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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!