It might have been Ash Wednesday but the ooh-la-la factor was over the top at Houston Ballet's "The Masked Ball" as revelers extended pre-Lenten celebrations for the dazzling million dollar evening which suggested that Wednesday is the new Saturday for black-tie galas.
Not since the last Wednesday night Ballet Ball in 2012 have the gross proceeds topped $1 million. Applause, applause for 2015 chairs Melissa and Michael Mithoff, Henry Richardson and Monsour Taghdisi, who nudged that record $1.25 million.
A score of crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling and mirrored tabletops were dressed with a profusion of crystal candelabras. No flowers necessary.
The nod to Houston Ballet's world premiere of Stanton Welch's Romeo and Juliet, opening Feb. 26, was as glorious a black-tie gala as ever, starting with the dramatic decor by Richard Flowers and The Events Co. The Wortham Theater Center Grand Foyer was entirely draped, ceiling to floor, in black velvet and up-lighted in blue. A score of crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling and mirrored tabletops were dressed with a profusion of crystal candelabras. No flowers necessary.
Highlight of the decor was the massive LED screen above the band (think football stadium massive), designed like a gilded mirror. A camera at the base of the "mirror" projected live images of the ballroom onto the screen.
"It's the most glamorous night of the year," noted Houston Ballet executive director Jim Nelson. "It's a celebration and it's just such an honor to honor Phoebe and Bobby (Tudor) . . . It's our second largest fundraiser of our season every year, right behind the Nutcracker Market. And this is going to be a second record setting evening tonight."
The dramatic ballroom decor was the perfect backdrop for the plethora of inspired masks that guests wore including Lucinda and Javier Loya, whose masks were made by Hermes in New York; honoree Bobby Tudor's by Kate McNee of New Orleans; Phoebe Tudor's red lace mask made to match her red Carolina Herrera gown by Cathy Rascoe; and Celina Hellmund's mask by Judith Leiber, a match for her masked minaudiere, also by Leiber.
(Stay tuned for a look at more masked revelers in an upcoming article.)
Adding to the proceeds beyond the silent auction, where dinner at the home of John and Becca Cason Thrash sold for $36,000, was the live auction of two items that brought in a total of $84,000. While Becca handled the auction gavel, KPRC Channel 2 anchor Dominique Sachse modeled the sapphire and diamond necklace donated to the live auction by Tenenbaum & Co. (Becca and John and Gregory and Pat Burk chaired the 2012 ball.)
Further adding to the proceeds was Diane Lokey Farb, who underwrote the cost of the fab Party on the Moon band.
The glam crowd included Lynn Wyatt, Anne and Albert Chao, Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel, Cabrina and Steven Owsley, David Wuthrich, Monica and John Blaisdell, Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Linda McReynolds, Pat Breen, Ceron, Leigh and Reggie Smith, Ginni and Richard Mithoff, Jacqueline and Leon Kinloch, Neil Hamil, Kristy and Chris Bradshaw and Joyce Echols and Steve Wyatt.