Once in a while, you possibly wish an evening into being. I had received the invite for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club President’s Dinner honoring Holly Moore, PaperCity’s inimitable founder and editor in chief, and waited with anticipation for the night to arrive. As I dressed for the evening, I envisioned an iconic vintage spot like the Stork Club. I put Nina Simone’s “Exactly Like You” on the playlist in my closet. I wanted to will into existence an oldest of old-school evenings. And, voilà! It happened.
In case you need a primer, the original Kips Bay Decorator Show House emerged in NYC’s Upper East Side in 1973 when dedicated supporters of Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club launched the show house to raise funds to provide innovative programs to thousands of young people at locations throughout the Bronx. Each year, renowned designers transform a Manhattan home into a breathtaking showcase of fine furnishings, decorative objects, art, and technology. Over the decades, it has become a must-see for designers and design enthusiasts.
Given that Dallas has many of both, the charity brought the show house to our city in 2020. And the Dallas design world spun on its axis.
The accompanying President’s Dinner celebrates the show house, its designers, and sponsors. In addition to Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, local charities receive funding from the event: Dwell with Dignity, a nonprofit dedicated to creating soothing, inspiring homes for families struggling with homelessness and poverty, and The Crystal Charity Ball, whose mission is to aid, support, and make contributions to children’s charities in Dallas County.
Brook Hollow Golf Club, the mise en scène for the President’s Dinner, was a buzzing hive — a who’s who of the interior design world, including Mark Sikes, in from L.A., who designed a room in the 2020 Dallas show house as well as this year’s; Lance Scott, in from NYC; Hutton Wilkinson, creative director of Tony Duquette, in from Beverly Hills; and Anna Brockaway, founder of Chairish.
Fashion standouts included Olivia Kearney in brocade trousers and jacket, boys in white dinner jackets (Lloyd Princeton and Gonzalo Bueno), a few dashing chaps in Thom Browne (Lance Scott, Tanner Moussa, and Doniphan Moore), and a ravishing blond in Carolina Herrera (Cornelia Guest, looking like she would have been a permanent fixture at the Stork Club like her mother, C.Z.).
Of course, all were excited to see the evening’s co-chairs — Claire Emanuelson, Jan Showers, and Shelby Wagner — on stage for exciting show house updates, as well as Kips Bay’s magic-wand waver Nazira Handal; Daniel Quintero, executive director of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club; and New York Design Center president Jim Druckman. Vice chairs included Tucker Enthoven, Chad Dorsey, Jean Liu, Kelli Ford, Nancy Rogers, and Doniphan Moore.
Others spotted that evening included Maura and Dan Houchard, co-owner of From the Ground Up, which designed this year’s Kips Bay Show House outdoor spaces; Vipin Nambiar, whose company, HN Capital Partners, owns a wide swath of the Dallas Design District, as well the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Virgin Hotels Dallas and W Dallas – Victory hotel; Javier Burkle; Mason McCluskey; Michael McCray; Kelli Ford, who launched the new showroom Off the Floor and is also part of this year’s Kips Bay show house; and David and Ann Sutherland, David Cadwallader, Trish and Mo Sheets, Susanna Moldawer, Niven Morgan, Erin Sander, Tracy Hardenburg, Hunter and Meredith Ellis, Kathy and Othon Prounis, Chesie Breen, Kirsten Fitzgibbons, Julie and James Hayes, Nancy Dedman with nephew Brad Kelly, Richard and Chad Bettinger, Denise McGaha, Zoe Bonnette, Laura Lee Clark and John Falconer; Charlotte Carr, Noeha Coutry, Tanner Morgan and Jennifer Laouari in from Kansas City, who also designed a show house room.
The ballroom of Brook Hollow was filled with intimate seating situations, with girls curled up with one another sharing moments. When dessert was served, I decamped to one of those banquettes with Shelle Sills, Muffin Lemak, and Julie Butler — who all looked divine. It truly felt like a more polite era sans cell phones and social media. In my mind’s eye, I fully expected to turn and see Bunny Mellon and Sister Parish engaged in a tête-à-tête.