Grovel Alert: 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea’s “Under The Tuscan Sun”

Mad Hatters Tea (File photo)

It seems that Mad Hatters Tea Chair Linda Spina and Vice-Chair Sharla Bush weren’t able to hunt for Easter eggs over the weekend. They were too busy checking the headcount for the Thursday, April 27th fundraiser for the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum.

The results? They discovered that the “Tea is officially sold out.”

Does that mean it’s really, truly a done deal? True, the “buy tickets” links aren’t going to do much good, but there’s still hope. So, before putting away that Easter bonnet, send Sue Ringle an email and see if she can squeeze you in.

Jewelry Designer/Attorney Kori Green (Aka Mrs. Pat Green) To Be The 8th Judge For Mad Hatter’s Tea Hat Competition

Under The Tuscan Sun*

Mad Hatter’s Tea 2017 Chair Linda Spina is going “green” with the announcement of the eighth judge for the “Under The Tuscan Sun” theme chapeau competition at the Dallas Arboretum on Thursday, April 27.

Hold on to your hats! It’s Kori Green. In addition to being a jewelry designer, an attorney and pretty darn cute, she’s also the wife of Grammy-nominated country singer/songwriter Pat Green and mom to their two kiddos Kellis Green and Rainey Green.

She got in the jewelry designing business while studying law at the University of Texas Law School. It provided her with a creative outlet. In addition to her professional activities and community involvement, she and Pat established the Pat Green Foundation.

Kori won’t be the only “greenie” in the judging line up for the eight categories. She’ll be joining Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green plus celebrity judge Rachel Zoe, restaurateurs Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun (a judge team), Kerrently website editor Courtney Kerr, Kidd’s Kids CEO/Chief Happiness Officer Caroline Kraddick, fragrance guru Niven Morgan and Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings.

Tickets for the annual eye-popping fundraiser for the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum are available here.

* Graphic provided by 2017 Mad Hatter's Tea

JUST IN: Hold On To Your Hats! The 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea Judges Were Just Announced

Despite the stormy weather, Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Linda Spina had folks gather at Tootsies this afternoon for “Mimosas and Millinery,” plus the great reveal of the judges for the Thursday, April 27thUnder The Tuscan Sun” hat competition at the Dallas Arboretum.

Hat by Cassandra MacGregor

Surrounded by a collection of chapeaus including some by Cassandra MacGregor for the “Mimosas and Millinery” reception, Linda announced the following judges:

Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing (File photo)

Caroline Kraddick*

Niven Morgan (File photo)

Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Celebrity judge Rachel Zoe, restaurateurs Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun (a judge team), Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green, Kerrently website editor Courtney Kerr, Kidd’s Kids CEO/Chief Happiness Officer Caroline Kraddick, fragrance guru Niven Morgan and Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings.

The judges will be eyeballing the guests’ finery for awards in the following categories:

  • Molto Italiano “Very Italian” — Most True-to-Theme.  Everything Tuscan from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the art treasures of Florence to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and everything in between.
  • Rachel’s Pick – Rachel Zoe’s favorite hat.  The best of the best, from her point of view.
  • Bella Donna “Beautiful Woman” — Most Elegant.
  • A Taste of Italy — The food and drink of Italy. Wine, cheese, pasta, pizza and more!
  • Bellissima Botanical — Best Botanical. What would Mad Hatter’s at the Arboretum be without hats adorned with beautiful flowers?
  • Fellini’s Follies — Famed Italian film director Federico Fellini always worked in a group. Best Group of Hats. Men may compete in this category.
  • Mamma Mia! — Most outlandish. Go wild!
  • Ciao Bella! “Hello Beautiful” — People’s Choice.  The best of the best, as voted on by the attendees.

Warning: Please do not try to bribe the judges, but do get your hats ready for the champagne reception on the Ginsburg Plaza and reserved your seats for the Tootsies fashion show in Rosine Hall and the seated luncheon in the tented Outdoor Plaza.

* Photo provided by 2017 Mad Hatter's Tea

Mad Hatter’s “Under The Tuscan Sun” Reveal Party Had Loads Of Surprises And Rachel Zoe Name Dropping

With just five months to prepare their dazzling headpieces, the Maddest Hatters gathered at Tootsies on Thursday, November 17. Besides celebrating any occasion connected with the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum, the guests were there to learn the details for the Thursday, April 27th Mad Hatter’s Tea at the Arboretum.

Dyann Skelton, Melissa Lewis and Emilynn Wilson

Yes, the date was important because, unlike a few years back when guests shivered in near-freezing temperatures, Women’s Council President Melissa Lewis and Event Chair Linda Spina picked a date in late April when frost will be long gone. It also allows more time to prepare those hats for showing and competing.

Linda Spina and Lynn Dealey

Under The Tuscan Sun*

But the big news was the event’s theme. This news was the one that warmed the hearts and glue guns of hat designers. Drum roll. The theme for the 29th Mad Hatter’s Tea will be “Under the Tuscan Sun.” No wonder the gals picked a sun-friendly date and artist Lynn Dealey’s sunflowers artwork took full advantage of the theme.

But wait, there was still more news and it was a real head turner. Thanks to Tootsies’ Nerissa von Helpenstill and the Mad Hatters brain trust, super-duper special guest will be fashion designer, author, business woman, nuclear scientist Rachel Zoe. (Okay, so maybe not that last one about the nuclear scientist, but she’s everything else and so much more.) Is anyone surprised that Mad Hatters fashion sponsor Tootsies carries Rachel’s line of fashions? Nah!

Sharla Bush and Amy Warren

While a couple of the guests (mostly guys) looked a little baffled about the younger crowd getting downright thrilled over Rachel’s participation, they’ll wise up by the big day, especially if they check out The Zoe Report.

Adding to the namedropping of the occasion, it was revealed that Amy Warren and her daughter Amanda Hill would serve as honorary co-chairs thanks to their buddy Mad Hatter’s Co-Chair/Warren buddy/McKinney shop keeper Sharla Bush.

But there was even more good news. Individual tickets are available now at $350 via the Women’s Council website. Later in the spring a limited number of tickets will be made available for $250. But who wants to wait and take a chance on missing the fashion show produced by Jan Strimple, a seated luncheon overlooking the Arboretum grounds, and being seen on the scene?

Proceeds from the event will “grow and maintain A Woman’s Garden.”

* Graphic courtesy of Lynn Dealey

Dallas Arboretum Women’s Council’s 2016 Mad Hatter’s Tea Ranged From Bounty Of Beauty To Beyond Belief

Not since the war between the States have two groups come face-to-face with such different views. That moment took place at the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum’s 2016 Mad Hatter’s Tea and Luncheon on Thursday, April 21.

Lisa Ogle, Kunthear Mam Douglas and Cathy Vieth

Lisa Ogle, Kunthear Mam Douglas and Cathy Vieth

Robin Carreker

Robin Carreker

On one hand, many guests looked as if they were attending the opening day at the Royal Ascot with dazzling hats. Robin Carreker, Connie Carreker, Hedy Sawyers, Lauren Palmer, Linda Spina, Lisa Ogle and Kunthear Mam Douglas interrupted the “Steel Magnolias” theme with ever-proper sunhats that would have thrilled any Southern belle. Delicate fascinators also had their day in the sun thanks to Women’s Council President Renee Querbes Farren, Betsy Crousen, SuSu Meyers and Britta Harless.

Guinn and Betsy Crousen

Guinn and Betsy Crousen

SuSu Meyer and Ann Dyer

SuSu Meyer and Ann Dyer

On the other hand were those who appeared to have channeled Johnny Depp wearing outlandish headdresses that would have made Lady Gaga go gaga.

For some, the over-the-top toppers were a wee bit daunting. One wide-eyed guest, who hadn’t attended the event since her mother took her ages ago, looking around the Plaza whispered, “I’m scared.” Another one upon entering the scene with lips zipped managed a request — “Please don’t mention I was here.”

Marena Gault, Marielle Gault, Steve Kemble and Sherwood Wagner

Marena Gault, Marielle Gault, Steve Kemble and Sherwood Wagner

As the two brimming groups gathered in the Ginsburg Plaza for a champagne reception with a Cajun band playing, it became apparent that glue guns had been drained leading up to the event. Instead of hiring a professional designer to create her hat, Sherwood Wagner pulled out all the stops and created three showstoppers for herself and her buddies Marena Gault and daughter Marielle Gault.

Appearing to be a walking promotion for Truvy’s beauty parlor, Carmen Surgent was top heavy with rollers, Aqua Net, a hair dryer and mirror, all in Shelby’s signature color of pink.

Carmen Surgent

Carmen Surgent

Barbara Bigham

Barbara Bigham

Barbara Bigham decided to opt out on the day’s theme and went for the bigger-than-life with a story look. With a headdress of fanned peacock feathers atop her head and a matching hand fan, she told how she got the “hat” from a woman in the Amazon.

Patty Jo Turner and her gal squad of faux blondes (Terri Bumgarner, Kim Dale, Suzette Derrick, Nancy McLochlin and Susan Russell) took Dolly Parton’s wisdom to heart — “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.”

Terri Bumgarner, Kim Dale, Patty Jo Turner, Suzette Derrick, Nancy McLochlin and Susan Russell

Terri Bumgarner, Kim Dale, Patty Jo Turner, Suzette Derrick, Nancy McLochlin and Susan Russell

 

But it wasn’t a gals-only gathering. No, siree. There were gents dressed to the nines, tens and whatever. Coley Clark, Steve Ivy and Michael Jenkins were on the side of the Plaza watching the ladies champagne-ing their way around and walking the red carpet for judges Gary Riggs, Jane McGarry, Kathy Fielder, Karen Carroll, Robert LeLeux, Matthew Campbell Laurenza, Diane and Daryl Johnston and Andrea Alcorn, who was subbing for Janelle Friedman. The trio was a part of Connie Carreker’s “Southern Gentlemen” lineup of husbands in matching dark suits, white shirts, pocket squares, fedoras and ties who were there to support/escort their wives.

Steve Ivy, Michael Jenkins and Coley Clark

Steve Ivy, Michael Jenkins and Coley Clark

As usual Steve Kemble was a walking garden delight wearing a jacket of magnolia leaves with big, old magnolia epaulets and a towering hat of magnolias and leaves.

And speaking of hats, floral engineer Shane Walker managed to combine Aunt Fern’s creation featuring a giant armadillo appearing to be atop a red-velvet cake; the purse with a baby armadillo peeking out completed the ensemble.

Shane Walker

Shane Walker

Severt Philleo

Severt Philleo

Another head turner was a smiling Severt Philleo opting for the Shirley MacLaine look, complete in heels, blush pink skirt, print blouse, deep pink jacket, white gloves, black chapeau highlighted by a black tulle and deep pink flower and, of course, pearl necklace. And as any proper lady at an outdoor function would, she had additional accessories — a hand fan and sunglasses. Clairee would have been so proud! After all, “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.”

But time demanded that the hats and their underlings leave the sunshine for Rosine Hall and the Tootsies fashion show. With guests shifting in their chairs to see around the hats, the fedora-ed guys were seated on the front row and prepared to help anyone on stage managing the steps up and down from the floor. Emcee/KISS-FM 106.1’s Kellie Rasberry welcomed the group and introduced Renee, who thanked everyone for participating.

Then Mad Hatter’s Chair Jocelyn White welcomed all and told how this fundraiser was the one that had been on her bucket list and thanked individually her “dream team.” She also announced that specially made trays would be presented to the winners of the hat contest and key participants. When Joce tried to present a tray to buddy Linda Gray, the “Dallas” actress couldn’t be found. When someone said she was in the back of the room, the tray was handed to front-row guy Denny Carreker, who took it to the back of the room. Alas, he returned with tray in hand.

Janine Turner

Janine Turner

Jocelyn White

Jocelyn White

As for her friend/actress Janine Turner, Jocelyn provided her with a tray and a tiara.  (“Steel Magnolia” trivia: Janine was in the movie and played Nancy Beth Marmillion, whose character was Miss Merry Christmas.)

With her specs in place, Jocelyn finished with a few words about her life as a true steel magnolia with grandparents who were called Big Mama and Big Daddy.

Tootsies fashion

Tootsies fashion

Tootsies fashion

Tootsies fashion

Tootsies fashion

Tootsies fashion

Next it was fashion showtime, produced by Jan Strimple with the finale complete with dialogue from the movie. It was followed by KLUV 98.7’s Jody Dean conducting the live auction. First up was a gold and lamb clutch in an open package valued at $3,100. As Jody held the gold purse over his head for all to see, it fell from the box to the floor of the stage. Following the laughter, Jody concluded the bidding and handed the errant bag to the top bidder, Sherwood, for a steal — $1,500.

The rest of the live auction went off without a hitch and was followed by the announcement of the hat contest winners.

Barbara Daseke and Barbara Durham

Barbara Daseke and Barbara Durham

Kathy Cothrum's hat

Kathy Cothrum’s hat

M

  • Most True-To-Theme – Barbara Daseke
  • The Southern Belle —  Carmen Surgent
  • Simply Elegant — Patty Dedman Nail
  • Mother Nature Winks — Kathy Cothrum
  • The Social Sorority —  Sherwood Wagner, Marena Gault and Marielle Gault
  • Miss Merry Christmas — Jordi Bostock
  • What Was She Thinking? — Barbara Bigham
  • Best of Show/People’s Choice — Kunthear Mam Douglas

Then all adjourned to the pink-and-white clothed tables overlooking the Arboretum’s gardens to lunch and compare notes on who wore what and why.

For loads more pictures of flowers and flower people, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.