Hosts Ann Hobson and Alvise Orsini (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Cornelia Guest, Alvise Orsini, Becca Marcus (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
The team at work creating the decadent dinner (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Georgina Hartland, Tim Headington (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
The champagne was flowing through all the courses (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Billy Fong, Dana Garner (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Jeny Bania, Kit Sawers, Dana Garner (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Ann Hobson (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Faisal Halum, Dana Garner, Lee Hobson (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Geoffroy van Raemdonck & Alvise Orsini (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Becca Marcus, Sandy & Nancy Cain Robertson (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Beef Tartar and Kumquats (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Jake Walton, Ann Hobson, Justin Meyer (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Kit Sawers (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Ceron, Faisal Halum (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Perry & Michelle Wood, Kemp Sawers (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Rajan Patel, Faisal Halum (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
It takes a talented team to pull off an event that feels equally sybaritic and safe in 2020. But the combined powers of world-renowned interior designer Alvise Orsini and Todd Events made magic happen on a fall night in Dallas.
Hosted by Ann Hobson and Orsini in mid-November to launch the President’s Circle of Klyde Warren Park, an essential new giving program for Dallas’ beloved non-profit, the event was held in the former Savor space, the gorgeous glass-enclosed restaurant designed by Thomas Phifer. (Potential new restaurateurs are being interviewed to take over the spot, which is still the most expensive free-standing restaurant in the country valued at $10 million.) For now, I’d dub the space Pivot.
Orsini, who has created his share of lounges and restaurants, including Cut at the Four Seasons New York, worked closely with the Todd Events team (which is currently managing the space as it is available for event rentals until new tenants are secured) to create an intimate, yet socially distanced scene. With COVID restrictions and the subsequent fears for many to gather in groups, they decided on an outdoor event. The patio with its dramatically framed overhang seemed like the perfect spot to envision a pop-up club. With pod-like seating areas of couches and bar tables, guests could easily mingle with those that they felt comfortable, or remain slightly removed if that made them more comfortable.
One guest, Greg Frary, put 2020 gathering anxiety in pop culture terms — “I’m pleasantly feeling a little ‘fringe’ like Anne [Princess] and Edward [Prince]. You never want to be the center of attention during a pandemic with everyone hovering around you.”
The invitation specifically stated that this would not be a seated dinner. Instead, guests would be provided dinner via small plates passed about by the wait staff. The food? Well on to the main event. Ann Hobson has long been a devoted client to the House of Dior, and in 2020 their VIP relations team has been offering up the services of renowned chef Yann Nury. Nury and his ingenious and tricked-out Airstream have been making appearances around the country and even catered a party earlier that week for Bentley Dallas.
Highlights of the menu included canapes — gougeres and black truffles (mornais and flowering thyme) and tater tots and caviar (lemon and voatsiperifery pepper) paired with Ruinart Blanc de Blanc “en magnum.” And my favorite from the passed dinner selection — grilled langoustines and tomatillos (grilled langoustines, smoked tomatillos salsa, cilantro blossoms).
Upon entering through a temporarily constructed topiary wall strung with magical twinkle lights guests found themselves in a space that seemed beyond luxurious, but somehow like the patio of a dear friend’s modernist home. The event was dubbed Cercle du Président in recognition of Dior’s contribution of the Airstream trailer. The Park has often been referred to as the jewel of the downtown Art’s District, but many may be unaware that the city park is actually a non-profit, one that relies heavily on private funds. The President’s Circle was a critical initiative for Klyde Warren Park to survive 2020.
Hobson and Orsini had carefully curated a veritable who’s who of Dallas including Alvise’s husband Geoffroy van Raemdonck, Georgina Hartland, Tim Headington, Merry Vose, Sandra and Sam Moon, Brian Bolke and Faisal Halum, Rajan Patel and even lured down Oklahoma City girl Dana Garner. Klyde Warren Park president Kit Sawers was in attendanced, and representing the team at Dior was Jake Walton, Justin Meyer, and Kristin Pruett.
Snippets of conversation overheard that evening were by Headington (who was a tennis player at OU) sharing with Sawers that he used to watch her father Ham Richardson in tournaments (Richardson was part of the US Davis Cup team in the 1950s and one of the top players in the world). Also, Vose and Patel commiserating about missing their annual trek to Paris for fashion week. Ceron shared that he and Fiscus were sharing parenting duties of their adorable daughter Emme and he got the hall pass to go out for a few hours.
And for anyone else who was given a hall pass to attend, it was well worth it.