Shelby's Social Diary

A stunning, new-age $1.96 million gala rocks the MFAH's sedate traditions: Welcome to India!

A stunning, new-age $1.96 million gala rocks MFAH's sedate traditiions

30 David and Wendi Grimes at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Grand Gala ball chairs David and Windi Grimes step out in India style both in national and au courant dress. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
2 Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
23 Carson Seeligson, from left, Lynn Wyatt and Pat Breen at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Carson Seeligson, from left, Lynn Wyatt and Pat Breen at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
28 Holly A.N. Smith and Austin Alvis at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Holly A.N. Smith and Austin Alvis at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
5 Gary Tinterow, from left, Cornelia and Meredith Long, Joanne King Herring and Steve Payne at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Gary Tinterow, from left, Cornelia and Meredith Long, Joanne King Herring and Steve Payne at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
32 Nancy and Rich Kinder at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Nancy and Rich Kinder at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
21 Steve Summers and Sara Dodd at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Steve Summers and Sara Dodd at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
31 Bob and Janice McNair, from left, with Hannah and Cal McNair at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Bob and Janice McNair, from left, with Hannah and Cal McNair at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
3 Pamela Murrin, from left, Ted Smith, Wendi Grimes and Antony and Ann Merck at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Pamela Murrin, from left, Ted Smith, Windi Grimes and Antony and Ann Merck at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
24 Diane Lokey Farb and Mark Sullivan at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Diane Lokey Farb and Mark Sullivan at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
17 Shahla Ansary, left, and Sima Ladjevardian at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Shahla Ansary, left, and Sima Ladjevardian at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup
33 crowd, venue at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
The vibrant decor of the India-themed evening was executed by The Events Co. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
20 Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, left, with Maria Bassa at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, left, with Maria Bassa at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
13 Keely Somoza, from left, Ralph Burch, Beth Madison and Christopher Gardner at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Kelly Somoza, from left, Ralph Burch, Beth Madison and Christopher Gardner at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
8 Kathy and Marty Goossen at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Kathy and Marty Goossen at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
10 John Thrash and Becca Cason Thrash at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
John Thrash and Becca Cason Thrash at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
34 Grady and Sissy Roberts at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Grady and Sissy Roberts at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
18 Rania Daniel, from left, Sabiha Rehmatulla and Sultana Mangalji at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Rania Daniel, from left, Sabiha Rehmatulla and Sultana Mangalji at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
4  Brad and Leslie Bucher at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Brad and Leslie Bucher at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
11 Carol and Mike Linn, from left, with Soraya and Scott McClelland at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
Carol and Mike Linn, from left, with Soraya and Scott McClelland at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
30 David and Wendi Grimes at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
2 Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
23 Carson Seeligson, from left, Lynn Wyatt and Pat Breen at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
28 Holly A.N. Smith and Austin Alvis at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
5 Gary Tinterow, from left, Cornelia and Meredith Long, Joanne King Herring and Steve Payne at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
32 Nancy and Rich Kinder at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
21 Steve Summers and Sara Dodd at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
31 Bob and Janice McNair, from left, with Hannah and Cal McNair at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
3 Pamela Murrin, from left, Ted Smith, Wendi Grimes and Antony and Ann Merck at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
24 Diane Lokey Farb and Mark Sullivan at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
17 Shahla Ansary, left, and Sima Ladjevardian at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
33 crowd, venue at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
20 Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, left, with Maria Bassa at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
13 Keely Somoza, from left, Ralph Burch, Beth Madison and Christopher Gardner at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
8 Kathy and Marty Goossen at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
10 John Thrash and Becca Cason Thrash at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
34 Grady and Sissy Roberts at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
18 Rania Daniel, from left, Sabiha Rehmatulla and Sultana Mangalji at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
4  Brad and Leslie Bucher at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013
11 Carol and Mike Linn, from left, with Soraya and Scott McClelland at the MFAH Grand Gala Ball October 2013

Not in two decades of covering H-Town society have we encountered a more alluringly self-confident gala chair. As she welcomed guests to the south entrance of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Friday night, Windi Grimes was a vision in a turquoise, pearl-beaded gown by Naeem Khan and a Kingfisher longneck in hand. The Indian beer was just a small indication of what was to come in a night that rocked the MFAH Grand Gala Ball's sedate traditions while raising a whopping $1.96 million.

With "India!" as their gala theme, Windi and David Grimes envisioned a festive, energetic evening, one that would keep guests talking for weeks. And with the help of The Events Co., they succeeded.

The splendid fun began on the museum lawn where photo ops with a massive elephant had guests standing in line. Young girls on platforms tossed showers of rose petals down on guests as they entered the museum where, just inside, a team of experts wrapped turbans on male guests who were game.

More than 30,000 marigolds were employed in the decor that included flower garlands. 

In fact, various interpretations of India's national dress — some authentic, some modified for American sensibilities — seemed to be the fashion inspiration of the night. Even MFAH director Gary Tinterow gamely complimented his tuxedo with a billowing majestic turban, a gift from the maharaja of Rajasthan

While guests such as Nidhika and Pershant Mehta, Sultana Mangalji and Kathy and Marty Goossen wore authentic costumes, high fashion minded femmes including Phoebe Tudor, Diane Lokey Farb and Diana Hawkins opted for gowns by Naeem Khan, the famed Indian designer.

Inside the museum's Cullinan Hall, the 530 guests found their places at oblong tables magically dressed in cloths in shades of orange and red shot with gold threads, lavish bouquets of marigolds running the table length. More than 30,000 marigolds were employed in the decor that included flower garlands and brightly-colored ribbons descending from the ceiling.

The theme continued with contempo Bollywood dance entertainment by Ishaara, out of Los Angeles, and a flavorful dinner by City Kitchen that presented the best of Indian cuisine without the fiery spices.

The night concluded with the sounds of the David Caceres Orchestra which had the dance floor packed with guests including Renu and Suresh Khator (both in their national dress), Nancy and Rich Kinder, Sara Dodd and Gregory Fourticq, Laurie and Reed Morian, Janet and Paul Hobby, Elena and Greg Davis, Melissa and Michael Mithoff and Roseann Rogers and Dr. Aashish Shah and Lisa and Paul Clemenceau.