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.

JUST IN: 2017 National Philanthropy Day Luncheon Plans And Awardees Announced

The news and announcements aren’t taking any time off this summer.  32nd Annual National Philanthropy Day Luncheon Chair Meagan Burton just revealed plans and the 2017 National Philanthropy Day Awardees for the fundraiser “recognizing those who have made exceptional contributions to our community.”

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Julie Hersh (File photo)

Drum roll, please. This year’s awardees include the following folks and organizations:

  • Outstanding Philanthropist – Sandra and Henry Estess
  • Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser – Lynn McBee
  • Outstanding Foundation – The Hersh Foundation
  • Outstanding Corporation – Neiman Marcus
  • Outstanding Youth In Philanthropy – Micah Pinson
  • Outstanding Fundraising Executive – Pagett Gosslee, CFRE
  • Special Recognition Award – Terry Simmons (posthumous)

Benefiting the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Dallas Chapter, the luncheon will take place on Friday, November 10, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas.  

Sold-Out Alert!: Crystal Charity Ball Ten Best Dressed Women Of Dallas Fashion Show And Luncheon

That day has come. In keeping with the age-old tradition of being a done deal before North Texas evacuates for the summer, the Crystal Charity Ball Ten Best Dressed Women of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon is sold out.     

Amy Hegi, Piper Wyatt, Julie Hawes, Pat Harloe, Janie Condon, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Tucker Enthoven, Katherine Coker, Delilah Holmes, Anita Arnold and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

So, if you had planned on personally handing your check in Tuesday, scrub it. That is, unless it’s an awful hefty check and who knows? Maybe CCB Chair Pam Perella and Luncheon Chair Christi Urschel will get their space makers out and find you room for the event on Friday, September 15, at Neiman Marcus Downtown with designer Zac Posen in the audience and his fashions on the runway.

MySweet2017Goals: Kevin Hurst

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

According to Neiman Marcus Charitable Giving and Associate Volunteerism Kevin Hurst,

“Personally, I vow to either stop buying more marathon and triathlon gear or put it on and start getting my ROI.

“Professionally, I hope to continue to raise awareness of the need for quality youth arts education and the impact that these programs have on students, not just in DFW, but across the country.”

A Lesson In Appreciation Made The Grade At Herbert Marcus Elementary School With Cookies, Pajamas And Paper

As adorable cuties and oldies sent wishes to Santa for Barbies, Birkin handbags, Anki Cozmo robots and DJI Phantom 4 Drones,  there were others whose want was much less.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, December 21, the Neiman Marcus marketing and public relations types like Mimi Sterling, Ginger Reeder, Sandy Marple, Wendy Segal, Kristin Fletcher and others set up homemade and Celebrity Bakery Christmas cookies that were pound gainers at first glance.

Holly Wallace, Kevin Hurst and Ginger Reeder

But the scene was not at some fancy-shmancy mansion in Preston Hollow or even in an NM couture salon. It was at Herbert Marcus Elementary School in northwest Dallas as a result of NM Director of Charitable Giving Kevin Hurst saying “Howdy do” to the school’s new Principal Holly Wallace earlier in the year. It made sense, since the school was the namesake of NM co-founder Herbert Marcus.

As parents escorted students and their school projects to their cars and crossing guards shielded students from afternoon traffic, the faculty gathered in the school library.

While it may have appeared to be an alcohol-fueled happy hour, not a drop of liquor was present. As today was pajama day for the staff, the teachers in footed jammies were the guests of honor for NM’s “Teacher Appreciation Party.” Thanks to a DJ in the back of the room and a sugar high, the usually quiet-as-a-mouse library had become a party room with laughter and smiles.

Midway through the celebration, Holly surprised all with the announcement that the school had been selected as one of four schools for the Momentous Institute’s program. Instead of just a few of the teachers attending the program, the entire group would participate. The news was greeted by the teachers with the delight usually only seen when a youngster’s can’t-possibly-happen Christmas wish is granted. Holly admitted that she had been on her phone all day locking down the details, so she could break the news at the party.   

Herbert Marcus Elementary School and Neiman Marcus staffs

In addition to the cookies and partying, Holly reported that the NM crew had also provided individual gifts for each of the faculty members.

And then, as if in passing, Holly pointed to a half wall of white innocuous boxes in one part of the room. With the NM team standing on the side, Holly announced that each box contained reams of paper and that each teacher would receive a box for his/her classroom.

The room exploded in excitement as the teachers cheered in delight, throwing their arms up in appreciation. The joy and surprise were so great and genuine that it amazed the NM-ers.

So, while others celebrated receiving high-tech toys, flat-screen TVs and luxury handbags and dining at world-class restaurants, an elementary school’s faculty was over-the-top for an afternoon of appreciation and boxes of plain paper.

JUST IN: Nancy Carlson And Lynn McBee To Co-Chair 2017 TACA Silver Cup Award Luncheon At The Hilton Anatole

As previously announced, Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock will be presented with the 2017 TACA Silver Cup Award at a luncheon on Tuesday, March 7.

Nancy Nasher (File photo)

Nancy Nasher (File photo)

Walter Elcock (File photo)

Walter Elcock (File photo)

Now word has arrived that the event presented by J.P. Morgan and Neiman Marcus will be chaired by past TACA Board Chairs Nancy Carlson and Lynn McBee.  

Nancy Carlson (File photo)

Nancy Carlson (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

It may seem mind boggling, but 2017 is just around the corner. So it’s not too early to get this event on your schedule and the ticket locked up.

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.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: 2016 Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show And Luncheon

For 42 years, the Crystal Charity Ball gals and Neiman Marcus have produced a killer of a fashion show — Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show and Luncheon — to raise funds to help area children. From the moment it was announced that the featured designer would be the epitome of elegance Carolina Herrera, the Thursday, September 15th fashion show and luncheon was sold out.

Ken Downing, Carolina Herrera and Karen Katz

Ken Downing, Carolina Herrera and Karen Katz

Now it was up to the CCB and NM to produce an extravaganza to match expectations and the legend of Herrera, who would be presented with the Neiman Marcus Award.

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

While the post is being prepped, how about checking out the peeps and fashions of the day at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery?

Designer Carolina Herrera And Her Daughters Joined Crystal Charity Ball Patrons At Tucker And Rich Enthoven’s Estate

Thank heaven Tucker and Rich Enthoven had a couple of new air-conditioning units installed in their Preston Hollow estate. The Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show patron party on Friday, September 8, was hot stuff.

As all types of luxury cars lined up in front of the Enthoven circular driveway, it was worth the wait.

Christie Carter and Tucker Enthoven

Christie Carter and Tucker Enthoven

Elaine Agather

Elaine Agather

Immediately upon approaching the front door, the 260 guests were greeted by event sponsor Chase’s #1 gal, Elaine Agather. Dang. That gal redefines the word “welcome.” She knew everyone and everyone reciprocated with hugs.

Next in the greeting line were 2016 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Christie Carter and Tucker. But the entry hall soon became so cozy with more than 250 guests each wanting their time with Elaine, Christie and Tucker.

Charles and Pat McEvoy

Charles and Pat McEvoy

Barry and Lana Andrews

Barry and Lana Andrews

Jeff Byron and Kevin Hurst

Jeff Byron and Kevin Hurst

Vinnie and Malcolm Reuben

Vinnie and Malcolm Reuben

Among the crowd were the most relaxed fellows — those husbands of past 10 BD-ers like Charles McEvoy, Jim Lee, Jack Pratt and Barry Andrews. Next most relieved were those gents (Key Coker, David Condon and Billy Esping), whose wives were making the 2016 BD list for a third and final time… Still another group that looked right at home among the BD set were the ladies who had been part of the CCB Hall of Fame Honorees like Elaine, Lana Andrews, Nancy Dedman, Annette Simmons, Tucean Webb and 2016’s Betsy Sowell and The Neiman’s team, very well represented with Mimi Sterling, Jeff Byron, Kevin Hurst, Malcolm Reuben and his bride CCB-er wunderkind Vinnie ReubenLynn McBee popped in after making the rounds at the Bush Center, where she was the keynote speaker at High-Tech High Heels Friendraiser, and checking in at the North Texas Food Bank’s Harvest… Among the sightings were so many mothers and daughters that one would have thought it was Mother’s Day with CCB Fashion Show Chair/2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella with her mom Carolyn Curl, hostess/10 BD-er Tucker and her mom Julie Ford, Tucean Webb and daughter Suzanne Webb and 10 Bestie Piper Wyatt with her mother Dixey Thornton and Piper’s sis Ginger Sanger Auer.

Annette Simmons and Gerry Fronterhouse

Annette Simmons and Gerry Fronterhouse

Betsy and Jim Sowell

Betsy and Jim Sowell

And speaking of mother/daughters, the family of the night arrived 45 minutes into the party — Venezuelan designer/2016 Neiman Marcus Awardee Carolina Herrera and her daughters Patricia Herrera Lansing and Carolina Herrera Baez. Just as the Herrera entourage approached the mansion, someone told the diminutive designer of meeting her at Neiman Marcus in the Houston Galleria back in the early 1980s. That was when the partnership of Herrera and NM was in its infancy.

Patricia Herrera Lansing, Carolina Herrera and Carolina Herrera Baez

Patricia Herrera Lansing, Carolina Herrera and Carolina Herrera Baez

The guest recalled how Herrera spent equal time with clients as well as trying on shoes in the NM salon. With that Herrera smiled and laughed, “Yes, I do love shoes. You remember?” Before an answer could be forthcoming, Herrera’s daughters laughed, “She loves shoes!” And the emphasis was on “loves.”

Then one of the Herrera team snapped a cellphone shot for the Herrera girls and they were off to the hundreds waiting their chance to meet two generations of designing women.

For lots more photos of the pretty patrons, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

A Behind-The-Scenes Peak at Corporate Philanthropy In Times Of Disaster

Since Thursday night’s tragedy, Dallas’ fortitude has amazed people throughout the world. From the city leadership to the memorial building at Dallas Police Headquarters, the shooting has only brought the community closer together to heal. One group that deserves a pat on the back includes the various companies that have immediately stepped in to help the victims and support first responders, especially the Dallas Police Department. Reports have been flying into MySweetCharity about restaurants offering free meals for police, Uber providing free rides to people who were stranded in downtown Dallas Thursday night, and offices making space for workers who were unable to get to their own offices located within the crime-scene zone.

Those in the philanthropic sector have not only been finding ways to provide funding, but have joined in lockstep to find the best ways to help. Thanks to their mutual interest in supporting North Texas, many already had a network in place to help each other immediately. One example is the note sent by Neiman Marcus Director of Charitable Giving Kevin Hurst. It provides a behind-the-scenes look at the philanthropic process undertaken by many corporation and reveals why North Texas is a standout when it comes to pitching in. For your consideration, here is Kevin’s note:

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

“It is certainly crazy times…not just in Dallas, but across the land.

I saw your story on Topgolf this morning.  Having been through my first major crisis in Dallas, I was amazed at how the community came together so quickly to support those in need.  In fact, I thought you might appreciate a behind the scenes look on the corporate philanthropy side.

“Like everyone on Thursday evening, I watched the late breaking news to see how things unfolded.  When I finally turned off the television, the devastation was not at its worst. When I awoke Friday morning at 4:30, I immediately checked the news.  That is when reality set in. That is when I went into ‘philanthropy’ mode. As the Director of Charitable Giving at Neiman Marcus, among other things, I oversee the Disaster Relief fund. Although we are a National Disaster Relief Partner with the American Red Cross, there are some crises that need different attention. It should be noted that the Neiman Marcus Disaster Relief fund is entirely funded by the generosity of associates during the annual giving campaign.

“The first step to determining support is to understand the need and identify the appropriate partner(s). In the case of the Dallas attack (and even the recent massacre in Orlando), it is about victim support. This is where the research and due diligence begins. For me, Assist the Officer Foundation (ATO) immediately rose to the top. What most of Dallas may not realize is that there is a network of philanthropy professionals from Dallas companies both large and small. I immediately reached out to my peers at the Dallas Corporate Citizens Network. Although we meet in person on a regular basis, we often email and talk to share best practices and collaborate. Friday, July 8, was one of those days that the spirit of teamwork excelled. We immediately started sharing ideas and names of organizations that we were each considering. As we learned of new initiatives and funds being established during the day (United Way, Dallas Foundation, and Communities Foundation of Texas…to name a few), we shared. In the end, we were all able to make informed decisions about what we deemed best for the community and our respective companies. It was truly remarkable to see how expeditiously and efficiently decisions were made and instituted.

“Throughout the corporate offices of Neiman Marcus, a similar decision-making process began in the wee hours. Decisions and recommendations included staff from the executive offices, human resources, security, marketing, public relations, internal communications, corporate visual, social media, and philanthropy. In the end, the corporate offices and Downtown store remained closed on Friday (safety concerns for associates and greater community), internal messages from the CEO were sent to associates, a corporate message was posted to our clients through social media, memorial windows were designed and installed in the two Dallas stores, and charitable partners were identified. The store memorial window was installed on Friday at NorthPark and on Saturday at Downtown once the store was re-opened. The Neiman Marcus family is always extraordinary; however, there was something about the day and the efforts that made Friday uber-extraordinary.

Neiman Marcus window at NorthPark*

Neiman Marcus window at NorthPark*

“The Neiman Marcus story is certainly not unique. I think there is an opportunity to highlight the amazing efforts of the corporations that react and support the community on a regular basis…more than the usual gala and event support…the quiet support that happens behind the scenes. I personally collaborated with American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments, JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte, WFAA, Fossil, and of course, our valued partner, Communities Foundation of Texas.

“I personally hope that we never have to go through this process again in Dallas…or anywhere…but the reality is that we are in different times.  It is comforting to know that we have the compassion, professionalism, and ability to collaborate for the good of the greater community.”

* Photo provided by Kevin Hurst

Weather Played Nicely For The 38th TACA Silver Cup Award Luncheon Honoring Rebecca Fletcher And James E. Wiley Jr.

Was it just a year ago that TACA Carlson President/Executive Director Becky Young was walking her pooch and questioning the future of the day’s Silver Cup luncheon? Sure, it was a knock-out, slippery, icy day with traffic reports boding it wasn’t the best for folks to be out. But Becky didn’t want to let Silver Cup honorees Catherine Rose and Don Glendenning miss their tributes. And then there were all those preparations — the food, the flowers, the entertainers and those hundreds and hundreds of guests!

After checking with the local TV weathercasters, Becky was thinking that postponement might be best. But the final push to pull the plug was honoree/attorney Don chiming in that he didn’t want to think of anyone being harmed trying to get to the event.

With that the event was put on ice, literally. But lemonade resulted from the lemon of a weather situation. Flowers were sent to area hospitals. Luncheon fare was sent to homeless shelters that were in greater need due to the weather’s damnation. A delayed mini-presentation of the awards was hosted on a beautiful day weeks later by Mary McDermott Cook.

But on Friday, February 19, the temps were downright embarrassing as sunscreen-friendly 80s were replacing the past year’s chills for the 2016 TACA Silver Cup Award Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

Ann Hobson

Ann Hobson

Ginger Reeder and Kevin Hurst

Ginger Reeder and Kevin Hurst

While the hundreds gathered outside the Hilton Anatole’s Grand Ballroom to check in, the VIPs including past Silver Cup recipients headed to the nearby Media Grill and Bar Restaurant. Some seemed a little bewildered at the location. A table with three empty chairs and a TACA poster on an easel indicated that the VIP reception was indeed within. Passing by hotel guests at the bar watching a basketball game on the big screen, the TACA types moseyed on back to a semi-private dining room. Pretty soon the area became so packed with people like Honorary Chair Ann Hobson, Kevin Hurst, Jennifer Eagle, Tom Mayer, Ted Enloe and Carol Glendenning, they spilled out into the hallway.

James E. Wiley Jr. and Rebecca Fletcher

James E. Wiley Jr. and Rebecca Fletcher

Unlike years past when the award recipients opened the boxes, revealing the Silver Cups to the assembled guests, the 38th Cup awardees Rebecca Fletcher and James “Jim” Wiley Jr. gleefully opened the boxes in the back of the room unbeknownst to others. Didn’t matter because the cups shone like the Rebecca’s and Jim’s smiles.

From the left: (back row) Lucilo Pena, Howard Rachofsky, Frank Risch, Cindy Rachofsky, Bess Enloe, John Eagle and Howard Hallam; (front row) Catherine Rose, Marguerite Hoffman, Rebecca Fletcher, James E. Wiley Jr. and Don Glendenning

From the left: (back row) Lucilo Pena, Howard Rachofsky, Frank Risch, Cindy Rachofsky, Bess Enloe, John Eagle and Howard Hallam; (front row) Catherine Rose, Marguerite Hoffman, Rebecca Fletcher, James E. Wiley Jr. and Don Glendenning

Just before the VIP party broke up, the annual group photo of Silver Cup recipients, past and present, was staged in a corner of the room. Unfortunately, some, like past Silver Cup recipients Mary McDermott Cook, Kern Wildenthal, Holly Mayer and Ruben Esquivel, had already moved on to the Grand Ballroom. Just as well because they couldn’t have squeezed any more folks into that corner.

Lee Cullum

Lee Cullum

Tara Lewis

Tara Lewis

Pete Chilian

Pete Chilian

Marsha Cameron

Marsha Cameron

But once inside the Grand Ballroom, there was plenty of room for folks to settle down for lunch. Mistress of ceremonies Lee Cullum introduced the head table including Co-Chairs Pilar Henry and Tara Lewis, J.P. Morgan’s Peter Chilian, 2015 Silver Cup Awardees Don Glendenning and Catherine Rose, TACA Board Chair Donna Wilhelm, Paradox Compensation Advisors’ Marsha Cameron, Neiman Marcus’ Ginger Reeder and the 2016 Silver Cup Awardees Rebecca and Jim. She then invited the Rev. Douglas Travis of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church to come to the podium to give the invocation. Just before having him take over, she said, “He may not know that I’m in his parish.” Without missing a beat, Douglas said, “I know.” A chuckle was heard from the audience just before they bowed their heads.

Grace Browning

Grace Browning

Jonathan Jones

Jonathan Jones

At 12:10 luncheon (baby kale salad followed by an entrée of chicken, mushroom and leek fricassee and a chocolate pistachio torte for dessert) was served while The Dallas Opera principal harpist Grace Browning played on a mini-stage at one of the room and was followed by Dallas Chamber Symphony principal clarinet Jonathan Jones on a similar stage across the way. At one point Jonathan played Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee” and it was noted that eating utensils seemed to move faster.

Charles Karanja

Charles Karanja

Following Lee’s state-of-the-arts review, Tara’s thanking the sponsors and remarks by Pete, Marsha and Donna, Ginger introduced the 2016 SMU Meadows School of the Arts Performers pianist Tara Emerson and tenor Charles Karanja, who performed on a stage in front of the head table.

Following the performance, Catherine Rose introduced fourth-generation Texan Jim, remarking that “one of his many sterling qualities is his willingness to step in and volunteer for the hardest work and then actually do the work.”

James E. Wiley Jr.

James E. Wiley Jr.

He kicked off his brief acceptance speech with “Wow! Shazam!” His acceptance speech was mingled with humor and sincerity, “having had the good fortune of picking parents who lived in Dallas” and attributing his early love for the arts to his DISD teachers. While admitting that Dallas’ arts have flourished over the years, he asked, “Where do we go from here?” He suggested the “biggest challenge is figuring out a way to empower all the diverse and disparate parts to come together and experience the joy of true community.” With the costs of sports participation and attendance being prohibitive for families, he reasoned that “enjoying art in all its forms and experiencing the outdoors and nature are two viable ways for Dallas to come together as a community.”

At 1:22 p.m. the ever-eloquent Don’s introduction of Rebecca sounded more like a love note. In closing, he paraphrased Lerner and Lowe’s “We Call the Wind Maria(h),” saying

“’Way out here we have a name for rain and wind and fire. The rain is Tess, the fire’s Joe and we call the wind Maria(h).’ In that same spirit, I give you our arts force of nature — Rebecca.”

Rebecca Fletcher

Rebecca Fletcher

Like Jim, Rebecca started off her acceptance speech with, “Wow!” She then recalled attending her first Silver Cup Award luncheon in 1993, when her mother Bess Enloe received the award. It “sparked” the idea of leaving the legal profession and working for in the nonprofit sector.

She accepted the award graciously, telling the audience that it was especially meaningful since she and James had worked together in the past. Rebecca then took the opportunity of explaining why her focus had been primarily on the arts, “because of what they can uniquely give back to our community. Imagine a society without the influence of arts and you’ll have to strip out the most pleasurable in life. Take away the collective memory of our museums. Remove the bands from our schools, the choirs from our communities; lose empathetic plays and dance from our theaters and you’re left with a society bereft of a national conversation about its identity or anything else.”

Thanking her associates and friends, she teared up in recognizing her family. But Rebecca was not going to end her talk with tears. Instead she announced that she was going to “set the record straight” about her husband Barron Fletcher. “Many of you have often complimented me on the relationship that I set up between Titas and the Performing Arts Center during my tenure as the board chair. Well, I have to come clean. It was not my idea. [laughter from the audience] It was Barron Fletcher’s. Barron was the one who stayed up with me pouring over Titas’ books and designing a new business model. Furthermore, he personally wrote a check to cover the organization, so that I could go out and negotiate the deal. So, just so we all know, Barron Fletcher saved Titas.”

Neiman Marcus’ Team All Heart Replaced Stilettos With Running Shoes For The Dallas Marathon To Haul In $175,000

Unlike two years ago when the weather forced the Dallas Marathon to cancel, this year’s romp around Dallas was super-duper despite the chill and damp paths on Sunday, December 13. Now, most folks would have thought this type of activity would not fit in with the fashion elite of Neiman Marcus. After all, their idea of a workout is a thorough facial.

Mimi Sterling and Kevin Hurst*

Mimi Sterling and Kevin Hurst*

So very wrong that thinking is! The NM-ers not only were well represented by employees from around the country, but their CEO Karen Katz was part of the team that included Kevin Hurst, Mimi Sterling, Tiffany Taylor and Alice Kolator and Esther Ambrogio in from New Jersey. But leave it to NM not to just do the run, raise funds and leave it at that. Nope. Here’s a report from the field and another reason why NM continues to put the “fun” in fundraising:

Neiman Marcus Team All Heart group seflie*

Neiman Marcus Team All Heart group seflie*

In 2014, we formed the inaugural Team All Heart which brings together associates from across the country to run the Dallas Marathon. Each associates agrees that s/he will raise money for charity; half of which will support the All Heart funds (Disaster Relief and the Associate Financial Hardship) and the charity of their choice. For their efforts, we provide a virtual trainer and cover all travel expenses to Dallas. This year, the team enjoyed Team All Heart logoed running gear from Under Armour (including shoes, shirts, jackets, hats, tights, shorts, and socks).

Alice Kolator, Esther Ambrogio and Karen Katz*

Alice Kolator, Esther Ambrogio and Karen Katz*

In 2014, the runners raised over $33,000.  In 2015, with our CEO Karen Katz on the team, they raised $175,000.  There were a total of 20 runners literally from the east coast to the west coast and everywhere in between.  The runners arrived on Friday and got settled into their hotel.

On Saturday, after they collected their race packets from the Convention Center, the team, along with members from the Executive Team, gather at the Zodiac restaurant at the Downtown store to enjoy a pre-race pasta (carbo-loading) dinner and get to know each other.

Neiman Marcus pre-race*

Neiman Marcus Team All Heart pre-race*

LaKisha Bivins, Tiffany Taylor and Veva Sterling*

LaKisha Bivins, Tiffany Taylor and Veva Sterling*

Sunday morning, despite the cold and rain, the team congregated at the hotel for one final group photo and the walk to the start line. The race was run, the miles were calculated, personal records were set, power gels and Gatorade were consumed, and a sense of accomplishment was attained.  It was then time to celebrate the accomplishments at the Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse in the historic west end. Despite the sore muscles and feet, the team smiled, laughed, and, of course, refueled.

Neiman Marcus post-race*

Neiman Marcus Team All Heart post-race*

We also had the Team All Heart “motivational spectators (cheerleaders) stationed at mile 9.5 which included NM associates and friends and family that traveled to Dallas to support their runner.

Some claimed this was “one and done”, but others are already looking forward to their next race back home and to Dallas 2016.

* Photos provided by Neiman Marcus

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!

Oops Alert!: Photos Of NorthPark Pioneers EG Hamilton And Lee Starr Are Making The Rounds With The Wrong ID’s

Event photographers are an important part of the North Texas fundraising scene. As great as it is for them to snap nice-looking photos of folks at all types of activities, they have to get the subjects’ names right, too. In many cases, the organization sponsoring the event arranges to have a “name taker” assist the photographer.

Unfortunately, the stars were not in alignment for the Neiman Marcus-NorthPark black-tie event on Wednesday, October 28. The results? Photos have been distributed by Neiman’s with a couple of major misidentifications that other media outlets are posting/publishing and photo services are offering based on the information provided. Thus, the Internet is starting to show signs of a string of misinformation.

Neiman’s has been alerted to the situation and is “notifying BFA as they provided the ID’s.”

Just in case BFA hasn’t contacted your neighborhood newsletter, the two most outrageous errors involve NorthPark legends who helped the late Patsy and Ray Nasher more than 50 years ago to create a world-famous retail center. Please note the photos below are the correctly ID-ed:

EG Hamilton

EG Hamilton

EG Hamilton, the award-winning architect who designed NorthPark.

Jacqueline Starr, Louise Eiseman and Lee Starr

Jacqueline Starr, Louise Eiseman and Lee Starr

Lee Starr, the president of Titche-Goettinger when the department store was one of four original NorthPark anchors, with his wife Jacqueline Starr and Louise Eiseman.

It may not seem like a really big deal to some. After all, these gents aren’t one of The Kardashians or a presidential wannabe. Besides, all gray-haired 90-somethings look alike, right?  Oh, please!

These two men, who worked with the Nashers and the late Stanley Marcus to create a remarkable undertaking, should be treated with the respect that they deserve.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Neiman Marcus Celebrates NorthPark50

David Haemisegger, Isabelle Haemisegger, David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher

David Haemisegger, Isabelle Haemisegger, David Haemisegger Jr. and Nancy Nasher

Karen Katz

Karen Katz

Leave it to Neiman’s to put the polish on the crown jewels. That’s what Neiman’s Karen Katz and husband Alan Katz did at NorthPark NM to celebrate Nancy Nasher’s and David Haemisegger‘s NorthPark50 and their support of the area nonprofits.

It was only right, since NM and NP partnered 50 years ago to create a world-class retailing concept that has remained forever young.

While the post is being prepped, enjoy the pixs at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery of those who made the scene.

Round Robin April 9: Turtle Creek Karaoke Lounge And Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board Receptions

Alas, so many ultra-exclusive gatherings going on in Biggest D on Thursday, April 9, like former President Bill Clinton in town for dinner at Wendy Stanley’s home for The Clinton Foundation and Kevin Costner schmoozing with the New Friends New Life top supporters at Hunt Consolidated. Still, there were other gatherings that were weren’t so restricted, like:

Karaoke Lounge

Ken Downing

Ken Downing and Nanette Lepore model

Neiman Marcus Fashion Guru Ken Downing told the crowd in for the Nanette Lepore trunk show that as a young man, he fell in love with the word “culottes.” Ken added with a twinkle in his eye, “It was in high school when I dated girls.”

Ken and Nanette had a great time talking about the spring collection that indeed included culottes.

Ashlee Weidner

Ashlee Weidner

Paige Westhoff

Paige Westhoff

Originally planned as an event for the Turtle Creek Recovery Center’s A Night At The Turtle Creek Karaoke Lounge crowd like Diana Hamilton, Nancy Gopez, Kristi Hoyl, Jill Tananbaum and Paige Westhoff, a number of drop-in NM clients took their seats to learn about the collection.

Violet Savage

Violet Savage

Nanette Lepore

Nanette Lepore

One of the folks in the crowd was Nanette’s daughter, Violet Savage, who was part of the catwalk crew in her mom’s recent Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week show.

Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board

Lisa Troutt and Vicki Chapman

Lisa Troutt and Vicki Chapman

Lisa Troutt laid the groundwork. Despite early plans by Crystal Charity Ball organizers for its advisory board and the beneficiaries, who had figured on the program starting at 7:30 p.m., Lisa stalled it until 8:00. She wasn’t about to let anyone miss the buffet with mountains of shrimp and other goodies.

But the night was perfect to wander the grounds of the Troutt estate, and guests seemed to enjoy gathering. While Kenny disappeared to take a delayed conference call, the more than 200 guests took their place on the Troutts’ indoor basketball court.

Ruth Altshuler and Michal Powell

Ruth Altshuler and Michal Powell

2015 CCB Chair Michal Powell welcomed all and thanked the Troutts, advisory board members, longtime friends and introduced Capital One Bank President Kent Eastman, who thanked the group for all they do.

Michal returned to the podium telling how one of the most disturbing facts learned this year was that one-third of Dallas children live in poverty. She then introduced a touching video succinctly showcasing the heart-wrenching 2015 beneficiaries. Michal proudly told the group that her California nephew, Cameron Cone, had produced it.

JUST IN: Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show And Luncheon Is Getting An “Oscar”

The weather outside is frightful, but those Crystal Charity Ball gals and the Neiman Marcus team are sporting very, very happy faces! The reason? The reveal of the featured collection for the Ten Best Dressed Women of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon!

It’s gonna be 2016 Oscar de la Renta Resort Collection designed by Peter Copping, who was named the creative director of Oscar de la Renta last October just a week before Oscar’s death.

Michal Power (File photo)

Michal Power (File photo)

Mary Clare Finney (File photo)

Mary Clare Finney (File photo)

According to Crystal Charity Ball chair Michal Powell and Luncheon/Fashion Show Chair Mary Clare Finney, Oscar designer/creative director Peter Copping plans to attend the September 18th event.

According to Mary Clare, “Everyone is thrilled to have the Oscar de la Renta collection featured at this year’s event. Peter Coppings designs are very highly anticipated.”

What’s that? Questions? Here are some answers:

  • Yes, the luncheon will return to the glamorama tent adjacent to Neiman Marcus Downtown. The reception will take place in the store.
  • No, tickets aren’t available yet, but we did want you to know who’s coming to lunch.
  • Yes, there are definite perks to being a patron, like a cocktail reception the night before at Lana and Barry Andrews estate.
  • As for the 2015 Ten Best Dressed, you’ll have to wait until Wednesday, April 15, when they’re announced.

TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Item #5: New York Fashion Week

Couture designers may showcase their fashions in New York, but their fav clients are in the heart of Texas. Having been educated at “Neiman Marcus University” for ages, Dallas gals are honor-roll students and don’t follow trends. Shoot! They lead ‘em. This TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction package will be just part of their continuing education.

New York Fashion Week* (Value: Priceless)

To the highest caliber fashion lovers, New York’s Fashion Week is the Olympics, Super Bowl and World Cup all in one. Just to land a place at one of the runway shows is like having a front row place at a royal wedding.

New York Fashion Week**

New York Fashion Week**

But Neiman’s and Ken Downing have partnered up with Harper’s Bazaar to provide two lucky fashionistas with not one, but two tickets to two Fashion Week runway shows. And so typical of NM, Ken and Harper’s, that just wasn’t enough. So they’ve included an exclusive tour of Harper’s Fashion Closet plus lunch with a Harper’s fashion editor for a blow-by-blow analysis of the shows.

To make coming and going as fashionable as possible, American Airlines is providing business, class, round-trip air transportation to NYC.

* Courtesy of Neiman Marcus, Ken Downing, Harper’s Bazaar and American Airlines
** Photo provided by TACA

TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Item #9: Chanel And Paris

Dallas was the center of the Chanel world in December for the Metiers d’Art. That one night in Fair Park was hardly enough for a Coco aficionado.That’s why this RBC Wealth Management TACA Custom Auction item will satisfy the hunger for experiencing Paris with “time on your hands.”

Chanel And Paris* (Value: $28,600)

Mademoiselle’s Paris is where one truly can celebrate and absorb the atmosphere and surroundings that inspired her timeless creations for decades.

Chanel men's timepiece**

Chanel men’s timepiece**

And speaking of timeless, this package will provide both the City of Lights and a Chanel design that will always be timely. For four nights, two people will call the Mandarin Oriental home and be free to explore the city on the Seine. Whether it’s checking the newest exhibition at the Louvre, shopping in the couture salons or taking day trips to the surrounding countryside, the agenda is open.

Alas, even the best of times must end, but not necessarily in this case. Thanks to beautiful-handcrafted his-and-hers Chanel timepieces, the couple will always have Paris. While her black ceramic J12 watch features diamond markers and quartz movement, his sleek black ceramic J12 watch has automatic movement. Vive la difference!

Thanks to American Airlines, the pair will travel business class roundtrip.

* Courtesy of Neiman Marcus, Chanel, Mandarin Oriental Paris and American Airlines
** Photo provided by TACA

Oops Alert: Crystal Charity Ball Had A Zero Problem

Now, don’t get your beautifully Botoxed brow all wrinkled up, but there was a slight error reported today at the Crystal Charity Ball 10 Best Luncheon today in the tent adjacent to Neiman Marcus Downtown.

Nina Ricci fashions

Nina Ricci fashions

No, one of the 10 didn’t take a dive off the runway. And, no, the tent didn’t cave in. And, no, none of the wonderful Nina Ricci fashions suffered a malfunction. And, no, there weren’t any behind-the-scenes cat fights. Oh, please!

The oop’s that created a bit of consternation was one teeny, weeny zero. Well, it wasn’t that little a zero, but it was big enough to create a stir.

Of course, you want an explanation.

Karen Katz and Ralph Toledano

Karen Katz and Ralph Toledano

Well, it seems when the ever-adorable Neiman Marcus Group President/CEO Karen Katz welcomed the 447 guests, she reported that 2014 CCB Chair Robyn Conlon and her gals were aiming to raise $50M. Immediately, members of the 2014 CCB committee members opened their eyes wider than last night’s moon. Underwriters and past CCB members raised their eyebrows high enough to touch their hairlines.

Evidently, Karen “mistakenly read” $50,000,0000, instead of the actual goal of “$5,200,000.” Knowing Karen, she’s probably at her desk writing personal apologies to all 447 guests.

Now, look around the room. Everybody who has never made a mistake, raise your hand.

TACA Lovers Honored Silver Cup Awardees Holly Mayer And Lucilo Peña As Lights Flashed And Emcee Lee Cullum Tiptoed Her Remarks

Tradition is a wonderful thing. And the TACA Silver Cup Award Luncheon exemplifies just that. Founder Annette Strauss envisioned it as an occasion to salute a man and a woman for “their outstanding contributions to the arts in Dallas.”

So, despite school closings and black ice popping up in the most unlikely spots, the TACA crowd braved the wintry-weather encore and gathered at the Hilton Anatole on Monday, March 3, to attend the 36th TACA Silver Cup Award Luncheon presented by J.P. Morgan and Neiman Marcus.

With valet parkers wearing sock caps bracing against below-freezing temperatures and gusty winds, the performing arts crowd hustled on in to celebrate Holly Mayer’s and Lucilio Peña’s receiving the “silver cups.”

As guests attended the reception in the lobby outside the Grand Ballroom, past TACA Silver Cup recipients and VIP’s came together in the Plum Room across the way.

Just as the clock was ticking down, TACA President/Executive Director Becky Young asked, “Where is Lucilio?” Yes, the male recipient was nowhere to be seen. He’d been there just moments before with his mother Maria Elena Peña, sister Maria Eugenia Peña, niece Gabriela Peña and partner Lee Cobb. But now he had vanished. And they couldn’t hold the private unboxing of the silver cups without him.

Maria Eugenia Peña, Lucilo Peña, Gabriela Peña, Maria Elena Peña and Lee Cobb

Maria Eugenia Peña, Lucilo Peña, Gabriela Peña, Maria Elena Peña and Lee Cobb

On the other hand, female Silver Cup recipient Holly was following orders, staying put and talking with friends.

It began looking like a back-up plan might be necessary. But, wait! Through the door Lucilio appeared.

As the past recipients gathered around knowing the drill, the newbies tore through the silver Neiman Marcus boxes wrapped with ribbons like kids on Christmas morning.

Actually, Lucilio did have some help opening the box, thanks to niece Gabriela.

Holly Mayer and Lucilo Peña

Holly Mayer and Lucilo Peña

No sooner had the recipients and cups been photographed than the cups were whisked away for official display at the lunch, and Holly and Lucilio took their seats of honor on the couch surrounded by the past recipients for the annual group photo.

TACA Silver Cup Award recipients

TACA Silver Cup Award recipients

Determined not to be late for the photo was a radiant J.P. Morgan Chase Chair Elaine Agather, who arrived just minutes too late two years ago for the photo. . .  Diane Brierley was receiving birthday congratulations. . .  Tincy Miller and Caroline Rose Hunt were seated together comparing notes. . . Lynn McBee and Kern Wildenthal were talking about the History-Making Texans event in Austin the previous Saturday honoring Ruth Altshuler and Ross Perot.

Elaine Agather

Elaine Agather

Keeping to the schedule, the Plum Room entourage made their way to the Grand Ballroom, where two mini-stages with musical instruments were set up among the sea of tables and one large stage with piano was in place in front of the head table.

Just a little after noon, when guests had taken their seats and were settling down to a luncheon of Moroccan spiced beef tenderloin salad, overhead emergency lights starts flashing. No one seemed bothered by the blinking lights as they continued eating and chatting. A few minutes later, the lights stopped. Outside the ballroom, Anatole staffers dressed for outside conditions got together and assured all that it was just a false alarm.

Lone Star Wind Orchestra  Horn Quartet

Lone Star Wind Orchestra Horn Quartet

As if on cue, the musicians of the Lone Star Wind Orchestra Horn Quartet performed on one of the mini-stages. No sooner had they completed their performance than the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra String Quartet took over on the other mini-stage.

Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra String Quartet

Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra String Quartet

Then Mistress of Ceremonies Lee Cullum took over, providing her typical humor and insight in her annual “state of the Dallas arts” commentary:

Lee Cullum

Lee Cullum

  • One Arts Plaza — “It lives in love and harmony with its neighbors.”
  • “You may have seen the lights that were flashing earlier. I thought Tod Machover was back in town.”
  • The rumored Broadway production of “King Kong” coming to Dallas — “Wouldn’t it be exciting if King Kong wound up on top of Museum Tower? (Applause) Of course, by then it may have an additional life as a solar power generating station. But you know there’s a way out of this. The Nasher could save a lot on their electricity bills. . . We’re hoping for good things on that front!”
  • The Glendennings are everywhere. If you don’t know that, you must be a hopeless recluse.”

Lee was then followed by remarks by

Nancy Carlson and Don Glendenning

Nancy Carlson and Don Glendenning

  • Elaine, who said that TACA is necessary to create a vital community to attract jobs.
  • Silver Cup Award Luncheon Co-Chairs Carol and Don Glendenning, who reported that this year’s event had become “one of the two most economically successful luncheons in the past 35 years.”
  • TACA Chairman of the Board Nancy Carlson told of the $1.3M in grants that had been distributed in January to 46 performing arts groups.
  • Neiman Marcus’ VP Ginger Reeder, who introduced the NM Performing Arts Scholarship recipients soprano Audra Methvin, tenor Jeawook Lee and pianist Jason Smith performing “O soave fanciulla” from “La Boheme.” The performance was just perfect — beautifully executed, not too long, not too short.

    Jeawood Lee and Audra Methvin

    Jeawood Lee and Audra Methvin

Once again following tradition the 2013 Silver Cup Award male recipient (in this case, Roger Nanney) introduced Holly.

Holly Mayer

Holly Mayer

In her acceptance speech, Holly recalled how she grew up in the arts. One of her first experiences was being in the grade-school production of “Hansel and Gretel,” but she was caught nibbling on the candy house. The death of her 10-year-old daughter caused Holly to seek escape and seek solace that she found in the arts — “I know the transformative power of art.” Over the years, she told of seeing the growth of the Dallas art especially the Dallas Opera’s outreach programs including the simulcast at AT&T Stadium, where Bugs Bunny served as a warm-up. Finishing up, she said, “I’m excited about the collaborative spirit.”

Peggy Sewell

Peggy Sewell

Lee then introduced last year’s Silver Cup Award female recipient Peggy Sewell, who is well known for her fundraising efforts. Doing so, Lee recalled coming across an observation that Peggy might want to consider — “If you are working for an arts organization, as she is, and you need to bend the curve because the competition is getting on your nerves, you can maybe disparage one of the other groups. For example, you might say the reason ballet dancers dance on en pointe on their toes is to avoid waking the audience. (Laughter) Peggy, you might want to consider it, because she’s got to raise a lot of money for that Islamic art [at the Dallas Museum of Art].” Some in the audience were scratching their heads over Lee’s comment, but insiders got it and some of them looked a little uncomfortable.

Mary McDermott Cook

Mary McDermott Cook

But without missing a beat, Peggy seamlessly followed introducing Lucilo, who also emphasized the “vital transformative power of art.” He recalled his parents growing up and fleeing Cuba and his growing up in Venezuela. The big artistic impact in his life was his trip to Europe as a youth and seeing the Prado in Madrid. Lucilo, who “lives, works and plays in the Arts District,” promoted the New Cities summit coming to Dallas, as well as his involvement in the Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Dallas Architectural Forum and the Human Rights Campaign. As he was talking, the ballroom’s lights once again started acting up. This time they just shut down, leaving the room in darkness. From the podium, Lucilo said, “Whoa!” because he couldn’t see his notes. Guess someone heard him, because the lights immediately came back on and he was able to thank Deedie Rose, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Mary McDermott Cook, Marguerite Hoffman and others.

Lee returned to the podium tying her earlier remark about tiptoe dancing with the complimentary tickets at the tables: “Be sure to look at the tickets. I feel honor bound to add that the Texas Ballet Theater is doing very well. They do dance en pointe,” she said. “They got $65K from TACA . They’re doing well. Titas is going to bring a great program for the Fete du Ballet May 2nd. Would you look at the tickets on your table? There is a ticket for two.  You can go to the Black Dance Ballet where they do not dance en pointe, I hope. Or maybe they do, but they’re very great. You can go to ‘Mariachi Girl‘ at the Children’s Theater. Or, you can go to piano concerto at the Dallas Symphony.”

She then dismissed the group, “So happy spring to all of you. Surely, it’s arriving soon. Thank you for being here. Same time next year.”

So tradition continues.

Change Is Afoot For 2013 Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show And Luncheon

No, we haven’t forgotten about our post regarding changes for the September 12th Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show and Luncheon. No, there will still be 10 extremely fashionable ladies (Tricia Besing, Nancy Carlson, Mary Clare Finney, DeeDee Lee, Patty Leyendecker, Lynn McBee, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Pam Perella, Aileen Pratt and Christi Urschel) walking the runway along with Hall of Fame honoree Lisa Troutt. And the show will be highlighted by the collection from the Alexander McQueen designers.

So, what’s the change? The location.

Now, wait. Before you start reprogramming your GPS for a new destination, don’t. The reception, fashion show and luncheon will still be at Neiman Marcus Downtown. . . uh, sorta. Yes, the reception will take place on the first floor of the NM flagship.

Claire Emanuelson and Caren Kline (File photo)

Claire Emanuelson and Caren Kline (File photo)

But the fashion show and luncheon won’t be in the building. Instead, organizers have decided to move it to the adjoining valet parking lot.

Oh, come on. You’re not thinking that CCB Chair Caren Kline and CCB Fashion Show and Luncheon Chair Claire Emanuelson, NM hierarchy and the McQueen braintrust would just plunk this stellar group down in an open parking lot. Please!

The whole area is going to be enclosed in a huge structure with tiers for tables and chairs, so the guests will be able to watch the show and lunch without having to traipse up and down the store’s floors.

MySweetCharity’s Queenie Distraught Over Change In Dallas Hierarchy

Queenie has been gathering up some of her finest black bunting and draping it around the MySweetCharity international headquarters. She doesn’t often do that.

One elf approached Queenie and asked, “Was it something that Ryan Seacrest said to you last night at the Mansion?”

She sniffed, “Who’s he?” as she went about her draping duties.

The elves all know that Queenie still thinks Rudy Vallee is hot stuff, so they weren’t all that surprised that she wasn’t present tense about The Ryan.

Quickly the elves mounted a signature effort that was greater than the Texas secession effort to learn what was up.

Shelle Sills (File photo)

Faced with such a daunting demand, Queenie faced the legions of elves from her so-on-high balcony and reported that word had just been received that one of the greats of Dallas fashion had turned in her resignation.

Tearfully (and we all know Queenie reserves tears only for the extermination of major continents or the loss of rich dark chocolates with caramel fillings), she took a deep dramatic Queenie breath and reported that Shelle Sills had just minutes before announced to her staff that she would be ending her reign as VP/GM of the Neiman Marcus Downtown store on Saturday, December 8.

Immediately the queenie-dom’s paramedics were on the scene, providing oxygen for the elves who had passed out. Queenie, who was too distraught, was unable to help the elves as she wailed.

One elf begged, “Please not the same Shelle, who has been so understanding and supportive of the nonprofits like The Family Place, Crystal Charity, Downtown Dallas and everything else special? ”

Queenie nodded, “Yes, the same Shelle.”

 

Cattle Baron’s Ball Live Auction #24: Neiman Marcus Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

Neiman Marcus Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

 

Live Auction Item #24: Neiman Marcus Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience (Value: Priceless)

There are lots of reasons that folks want to be children again. But hold on to your driver’s license because Cattle Baron’s Ball gals and Neiman Marcus Downtown just came up with an incredible reason to be way underage.

One of the holiday highlights is the windows of the NM flagship. Those creative wunderkinds create a whimsical array of scenes connected by mammoth tubes.

Now for the right bid at Saturday’s live auction, the child (6 to 12 years old) of your choice will be able to submit artwork or an idea based on this year’s concept for the NM-ers to “bring to life in the holiday windows.”

But, wait! There’s more. You didn’t think Cattle Baron’s would stop with a simple little thing like having a youngster’s concept executed by the retailing geniuses, did you?

NM Downtown will host a preview party for a dozen of the young artist’s friends that will include “tubing” through the windows before the rest of the world. Sorta like getting an iPhone 5 before release.

And, of course, your children’s first name will be displayed like any great artist.

And this offer isn’t just available for parents. A grandparent could be the ultimate Santa Claus for some lucky youngster. Or, what about winning the bid and having a child from one of the countless nonprofit organizations for children be the star of the project? If you’ve seen some of the artwork produced at The Family Place, Genesis, Children’s Cancer Fund, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas or a dozen other facilities, you know that these children are amazingly creative. It just might be your opportunity to celebrate and showcase their talent.

This is such a unique offer that it’s never been available before . . . not even in NM’s Christmas book!

Photo provided by Cattle Baron's Ball