Society / The Seen

Inside Kappa Tablescapes 2023, Dallas’ Most Fabulously Over-the-Top Luncheon

Special Guest Gray Malin Joined to Help Raise Funds for Local Charities

BY // 10.24.23
photography Kaitlin Saragusa

You know the classic joke, “How do you tell if someone went to Harvard?” The punchline is, of course, “You don’t. They will tell you.” The sorority equivalent of this bit is Kappa Kappa Gamma. As a former sorority girl I mean no shade. Kappas just love to tell you they’re Kappas, and we love that about them. A beloved Dallas tradition, Kappa Tablescapes is a two-day charity event sponsored by the Dallas Alumnae Association of – who else? — Kappa Kappa Gamma.

The event brings together the chicest menagerie of Dallas’ florists, designers, and retailers, who decorate imaginative (and ostentatious!) table displays, all to raise funds for deserving local charities.

Lele Sadoughi, Sharon Lee Clark, Andrea Chico (Photo by Kaitlin Saragusa )
Lele Sadoughi, Sharon Lee Clark, Andrea Chico (Photo by Kaitlin Saragusa )

Kappa Tablescapes by Candlelight

On the evening of Monday, October 9, guests arrived at Dallas Country Club for Tablescapes by Candlelight. While sipping cocktails, attendees meandered through DCC’s romantically-lit halls to admire the creations.

For designers, participating in Kappa Tablescapes provides a valuable platform to showcase their signature aesthetic to a wide audience, from Caitlin Wilson’s return-to-pretty pastels or design It Girl Noel Pittman’s fresh spin on earth-tone textures. For retailers, the event offers an opportunity to get creative with their goods. For Lucky Dog Barkery, that meant a charming autumnal tablescape with ceramic dog bowls and pumpkin pie squeaky toys at each place setting. Rosanne Beck Collections and Madeleine Creative were dreaming of a pink Christmas and utilized the brand’s newest collection of holiday paper goods throughout their tablescape, including a stack of gifts wrapped in their jolly paper. 

Morgan Hobbs Pieper and Krystal Schlegel Davis, who attended SMU and pledged Kappa together, co-chaired this year’s event. Davis sheepishly admitted that tablescaping isn’t her area of expertise, though she appreciates the art. Her family, however, serves as a sounding board whenever needed. (Older sister Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, a lifestyle expert and editor-at-large for Southern Living, authored nine books on the topic!) 

This year, Tablescapes’ funds benefited four deserving local charities: Crossroads and North Texas Food Bank, which provide hunger relief to the food insecure in North Texas, and Community Partners of Dallas and New Friends New Life, which provide urgent needs for women and children.

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Morgan Pieper, Gray Malin, Krystal Schlegel Davis (Photo by Kaitlin Saragusa )
Morgan Pieper, Gray Malin, Krystal Schlegel Davis (Photo by Kaitlin Saragusa )

The 2023 Kappa Tablescapes Luncheon

On the morning of Tuesday, October 10, a new guest list, as well as representatives from each beneficiary, arrived at Dallas Country Club for the Tablescapes Luncheon. The morning crowd spent less time admiring the actual tablescapes, perhaps in eager anticipation of the luncheon’s featured speaker, fine art photographer Gray Malin.

It’s quite simple to charm a crowd of Dallas ladies: tell us we’re pretty, and talk about things we like. Dallas-born-and-bred Malin understood the assignment. (Malin won the crowd with the mere mention of Tex-Mex after he said his first stop was “Mi Cocina with {his} parents.”)

Malin brought his personal Macbook to the stage and walked us through his remarkable trajectory in the last decade, from slinging prints at a Los Angeles flea market to becoming an eponymous lifestyle brand with a mission to “Make Every Day a Getaway.” 

Because of his household name, many guests already knew Malin’s aerial photography of the world’s most iconic destinations. He humbly and humorously offered a peek behind the lens, though, detailing how his wild ideas (e.g. photographing a balloon-wielding elephant in front of the doors to Parker Palm Springs) came to fruition. 

At each seat, guests received a copy of Coastal, the latest book from The New York Times bestselling author. 

After the luncheon concluded, I waited in a long bathroom line and couldn’t resist snapping a photo of the tall can of Aqua Net that Dallas Country Club supplies for its ladies. How would Malin style a photoshoot of Dallas’ country club set? Only time will tell, but I hope it involves cans of Aqua Net.

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