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Society / The Seen

Houston’s Stunning Springtime Queens Turn Dressing Up Into a Hatful

Chic Chapeaus Make This a Record Frolic in the Park

BY // 03.28.18
photography Jenny Antill Clifton

Even though Hermann Park Conservancy has held the Hats in the Park luncheon for the last 10 years, number 11 brought out the most spectacular array of chapeaux in its history. Queen Elizabeth and friends at the Royal Ascot would have felt so at home.

Almost every woman in the chic assembly donned some form of fancy millinery for the al fresco affair. Fascinators vied with wide, wide brimmed beauties while feathery appendages swayed in the spring breeze on what was an absolutely perfect day for a luncheon in the park.

Perhaps it was the hat requirement that provided the style inspiration, for the ladies dressed in spectacular fashion. It was a vision of loveliness in the middle of the McGovern Centennial Gardens, luncheon guests creating a floral tableau to vie with the surrounding gardens.

Displaying the diversity of the hat choices were luncheon chairs Francine Ballard in a wide-brimmed confection and Greggory Burke in a voguish fascinator. And then there was Mayor Sylvester Turner who, attending his third Hats in the Park fundraiser, decided he needed to get in step with the fashion dictate. For his remarks, Turner donned a hilarious, enormous 10-gallon hat (make that 30-gallon) that added to the light-heartedness of the day.

Applause, applause for conservancy board chair Phoebe Tudor and conservancy president Doreen Stoller for hosting the royal success (the event raised $400,000) and for keeping the program short and sweet. Likewise, congratulations to honoree Diana Hawkins, who with her husband, Russell Hawkins, are long-time supporters of the park.

The lively event began with a champagne and wine reception on the terrace of the Cherie Flores Pavilion overlooking the three fountains that splashed merrily in the breeze that occasionally challenged a few of those in larger hats. The ladies and handful of gents moved on to the party tent for a delightful pre-plated luncheon from City Kitchen.

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None playfully described the scene better than Jana Arnoldy, who viewed the colorful assembly as “an elegant Halloween party where everyone gets to really dress up.”

Mad hatters: Lindley Arnoldy, Russell Hawkins, Rachel Volz, Lisa Oren, Laura Davenport, Katie Brass, Nick Espinosa, Kathleen Jennings, Liz Anders, Monica Bickers, Joel Luks, Beth Zdeblick, Roslyn Bazzelle Mitchell, Clifford Pugh, Luba Bigman, Merele Yarbrough, Kristy Bradshaw, Kelley Lubanko, Holly Alvis, Fady Armanious and Hallie Vanderhider.

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