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Society / Featured Parties

Garden Glamour and Galoshes — This Wet Harvest Tested Dallas Socialites’ Determination

When the Party Must Go On — With High Style

BY // 10.11.18
photography Dana Driensky

The official start to the mayhem I affectionately call Dallas’ social swirl began with a bevy of parties a few weeks ago. I imagine that many a Smythson datebook (mine secured at London’s Heathrow duty-free is navy blue and monogrammed BUSY) was crammed with double bookings. It’s that wonderful time of year where folks still retain sun-dappled hair and glowing tans from excursions as far and wide as Bali and the Bermuda Triangle.

Rooms are filled with air kisses and proclamations of “Are you back for good? Let’s schedule lunch!”

Record-setting rain couldn’t keep supporters away from the 5th annual Harvest at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. All were a Twitter over what the dynamic duo, co-chairs Maggie Kipp and Melinda Knowles would do with the threat of torrential downpours anticipated for the night of their event. Initially, they had asked their guests to come attired in “Garden Glamour.” As the weather forecast confirmed a record-breaking storm in the days leading up to their party, M&M slightly altered the dress code to include galoshes, or more specifically Hunter wellies.

Alongside honorary chair Stephan Pyles, M&M welcomed more than 450 attendees, in their “Garden Glamour and Galoshes” attire. More than $191,000 was raised benefiting the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB), which will serve more than 570,000 people. Upon entering the tented affair, I felt like I was at the model casting call for the next Morton Salt Girl. Dallas’ finest showed-up sans Manolos and instead slipped on Hunter wellies and galoshes in myriad colors (like the display of macarons that kept beckoning me all evening). Cocktail frocks were covered with chic Burberry trenches or Celine slickers.

I was honored to serve on the host committee since it’s a charity that I strongly believe in and what it does for the Dallas community. Each day, NTFB provides access to more than 190,000 meals for hungry children, seniors, and families through a network of more than 1,000 programs and more than 200 Partner Agencies. Last year the organization ensured almost 72 million nutritious meals.

While the NTFB is making steady progress toward closing the hunger gap, much work remains to be done to reach the organization’s 10-year goal of providing 92 million nutritious meals annually by 2025. The proceeds raised by the Harvest gala, with significant support coming from Vulcan Materials Company; NTFB’s Indian American Council; Alice and Bill Barnett; and Megan and Casey McManemin will help in reaching NTFB’s goals.

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The evening began with a VIP reception for top sponsors in the Arboretum’s Alex Camp House. Those generous donors enjoyed an abundance of spirited beverages and noshed at exclusive stations from celebrity chef Stephan Pyles’ restaurants: Stampede 66 and Flora Street Café.

A DJ With Style

For the main part of the evening, DJ Lucy Wrubel pumped up the volume as partygoers continued to arrive and progress into the main tent (which had been constructed thanks to a savvy Dallas bride who’s wedding was planned for the following day). It was my third night in a row enjoying the “spinderella” talents of Miz Lucy. Honestly, biggest props to the fact that she was in my top three best-dressed list for each event.

For Harvest, she was channeling some Chloe meets cowboy cattle stampede. As always, she kept the crowd dancing even as the heavens continued to open up all evening and provide some nature-made pyrotechnics. One of my favorite moments was her homage to the Harvest date (September 21) with Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.”

This year’s moveable feast included 23 food stations featuring cuisine from Dallas top chefs and restaurants. Some of my personal favorites were The Meat Shop chef Keith Browning’s miso-glazed Wagyu short ribs with butternut squash risotto; signature cajun chicken by Momo Sow of Le Bilboquet; tuna, watermelon, herbs and fish sauce by chef Alex Astranti of Uchi Dallas & Uchibā’; Ritz-Carlton Dallas chef Juan Pablo Silva’s Albondiga meatball sliders; chicken liver parfait with crispy chicken skins and grilled sourdough by chef Anthony Dispensa of The French Room; and award-winning handmade cheeses by Paula Lambert, Mozarella Co., served with artisan bread by Meader Ozarow’s Empire Baking Company.

I may have been a little wet, but the festive spirit and decadent bites I sampled made for a great first evening of the Dallas social season. So much credit must go to the incredibly hard work done by Maggie Kipp and Melinda Knowles. I am so honored to call them both dear friends and have watched in amazement the past year at their non-stop fundraising and planning for Harvest under the mentoring of founders, Kristi Bare and Nancy Gopez.

I’m sure that dream team spent many a sleepless night in the days leading up to the storm, but their creativity ensured that their large fan club, me being a charter member, showed up to support this amazing event.

PC Seen: Janie and David Condon; Mark Knowles; Jack Pratt; Elizabeth and Eric Gambrell; Kristi BareJennifer Lake and Richard Harper; Amy Turner; Lisa and Marvin Singleton; Nancy Gopez; Nikki and Crayton Webb; Kameron Westcott; Lora Farris; Kindred Roach and Brett Gray; Rachel and John Michell; Natalie Chu; Carmen and Trammell Hancock; Doris Jacobs; Alison Pearl; Kathryn and Gentry Beach; Casey Barber; Max Trowbridge; Susan Farris; JB Hayes; Katherine Coker; Heather Randall; Samantha Wortley; Teffy Jacobs; and Jennifer and Chris LeLash.

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