Society / Featured Parties

Record $9.3 Million Raised in Dallas’ Most Spectacular Party Tradition

Mega Star Diva, an Iconic Building and Weeks of Fun Make TWO x TWO’s 20th Rock

BY // 10.30.18
photography Photography by Kevin Tachman

A record $9.3 million was raised at the 20th anniversary for TWO x TWO for AIDS and art. Back when I was still on staff at the Dallas Museum of Art (one of the two primary beneficiaries of the gala), I remember that it was all-hands-on-deck for the few days that led up to the annual Saturday evening event. Now it seems that the fundraiser begins weeks in advance with parties and programs.

I attended one that was a beautiful affair 10 days prior that was hosted by Chanel’s fine jewelry department. All of the art, that is for sale via the live or silent auction had been installed and guests were beginning to take notes on what new pieces would fit nicely in their homes. I envisioned money being transferred from discreet off-shore accounts in preparation for a frenzied bidding war. (I like to have some drama involved whenever possible.)

My personal highlight to the series of festivities is First Look, which is always held on the Thursday night prior to the big black-tie gala on Saturday. First Look, presented by longtime TWO x TWO supporter Headington Companies didn’t fail to exceed expectations. The theme this year was “white hot” and guests pulled out their winter whites to achieve sophisticated and sexy street-savvy looks.

It’s always a crap shoot this time of year in terms of Dallas weather. But the forecast was for warmer temperatures with no rain in sight, so there were quite a few attendees showing some skin. Some of my personal favorites that looked hot in head to toe white included Deborah Scott, Wendy Payne, Dana Garner and couples Jennifer and John Eagle and Sheryl and Eric Maas.

The evening, designed by TODD Events, included carnival-style games with prizes from Forty Five Ten and the Joule Hotel. Guests enjoyed culinary creations from the family of Headington restaurants: Americano, CBD Provisions, Commissary, Mirador, Sassetta, Wheelhouse and Joule Catering. My favorite soul sister, DJ Lucy Wrubel, was behind her turntables and spun tunes that provided a scintillating vibe for guests in search of licentious fun.

Dianna Miller, of Forty Five Ten, remarked “We always have so many designers in from out of town this week, who marvel at how Dallas can throw a party that seems unrivaled.”

As I said previously, TWO x TWO week (now weeks) is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. Those wanting to attend all that it has to offer are careful to stay hydrated and rested. Even those who had shut down Nancy Rogers annual Halloween party on Friday night looked dapper and glamorous for the main event on Saturday. I did love the fact that there were quite a few folks at Miz Nancy’s party that had some major costume makeup, temporary hair color (myself included as I went as a silver fox Crazy Rich Asian) and hair extensions.

I’m sure the prep work before bedtime that night was quite time-consuming as who wants to wake up to ruined Frette Egyptian cotton sheets. I adore that Gonzalo Bueno shared with me that, of all people Emily Summers, had the perfect formula for getting his layers of face paint off (he was a Day of the Dead skeleton).

The Main Event

Five hundred people attended Saturday’s sold-out black-tie gala, chaired by noted philanthropist, art patron, and longtime TWO x TWO champion Tim Headington. The event is always held at The Rachofsky House, the iconic building designed by renowned architect Richard Meier for Howard and Cindy Rachofsky. The home is the perfect venue for a party. Guests arrive in a valet line right off of Preston Road, where all of the other passers-by crane their necks and drive purposefully slower to catch a glimpse of what is happening behind the ominous white wall.

Men in Tom Ford tuxedos and women in sparkling Chanel gowns preen down the long driveway, the longest of all entryway “red carpet’esque” experiences, as they make their way to the geodesic dome erected each year for the dinner and entertainment.

Guests are a wonderful mix of Dallas’ best as well as designers from New York City and Paris and artists/gallerists from London and Cologne. Saturday they entered the tent as the actor, singer and stalwart TWO x TWO supporter Alan Cumming sang a medley of cabaret songs.

William H. Roedy, amfAR chairman of the board, presented artist Dana Schutz with amfAR’s 2018 Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDSKatherine Brodbeck, assistant curator of contemporary art at the DMA, spoke about Dana Schutz and her noted body of work.

“We gratefully thank Dana Schutz. She is an outstanding and thoughtful artist and an amazing hero for her generosity and support of amfAR and tonight’s TWO x TWO gala,” Roedy said.

Melissa Ireland, TWO x TWO director, announced a new award named The Cindy and Howard Rachofsky Visionary Fund, created in honor of the Rachofskys many years of dedication to TWO x TWO.  The fund will be used to support special initiatives outside of the annual fundraising efforts for TWO x TWO.  The focus will be on nurturing artist relationships and identifying projects to further the vision of TWO x TWO. A thunderous clinking of Baccarat glasses was heard throughout the room after this announcement.

There were 158 works of art offered in the live and silent auctions this year as well as a number of luxury, experiential packages including a trip to the Oscars and tickets to the Vanity Fair party as well as a Napa wine country trip hosted by famed restaurateur and chef Thomas Keller and Casa Dragones co-founder Bertha González Nieves. I don’t know who purchased the Oscars package, but if you are looking for a date than I’m your man.

A Diana Ross Moment

The big news that was revealed just days before the event was the evening’s headliner, the grande dame, diva-licious Miss Diana Ross. Known for her stage presence and famed gowns, she is somewhat like a human disco ball — it’s impossible to take your eyes off of her. At one point during her performance of memorable songs, she spotted another attendee in a sparkling frock that rivaled hers — Dallas’ own Christen Wilson — and summoned her onstage to join her.

Talk about high wattage, no pyrotechnics needed.

TWO x TWO

Post-event, Howard Rachofsky shared: “TWO x TWO is extremely grateful to our friends far and near who have been part of this monumental and cherished 20-year history. The generosity and commitment of our artists, gallerists, and supporters to this event is unparalleled in today’s fundraising communities. Our donating artists and galleries around the world, our corporate sponsors, our volunteers, our dear friends and collectors from Dallas and across the nation, have together raised $84 million for amfAR and the Dallas Museum of Art.”

Just days later, longtime fans and attendees are wondering what is in store of 2019 — the year that TWO x TWO turns 21. I’m guessing alcohol will definitely be involved as the fundraiser becomes of legal drinking age.

If you have not attended in the past, then might I suggest marking your calendar now for next October.

Everyone who attends the annual event is a VIP, but a few of the notables celebrating under the geodesic dome on Saturday night included Dr. Agustín Arteaga (The Eugene McDermott Director, DMA), Hamish Bowles, Becca Cason ThrashKristen and Joe Cole, Elizabeth Chambers Hammer and Armie Hammer, Nasiba and Thomas Hartland-Mackie, Whitney Wolfe Herd, Thomas Keller and Laura Cunningham, Adam Lippes, Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki, Deedie Rose, Nancy Rogers, Jessica Craig-Martin, John Berggruen, Tim Blum, Casey Kaplan, Christen and Derek Wilson.

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