The sun was shining and there was no need for furs unless the guests were really hungry to bring their fuzzies out of storage on Thursday, October 29.
Many were still in recovery mode from the night before’s Neiman Marcus/NorthPark kiss-kiss, hug-hug celebration. Speaking of which, NorthPark’s Nancy Nasher may have channeled the Energizer Bunny Rabbit or had a clone made. Since announcing the NorthPark50, she’s been everywhere and The Dallas Opera’s First Sight at the Winspear was on her list. It made perfect sense since NorthPark was being presented by NorthPark.
As part of the NorthPark50 program, Mulberry had been paired with The Dallas Opera. Mulberry’ Matthew Minick made the most of it with a marvelous pop-up shop in the lobby of the Winspear for the champagne reception. It was a dazzling array of Mulberry handbags, clutches and accessories like shawls. And that was just for the reception. There was still more to come.
But first the ladies and some charming gents like Randall Goss, Steve Stodghill, Paul Divis, First Sight/First Night Co-Chair Don Winspear and Mulberry U.S. President Carl Barbato gathered in the Prothro lobby for what they thought would be sipping the bubbly and some charming chatting with folks like Dallas First Lady/Luncheon Chair Micki Rawlings, Anne Stodghill, Kara Goss, Muffin Lemak, Kaki Hopkins, Lynn McBee, Diane Brierley, Diane Sealy, Mary Brinegar, Delilah Boyd, Christie Carter, Patti Cody, Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak, Simona Beal, Tiffany Divis, Roxanne Phillips, Marnie Wildenthal, Kristen Gibbins, Angela Nash, Holly Davis and First Sight/First Night Co-Chair Ellen Winspear with her future in-laws/former Dallas First Lady Laura Leppert and daughter Catherine Leppert. Former Dallas mayor/Laura’s husband Tom Leppert was outside on the phone.
At a point when most of the guests were present, organizers started giving each other the high sign. With that a coterie of pretty young things in pastel dresses carrying parasols paraded in past the crowd. The music sounded and the girls in pretty dresses turned out to a troop of ballerinas who could leap, kick and perform within the limited space. They turned out to be the students from the Hockaday Dance Departments.
After their final bow, they lined up in two rows, so guests could stroll through to the luncheon tables in the west lobby with a catwalk that extended through the tables from one end of the room to the other. Adding a touch of dramatic flair was a blanket of hundreds of red rose petals at the stage’s elevated entrance.
Just as the crowd took their seats, the presentation of the five designer gowns representing the season’s five operas was underway. For the finale, the designers (Geoffrey Henning for “Great Scott,” Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khan for “Tosca,” Edo Popken for “Becoming Santa Claus,” Elizabeth Anyaa for “Manon” and Michael Faircloth for “Show Boat”) escorted their models out for a final bow with Edo Popken waving the red-and-white hood from his Santa-like creation at the crowd. Unfortunately, two designers weren’t able to make it — Geoffrey and Elizabeth. In their place were Rhonda Marcus subbing for Geoffrey and Catherine Leppert for Elizabeth.
Following thank-you’s from the Winspears and Micki, The Dallas Opera General Director/CEO Keith Cerny announced that for the third year in a row, the opera was in the black. That announcement was greeted with applause for the accomplishment.
Following lunch, the Mulberry folks presented still another fashion presentation of their latest collection. Then the guests took a break because they would be returning the next evening for The Dallas Opera’s First Night and opening the season with “Great Scott.”