While the corny-dog crowd strolled the Midway and the exhibitions on the second day of the 2019 State Fair of Texas, the beautiful butterfly people clustered at the Meyerson Symphony Center on Saturday, September 14. The gathering of the North Texas black-tie set was for the 2019 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala, with cool-guy violinist Joshua Bell on stage with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Kicking off 2019’s Final Four fundraising season — September, October, November and December — event producer Todd Fiscus had faux butterflies hovering at the Meyerson’s entry. And, people took note. One guest was heard remarking that the check-in “staging area” with the butterfly backdrop was more impressive than it had been in years past.
Todd and Event Co-Chair Barbara Daseke had used her Peter Pilotto gown as the basis for the event’s colorfully whimsical theme, which Todd called “ilunabarra,” the Basque word for sunset. Sure enough, Barbara’s gown was an exotic mix of coral and chartreuse, which her husband and Co-Chair Don Daseke replicated with a coral-hued tie. The Pilotto, by the way, had turned out to be too long when Barbara first put it on, so she hacked off the hem and turned it into a pair of detached gauzy “sleeves.” Another of her adornments: $750,000 worth of jewels on loan from Richard Eiseman.
As the crowd moved up from the entryway to the reception area for some serious cock-tailing, eight violinists serenading them, the guests’ designer wear took center stage. There were Margo and Jim Keyes, for example, the former in Escada and the latter sporting a “James Bond” tux by Brioni. Kara Goss (with husband Randall Goss) was wearing Adam Lippes, as well as an eye-catching pair of dangling pearl earrings. Randall was in Tom Ford.
Equally noteworthy were Marena and Roger Gault. She was clad in Badgley Mishka, plus shoes by Stuart Weitzman, while Roger was wearing handsome Gucci slippers he’d acquired in Rome. Event Underwriting Chair Nancy Bierman was in a black spangled gown she’d picked up at the Elizabeth W Boutique, and Donna Weitzman (with husband Herb) was in Galliano.
Other fashionable couples included Rhonda and Fraser Marcus (in a spectacular Michael Faircloth and Isaia, respectively); Katy and Lawrence Bock (she wore a “Carolina Herrera bottom and a top from The Row,” while he boasted a Savile Row tux from Huntsman); Jan Miller and Jeff Rich (in Phillip Lim and Cucinelli, respectively); Lynn and Allan McBee (in vintage Jenny Packham and a Valentino tux) and Kim and Greg Hext (Monique Lhuillier and Burberry). Honorary Co-Chair Kathryn Hall also was in Lhuillier, while Lisa Cooley attracted plenty of admiring glances in her Michael Faircloth gown.
Meantime, guests were trading all kinds of news. “The fall has sprung,” chirped Lucy Billingsley as she bustled past. “Not the spring, the fall!” … Diane and Hal Brierley were talking about the Ken Burns PBS documentary, “Country Music,” which they helped finance. It was Burns’ best doc yet, the pair agreed, and they’ve already signed on to support his next one, about the American buffalo. … Arun Agarwal, with wife Anu Agarwal, was still “high” after helping arrange a recent meeting between President Donald Trump and India’s Prime Minister Narenda Modi in Houston. … Rena Pederson revealed that she’s moved to Austin to be closer to her grandchildren. … Mary McDermott Cook was preparing to host 52 McDermott Scholars at the McDermott ranch in Collin County the next day. Marveled Mary: “They’re so scary smart!”
At one point, heads spun to watch paramedics roll through the DSO Gala crowd with a gurney, and everyone was hoping for the best. But by then, many of the 500 guests already were thinking about the delicious dinner that awaited them. Following that there would be Joshua and the concert for an audience of 1,600, and then finally an after-party.
For more pictures of the reception, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.