From the line-up of Jags, BMWs and Bentley's in the Neiman Marcus parking lot Wednesday night, it was clear that something big was happening amid the designer labels of the luxe retailer. And, sure enough, it was the Best Dressed announcement party at which dreams come true for 10 fashion-focused community leaders.
It's a much-envied sorority not for the feint of heart nor the light of pocketbook just as those shiny luxury wheels in valet parking would suggest. For there are the designer cocktail dresses to buy for the heralded announcement party in Neiman's couture salon and the splashy runway ensembles for (take a breath) the Houston Chronicle Best Dressed Luncheon and Neiman Marcus Fashion Presentation Benefiting March of Dimes. And then there is the pressure to live up to the tony designation — for at least two years as that is how long it takes for an honoree to be recognized for the second and third time.
Courtney Hill Fertitta and Phyllis Williams earned the keys to fashionista nirvana — the Best Dressed Hall of Fame, that honor awarded to those who make the list three times.
Holding their own in this sartorial selection process, orchestrated by the newspaper's features department, were Courtney Hill Fertitta and Phyllis Williams, both of whom earned the keys to fashionista nirvana — the Best Dressed Hall of Fame, that honor awarded to those who make the list three times.
Well on her way toward that highest of fashion honors in H-Town was the only one in the class of 2014 making the list for the second time — Jana Arnoldy, who chaired the 2013 Best Dressed luncheon. She was beyond glamorous in an aubergene cocktail dress by Rena Lange.
Those already mentioned and a host of newcomers to Best Dressed ranks were introduced by Houston Chronicle chairman Jack Sweeney. Community leaders who know their way around designer salons and making the list for the first time were Gina Bhatia, Divya Brown, Estela Cockrell, Mandy Kao, Tatiana Massey, Vanessa Sendukas and Claire Cormier-Thielke. Applause, applause for this year's exceptional collection of honorees from the Hall of Famers to the first-timers.
Another first-timer to the Best Dressed experience was Houston Chronicle editor and executive vice president, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor Nancy Barnes, a recent arrival at the helm of the Texas Avenue bastion of Houston newsprint. MIA was one-time society writer, and fashionista in her own right, Lindsey Love. Over New Year's she was telling friends at Ceron's wedding in New York that she is moving to London to work for Sotheby's in the jewelry division. Her name no longer appears on the Style section roster.
Neiman's GM the ever-handsome Bob Devlin welcomed the gathering, comprised of honoree friends and family, former honorees, March of Dimes supporters and those seeking to be noticed as contenders for 2015 honors. The luncheon, chaired by sisters-in-law Greggory Burke and Allie Fields, takes place March 28 at the Westin Galleria. Neiman's is bringing in designer Ralph Rucci who will present his latest collection. Ladies, get those credit cards ready!
Applauding the Best Dressed contingent were Lora and Dr. John Clemmons, Scotty Arnoldy, Sheridan Williams, Sue and Lester Smith, Phoebe Tudor, Ceron, Diane and John Connally, Yvonne and Rufus Cormier, Cindi and Dr. Franklin Rose, Danielle and John Ellis, Julia and Russell Frankel, Rosemary Schatzman, Lauren Randle, Bruce Padilla and Shelby Kibodeaux and Duyen and Marc Huynh.