H-Town's whacky, unpredictable weather rained on the Best Dressed luncheon Thursday morning. Bad news for the 10 honorees who were hoping for a good hair day. Good news for guest designer Jason Wu, whose fall/winter fashions hit just the right tone on this chilly, damp morning.
But it was all sunshine inside the ballroom of the Hilton Americas-Houston where the Houston Chronicle hosted the 33rd annual event benefiting the March of Dimes. With powerhouse Rosemary Schatzman as chair and a committee of devoted supporters, the luncheon enjoyed a record 700 guests and raised more than $580,000, another record, 45 percent increase over the 2014 luncheon. Applause, applause for Schatzman and her team.
Neiman Marcus delivered the stylish notes by bringing in Wu, one of First Lady Michelle Obama's favorite designers, for the fashion presentation that had the ladies thinking fur, wool and winter spangles. Because the event was held downtown rather than at the Westin Galleria, the traditional venue, Neiman's set up a Jason Wu pop-up shop in the ballroom foyer for interested fashion mavens.
With DJ spins adding a vibrant note to the luncheon scene, the young and the beautiful, the stylish and the sophisticated populated the ballroom with a see-and-be-seen vibe that provided unmatched fashionista-watching. We particularly enjoyed the style displayed by Hallie Vanderhider, Lucinda Loya, Heidi Smith, Carrie Colbert and Stephanie Cockrell.
Houston Chronicle chairman Jack Sweeney and senior features editor Melissa Aguilar introduced the coterie of community leaders "who distinguish themselves with great style."
Houston Chronicle chairman Jack Sweeney and senior features editor Melissa Aguilar introduced the coterie of community leaders "who distinguish themselves with great style." Taking bows as Hall of Fame honorees were Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein and Cynthia Petrello.
Second time Best Dressed honorees, placing them in two years in line for Hall of Fame, were Carol Linn, Gracie Cavnar and Gina Gaston Ellie. Making their debut in Best Dressed ranks were Denise Bush Bahr, Kristy Bradshaw, Katie Brass and Duyen Huynh Nguyen.
Nguyen presented a Best Dressed first, wearing a long gown by Emilia Wickstead for the catwalk. "For this spring, everything is longer. So I thought this dress is perfect. I love the color, the style, the length and it's not at all formal. I'd call it a maxi dress."
Houston fashion A-listers made the scene including Neiman Marcus GM Bob Devlin, Fashion Houston's Vivian Wise, model and stylist Ursaline Hamilton, Tootsies' Fady Armanious and fashion show producer Todd Ramos. Another standout in the mix was Connie Kwan-Wong, who made the winning bid of $15,000 on the single live auction item, a fashion jaunt to New York for Jason Wu's Spring 2016 fashion show.
Past Hall of Fame honorees, each receiving a long-stem white rose, were spread throughout the ballroom including Lynn Wyatt, Courtney Hill Fertitta, Karen Mayell, Sheridan Williams, Lora Clemmons, Laura Sweeney, Janet Gurwitch, Diane Lokey Farb, Dancie Ware, Cynthia Allshouse, Phyllis Williams, Melinda Berkman, Lilly Andress, Phoebe Tudor, Pat Breen, Jeanie Kilroy Wilson and more.
See Shelby Hodge's video of Jason Wu's fashion below.