model escorts, who had been seated, sprung to their feet offering the ladies their seats, while the female models were going through the final stages of preparation under the skillful eyes of Carolina and NM Fashion Director Ken Downing.

Ken Downing and Carolina Herrera

Ken Downing and Carolina Herrera

Editor’s note: One can always spot the NM fashion show peeps-in-charge like Sandy Marple. In the old days, it was a clip board in hand. Nowadays, it’s headsets.

Meanwhile the front of the house was filling with guests, as they made their way from the reception in NM Downtown’s ground level to the magnificent tent that thanks to a mega structure looked more like a permanent store front. Inside the color of the day was white with white runway, white tablecloths, white plates, white roses in centerpieces and white walls highlighted by projections of Herrera models strutting in packs. The only non-white items were the black boxes of Herrera perfume on each tablesetting.

Nancy Rogers, Cami Goff, Gene Jones, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Olivia Kearney and Melody Rogers

Nancy Rogers, Cami Goff, Gene Jones, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Olivia Kearney and Melody Rogers

Julie Ford and Rich Enthoven

Julie Ford and Rich Enthoven

Joan Schnitzer Levy and Nancy Dedman

Joan Schnitzer Levy and Nancy Dedman

Bruce Weber

Bruce Weber

Tiffany Divis, Amy Hegi and Robyn Conlon

Tiffany Divis, Amy Hegi and Robyn Conlon

Snapshots around the room included: world-renowned bearded photographer Bruce Weber wearing his signature bandana headscarf… Not present in person but present in spirit was Vogue’s Anna Wintour, who was headed to London for its Fashion Week… Loads of lunching mothers/daughters filled the room (Pam Perella with her mom Carolyn Curl and daughter Lauren Perella; Robyn Conlon with daughters-in-law Lizzie Conlon, Marybeth Conlon and Meagan Conlon; Piper’s sister Ginger Sanders Auer and their mom Dixey Thornton; Gene Jones with daughter Charlotte Jones Anderson; Lisa Cooley with daughter Ciara Cooley and daughter-in-law-to-be Bela Pietrovic; Vicki Chapman and daughter Lauren Chapman; Vicki Howland with daughter Elisa Summers; Gail Fischer with daughter Elizabeth Fischer; Lydia Novakov and daughter Isabell Novakov; Marilyn Augur with daughters Margaret Hancock and Anne Hardaway; Elaine Agather with daughter Bradley Means and Tucean Webb with Susanne Webb, Julie Webb and Erin Webb)…   Herrera’s daughter Carolina Herrera Baez and Patricia Herrera Lansing, who was celebrating her birthday… Erin Mathews with daughter-in-law Brittany Mathews looking forward to Sundays christening of Erin’s first granddaughter/Brittany Mathews’ first daughter Sutton Mathews.

Christie Carter

Christie Carter

Pam Perella

Pam Perella

Starting the show on the road were the speakers including, Ken, Christie, Pam and NM Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron.

Another editor’s note: Ken’s comments emphasizing that he and Carolina had created the show surprised some. Perhaps it would have been better for such acknowledgment to have been made by Karen.

Jeff then introduced each of the 10 BDs and Betsy.

Anita Arnold

Anita Arnold

Katherine Coker

Katherine Coker

Janie Condon

Janie Condon

Tucker Enthoven

Tucker Enthoven

Heather Esping

Heather Esping

Mary Clare Finney

Mary Clare Finney

Margaret Hancock

Margaret Hancock

Pat Harloe

Pat Harloe

Julie Hawes

Julie Hawes

Piper Wyatt

Piper Wyatt

Betsy Sowell

Betsy Sowell

Unlike years past when the ladies were escorted up and down the runway only to disappear backstage, this year the ladies and their escorts walked to the end of the runway and stepped down to the floor and stood in a line in front of the photographers and NM staffers standing against the back wall.

Following Betsy’s walk and as the ladies were escorted to their tables, NM President/CEO Karen Katz welcomed the guests and suggested they snap photos on their cellphones of items on the runway that could be shown to the NM staff for immediate consideration. She also encouraged guests to post their votes on their favorite outfits and that she would be checking for which ones got the top votes.

Karen reported that earlier in the week NM had turned 109 and despite with stores throughout the country and shipping to more than 100 countries, “our heritage, our home and our heart is [sic] right here at the corner of Main and Ervay. We’ve seen a lot come and go in downtown Dallas over the years, but we are here to stay.”

Carolina Herrera and Karen Katz

Carolina Herrera and Karen Katz

She then presented the NM Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion for 2016 to Carolina. The 500 guests presented the designer with a standing ovation. Her acceptance remarks were eloquent but brief recalling how the late Stanley Marcus “was a fabulous man” and “how he believed in me from the beginning.” She then tipped her hat to Karen, Ken and NM Chief Merchandising Officer Jim Gold for carrying on the NM tradition. Carolina also thanked CCB for including her in the event that does so much for children.

Ken Downing, Carolina Herrera and Karen Katz

Ken Downing, Carolina Herrera and Karen Katz

Taking the award, she disappeared with Ken and Karen backstage.

Carolina Herrera 2016 Resort Collection

Carolina Herrera 2016 Resort Collection

Carolina Herrera bridal gown

Carolina Herrera bridal gown

Quickly the podium was removed for the presentation of nearly 90 pieces from the Carolina Herrera Resort 2016 collection including faux butterflies floating from the ceiling over the stage and a bridal gown with a cut-out back bodice for the finale. And cellphones sprouted throughout the room snapping away.

There are a heck of a lot of other photos (more than 70) at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery, if you’re interested.

Despite A Premature Release Of The Crystal Charity Ball’s 10 Best Dressed And Hall Of Famer, The Reveal Presentation Went On

Things weren’t looking all that cheery on Wednesday, March 30. Clouds and sprinkles were ruining the car washing of the past weekend, but still the Crystal Charity Ball members found their way to Neiman Marcus Downtown for the official announcement of the CCB 10 Best Dressed and the Hall of Fame honoree.

But in addition to the dreary wet stuff, this year there was a slight hiccup in the announcement. Always before there had been an embargo on the release of the names until right after the official presentation on the second floor of the legendary flagship story. But this year an eager beaver in the NM PR department cut a deal the Friday before to have it printed in the local daily paper the morning of the event. With that development, the embargo was busted and all bets were off.

Still, that premature reveal didn’t stop the gathering of CCB-ers. The 10 BD-ers plus HoF Honoree (except for three) arrived at 9:30 a.m. for a dress rehearsal and to chill in the back rooms of the bridal salon. While some had their makeup refreshed by Lenore, others had stopped by their personal makeup artists for touch ups.

Starting around 10 a.m., the rest of the guests pulled into the NM parking lot, where the mega fashion tent would be erected for the Friday, September 16, fashion show and luncheon, and made their way to the salon, where a nifty white Valentino lace-bib blouse can be snapped up for just a smidge under $2,500. The top stop was the display of Carolina Herrera fashions in the “Glass House.” And what a display it was! From fragile organza skirts to 3D jasmine embroidered evening gowns, there was a Herrera creation for every occasion and client.

Pam Perella, Caren Kline and Christie Carter

Pam Perella, Caren Kline and Christie Carter

And this crowd truly appreciated the items on the racks. They were pretty much dressed to the nines themselves. From the Louboutins on their pedicured feet to the spring colored dresses like CCB Chair Christie Carter’s turquoise-blue Herrera dress, they were a fashion show themselves.

Speaking of CCB chair, the most relaxed within the group of guests were the past CCB chairs (Robyn Conlon, Caren Kline and Michal Powell). Robyn was wearing makeup for the first time in a while. The reason? Allergies that made the very idea of eye makeup a runny one. Caren was in a white leather dress that her fashion-loving sister Dale Pinto had picked out for her. Michal was all smiles reporting that she was preparing for the presentation of checks from her December CCB fundraiser.

Robyn Conlon and Clare Emanuelson

Robyn Conlon and Clare Emanuelson

As time neared for the presentation on a two-tier stage located at the opposite end of the floor, chairs were already set up with the front row of seats neatly reserved for the BD-ers and HoF thanks to nearly printed placecards. Just before 11 a female voice asked the guests to take their seats. No need for a reminder announcement. This crowd is totally housebroken and took their places.

Opening the program was NM Executive VP Neva Hall, who told that not only would the September fashion show’s featured designer Carolina Herrera attend the event, but members of her family would also be on hand. The reason for the extra oomph was the fact that Carolina would also be presented the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award that was established by the late Stanley Marcus and his aunt, the late Carrie Marcus Neiman back in 1938. One gal whispered, “I would have thought Herrera had received it ages ago.”

Neva Hall, Jeff Byron and Marjon Henderson

Neva Hall, Jeff Byron and Marjon Henderson

History note: Stanley always attributed the success of Neiman’s early fashion leadership to his aunt, who was one of the store’s founders and believed that NM “would contribute to the growth, welfare and culture of Dallas.”

Then Neva introduced Christie, who was followed by CCB Fashion Show and Luncheon Chair Pam Perella. Both thanked NM for their ongoing support of the organization.

It was now time for NM Downtown GM/VP to take over and introduce the ladies of the day including first timers Anita Arnold, Tucker Enthoven and Piper Wyatt plus BD returnees Katherine Coker, Janie Condon, Heather Esping, Mary Clare Finney, Margaret Hancock, Pat Harloe and Hall of Famer Betsy Sowell. Only one missing was Julie Hawes, who was out of town.

Jane Condon, Piper Wyatt, Mary Clare Finney, Margaret Hancock, Tucker Enthoven, Betsy Sowell, Anita Arnold, Heather Esping, Pat Harloe and Katherine Coker

Jane Condon, Piper Wyatt, Mary Clare Finney, Margaret Hancock, Tucker Enthoven, Betsy Sowell, Anita Arnold, Heather Esping, Pat Harloe and Katherine Coker

Julie Hawes (File photo)

Julie Hawes (File photo)

Immediately after Betsy took her seat on the front row, the presentation transitioned into the staging of various group photos and the presentation of large NM gift boxes to the BD-er, Betsy, Christie and Pam. What was inside? The coffee table book, “Carolina Herrera: Portrait of a Fashion Icon” by Alexandra Kotur with a personal note from the future NM Fashion Awardee.

Tickets for the event that will feature Herrera’s resort collection will be made available in mid-April and will probably be GWTW within days.

For more photos from the event, please check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.