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The Social Side of Kips Bay

The Designers and Rooms are Glorious, But So is the Fashion

BY // 10.03.20
photography Jonathan Zizzo

Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas has premiered, and the reviews are in. They are joyous and exalt the interiors created by 27 designers who were accepted, by invitation only, to design a room — some from Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, as well as L.A., NYC, San Francisco, and Charlotte. Overheard at the VIP preview: “I need this glorious de Gournay canary-yellow wallpaper in my guest bedroom.” “Can’t that adorable Chad come over and have my ceiling painted with wondrous birds.” “How I’ve lived without a gossip nook in my powder room, I’ll never know.”

The fashionable flock (obediently and respectfully wearing masks) fortunate enough to score (or rather, purchase a ticket) for their VIP entrance made their way through the stunning Provence-inspired estate at 5828 Woodland Drive in the old-school Woodland Estates enclave of Old Preston Hollow. Since it’s likely been a solid six months since they last preened in their Manolos, I spotted a few girls who, like baby giraffes, were wobbling ever so slightly. Once they had a nip of the cocktails served after check-in (which included a temperature check), they seemed to get their sea legs and glided like swans through room after glorious room designed by Cathy Kincaid, Michelle Nussbaumer, Mark D. Sikes, Dina Bandman, Jan Showers,  Chad Dorsey, Michael and Catherine Viviano, Lauren Hudson, Margaret Naeve Parker, Lauren Rottet, Doniphan Moore, Kevin Spearman, Kirsten Fitzgibbons and Kelli Ford, Gonzalo Bueno and Mauricio Lobeira, and more. For the preview days, the Kips Bay Dallas designers were ensconced in their rooms, greeting and touring.

Oh, how the pendulum doth swing. It seems like just yesterday when so many slightly jaded socials were proclaiming JOMO — Joy Of Missing Out. It was the witty acronym that was the anti-FOMO (if you don’t know what that means, you’ve likely been asleep since the Reagan years). JOMO summed up the 2019 notion that we couldn’t bear throwing on another Herrera gown and making our way to another gala. Our Smythson day planners were filled with appearances to make, and we were over it. Then March and COVID landed, and suddenly we were hunkering down. After months of staring at the Schumacher wallpaper on our own walls, we longed to go out. To rip off the Lululemon workout wear and let the Veronica Beard windowpane blazer see the light of day.

If you want the Playbill version of of the creativity at Kips Bay Show House Dallas, check out Rebecca Sherman’s feature on each of the 27 rooms. My favorites? Too many to count, but one has to be darling Doniphan Moore’s suite of his-and-hers closets connected by a stunning master bath. Every detail was thought through, down to the clothing that he curated for the closets. The tuxedo hanging in the men’s wardrobe had a slightly worn pair of black patent lace-up oxfords in situ (his own). In the women’s closet, he said, “The heels higher than four inches belong to my sister, and any below that height are my mother’s.” He also borrowed some clothing from it-girl Zoe Bonnette (who was on my annual Best Dressed List from 2018), including the Thom Browne dress she wore when she attended the Kentucky Derby on his arm.

Over the past two days, I’ve witnessed dozens of joyful eyes (not smiles, since they were covered with masks) as we see friends again. Hey, at this point “even a frenemy will suffice,” I’ve heard more than one remark.

Ooh, on to some fun stuff. Who looked good? Well, too many to list here, but you know me. Standouts included Cate Ford, Melinda Knowles, Sara Stroud, and Deborah Scott (in one of her signature jumpsuits in a blue floral pattern by Ulla Johnson, paired with white heeled IRO ankle boots). I had been getting texts from the Duchess of the Big Easy, Jane Scott Hodges (whose Leontine Linens were spied in numerous rooms), and was overjoyed to feel her tap me on the shoulder. I turned to find her wearing a divine Dovima vertical-patterned tunic dress, leopard flats, and a denim jacket insouciantly draped over her demure shoulders. She looked like a superhero. Her superpower? Monogramming, of course. A mother/daughter duo that never fails to deliver fashion, Myrna Schlegel and Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, were both enchanting in day dresses with chic cinched belts (Kim’s was Hermès; Myrna’s, Valentino). My award for best mask? Hands down, Kit Sawers, who went with khaki  with a bright red lipsticked pout.

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If you haven’t secured your tickets, do so ASAP. (It’s open until October 25.) Not only will it give you inspiration for days, but it benefits Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, which provides young people with educational and developmental programs in New York City; Dwell with Dignity, a Dallas nonprofit that creates soothing, inspiring homes for families struggling with homelessness and poverty; and The Crystal Charity Ball, which supports and makes contributions to children’s charities in Dallas County.

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