Society / Featured Parties

Inside the Crystal Charity Ball, the Glittering Jewel of Dallas’ Social Season

The Spirits and Fashion Were Bright

BY

Union Jack was ringing and the call was heard by the Dallas black-tie masses. “Peace, Love & London” was the theme of the 2021 Crystal Charity Ball, chaired by Leslie Diers, and after a year off due to COVID, more than 1,500 guests were eager to dance the night away.

Diers was ready to greet guests after they had passed by the Beefeaters standing guard in the magically transformed Hilton Anatole that resembled Buckingham Palace. The evening harkened back to the days of the swinging sixties and the original fab four, The Beatles. All due to the talents of ball designer Tom Addis and floral designer Junior Villanueva of the Garden Gate, landscape design by Paul Fields of Lambert’s, and the dedication of decorations chairman Ola Fojtasek.

The main attraction of the evening, however, was the dresses. Hardly a demure or minimal frock was present.

Too many  favorites to mention, but here are an assortment that did catch my eye more than once: Bela Cooley adorned in such plumage (a Marchesa gown), I thought a strong breeze might have made her take flight. And complemented by a suite of jewelry she had recently scored at Grange Hall. One of my new favorite girls? Hilary. I simply knew her by her first name that night. (Later after texting I found out her last name is Pisor.) Apparently, she is from Chicago and is yet another intriguing new transplant to our fair hamlet. She was on the arm (covered with a fur trim stripe) of the always-It-boy in my book, Kyle Branch from Forty Five Ten. Pisor looked holiday-appropriate in a sparkling silver Dries Van Noten gown that resembled an ornament.

Piper Wyatt came with a good read — I mean yet another Olympia Tan clutch (this one titled “Diamonds Are Forever”) to add to her ever growing library of chic evening bags. CCB committee member Melinda Knowles looked soigné as always but kept her tasks in mind when selecting her Talbot Runhof Couture blue gown since it had pockets large enough for pens and other needed items.

Color theme of the evening? Well, green is apparently the new black as seen on Janie Condon and Claire Emmanuelson. Maggie Kipp, who was awash with tie-dye sequins, shared “this dress is frivolous, free, and joyous just like I imagine life was like in ’60s London.” A few girls chose Patti Flowers-designed creations that evening, including the always effervescent Lisa Cooley and Ola Fojtasek.

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At the appointed hour, 9pm, the grand doors to the Chantilly Ballroom opened to a gloriously set and lively scene. Performers from the Broadway show “Live and Let Die,” including a singer who was the spitting image of a baby-faced Paul McCartney, got the crowd going with a 40-minute segment featuring dancers (students from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts) clad in Union Jack shifts and go-go boots. With the party in full swing, they transitioned to the 24-piece band, Simply Irresistible, who kept guests dancing until close to 1 am.

Later in the evening, I spied Christy Berry from across the dimly lit ballroom in a flowy Tiffany blue chiffon gown. She gets the distinction of receiving the most Uber-glamorous vintage vibe award. “Who designed it?” I posed. “Nardos of course. You know I always wear Nardos and by the way, Nardos is here.”

The evening was a smashing success and celebration of the committee’s year-long campaign to raise $5.3 million for eight Dallas children’s charities: Baylor Scott & White Foundation; Café Momentum; Dallas CASA; Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center; Dallas Symphony Association; Network of Community Ministries; Phoenix House Texas and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.

Others spotted careening around the dance floor included April Manson with handsome husband Jeff Manson in tow (they had just hopped off the new JSX Service from Austin, where they now reside); Annette Simmons (who donated $1 million for the 12th consecutive year) and husband Jerry FronterhouseTasha Leilani; fashion designer and style influencer Hanh Merriman with her husband Mike Merriman; representing Neiman Marcus Marjon Henderson and Teresa Heidt; Moody Foundation president Francie Moody-Dahlberg and husband Kevin (Moody Foundation was also a $1million-plus donor); Reed RobertsonTJ Griffin; a group from the Forty Five Ten team — Jordan Jones Munoz and Robin Wilkes; Robert Wetherly; Luis Araujo; Amy Green; Myrna and Bob SchlegelChristopher Wood; and 2020 ball chairman Tucker Enthoven and her family who were seated at a “king’s table” for 12 as a tribute to the ball that was cancelled last year due to COVID.

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