Mother Nature played hardball with North Texas fundraisers on Saturday, April 21. Like a tease, she threatened showers, hail and end-of-the-world conditions that had back-up plans kicking into play. All day the clouds hovered, and still no deluge. Then the weather radar boded a dumping right around the time that most of the big deal events were to take place.
Over at the Dallas Museum of Art, the 2018 Art Ball’s “Horizon: Now. New. Next” organizers were shoring up for a predicted download of the west stuff. Throughout the day the Todd Fiscus crew had transformed the open-air terrace leading from the North Harwood curb to the tented dining room into an enclosed reception area. Poor old Mark di Suvero’s “Ave” sculpture was left out in the elements as party guests cocktailed and eyed the live auction items in the polished shoulder-to-shoulder cocktail reception.
Regardless of the weather, Art Ball Chair Rebecca Fletcher and the Art Ball team had decided to shake things up a bit with the arrival spot situated halfway between the Flora Street entrance and Ross. To make it from the curb to the terrace level, a stairway was built. On paper it probably was stellar. But for the ladies in stilettos and sweeping gowns, it was a bit challenging. Why, shoot! Just trying to make it from the vehicles to the sidewalk proved a challenge for some like Yvette Ostolaza, who gave thanks to the Jack Boles valets who were johnny-on-the-spot to replace her dropped-off heel.
Fashion note: For those who only read for fashions, Chair Rebecca was doing a bare half-shoulder thanks to Nardos…DMA Board of Trustees Chair Melissa Fetter was in a Calvin Klein pants suit… With hair pulled back, DMA Board of Trustees President Catherine Rose wore a Roksanda Illincic … Lisa Cooley went contemporary in a black jumpsuit with a full-length cape over one shoulder and a light blue sash at the waist by Michael Faircloth… Shelle Sills was in a Lanvin coat … Georgina Hartland was sparkling in Valentino.
And the gents held their own in the looky-looky department. Clay Cooley was sporting Texas flags studs and his buddy Ben Lange opted for the all-in-black Johnny Cash formal look… Ceron was a standout in an Alexander McQueen jacket…Trevor Fetter was in Paul Stuart… Jo Staffelbach Heinz was in Lanvin black, while husband Andre Staffelbach was in Zegna, but that wasn’t the original plan. While in Switzerland, Jo had sent Andre to the Tom Ford shop, where her narrow-as-a-cucumber hubby tried on a tuxedo that was too tight for breathing. When asked for a larger size, the staff said, “Sorry.” No problem; Zegna accommodated him.
So typical for the Art Ball, there was a touch of OMG factor in the sold-out crowd of 500, which also included the likes of Matrice and Ron Kirk, Micki and Mike Rawlings, Robbie Briggs, Brad Kell with Joanne Cassullo, Kelli and Allen Questrom, Tom Dunning, Ciara Cooley with Jake Fraze, Bela and Chase Cooley, Jan Miller and Jeff Rich, Lynn McBee with Nick Even, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Bess and Ted Enloe, Sharon and Michael Young, Wendy and Jeremy Strick, Lisa and John Runyon, Laura and Walter Elcock, Claire and Brian Gogel, Elaine Agather, Robert Hallam, DMA Board of Trustees VP Shonn and Clarence Brown, Merry and Chad Vose, Mimi Sterling, Kevin Hurst, Lea Ann Laughlin, Clarice Tinsley and Stephen Giles, Carol and Don Glendenning, Jennifer and John Eagle, Moll and Charles Anderson, Deedie Rose, Craig Hall, Jennifer and Tom Karol, Richard and Liz Naftalis, Jessica Nowitzki, Sarah and Ross Perot Jr., Mary McDermott Cook and Dan Patterson. In this case, it was the new head of Neiman Marcus, CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck and interior designer extraordinaire Alvise Orsini. Word has it that they’re looking for a home in the Preston Hollow neighborhood, and “they love Dallas.” The duo surprised organizers by bringing along their buddy .
Just as it seemed that not one more skinny guest could fit in, the doors opened to the tent with orange-clad dining-room tables surrounding a dance floor and fronted by a stage with mammoth screens showcasing whimsical dancers and a virtual “Salvador Dallas” character serving as the evening’s ringmaster. He was like a very toned down “Moulin Rouge!” Harold Zidler. Perhaps it was his accent or the guests just having a grand time, but it took more than a couple or three requests to get the attention of the guests. Perhaps subtitles might have been helpful?
The crowd finally settle down when DMA Eugene McDermott Director Agustin Arteaga appeared on the screen in a pre-recorded video thanking Rebecca for her leadership and the guests for their support of the DMA and its programs. Luckily, his accent was easier to understand. He was followed by Catherine Rose, who also thanked Rebecca and acknowledged the sponsors and Live Auction Co-Chairs Brian Bolke and Faisal Halum.
Then the first course (Sous vide sakura pork belly carbonara, tagliatelle pasta, spinach, English peas and tomatoes) was presented followed by the entree (pan roasted loup de mer, petrossian caviar, Romanesco, purple and orange cauliflower) and a dessert of caramelia chocolate mousse, candy apple, salted yogurt and peanut brittle.
After more than an hour of wining, dining, chatting and being entertained by Quixotic, it was time for the live auction with Christie’s Americas President Brook Hazelton refereeing a bidding battle for the nine luxury packages surpassing the $340,000 mark.
With the wisdom of Solomon and thanks to the generosity of sponsors, Brook pulled off a couple of sweetheart deals. When he had two guests offering $12,00 for the Bullion dinner for eight, he came up with packages for both. Ah, but that was just the warm up for what he did with the trip for five couples to the Abu Dhabi Art Fair in the United Arab Emirates from November 11 to 18. Like a tennis tournament, guests were turning heads as two bidders raised their offers until it hit a whopping $89,000 each. Once again Brook pulled the “rabbit out of his hat,” resulting in both bidders being satisfied. Needless to say, Agustin is going to be very busy. He’s slated to be the tour guide for the now ten couples.
To celebrate the gangbuster, an after-party commenced with DJ Valida in charge. One poor guest, who had experienced a fall from her chair earlier in the evening, did a repeat landing on the dance floor. Luckily, it produced no broken bones, just a bruised ego.