Once Houston attorney Shawn Stephens agreed to chair the 2014 Houston Ballet Ball and picked a theme, she faced a crucial dilemma: What to wear?
Traditionally, all eyes are on the the gala chair who sets the tone of the event with her choice of ballgown. While searching for just the right one, Stephens fell in love with a "shocking pink" gown with intricate gold braiding from the Oscar de la Renta fall collection. "I watched the video (of the runway show) online and I thought, 'I have to have that dress,' " Stephens recalled.
"With all that gold braid and embroidery, it just feels right for the ball."
Stephens, a partner at BakerHostetler, got in touch with Noelle Sakowitz Miller, textile development supervisor at de la Renta and the sister of Brittany Sakowitz, a lawyer at the firm. The de la Renta team created the made-to-measure gown, which took more than 250 hours to sew and embroider, and delivered it to Stephens earlier this month.
Stephens, a former dancer who is a longtime Houston Ballet supporter, believes the gown fits in perfectly with the theme, "La Mille et Deuxième Nuit" (The Thousand and Second Night), a playful take on the Houston Ballet production of Aladdin, based on the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, which opens a week after the Feb. 15, 2014 ball at the Wortham Center.
"It just seems like a beautiful French interpretation of what some exotic Middle Eastern-inspired Sultana would wear," Stephens said. "With all that gold braid and embroidery, it just feels right for the ball."
The de la Renta team also donated two tickets to the fall 2015 runway show, which will take place in New York next September, for an auction item that is sure to garner a high bid. The ball will celebrate artistic director Stanton Welch's 10th year with Houston Ballet and will honor Houston Methodist Hospital for its partnership with Houston Ballet dancers.