Society / Featured Parties

Spectacular Dinner Upstaged by the Most Glamorous Exhibition Ever

Even Great Food Can’t Compete With These Dresses

BY // 10.11.17

When the topic of a retrospective was first raised with iconic fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, the darling of swans and ladies who lunch rejected the idea. Fashion, he believed, was about looking to the future not the past. So revealed ODLR CEO Alex Bolen as he addressed the chichi gathering of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston supporters at the patrons dinner and preview of The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta.

However, after de la Renta served as chairman of the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in New York and worked on historical shows there, “suddenly the idea of a retrospective became appealing” Bolen said. The exhibition, which opened at the MFAH on Sunday, would, Bolen believes, have pleased the late designer for its offerings of joy, optimism and sheer fun exemplified in the late designer’s resplendent fashions.

Oscar de la Renta designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia attended the dinner as did Eliza Bolen, Alex’s wife and de la Renta’s step-daughter, and ODLR sales executive Patricia Jefferies. Add to the heady mix, de la Renta close friend and curator of the show Vogue contributing editor Andre Leon Talley. Working in collaboration with Talley was MFAH curator Cindi Strauss, who mingled with guests as they toured the extraordinary collection of embroidered, fur-trimmed and flounced gowns. While all of the ladies in attendance arrived dressed to impress, more than a few donned ODLR for the swank evening.

After swooning over the exhibition, guests were seated for a swoon-worthy dinner from City Kitchen that included shrimp/avocado/cucumber salad, prime beef tenderloin, and lemon and coconut bar with raspberry sorbet.

Museum director Gary Tinterow shared insights on the exhibition and allowed that a number of Houstonians had contributed ensembles to the exhibition of 70-plus pieces. The ladies were included on the guest list — Lynn Wyatt, Yvonne Cormier, Nancy Kinder, Rose Cullen, Margaret Alkek Williams and Carolyn Farb. Former first lady Laura Bush also contributed one of her gowns.

Who: MFAH Grand Gala Ball chairs and leading underwriters Cherie and Jim Flores, MFAH board chairman Rich Kinder, Laurie and Reed Morian, Rose Cullen, Linda McReynolds, Rufus Cormier, Liz and Tom Glanville, Windi and David Grimes, Meg Goodman, Carroll Goodman, Barbara and Michael Gamson, Judy and Rodney Margolis, Pat Breen, Jeanie Kilroy Wilson and Wally Wilson.

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