$2 Million Gala Record for Museum

Elton John's gift to MFAH in honor of chair Lynn Wyatt takes Grand Gala Ball to $2 million mark

Elton John helps Lynn Wyatt take museum ball to a record $2 million

News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Lynn Wyatt, Shirley McClain, Duchess of York
Lynn Wyatt, Shirley MacLaine, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Peter Copping, Marjorie Gubelmann
Oscar de la Renta designer Peter Copping, DJ "Mad Marj" Marjorie Gubelmann in Oscar. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Hushang Ansary, Shahla Ansary, Richard Flowers
Hushang Ansary, Shahla Ansary, Richard Flowers. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Peter Copping, Lynn Wyatt
Close to 500 black-tie attired guests sat down for the City Kitchen dinner. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Jim Daniel, Margaret Alkek Williams, Nancy Kinder, Rich Kinder
Jim Daniel, Margaret Alkek Williams, Nancy Kinder, Rich Kinder. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Steve Wyatt, Joyce Echols, Brad Wyatt
Steve Wyatt, Joyce Echols, Brad Wyatt. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Susan Sarofim, Fayez Sarofim
Susan Sarofim, Fayez Sarofim. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Bobby Tudor, Phoebe Tudor
Phoebe Tudor, Bobby Tudor. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Lynn Wyatt, Gary Tinterow
Lynn Wyatt, Gary Tinterow. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Cynthia Petrello, Diane Lokey Farb
Cynthia Petrello, Diane Lokey Farb. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Cal McNair, Hannah McNair, Joanna Marks, Brad Marks
Cal McNair, Hannah McNair, Joanna Marks, Brad Marks. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Danny David, Isabel David
Danny David, Isabel David. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Holly Alvis, Austin Alvis
Holly Alvis, Austin Alvis. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Martha Long, Sean Wade
Martha Long, Sean Wade. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Elton John
Elton John offers good wishes via video and sends his sunglasses for auction. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Nidhika Mehta, Pershant Mehta
Nidhika Mehta, Pershant Mehta. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Lucinda Loya, Javier Loya
Lucinda Loya, Javier Loya. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Todd Forester, Kelli Kickerillo
Todd Forester, Kelli Kickerillo. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Mike Linn, Carol Linn
Mike Linn, Carol Linn. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015,Christopher Gardner, Emily Church, Sultana & Moez Mangalji
Christopher Gardner, Emily Church, Sultana Mangalji, Moez Mangalji. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Shafik Rifaat, Shelby Hodge
The museum decorated with 6,000 yards of black and white silk a la Lynn Wyatt's dining room. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Scott McClelland, Soraya McClelland
Scott McClelland, Soraya McClelland. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015,  Brit Elders, Alexandra Kotur, Shirley MacLaine, Jonathan Becker
Lester Smith, Sue Smith, Jo Furr, Jim Furr. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015,  Brit Elders, Alexandra Kotur, Shirley MacLaine, Jonathan Becker
Brit Elders, CEO of ShirleyMacLaine.com; Alexandra Kotur, Style director for Vogue; Shirley MacLaine, Vanity Fair contributing photograpehr Jonathan Becker. © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Lynn Wyatt, Shirley McClain, Duchess of York
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Peter Copping, Marjorie Gubelmann
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Hushang Ansary, Shahla Ansary, Richard Flowers
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Peter Copping, Lynn Wyatt
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Jim Daniel, Margaret Alkek Williams, Nancy Kinder, Rich Kinder
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Steve Wyatt, Joyce Echols, Brad Wyatt
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Susan Sarofim, Fayez Sarofim
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Bobby Tudor, Phoebe Tudor
News, shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Lynn Wyatt, Gary Tinterow
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Cynthia Petrello, Diane Lokey Farb
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Cal McNair, Hannah McNair, Joanna Marks, Brad Marks
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Danny David, Isabel David
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Holly Alvis, Austin Alvis
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Martha Long, Sean Wade
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Elton John
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Nidhika Mehta, Pershant Mehta
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Lucinda Loya, Javier Loya
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Todd Forester, Kelli Kickerillo
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Mike Linn, Carol Linn
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015,Christopher Gardner, Emily Church, Sultana & Moez Mangalji
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Shafik Rifaat, Shelby Hodge
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015, Scott McClelland, Soraya McClelland
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015,  Brit Elders, Alexandra Kotur, Shirley MacLaine, Jonathan Becker
News, Shelby, Museum of Fine Arts gala, Oct. 2015,  Brit Elders, Alexandra Kotur, Shirley MacLaine, Jonathan Becker

Lynn Wyatt's on-going 80th birthday celebration reached a glorious peak Friday night when she shepherded the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Grand Gala Ball to a record $2 million in proceeds and inspired the best partying that the museum has probably ever seen.

The tony ambience of the off-the-charts evening was set by La Wyatt's "Black & White" ball theme. A bit of Truman Capote influence, a hint at Karl Lagerfeld's nickname "Black and Wyatt" for the glamorous diva, Cullinan Hall and Upper Brown Pavilion were decorated in a stunning recreation of Lynn and Oscar Wyatt's River Oaks dining room. 

Richard Flowers of The Events Company underwrote the elegant transformation, a gift, he said, for Lynn's 30 years of faithful support. Not only were the walls covered in 6,000 yards of black and white silk stripes, so the terrazzo flooring in the museum foyer was covered in black and white striping. Crystal chandeliers wrapped in black shades hung overhead while massive arrangements of white orchids sprung from tabletops.

Lynn upped the excitement quotient by including a few good friends with star power—Shirley MacLaine, the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, Vogue style director Alexandra Kotur, Vanity Fair contributor James Reginato, New York City DJ "Mad Marj" Marjorie Gubelmann and Oscar de la Renta head designer Peter Copping 

(Reginato was accompanied by VF photographer Jonathan Becker, both working on a Lynn Wyatt feature.)

Copping designed the ball chair's white, re-embroidered lace gown for the evening. "I can't think of anyone I would rather dress, anyone more beautiful than Lynn Wyatt," he said. Also wearing one of Copping's designs was Mad Marj, who after dinner turned the museum into a thumping disco, her music inspiring even the most conservative in the museum crowd to their feet.

Special guest — via video — was Elton John, who wished his BFF happy birthday and offered a pair of his sunglasses, autographed, for auction. The resulting high bid took the gala to that record seven-figure level.

"I am overjoyed. I am overcome. I am over the moon," Lynn told the gathering. "I want to think of this celebration not as an honor to me but as a true love letter to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston."

The program, as is MFAH tradition, was short and sweet with board chairman Rich Kinder, museum director Gary Tinterow and Dene Oliver of River Oaks District (lead ball underwriter along with Oscar and Lynn Wyatt) making remarks. 

After Lynn thanked her guests, the Duchess of York took the stage briefly to praise her long-time friend, saying, "I'm so grateful that you are my friend and quite likely we are so lucky to have you as our friend. You are the finest most steadfast person that I know."

Also joining Lynn at her head table were two of her four sons, Steve Wyatt with Joyce Echols and Brad Wyatt. Oscar Wyatt, in a wheel chair after suffering a stroke several years ago, attended the reception with his wife, before retiring home.

The swell crowd included high-level underwriters Shahla and Hushang Ansary, Beth Madison, Diane Lokey Farb, Cornelia and Meredith Long, Nancy and Rich Kinder, Nidhika and Pershant Mehta, Michelle and Frank Hevrdejs, Lynn and Peter Coneway, Franci Neely, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Sue Trammell Whitfield and Carol and Mike Linn.

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