Minnie Marcus Butterfly Garden Takes Root At Neiman Marcus’ Original Site, Today’s One Main Place In Downtown Dallas

Neiman Marcus President/CEO Karen Katz had a lot of things on her mind just before 9 a.m. on Friday, July 14. As she crossed North Field Street to One Main Place with NM Corporate Communications and Events VP Mimi Sterling, she was checking her cellphone. Yup, there were meetings and folks whom she had on her schedule.

Roger Sanderson, Karen Katz and Dick Davis

Still, this appointment was important to Karen. It was the literal “groundbreaking” of the Minnie Marcus Butterfly Garden by Texas Discovery Garden, Neiman Marcus, Stream Realty, KFK Group and the Westin Hotel to “revamp” the planters outside of One Main Place.

Minnie Marcus Butterfly Garden volunteers

And why was this spot selected? According to NM VP of Internal Communications Jennifer Lassiter, this was the location of the first NM opened by Herbert Marcus, his sister Carrie Neiman and her husband Al Neiman.

Texas Historical Commission marker

It was a big undertaking for the trio. They had opted to open a specialty store instead of investing their savings and efforts in a soft drink called Coca-Cola.

But the brother and sister did just that and eventually shed Al. Herbert’s son Stanley Marcus admitted that it was Carrie’s taste that served as the foundation for the NM success. But they had just felt the first signs of success on their venture when a fire destroyed their original store, forcing them to move to another part of downtown Dallas.

In the meantime, Herbert’s wife, “Miss Minnie” Marcus, was raising four sons (Stanley Marcus, Herbert Marcus Jr., Edward Marcus and Lawrence Marcus) and nightly preparing dinners that could accommodate her husband’s bringing last-minute business associates home. Over the years, Miss Minnie would be known for her love of gardening. In fact, she was “made an honorary lifetime president” of what would become the Texas Discovery Gardens and in 1959 received the Dallas Nurseryman’s Award. At one point under her tutelage as NM Vice President of Horticulture, “there were 1,800 plants in 60 locations in the first two Neiman Marcus stores in Dallas.”

Jennifer Lassiter

Kevin Hurst

NM Director of Charitable Giving Kevin Hurst and Jennifer put their heads together and came up with the idea of kicking off NM’s 110th anniversary at the original site with the Texas Discovery Garden “by restoring the planter boxes at One Main Place” to honor the matriarch of Neiman Marcus.

The planting of Minnie Marcus Butterfly Garden

Texas Discovery Garden Director of Horticulture Roger Sanderson selected the plants based on their ability to “grow well in the climate as well as attract Monarch butterflies,” which have become “a symbol and icon of the Neiman Marcus brand over the past century.” Think Mariposa Restaurant and the shape of the Minnie Garden at Texas Discovery Garden.

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.

Neiman’s And NorthPark Once Again Set The Bar For Celebrating A Very Special Occasion

The moon was sneaking peaks from behind the clouds over NorthPark on Wednesday, October 28. Perhaps it was because the Lady Luna hadn’t received a coveted invite for the Neiman Marcus and NorthPark Center’s celebrating their 50-year partnership and benefiting the Nasher Sculpture Center’s Youth Arts Education.

According to sources, there were more than a couple of folks who had creatively come up with excuses for not landing an invite. Shades of Stanley Marcus’ 90th birthday, when all types of highfalutin types suddenly “were out of town for the occasion” with a wink, wink. One or two had even called Mr. Stanley’s office saying their invitation must have gotten lost in the mail. No, it hadn’t.

David Haemisegger, Isabelle Haemisegger, David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher

David Haemisegger, Isabelle Haemisegger, David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher

Karen Katz

Karen Katz

But on this evening, it was Neiman’s Karen Katz and her husband Alan Katz and Nasher second-generation Nancy Nasher and husband David Haemisegger hosting a gathering of 300 of the fine-feathered eagle class in celebration of the vision of Neiman Marcus and the late Patsy and Ray Nasher.

Nancy Rogers, Tracy Cheatham and Mary Crosland

Nancy Rogers, Tracy Cheatham and Mary Crosland

From the young hot types like Tracy Cheatham, Mary Crosland and Courtney Rider Westmoreland, the OMG setters like Nancy Rogers and the Crystals (Caren Kline, Cynthia Mitchell, Pat McEvoy and Vinnie Reuben) to the NM/NP legends like Eiseman Jewels’ Louise Eiseman, Jacqueline Starr and her husband former Titche-Goettinger President Lee Starr, EAnn Thut and her husband NP architect EG Hamilton, Jean Mahie designer Jacline Mazard with her god daughter Tamara Dorrance and Doris Jacobs and

Roy and Lynne Sheldon, Jacline Mazard and Tamara Dorrance

Roy and Lynne Sheldon, Jacline Mazard and Tamara Dorrance

her husband/The Melody Shop’s Jack Jacobs), it was a truly NM/NP curated crowd.

Of course, the nonprofits were well represented with DSO’s Jonathan Martin and Michelle Burns, Dallas CASA’s Kathleen LaValle, The Family Place’s Paige Flink, Nasher Sculpture Center’s Jeremy Strick and Jill Magnuson and Cancer Blows’ Ryan Anthony.

Michelle Burns, Jeremy and Wendy Strick

Michelle Burns, Jeremy and Wendy Strick

Ryan Anthony

Ryan Anthony

While guests mingled, Ryan told of a recent concert. He was feeling not-so-great due to his treatments for multiple myeloma. But he decided that to not perform would be allowing the cancer to score. After the performance, he learned that three friends had traveled miles to show their family members suffering from multiple myeloma how Ryan was rising above it. Ryan admitted that despite the ups-and-downs of fighting multiple myeloma and organizing Cancer Blows, he and his wife Niki Anthony were going to take a brief break to recover.

Still he said that all their efforts had progressed beyond their greatest hopes thanks to Nancy Nasher and her support.

Brief aside: In a few years, Lyda Hill has become an energized, happy person since her involvement with Warren Buffet led to her becoming an even more generous philanthropist. So Nancy and David seem to have been gratified by the feedback regarding their decision to undertake NorthPark50. While not all can share to the degree of Lyda, Nancy and David, they can still enjoy the unique exhilaration that comes with giving with no expectation of glorification.

But back to the party. You just know you want to know the deets.

The black-tie reception took place on Neiman Marcus NorthPark’s second level entering via the Boedecker entrance. After strolling between two rows of servers with trays of wine, champagne and other liquid refreshments, they were greeted by NM VP/GM Malcolm Reuben, who has been managing the story for 14 years.

Jacqueline Starr, Louise Eiseman and Lee Starr

Jacqueline Starr, Louise Eiseman and Lee Starr

EG Hamilton

EG Hamilton

NP pioneer Louise Eiseman proved herself to be the historian of the night. After all, it was Louise and her late husband Dick Eiseman who were part of the original merchants when the doors opened 50 years ago. She pointed out Lee Starr, former president of Titche-Goettinger. He along with the late Stanley Marcus took a big leap of faith in moving to a 97-acre cotton field, where the Nashers’ vision of a world-renowned retail center was to take place. On one side of the acreage was the Caruth farm with horses and cows. On another side was Sparkman Hillcrest cemetery.

Dean Fearing, Wanda Gierhart and Lucy Wrubel

Dean Fearing, Wanda Gierhart and Lucy Wrubel

As DJ Lucy Wrubel was conducting “vintage” music from the ‘60s (“These Boots Are Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra, “Shotgun” by Junior Walker and the All-Stars, “Penny Lane” by the Beatles) high atop a stage in the shoe department, NM’s Sandy Marple and Chuck Steelman with headsets in place gave the sign to head upstairs. Upon arriving on the third level, guests were directed to designer sportswear, and a surprising discovery. The men didn’t get it. The women did. The entire area, where most had discovered fashion ultimates, was devoid of clothes. Nope! Not one single mannequin, display case or hangar was in sight. Instead there were racks of spotlights suspended from the ceiling and rows of rectangular tables with place cards.

According to sources, the restructuring of the area had started on Monday. And plans called for work to get underway right after the last guest left to restore it to its fashionable display in time for the store’s opening at 10 a.m. Thursday.

But the guests knew of no time schedule and the Katzes and Nasher/Haemisegger twosome certainly weren’t going clang a triangle to get them to settle down. Still, this crowd knew their manners and despite wanting to stand and chat in the lap of luxury, they took their places for a feast prepared by NM Chef Kevin Garvin that included amuse (fried olives, classic deviled egg, red endive, ricotta, lemon zest and olive oil), salad (little gem wedge, pear, apple, chayote, Texas blue cheese, lemon pistachio vinaigrette, and NM monkey bread), entrée (short ribs, brown sugar Brussels sprouts, baby carrots, fingerling potatoes, roasted wild mushrooms, creamed spinach and red wine demi-glace) and dessert of NM’s traditional pecan ball of vanilla bean gelato with pecans, ganache and whipped cream. And, of course, the wines included Chateau de Sancerre Black (Loire, 2013), William Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, 2012) and Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut (Epernay NV).

Karen perfectly represented the partnership recalling her youth shopping at NorthPark. Instead of sounding like the CEO that she is, she spoke as if she was at a family reunion recalling her days of shopping with her mother. Like many, she listed old, long-gone NorthPark favorites like the Magic Pan and the Carriage Shop. Proudly she recalled a store that even very old-timers had forgotten — Woolworths. Yes, there had been a Woolworths at NP. Then she told how she would hang out with her girlfriends in the center only to eventually become the NorthPark Neiman’s general manager from 1991 to 1996. (As her first store-management job, she admitted, “I was overwhelmed.”) Eventually she led the guests in a toast to Nancy and David.

Ken Downing

Ken Downing

Karen was followed by a Ken Downing-curated fashion presentation of 50 models wearing 50 fashion statements for the 50th anniversary. As Ken described it, “A folkloric fantasy with nomadic nuances, luxurious layers and an abundance of adornment that spins into Studio 54 splendor of glamorous decadence!” Ken went on to say that the look was “nomadic wanderers, popular in the ‘70s. I just moved them into Studio 54.” One observer noted that it appeared in some cases the layer look was in overload. Still, the parade of models received an “all-cellphone salute” with Ken getting a big hug from designer Devon Leigh afterward.

Steve Tyrell

Steve Tyrell

The mood then changed with New York singer Steve Tyrell singing “Come Fly With Me,” “This Guy’s In Love With You,” etc., as guests dined.

At 9:40 p.m. David addressed the guests, thanking Neiman’s and the public relations team. He also recognized EG and Lee for their contributions five decades ago. Ending the event, David led the final toast of the evening to the 50 years of excellence, saying, “Neiman Marcus has been and will continue to be the heart and soul of NorthPark.”

Now on to the next 50 years!

More photos can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery!

Crystal Charity Ball Ten Best Dressed Fundraiser Was A Feast With Oscar De La Renta On The Runway And Beautiful Peeps Ringside

For a second year, the Neiman Marcus Downtown parking lot was transformed into a lavish tented ballroom for the Crystal Charity Ball Ten Best Dressed Luncheon on Friday, September 18. The annual fundraiser had sold out within two days of tickets going on sale in May. A handful went for $500 and the rest went for $1,000 and $2,000 a head.

2015 Crystal Charity Ball Ten Best Dressed Fashion Show and Luncheon tent

2015 Crystal Charity Ball Ten Best Dressed Fashion Show and Luncheon tent

But before the 476 guests took their places in the decked-out digs, a reception was held in the store’s ground level, and none of the 10 best dressed (Katherine Coker, Janie Condon, Heather Esping, Julie Hawes, Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt, Margaret Hancock, Pat Harloe, Patty Leyendecker, Francie Moody-Dahlberg and Christi Urschel), Honorary Chair Ruth Altshuler nor Hall of Fame Honoree Sarah Perot were in sight. Where were they? Upstairs being once-overed by NM staffers, and then they took an express elevator to the sixth floor for Nancy Rogers’ champagne toast to the honorees and friends in the Michael Flores Salon.

Pat Harloe

Pat Harloe

Annika Cail

Annika Cail

Tucker Enthoven

Tucker Enthoven

Serving up champagne

Serving up champagne

Once again the Salon’s entry was a season upstager. While last year the entrance was a voluptuous cascade of flowers, this year it was an even grander bouquet, but with a splash of giggles. As guests approached the salon, they were astounded by the towering walls of multi-color hydrangeas and orchids on either side of the entrance. As their heads shook from side to side at the floral masterpiece, the guests stopped dead in their stilettoed tracks and pointed in delight at hands poking out of the walls with flutes of champagne. Talk about the photo backdrop of the year for gals like Patsy Donosky, Nancy Ross, Tucker Enthoven, DeeDee Lee, Piper Wyatt, Tanya Foster, Caren Kline, Nancy Carter, Shelle Sills, Mary Black and Annika Cail. Even Lady Rogers couldn’t resist cellphotoing buds Olivia Kearny and Leisa Street accepting their morning wake-me-up beverage. Dwight Emanuelson rushed into the salon so fast he hardly noticed the hands beckoning with flutes. And, no, these weren’t mechanical hands. A couple of servers stood tirelessly on the other side of the wall serving up the bubbly.

Nancy Rogers, Leisa Street and Olivia Kearney

Nancy Rogers, Leisa Street and Olivia Kearney

Nancy Rogers cellphotoing Olivia Kearney and Leisa Street

Nancy Rogers cellphotoing Olivia Kearney and Leisa Street

Ruth graciously posed against the bouquet bonanza but took a pass on the champagne and opted for a glass of orange juice. The 91-year-young admitted that it had been ages since she had strolled the catwalk and thought the OJ would be a better choice.

On the side a member of the Gro Floral & Event Design was asked what would happen to the walls after the reception was over. She replied that the frames of flowers would be disassembled and taken back to their workshop. BTW, Gro is also designing the look of the Thursday, November 12th ReuNight that Nancy is co-chairing with Robert Weatherly at Oak for The Family Place. Hmm, can’t wait to see what they come up with on that night!

Promptly at 11, the sixth-floor festivities were minus the 10 Best Dressed, Ruth and Luncheon Chair Mary Clare Finney, who headed to the second floor Couture Salon to join Sarah for a “class picture” with Oscar de la Renta designer Peter Copping. While waiting for the entire group to gather, grandmum Marilyn Augur, mum Margaret Hancock and daughter Mary Margaret Hancock posed for a three-generation photo. The Augur clan wasn’t the only mum-daughter present. NM Exec Wanda Gierhart arrived on the scene with her 12-year-old daughter Celese.

Wanda Gierhart and Celese Gierhart

Wanda Gierhart and Celese Gierhart

Mary Margaret Hancock, Margaret Hancock and Marilyn Augur

Mary Margaret Hancock, Margaret Hancock and Marilyn Augur

After a couple or three head counts all were present except for CCB Chair Michal Powell. With a schedule to keep, the decision was made to go ahead with the photo and head to the tent’s backstage, while the rest of the guests took their assigned places in the mammoth tent with blue and white patterns moving on the side walls and the front of the room in pure white except for the Oscar logo displayed, not too big, not too small, just right on both sides of the stage.

From the left: (Front row) Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt, Pat Harloe, Sarah Perot, Ruth Altshuler, Janie Condon and Heather Esping; (Back row) Margaret Hancock, Francie Moody Halhberg, Peter Copping, Patty Leyendecker, Julies Hawes, Katherine Coker and Mary Clare Finney

From the left: (Front row) Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt, Pat Harloe, Sarah Perot, Ruth Altshuler, Janie Condon and Heather Esping; (Back row) Margaret Hancock, Francie Moody Halhberg, Peter Copping, Patty Leyendecker, Julies Hawes, Katherine Coker and Mary Clare Finney

As for the crowd filling every seat, it was pretty darn knock-out itself. NM CEO Karen Katz chatted with the late Oscar de la Renta’s stepdaughter Eliza Bolen and her husband Alex Bolen, who is CEO of Oscar de la Renta…Realtors Erin Mathews, daughter-in-law Brittany Mathews and Ellen Terry; just back from Africa trekking D’Andra Simmons; Barbara Daseke, who is chairing TACA Custom Gala Auction, the “Creep” dinner and Art In Bloom; 10 Bestie husbands Ross Perot Jr., Kevin Dalhberg and David Donosky, who admitted that he thought wife Janie “looked hot” in her red Oscar outfit; Fort Worth’s Mercedes Bass was with banker Elaine Agather; NM’s Jim Gold discussed business with Peter Copping.

Arriving with her Secret Service entourage, former First Lady Laura Bush joined her gal pals at a front row table on the “50-yard line” of the runway that included Lee Ann White, Nancy Dedman, Kelli Ford, Joan Schnitzer Levy and a glowing Annette Simmons. On the other side of the runway were Nancy’s tablemates including Gina Betts, Michael Flores and the other beautiful peeps.

Kelli Ford

Kelli Ford

Annette Simmons

Annette Simmons

Laura Bush and Debbie Francis

Laura Bush and Debbie Francis

Once the lights dimmed, NM Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron welcomed the hundreds and introduced Karen Katz, Michal Powell and Mary Clare Finney. Then Jeff returned to the podium announcing the 10 Besties along with their contributions to the community. Of course, they were all in Oscar designs and escorted by gorgeous male models. Following the 10, Sarah was presented and she was followed by Ruth, who was greeted by a standing ovation. In typical Ruth fashion, she waved the crowd down and they didn’t obey continuing to stand applauding.

Ruth Altshuler

Ruth Altshuler

As outside traffic could be heard, the parade of Oscar resort collection was on the runway followed by lunch.

As one guest smiled over lunch, “I bet you’ll see a lot of Oscar at the ball.”

For more photos including the Ten Best Dressed and Oscar de la Renta fashions, go to MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.