Things weren’t looking all that cheery on Wednesday, March 30. Clouds and sprinkles were ruining the car washing of the past weekend, but still the Crystal Charity Ball members found their way to Neiman Marcus Downtown for the official announcement of the CCB 10 Best Dressed and the Hall of Fame honoree.
But in addition to the dreary wet stuff, this year there was a slight hiccup in the announcement. Always before there had been an embargo on the release of the names until right after the official presentation on the second floor of the legendary flagship story. But this year an eager beaver in the NM PR department cut a deal the Friday before to have it printed in the local daily paper the morning of the event. With that development, the embargo was busted and all bets were off.
Still, that premature reveal didn’t stop the gathering of CCB-ers. The 10 BD-ers plus HoF Honoree (except for three) arrived at 9:30 a.m. for a dress rehearsal and to chill in the back rooms of the bridal salon. While some had their makeup refreshed by Lenore, others had stopped by their personal makeup artists for touch ups.
Starting around 10 a.m., the rest of the guests pulled into the NM parking lot, where the mega fashion tent would be erected for the Friday, September 16, fashion show and luncheon, and made their way to the salon, where a nifty white Valentino lace-bib blouse can be snapped up for just a smidge under $2,500. The top stop was the display of Carolina Herrera fashions in the “Glass House.” And what a display it was! From fragile organza skirts to 3D jasmine embroidered evening gowns, there was a Herrera creation for every occasion and client.
And this crowd truly appreciated the items on the racks. They were pretty much dressed to the nines themselves. From the Louboutins on their pedicured feet to the spring colored dresses like CCB Chair Christie Carter’s turquoise-blue Herrera dress, they were a fashion show themselves.
Speaking of CCB chair, the most relaxed within the group of guests were the past CCB chairs (Robyn Conlon, Caren Kline and Michal Powell). Robyn was wearing makeup for the first time in a while. The reason? Allergies that made the very idea of eye makeup a runny one. Caren was in a white leather dress that her fashion-loving sister Dale Pinto had picked out for her. Michal was all smiles reporting that she was preparing for the presentation of checks from her December CCB fundraiser.
As time neared for the presentation on a two-tier stage located at the opposite end of the floor, chairs were already set up with the front row of seats neatly reserved for the BD-ers and HoF thanks to nearly printed placecards. Just before 11 a female voice asked the guests to take their seats. No need for a reminder announcement. This crowd is totally housebroken and took their places.
Opening the program was NM Executive VP Neva Hall, who told that not only would the September fashion show’s featured designer Carolina Herrera attend the event, but members of her family would also be on hand. The reason for the extra oomph was the fact that Carolina would also be presented the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award that was established by the late Stanley Marcus and his aunt, the late Carrie Marcus Neiman back in 1938. One gal whispered, “I would have thought Herrera had received it ages ago.”
History note: Stanley always attributed the success of Neiman’s early fashion leadership to his aunt, who was one of the store’s founders and believed that NM “would contribute to the growth, welfare and culture of Dallas.”
Then Neva introduced Christie, who was followed by CCB Fashion Show and Luncheon Chair Pam Perella. Both thanked NM for their ongoing support of the organization.
It was now time for NM Downtown GM/VP to take over and introduce the ladies of the day including first timers Anita Arnold, Tucker Enthoven and Piper Wyatt plus BD returnees Katherine Coker, Janie Condon, Heather Esping, Mary Clare Finney, Margaret Hancock, Pat Harloe and Hall of Famer Betsy Sowell. Only one missing was Julie Hawes, who was out of town.
Immediately after Betsy took her seat on the front row, the presentation transitioned into the staging of various group photos and the presentation of large NM gift boxes to the BD-er, Betsy, Christie and Pam. What was inside? The coffee table book, “Carolina Herrera: Portrait of a Fashion Icon” by Alexandra Kotur with a personal note from the future NM Fashion Awardee.
Tickets for the event that will feature Herrera’s resort collection will be made available in mid-April and will probably be GWTW within days.