C'est Très Magnifique

Crystal Charity Ball's Le Grand Bal Parisien

Billy Fong
January 04, 2013
Event Date:
January 01, 1900

The 2012 incarnation of the Crystal Charity Ball, Dallas' biggest and brightest fund-raiser, did not fail to exceed expectations. Suzanne Droese (in a fabulous Temperley gown) put it brilliantly when she described it as the "prettiest" evening of the year. Rarely can the simplest of words describe something so well. Tom Addis and his creative team transformed the Hilton Anatole into Le Grand Bal Parisien ‹ the hand-painted murals took more than six weeks, while the Eiffel Tower in the lobby was an exact-scale replica with specially manufactured lights to emulate the real deal. Volunteers spent more than 300 man-hours hanging crystals on the chandeliers, and, as resplendent chair Aileen Pratt put it, "When the doors opened, I felt as though I was transported to a château in France. The ballroom was breathtaking!" The decor, however, wasn't the only thing to induce a gasp: The total amount raised for children's charities in Dallas County exceeded $4.5 million.

         My date for the evening, Amy Adams, looked very Out of Africa in a long ball skirt by Tuleh cinched with an unexpected touch: an oversized brown leather belt. She and I worked the crowded room furiously, getting quotes and a designer-name roundup of the dresses, but we were constantly distracted by a luscious Nancy Gonzalez bag in the silent-auction area. Standout ensembles of the evening: Christen Wilson in Christian Dior (her gallant husband, Derek Wilson, wore a Tom Ford tux), Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt in Alexander McQueen, Nancy Strauss Halbreich in J. Mendel, and Marguerite Knowles in Richard Tyler. Others looking equally glam: Melissa and Trevor Fetter, Rozalyn and Robert Colombo, Dee Dee and James Lee, Nancy and Clint Carlson, Lynn and Allan McBee, Diane and Hal Brierley, Barbara and Don Daseke, Ed Snider, Lin Spivak, and Francie Moody-Dahlberg and Kevin Dahlberg.

         I had vowed to pose a party question at every event this season. I was at loss for Crystal Charity, but then a brilliant idea struck me the night before while trapped in a YouTube video loop. I researched classic Carpenters tunes and picked some quotes to throw about at the ball. I knew I would get odd looks ‹ like I had slipped into Lohan-land ‹ but I hoped to find a few guests who understood the reference. After air-kissing the gorgeous Capera Ryan, she asked what I was planning to do for the holidays. My response: "Let's share some horizons that are new to us." After contemplating my answer, she gave a wink and a sly smile and sashayed into the ballroom.