party watch

Houston society set in glamorous gowns steal the show at Old Hollywood-themed Opera Ball

Houston society set in glamorous gowns steal the show at Opera Ball

Opera Ball gowns Hallie Vanderhinder in Oscar de la Renta
Hallie Vanderhider in Oscar de la Renta. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Opera Ball gowns Whitney Crane in Zac Posen
Whitney Crane in Zac Posen. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Opera Ball gowns Sophia Lee in Marchesa
Sophia Lee in Marchesa.  Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Opera Ball gowns Carrie Brandsberg-Dahl in Rick Owens
Carrie Brandsberg-Dahl in Rick Owens.  Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Opera Ball gowns Alex Blair in Dolce & Gabbana
Alex Blair in Dolce & Gabbana.  Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Opera Ball gowns Diana Trevino in Narciso Rodriguez
Diana Trevino in Narisco Rodriguez.  Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Opera Ball gowns Dr Ishwaria Subbiah in Pamella Roland
Dr. Ishwaria Subiah in Pamella Roland.  Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Opera Ball gowns Shawntell McWilliams in Frascara
Shawntell McWilliams in Frascara.  Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Opera Ball gowns Gina Bhatia in Oscar de la Renta
Gina Bhatia in Oscar de la Renta.  Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Opera Ball gowns Dr Liz Grimm, Miles David by David Peck
Dr. Liz Grimm in Miles David by David Peck.  Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Opera Ball gowns Beth Muecke and Vivian Wise
Beth Muecke in Abyss, and Vivian Wise in Roberto Cavalli.  Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Opera Ball gowns Hallie Vanderhinder in Oscar de la Renta
Opera Ball gowns Whitney Crane in Zac Posen
Opera Ball gowns Sophia Lee in Marchesa
Opera Ball gowns Carrie Brandsberg-Dahl in Rick Owens
Opera Ball gowns Alex Blair in Dolce & Gabbana
Opera Ball gowns Diana Trevino in Narciso Rodriguez
Opera Ball gowns Dr Ishwaria Subbiah in Pamella Roland
Opera Ball gowns Shawntell McWilliams in Frascara
Opera Ball gowns Gina Bhatia in Oscar de la Renta
Opera Ball gowns Dr Liz Grimm, Miles David by David Peck
Opera Ball gowns Beth Muecke and Vivian Wise

Sophisticated Hollywood glam mingled perfectly with the rock star life in true Houston fashion, as locals donned lavish, one-of-a-kind gowns to party with 500 of their closest friends — and ’80s star David Lee Roth  at the Houston Grand Opera’s Opera Ball.

Raising over $1.25 million  for Opera Ball, co-chairs Dr. Elizabeth Grimm, while wearing a stunning custom-made David Peck gown, and Dr. Jack Roth turned the ballroom at Houston’s newest hotspot new Post Oak at Uptown Park into a glamorous oasis. Old Hollywood glamour awaited guests around every corner. Arriving at the Opera Ball guests stepped out of their cars in Houston onto the red carpet and directly into the HGO Bel Canto Club. HGO Events Director Brooke Rogers and Richard Flowers and The Events Company completely transformed the new Post Oak at Uptown Park into the swankiest Sunset Boulevard supper club. Creating the atmosphere with dramatic palm leaves, white calla lilies, glistening gold 14-foot palm trees that framed the 40-foot custom deco dance floor and a traditional bandstand literally setting the stage for a magical Hollywood style evening. 

The Richard Brown Orchestra created that big-band sound as cigarette girls served trays of Champaign Coupes. Groucho Marks and Charlie Chaplain chatted up the glittering crowd and photobombed guests who were busy bidding on trips, vintage wine and jewels.

As one would expect from such a glamorous affair, fashion was on high display with Houston’s most divine dressed in their most glamorous. Beth Meucke slayed in Abyss paired with a handbag from local designer Simran Rihal. Vivian Wise wore Roberto Cavalli like she was born specifically for this dress. Alex Blair was the literal translation of the elegant golden age in Dolce & Gabanna, with her equally dapper husband Astley in a crisp white-jacket tuxedo from Saks. Houston favorite Carmen Marc Valvo’s classic black jumpsuit shone perfectly on Paula Mott draped with a vintage cape from her grandmother, while Hallie Vanderhider took everyone’s breath away in an ombre, tiered tulle Oscar de la Renta.

The Encore After Party, chaired this year by Drs. Ishwaria and Vivek Subbiah, has become as coveted a ticket as the Ball itself. In a performance that was a significant left turn for traditional HGO, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, David Lee Roth rocked the after party with the big band for a mini-set of his biggest hits, including his “California Girls,” “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody,” and the Van Halen megahit “Jump!” 

The more than $1.25 million raised is incredibly important for HGO’s future. Many of Houston’s arts organizations were severely damaged by Hurricane Harvey making this year’s HGO Ball more impactful than ever. Since its inception in 1955, Houston Grand Opera has grown into an internationally renowned opera company. HGO enjoys a reputation for commissioning and producing new works, including fifty-four world premieres and seven American premieres since 1973. Touring extensively internationally, HGO is the only opera company to have won a Tony award, two Grammy awards, and two Emmy awards.

Notables: Opera Ball chairs Dr. Elizabeth Grimm, Dr. Jack Roth, Dr. Katherine Roth and Lincoln Jones; Lynn WyattMargaret Alkek Williams; Joanne King Herring, Sue and Lester Smith, Whitney and Jim Crane, Betsy and Fred GriffinBobbie-Vee and Jerry Cooney, Dian and Harlan Stai, Jerry Ann and Victor Costa, Al Lasher, Carol and Mike Linn, Cynthia and Tony Petrello, Betty and Jess Tutor, and Fady Armanious.