At the Dallas Country Club it was the very real issue of suicide that attracted nearly 250 guests for a seated dinner on Friday, March 20. The occasion was Fashion Stars for a Cause with its runway presentation of the 2015 Fashion Stars (Jennifer de Socarraz-Fleming, Jamie Fowler, Leah Frazier, Rebecca Harper Hallam, Caroline Harrison, Naila Malik, Dawn Mellon, Charmaine Marshall, Jessi Moreau, Dawn Neufeld, Melissa Rountree and Cathy Williamson), as well as the debut of the Fashion Stars Magazine.
Unfortunately, one of the stars was unable to shine. Dawn Neufeld was away due to the death of her grandmother.
The reception preceding the dinner filled the lobby with the likes of Carolyn Lupton, Jean Lattimore, Jill Rowlett, Dee Wyly, Sami Arslanar, Terry Bentley Hill, Caroline Rose Hunt, Vodi Cook, Laura Reeder, Louisa Oberman, Christina Notzon, Elizabeth Ellenwood, Francis Harrison, Jessica Watts Ayers, Sydney Thompson, Bailey Harrison and Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas Executive Director Margie Wright, who was receiving condolences over the death of her husband just a month ago.
Standouts in the crowd were Honorary Co-Chairs Toni Munoz Hunt, who proudly showcased her baby bump, and husband Dan Hunt.
Another standout was Chef Darren McGrady, who will be preparing the dinner for the winner of the Sunday, May 21th raffle.
John Clutts was still reeling about news regarding his dad, architect James Clutts. It seems that the AIA Dallas had just announced that James will receive the AIA Dallas – Lifetime Achievement Award on Thursday, April 2, at Celebrate Architecture for his years of leadership and accomplishments. In addition to serving as president of both the Texas Society of Architects and AIA Dallas, his numerous projects have included Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.
Missing in the crowd were Fashion Stars mother hen Yvonne Crum, the Fashion Stars and emcee Suzie Humphreys, who were prepping for the program.
Following the reception, Margie welcomed the guests and introduced the red-haired Suzie, who could have easily salvaged “Fashion Police” with her wit, compassion and hint of naughtiness.
The former “Broadcast” co-host/motivational speaker warned guests the evening was not going to focus on loss but rather on hope. And it did.
She then introduced the Fashion Stars. Each walked the runway and took her place on the catwalk. It seemed to be going smoothly as Suzie described a little background on each of the gals modeling fashions from Belk. That is, until it got to Rebecca Hallam. Suzie called out her name. No one appeared on the stairway. She said her name a couple of times, still no Rebecca. Suzie then hinted that perhaps she had gotten confused, shuffled through some papers and announced that she wasn’t confused. Yep; Rebecca was supposed to be up next. Someone in the audience pointed to a small blonde standing on the floor at the base of the runway at the far side. Suzie regrouped saying, “Oh, you’re the one that can’t walk.” Seems Rebecca had injured her leg and strutting was just not possible.
The rest of the introductions went without a hitch. As the 10 women stood to applause, Suzie asked, “Now, what? [Pause] … Turn around and walk off.” With that the ladies left the stage and settled down with friends and family for a dinner of poached pear salad, apple cider brined chicken with winter squash risotto, asparagus and natural herb jus.
Next up was Yvonne, who reviewed the past of the fundraiser and recognized who had helped to keep the effort going. She then invited Fashion Star Magazine Editor Carolyn Tillery to say a few words about the debut issue. Like a new mom, Carolyn described the behind-the-scenes plans, efforts and people involved in the creation. At the 3-minute point, she noticed that some of the table conversations were preventing others from hearing her. So, she simply snapped to, saying, “Excuse me. I’m talking here.” It didn’t do much good, as the chatterers kept on chatting as she enthusiastically talked on for five more minutes.
To bring home the underlining meaning of the evening, keynote speaker/Suicide and Crisis Center Board Member Debbie Murray told of how she had survived suicide in her life — her father and the best man in her daughter’s wedding had both killed themselves. Like many survivors of such tragedies, Debbie outwardly gave no sign of the past losses, but she advocated the importance of seeking help if others sensed such turmoil in family and friends.
To conclude the evening, Kyle Hughes, the daughter of Anne Hughes and the late Tom Hughes, who led the Dallas Summer Musicals for decades, sang “For Good” to Toni and Dan. It was a touching way to end the evening.