Society / Featured Parties

Three Years in the Making, the DMA Art Ball Was an Extravagant, Celebrity-Filled Nod to ’60s Glam

Inside the Over-the-Top "TABLEAUX: 60 Years of Art Ball"

BY // 04.14.22

This recent incarnation of the Dallas Museum of Art’s signature annual fundraiser, Art Ball, was beyond description. Okay, maybe I’ll try and throw out a few words: grand, unabashed, ambitious, and, perhaps most importantly, fun. The only word from that list I was slightly torn with using was grand because, even though it was, it felt uncannily comfortable. Like a casual gathering for old friends to carouse a little in honor of a great cause. The great cause being the funds that support the DMA’s care and preservation of its world-class collection of more than 25,000 objects while offering engaging access to art. And one of the reasons that I chose to use the word “fun was there were no remarks or speeches that night. I get it, a gala usually has a podium with a group of leaders and donors lined up to share their thoughts. But for the DMA Art Ball, we all knew why we were there and what we were supporting.

Let’s step back a little, the chair, Brian Bolke, was originally supposed to throw the DMA Art Ball in 2020, but we all know what happened then. The retail guru (Bolke was one of the founders of Forty Five Ten and is now the visionary behind The Conservatory) was left standing at the proverbial altar for three years in anticipation. But Dallas knew it would be well worth the wait. In fact, a long waiting list for tickets began months ago — seats were added to accommodate 350 guests total.

Tableaux, 60 years of Art Ball at the Dallas Museum of Art
Jeremy Scott, Nancy Rogers (Photo by Kaitlin Saragusa, BFA)

Bolke chose to honor the inaugural gala held in 1962 by titling his event, TABLEAUX: 60 Years of Art Ball (1962-2022), with a vision of a glamour-filled evening full of glorious nods to the past. Texts began circulating from Bolke ahead of the event: fake eyelashes, opera-length gloves, and sky-high hair.

Bolke had a few collaborators for the DMA Art Ball by his side, including DJ Lucy Wrubel with whom he worked on selecting the perfect soundtrack for 60s glam. Also, Cassandra Moses from Art 2 Catering provided him with options for a perfectly chic menu, but with subtle nods to that bygone era. That manifested in a sublime dinner of Regiis Ova caviar with chips and onion dip, short rib pot pie, and the classic dessert — banana pudding with Nilla Wafers and whipped cream. Finally, he enlisted one of his dearest friends, Missy Peck, founder of boutique events studio, Missy RSVP, to help bring his overall design vision to life. How? Well, first off by covering the entire Hamon Atrium (the location for dinner and post-dessert dancing) with a beyond groovy leopard carpet. Peck had created the most stylish supper club setting comprised of banquettes and intimate seating groups inspired by the art permanently hung in that space. Delicate gardenias in vintage mint julep cups and grandiose plaster urns of quince and cherry blossoms branches made for an inviting tablescape. For some reason James Bond kept coming to mind all night and particularly Diamonds Art Forever. Maybe because diamonds are the 60th anniversary stone and it seemed like the always suave 007 might come strolling in at any moment with a woman named Plenty O’Toole on his arm. Models (similar to the lithe and sensuous silhouettes found in the title credits before each of the Ian Fleming films) were scattered throughout the entire evening adorned in Moschino creations or painted to resemble works of art. All under the direction of model wrangler extraordinaire, Jan Strimple. Perhaps Bolke’s most important collaborator, was his dashing husband and real estate guru — Faisal Halum who had been devotedly by his side for the entire planning process.

Ann Hobson, Will Rose
Ann Hobson, Will Rose (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

Too many beyond fabulous outfits were spotted careening through the DMA. Nancy Rogers donned a stunning lime green creation by Jeremy Scott that seemed straight from a vintage pic one might have seen from a state dinner at the White House during the Jack and Jackie years. Katherine Coker wore a custom-made gown designed in Hong Kong. Zoe Bonnette in a sleek strapless white dress from The Row. Ann Hobson in a colorful (resembling most sherbet flavors) strapless Carolina Herrera frock with a delicate bamboo handled exotic skin Gucci evening bag she had recently scored when the luxury label held their over-the-top pop-up Gucci Space in Dallas. Katherine Reeves in a white knee-length Christopher Kane frock with an Olympia le Tan clutch emblazoned with “Love.” Missy Peck in white Leur Logette frock, pink (her signature color) headband (her signature accessory), and Alaia shoes.

A trio of girls I might call Dallas’ version of Charlie’s Angeles: Kara Goss, Jennifer Karol, and Selwyn Rayzor who looked as bold as the most vibrant crayons — Goss in a bold yellow Valentino, Karol in a cotton candy pink Herrera, and Rayzor in fuchsia-and-blue Herrera. And lest I forget the man of the hour (or rather past two years) — Bolke.

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The chair went through three outfits through the course of the evening, including a Tom Ford lurex dinner jacket with pink tuxedo shirt for cocktails, a Tom Ford pink leopard jacket for dinner, and a Dolce & Gabbana pink satin-draped shirt for dancing.

Cindy Rachofsky, Jennifer Eagle, Brian Bolke
Cindy Rachofsky, Jennifer Eagle, Brian Bolke (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

Some of fashion’s heavy hitters were in attendance, including designers Brandon Maxwell and Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott, “Making the Cut” winner Andrea Pitter; stylist and costume designer Shiona Turini; president of Neiman Marcus Geoffroy van Raemdonck (alongside his dashing interior designer husband Alvise Orsini); and president of Dolce & Gabbana Dan Rothmann. The team from Forty Five Ten hosted a table where Jeny Bania (wearing Maison Rabih Kayrouz with a dramatic vintage YSL necklace), Jordan Jones (also wearing Maison), Anne Wallach, Robin Wilkes, Kyle Branch, Michelle Nussbaumer, Anais Nussbaumer, and Rhonda Tello were seated. Also seen were others who had made their way in from locales far and wide including interior designer Ken Fulk; Vogue contributor Ian Malone; world-renowned artist Mickalene Thomas; beauty entrepreneur Edward Bess; and actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

Deborah Scott, Zoe Bonnette
Deborah Scott, Zoe Bonnette (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

Given that the DMA Art Ball had been three years in the planning, it began to slowly expand out over three days with other events occurring in tandem (similar to the weekend of activities usually found around the museum’s other significant fundraiser: TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art). A welcome dinner was held on Friday evening at Deedie Rose’s Pump House that was hosted by Saks and Christies Auction House primarily for those who had flown into Dallas for Art Ball. Then the main event occurring on Saturday evening, a post-soiree in a penthouse of the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton Dallas that went on until the wee hours of the morning (I won’t even confess to you what time I found myself leaving), and finally a few select guests were invited for an Art Ball Recovery Brunch on Sunday (I had to send the hostess a text that morning that there were not Tom Ford sunglasses large enough to hide the bags under my eyes brought on from the slew of festivities).

Details on Kara Goss’s accessories
Details on Kara Goss’ accessories(Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

Those spotted throughout the course of the three days included the DMA’s director Agustín Arteaga; Nickki St. George who’s chic ensemble seemed right out of a Bond film; Moll (whose son Mike Camello, the founder of Kástra Elión, had provided the martinis that all of the guests were imbibing in excess that playful evening) and Charlie Anderson; Nancy Carlson, Elaine and Neils Agather, Kristin Bray who opted to accessorize her caftan ensemble with a Pucci scarf as a head wrap; Jessica Nowitzki; in from Houston Becca Cason Thrash; Leigh Anne Clark and her husband Dave Clark, Amazon CEO, Worldwide Consumer; Elisa and Stephen Summers, Cindy and Armond Schwartz; Kira Nasrat, and Sharon Lee Clark.

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