Society / The Seen

A Breakfast at Tiffany’s Moment at Fort Worth’s Iconic Pioneer Tower

Inside the Long-Held Vision for the 2022 Jewel Charity Ball

BY // 03.28.22
photography Jonathan Zizzo

Who wants a Breakfast at Tiffany’s moment? Well, if you were lucky enough to attend the 2022 Jewel Charity Ball at Will Rogers Memorial Center, Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibit Hall, you got it — and so much more. The iconic Pioneer Tower glowed a charming “Tiffany Blue” to reflect the evening’s Audrey Hepburn-inspired theme.” That same shade was projected onto the exterior of the building as well, softly glowing throughout the ballroom as the ladies careened about.

It was all the long-held vision (this was the ball scheduled for 2021) of my dear friends, JCB president Michelle Marlow and ball chairs, Olivia Kearney, Paige Pate (PaperCity contributing editor), and Julie Sawyer. The ball is a long-standing cherished Fort Worth tradition in celebration of Angel donors who generously support the patients at Cook Children’s.

Nancy Lamb documents the night. (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Nancy Lamb documents the 2022 Jewel Charity Ball in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

For a little history: The Jewel Charity was formed when two women, Mrs. Nenetta Burton Carter and Mrs. Billie Bransford Clark, president of the Women’s Board of Fort Worth Children’s Hospital, had the vision to raise money to support families who were unable to pay for their children’s care. A committee of 15 women was formed and quickly grew with the first event occurring in January 1954 and raising $9,000.

The sparkling room, magically transformed by Melanie Tatum, was filled with a gloriously black-tie attired crowd. Intimate seating areas had been created for guests to visit with friends that many hadn’t seen since December and the abundance of holiday parties. I immediately bumped into Marlow and Kearney who were both wearing exquisite pieces hand-selected by JCB official jeweler, Tiffany & Co. I later saw their fellow chairs as well as Steeplechase and Assembly Debutantes, who were also dripping with fabulous baubles from the revered jeweler. Anyone who realized that they might need another bangle, necklace, or pair of earrings had the opportunity to purchase some of Tiffany’s dazzling pieces in their pop-up.

Yellow feathers pair perfectly with diamonds, Karen Simon. (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Yellow feathers pair perfectly with diamonds, Karen Simon. (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

On the fashion front, Julia Sawyer was in hot pink Naeem Khan. Mackenzie Brittingham had a strong showing, with her creations worn by Michelle Marlow (in a dramatic one-shoulder gown), Olivia Kearney (whose dashing husband, attorney Jeff Kearney, had given her a surprise gift earlier that evening — a David Webb Persian turquoise and diamond ring), and Paige Pate (who accessorized with one of a kind Mizuki Collections jewelry). Designer Julie Hayes (whose work is featured in our April issue) wore the Italian line Taller Marmo.

Eric Nelsen (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Eric Nelsen at the 2022 Jewel Charity Ball. (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

“My favorite moment had to be watching so many couples crowding the dance floor,” Pate recalls. “Before dinner, during dinner, and late into the evening.” Rarely have I been at an event when guests made their way to the dance floor between courses.

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One of the memories I will take with me from the evening was seeing Marlow on stage with the five men in her life (her husband, Scott, and four sons who all came to be with her) and quoting Audrey Hepburn: “Giving is living. If you stop wanting to give, there’s nothing more to live for.”

The hand that glitters with a caviar ring, worn by Ashley German. (right): A pink heart-shaped bag proves to be the perfect accessory for a night on the town. (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

Some of the more than 1,500 spotted dancing the night away included Kelly and Jeff Dillard (underwrote the Temptations — a performance that most will soon not forget), Christy Dunaway Smith (in a dramatic entrance-ready voluminous blue Tish Cox dress), Shannon and Stephen Nolan (their daughter Ariana was one of the Debs that evening), Becky Bowen (who made the trip over from Dallas since she never wants to miss a JCB Gala), Paige and Neil Randel, Anne and Orlando Carvalho, Kathy Sneed, Jill Moser, and Marisa Selkirk.

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