Back in 1934 the Idlewild Club was just 50 years old, the Junior League was 12 years old, Neimans was 27 years old and the young people around town were “the Margaret’s” (as in Hunt Hill and Milam McDermott) and the Marcus boys. But there were four former Idlewild debs (Mary Blakeney, Bonnie Compton, Lucy Jo Davis and Sally Dunlap), who felt young Dallas women needed their own social club. After all, the men had Idlewild, Calyx, Dervish and Terpsichorean. The gals should have a social club, too.
So, they created the Slipper Club. Over the years, the club changed with the times. It maintained its reputation for elegance, but in 1995 the membership realized that it could be both social and socially responsible by becoming a non-profit organization and raising funds for different charities each year.
Saturday the Slipper Club’s 16th annual charity gala, “An Arabian Night,” at Brook Hollow Golf Club proved once again that it has gorgeous members who know how to raise money for Heroes for Children and how to be ultra fashionable.
Perhaps the first indication that the night was going to be a step-above-gorgeous was the invitation. One of the prettiest to hit a mailbox in ages. Everything from the quality of paper, the design and the elements were right on target to set the mood for a black tie event. It was created by the Wilkinson Rhodes Events & Invitations that has just opened up shop here in Dallas. Seems Billinda Wilkinson has been ruling super-duper social events down in San Antonio and decided to expand to Dallas with her daughter at the helm.
Before the 400 expected guests arrived, Slipper Club President Christina Conway hosted a president’s dinner in the Oak Room. For some of the diners, it was a little hard to get to the Oak Room. After all you had to walk through the main ballroom and terrace. Like the invitation, it was beautifully done and kept the Arabian Nights theme going without being hokey. Despite a mammoth four-sided bar in the center of the room, loads of silent auction items and games throughout, there was still plenty of room for guests to dance to Motion. And dance they did.
The guests looked like they had been the pick-of-the-litter for a Vanity Fair cover. Gala chair Olivia Liland greeted guests with Matt Nunley at her side. She was in a fabulous navy-blue sequined David Meister that she was hesitant about buying. It didn’t have the pizazz on the hangar, but once on and with that slit on the right side of the skirt, she fell in love with it because “it was so comfortable.”
The underwriting for the event was a huge success thanks to Lauren Chapman. According to one committee member, this was “one of our strongest years for underwriting historically!” She must get it from her mother, Vicki Chapman. To emphasize the fact that this was a fundraising event, representatives from Heroes for Children did a great job of explaining where the money was going.
Among the members and dates was Slipper Club advisor Barbara Paschall Averitt, who looked like she had just returned from the Auriga Spa, instead of supervising the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s mega-successful presentation ball weekend. But this is nothing new to Barbara. She’s seen all sides of the deb scene from making her debut in 1982, being president of the Slipper Club and serving as coordinator extraordinaire for all things débutante in Dallas.
In addition to hosting the dinner of “the best-looking and most lively crowd” ever seen at a president’s dinner, Christina and Olivia carried the success to the main event itself. In addition to the games, auctions, grown-up beverages and the setting that indeed looked like something out of Scheherazade’s dream of a palace, the gals arranged to have henna and hookah booths open up at 10. Only thing missing was Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves. Too bad. They missed a tale to behold.