Thanks to Mother Nature, last year’s Dallas Museum of Art gala proved rather challenging with plans to have an outdoor dinner and auction. This year’s Art Ball Co-chairs Merry Vose and Julie Hawes took a deep breath and decided not to trust the temperamental weather maker and took over the entire DMA for the April 14 ultra-black-tie gala, “Wanderlust.”
Ah, success! It worked!
From the circular drive with dancers and a mega-green sheet greeting guests to the Hamon Atrium’s Chihuly wall pieces joined by a field of hovering orange lanterns over the live auction, the first impression set the mood for the night. Ah, and the guests did not disappoint one iota. The receiving line down the long hallway was art in motion, as Deedie Rose, Jacqueline and Maxwell Anderson, John Eagle, Merry and Julie greeted some of the most fashionable-looking types seen in quite a while. Let’s face it. This crowd appreciates the visual arts and fashion, so it was only natural that they hit it out of the park, including Rachael Dedman in J. Mendel, Pamela Graham in Vicky Tiel, Olivia Kearney in Lela Rose that mom Deedie hadn’t seen yet, Cristina Lynch in an Elizabeth Anyaa handmade organza with cotton, PaperCity‘s first lady Holly Moore in Commes des Garcon with a gargantuan French twist and Elizabeth Kimple in Escada.
Of course, there were some that had stories behind their selections. Both Nancy Briggs in sherwani and Anne Stodghill in sari were discoveries by their husbands during their travels to India. Mary McDermott Cook chuckled about her glow-in-the-dark skirt by Terri Camarillo, as well as the text that she got from daughter Grace. Seems
Grace’s date/boyfriend David Friggel was having a devil of a time with his skull and crossbones-patterned bowtie. His Perry Ellis tuxedo was perfectly fine, though. To compliment his look, Grace topped off her revised Betsey Johnson with a ribbon featuring skull and crossbones.
Sure, some admitted to having picked out “recycled” gowns, but, shoot, these fashions weren’t meant to be banished to closets forevermore.
Gorgeous bare backs (Raina Snell, Shana Richardson, Erin Mathews, Mary Crosland, Julie and Jacqueline) and naked shoulders (Muffin Lemak in a Nha Khanh design from her daughter’s recent wedding in Mexico and Claire Emanuelson in Nha Khanh, too) were everywhere, as well as spectacular gems (Dallas Snadon, Nancy C. Rogers in Zac Posen with jewelry by Gregg Ruth from Bachendor’s, Nancy Halbreich in Angel Sanchez
with Oscar Heyman jewelry, Jocelyn White in Vera Wang with jewelry from her grandmother, Robin Francis Carreker in a gown designed by herself and Patti Flowers with jewelry from Tony Duquette) that was more valuable than the Park Cities real estate. Okay, so maybe not the entire PC, but at least the value of the 75205.
And the ladies weren’t the only ones who provided the visuals for the evening. Faisal Halum was in a Balmain jacket with Jill Sander shirt and Dior tie; Brian Bolke was totally Dsquared; Jeremy Halbreich was in a Belvest jacket, Hermes tie and cummerbund and “the rest is me!”; Steve Stodghill wore a
black Nehru jacket that he got on a trip to India and Kathmandu last December. He got three of them. According to Steve, the red one makes him look like Chairman Mao, the purple one, like Prince in “Purple Rain; and the black one makes him resemble Josef Stalin.
As the receiving line wound down, the live auction under the supervision of Christie’s Senior VP/director of Strategic Partnerships Lydia Wickliffe Fenet commenced in the Hamon Atrium. One gal recalled Lydia’s recent auctioneering at the Art in Bloom luncheon, at which time she admonished the ladies who lunch and chat that she was not going to commence with the auction until they settled down for bidding.
Ah, but this time to quell the crowd for the mouth-dropping and bid-raising auction, staffers simply walked the area with a sign requesting, “Quiet Please.” And what went up on the block? No puppies nor autographed footballs here. Try 11 precious items:
- Hermes Haut a Courroies Travel Birkin Bag (Value: Priceless)
- $25,000 gift certificate for shopping Graff in NYC complete with stay at The Carlyle (Value: Priceless)
- Private jet to Mardi Gras 2013 for two couples with two night at the Windsor Court Hotel, the gentlemen riding in one of the Krewes Parade and attending the Krewes Ball with their gals (Value: Priceless)
- Trip to Paris to attend the world premiere of the Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Pret-a-Porter Collection in October plus a tour of Coco’s apartment (Value: Priceless)
- Two passes to Session1 of the Aspen Ideas Festival, seven nights at The Residences of Little Nell and dinner with Walter Isaacson (Value: $38,500)
- One-ounce of Estate Caviar: Heritage XIV per month in a beautiful Baccarat crystal caviar bowl for a year accompanied by a case of fine wines including a Jarvis 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon and a Dominus 2001 Vhrition Moueix (Value: $18,000)
- Four nights in a five-bedroom, six-acre East Hampton estate that includes pool tennis court and Jarvis 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon and a Dominus 2001 Vhrition Moueix (Value: $15,000)
- A VIP tour of the private collections and museum in South America including a special day trip to Inhotim (Value: Priceless)
- A one-week yacht cruise for 10 on Julie and Ed Hawes 153-foot yacht, The Daybreak, in the Caribbean (Value: $195,000)
- A private tour of Christie’s in London and tea with Viscount David Linley and other special visits ala Christie’s in London while staying at Claridge’s Hotel for four nights (Value: $45,000)
- A round-trip journey for up to five days and up to six hours of flight time aboard a Gulfstream IV-SP (Value: $50,000)
While some settled back in comfy banquettes and chairs in the atrium, others stayed out of the area with their wallets safely in back pockets. This auction was big bucking and not for the faint of moola. Out of the $500,000 raised from the evening’s auction, those 11 items alone brought in $388,000.
After all that arm lifting, the sold-out crowd of 680 headed to the Chilton Galleries for a seated “Life is a Banquet” (lemongrass-marinated shrimp, green papaya and mango salad with baby mâche, tamarind vinaigrette; coffee-cured filet with harissa, couscous timbale with pistachios, scallions and currants, spiced dragon carrots; and rice brulee in sake cup, five spice ganache wonton and mochi-wrapped truffle).
And, of course, ranking had privileges. The most tip-top-tier settled down at a banquet table the length of an 18-wheeler with an elevated full-length centerpiece of white orchids. Of course, couples weren’t seated together. Who wants to sit with your 24/7 BFF? Instead it was Jennifer Eagle with Carl Sewell, John Eagle with Caren Prothro, Peggy Sewell with Jan Showers, Kelli Questrom with Maxwell Anderson and across the table Jacqueline Anderson in a corseted collar
that might come in handy if she ever needs a neck brace, who charmed and was charmed by the
Viscount David Linley. He probably couldn’t keep his eyes off her thicker-than-a- black-Persian-kitten eyelashes.
Surrounding the main table in the elite room were smaller gatherings of high-rolling art lovers like the Dedman clan (Nancy, Bob, Rachael, Patty, Bobby Nail and cuzzin Brad Kelly), Agathers (Elaine and Bradley), Halums (Fanchon and Howard) and Jeremy Strick.
But that’s not to say that the lower-leveled guests were in the parking lot eating off paper plates. Heck, no. In one room they not only had the queen of wanderlust, Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell, playing on the wall, music (“Boom-ba-bah!”) was playing over and over again over the PA and dancing girls shook their way through. One guest hollered to his companion, “It’s awfully loud in here.”
Then at one point, the lights dimmed and diners expected the Casablanca-style lamps on the table to glow, but, no. When one guest researched the situation to see if there was a switch, he discovered that the cord led four inches to nowhere. While some hungered a little more light, one elder states(wo)man smiled, “Wrinkles and lines fade in the darkness.”
One thing that will not fade in the darkness will be the memory of Wanderlust. So there, Mother Nature!