Society / The Seen

Party Pics — Klyde Warren Park’s President’s Circle Draws an Illustrious Dallas Crowd

The Mambo Taxis and Conversation Were Flowing

BY // 05.18.21
photography WJN Photo

Who needs a groundhog to tell you that spring has sprung when you can simply be greeted by a tray of Mi Cocina‘s signature Mambo Taxi cocktail upon entering a magical Highland Park verdant garden. Those visiting that enchanting space were members of Klyde Warren Park’s President’s Circle, and came to join Ann and Lee Hobson in their backyard to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Dallas’ beloved Klyde Warren Park made a daring leap by launching its premier donor group, the President’s Circle, in the middle of the Pandemic of 2020. Actually, the co-chairs, Ann Hobson and Alvise Orsini, were asked by the Park’s president, Kit Sawers, prior to the March lockdown and immediately said “yes, what can we do to help?” After a few understandable starts and stops, a launch occurred this past November at the Park, with catering provided by acclaimed chef Yann Nury through a generous gift from Dior. It was an intimate and elegantly masked group that evening, but one that was excited to be assisting the park during a particularly difficult year.

Holding this second event on Cinco de Mayo made perfect sense — it was announced at the start of 2021 that “Mi Cocina on the Park” would replace Savor in Thomas Phifer’s gorgeous, glass-enclosed building in the center of the park. Dallas-based architecture firm Droese Raney is hard at work on the re-design, maintaining the beauty and purity of Phifer’s building, while providing some whimsical Mexican influences on the restaurant, which is slated to open early this fall.

Mi Cocina’s famous (or perhaps infamous) Mambo Taxis (Photo by WJN Photo)
Mi Cocina’s famous (or perhaps infamous) Mambo Taxis (Photo by WJN Photo)

The creative genius and endlessly chic Richard Avedon once said: “Anything is an art if you do it at the level of an art.” I think those words apply perfectly to how Ann Hobson entertains — it’s an art form. Guests entered via a side gate near a koi pond and were then greeted by a fabulous mariachi band aptly setting the mood. Delicate lanterns hung from trees as guests below sipped on their Mambo Taxis and nibbled on the passed, often jalapeño spiced delicacies provided by the Mi Cocina catering team.

One of my favorite party games of years past was looking for the furtive glances to the door as guests would plan their exit strategy. Alas, pre-COVID it seemed as if no one could be bothered with staying longer than 45 minutes. One iconic octogenarian who shall remain nameless but who one might call Dallas royalty once mused to me: “cocktail hour needn’t be a full hour.” However, those days seem long gone as everyone wanted to stay well past sunset to catch-up — this being the first time that many had seen one another in over a year.

Wendy Payne, Deborah Scott, Michelle Wood (Photo by WJN Photo)
Wendy Payne, Deborah Scott, Michelle Wood gathering for The President’s Club of Klyde Warren Park (Photo by WJN Photo)

Fabulous stories were being shared of trips past — like Kelli and Jerry Ford reminiscing of their many years spent at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby (they have often had a horse in the race) and the kaleidoscope of whimsical chapeaus they would spot. Many party guests had spent this year’s Derby watching the blur of horses on television screens from the patio of Dallas’  Park House. The owners of the exclusive members-only club, Deborah and John Scott, were also in attendance at the Hobsons, wearing shades of crimson with jackets adorned with skulls.

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Relatively new transplant Cornelia Guest was sharing the highs and lows of the renovation of her ranch in East Texas that she had purchased during COVID lockdown. My mind often conjures up scenes from one of my favorite shows while growing up, “Green Acres,” when I hear witty Guest spin a yarn involving her four-legged menagerie which includes dogs (almost all rescues), turtles and ducks.

Then the chatter was interrupted for a brief moment as Kit Sawers shared some of the news of the past year at Klyde Warren Park. “The Park had to cut its budget by close to 25 percent,” but she went on to applaud the generosity of the President’s Circle program which was instrumental in allowing the organization to “continue putting on free socially distanced events, such as movies, concerts, fitness classes and open-air markets.”

Don’t fault me for playing favorites, but amongst the oh-so many well-heeled (or rather sensibly chic garden party appropriate flats) guests, my award for best-dressed must go to Georgina Hartland. She never fails to show-up in something dazzling that rivals her bewitching sense of humor. Her suite of sparkling jewelry resembled whimsical Russian nesting dolls, but unfortunately they do not collapse within one another to save space when packing for a jet-set weekend abroad. Another standout: Nancy Rogers looking like she was plucked from the recent Prada runway — but of course owning the minimalist look in her very Nancy way with some sparkle. Others from the hall-of-fame best-dressed list posse included Tim Headington, Sandra Moon, Nancy Dedman, Brad KellyKaleta Blaffer, Lynn and Allan McBeeDianna Miller, Jeny Bania, Michelle and Peery Wood, and in town from San Antonio — Lisa Kopecky.

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