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Shelby's Social Diary

Best Dressed luncheon takes on new life with cheering throngs and Ralph Rucci designs

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11 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Honorees Divya Brown, from left, Gina Bhatia and Claire Cormier Thielke. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
15 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Ralph Rucci, left, Jill Devlin and Bob Devlin. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
1 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Luncheon chairs Greggory Burke, left, and Allie Fields. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
30 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Members of Team Claire Cormier Thielke/Divya Brown. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
17 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
 Archduke Istvan of Austria, left, with Jana and Scotty Arnoldy. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
28 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
   

Honoree Mandy Kao.

Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Courtney Hill Fertitta, Phyllis Williams at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Courtney Hill Fertitta, left, and Phyllis Williams. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
29 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Members of Team Vanessa Sedukas. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
13 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Estela and David Cockrell with Starks Cockrell. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Vanessa Sendukas, Tatiana Massey at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Vanessa Sedukas, left, and Tatiana Massey. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
26 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Katie Flaherty, from left, Audrey Buchanan and Kristy Bradshaw. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
36 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Lucinda Loya, from left, Jenee Stofanakis, Ericka Bagwell, Amy Lee and Tama Klosek. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Kristen Nix, Allison Leibman, at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Kristin Nix, left, and Allison Leibman. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
20 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Katy Nelson, from left, Monica Bickers and Luvi Wheelock. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
25 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Geoffrey Cormier, from left, with Yvonne and Rufus Cormier. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
24 Gracie Cavnar, left, and Lynn Wyatt at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Gracie Cavnar, left, and Lynn Wyatt. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
7 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Francine Ballard, from left, Becca Cason Thrash and Carrie Field. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
23 Ceron and Fady Armanious at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Cerón, left, and Fady Armanious. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
5 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Crystal Wright, left, and Ting Bresnahan. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
22 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Lisa and Josh Oren. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
8 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Jacquie Baly, from left, Bruce Padilla, Barbara Van Postman and Patti Murphy. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
2 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Sujata Anand, from left, Jennifer Dolman, Rima Linville and Vimla Paralkar. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
27 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Amy Lee, left, and Ericka Bagwell. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
11 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
15 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
1 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
30 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
17 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
28 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Courtney Hill Fertitta, Phyllis Williams at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
29 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
13 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Vanessa Sendukas, Tatiana Massey at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
26 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
36 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
Kristen Nix, Allison Leibman, at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
20 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
25 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
24 Gracie Cavnar, left, and Lynn Wyatt at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
7 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
23 Ceron and Fady Armanious at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
5 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
22 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
8 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
2 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014
27 at the Best Dressed luncheon March 2014

The crowd attending the Houston Chronicle Best Dressed Luncheon has always been an appreciative bunch, enthusiastically applauding the 10 women anointed each year as community-minded style icons. But for Friday's March of Dimes fundraiser at the Westin Galleria Hotel, that show of approval was ratcheted up several notches.

Teams of supporters of a number of the younger honorees brought along glittery placards of praise and waved them about as they stood and loudly cheered and applauded their friends. First-time honorees Divya Brown, Claire Cormier-Thielke and Vanessa Sendukas had their own cheering squads, complete with cowbells, raising the energy level. Shades of the Una Notte in Italia enthusiasm.

On the other hand, when the first honoree to walk the runway, Jana Arnoldy, made her entrance, the applause was sophisticated and as elegant as the lady, and a royal highness stood to applaud her. Archduke Istvan von Hapsburg of Austria, grand master of the International Order of St. Hubertus was Scotty Arnoldy's guest at the luncheon. The gents head off to South Carolina Saturday for a shooting expedition.

"Neiman Marcus is like a family for me and I feel honored to be here." — Ralph Rucci 

There was plenty of fan approval among the gathering of 520 for all of the honorees who included Hall of Fame inductees Courtney Hill Fertitta and Phyllis Williams, as well as Gina Bhatia, Estela Cockrell, Mandy Kao and Tatiana Massey.

Vying with the parade of H-Town fashionables on the catwalk were the stunning designs of Ralph Rucci, who briefly addressed the audience after his show saying, "Neiman Marcus is like a family for me and I feel honored to be here." He applauded the gathering on its noble cause of fundraising for the March of Dimes. He then was seated at the Neiman's table where GM Bob Devlin held court and Best Dressed Hall of Famer Lynn Wyatt, wearing Rucci of course, was to his right.

Leading the day's efforts were luncheon chairs who happen to be sisters-in-law, Greggory Burke in Valentino and Allie Fields in Roland Mouret. Their work brought in close to $400,000 for March of Dimes programs.

Among the very stylish crowd were raffle chair Celina Stabell, Alex Knight, Pat Burk, Jay Fields, Rosemary Schatzman, Tim Moloney, Janet and Ernie Cockrell, David Cockrell, Valerie Sarofim, Francine Ballard, Jason Fertitta, Gracie Cavnar, Vivian Wise, Ceron and Fady Armanious (coincidentally in matching jackets). A trio of fashionistas — Patti Murphy, Caroline Kenney and Rachel Regan — each departed with a gargantuan all-white centerpiece, the ladies looking like three brides.

Best Dressed Hall of Famers in the mix (those on the list three times) included Diane Connally, Becca Cason Thrash, Lucinda Loya, Pat Breen, Yvonne Cormier, Jeanie Kilroy, Lilly Andress, Diane Lokey Farb, Sheridan Williams, Merele Yarborough and Rose Cullen.

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