A Grand Evening

Gorgeous Museum of Fine Arts Grand Gala Ball is a flower-filled record breaker

Gorgeous Museum of Fine Arts Grand Gala Ball is a record breaker

Jim and Cherie Flores at Museum of Fine Arts Houston Grand Gala Ball
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Grand Gala Ball chairs Jim and Cherie Flores. Photo by Wilson Parish
Kitch Taub; Nancy Abendshein; Martha Katherine Long at Museum of Fine Arts Houston Gala
Kitch Taub, Nancy Abendshein, Martha Long. Photo by Jenny Antill Clifton
MFAH Grand Gala decor by Richard Flowers
The decor created by Richard Flowers of The Events Company had a floral fuchsia theme. Jacob Power Photography
Eliza and Alex Bolen at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Eliza Bolen, Alex Bolen. Photo by Jenny Antill Clifton
Museum of Fine Arts Grand Gala Ball, Annette de la Renta, Andre Leon Talley, Cherie Flores
Annette de la Renta, André Leon Talley, Cherie Flores. Photo by Wilson Parish
Christopher Gardner at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Christopher Gardner. Jacob Power Photography
Rania Daniel; Sima Ladjevardian at Museum of Fine Arts Gala
Rania Daniel, Sima Ladjevardian. Photo by Jenny Antill Clifton
MFAH Grand Gala band Password
The band, Password, performed oldies hits. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Martin Scruggs and Sahadat Kemi Nurudeen at Museum of Fine Arts Gala
Martin Scruggs, Sahadat Kemi Nurudeen. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Museum of Fine Arts Grand Gala Ball, Frank and Michelle Hevrdejs
Frank Hevrdejs, Michelle Hevrdejs. Photo by Jenny Antill Clifton
MFAH Grand Gala decor floral detail
Roses filled the room at the Museum of Fine Arts Grand Gala Ball. Photo by Wilson Parish
Leslie and Brad Bucher at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Leslie Bucher, Brad Bucher Photo by Jenny Antill Clifton
Fady Armanious and Hallie Vanderhider at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Fady Armanious, Hallie Vanderhider. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
MFAH Grand Gala decor by Richard Flowers
Flowers hung from a large chandelier and large vases of butterfly orchids were on every table. Jacob Power Photography
Suresh and Renu Khator at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Suresh Khator, Renu Khator. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Phoebe and Bobby Tudor at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Phoebe Tudor, Bobby Tudor. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Jim Flores, Cherri Flores, Gary Tinterow at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Jim Flores, Cherie Flores, Gary Tinterow. Jacob Power Photography
Elyse Lanier at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Elyse Lanier. Jacob Power Photography
Jo Furr at Museum of Fine Arts Grand Gala Ball
Jo Furr. Jacob Power Photography
MFAH Grand Gala decor by Richard Flowers
A panoramic view of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Grand Gala Ball. Photo by Wilson Parish
Jim and Cherie Flores at Museum of Fine Arts Houston Grand Gala Ball
Kitch Taub; Nancy Abendshein; Martha Katherine Long at Museum of Fine Arts Houston Gala
MFAH Grand Gala decor by Richard Flowers
Eliza and Alex Bolen at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Museum of Fine Arts Grand Gala Ball, Annette de la Renta, Andre Leon Talley, Cherie Flores
Christopher Gardner at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Rania Daniel; Sima Ladjevardian at Museum of Fine Arts Gala
MFAH Grand Gala band Password
Martin Scruggs and Sahadat Kemi Nurudeen at Museum of Fine Arts Gala
Museum of Fine Arts Grand Gala Ball, Frank and Michelle Hevrdejs
MFAH Grand Gala decor floral detail
Leslie and Brad Bucher at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Fady Armanious and Hallie Vanderhider at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
MFAH Grand Gala decor by Richard Flowers
Suresh and Renu Khator at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Phoebe and Bobby Tudor at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Jim Flores, Cherri Flores, Gary Tinterow at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Elyse Lanier at MFAH Grand Gala Ball
Jo Furr at Museum of Fine Arts Grand Gala Ball
MFAH Grand Gala decor by Richard Flowers

With the aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey lingering, Houston's fall social season has slowly begun to blossom again as residents look to the future. The theme of renewal was evident at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Grand Gala Ball as thousands of fuchsia-hued flowers turned Cullinan Hall into a garden wonderland.

Cherie Flores, who chaired the gala with husband Jim, is an award-winning gardener, so she enlisted Richard Flowers of The Events Company to create a spectacular floral setting, with so many butterfly orchids that some observers wondered if there were any left in town. Roses, hydrangeas, and other flowers in pink, red, lavender, and various other similar shades lined walls, dotted a huge wall, ringed a large chandelier, and filled oversized vases.

The theme also paid tribute to the current museum exhibition, The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta, as the legendary designer loved to putter around in his garden and was known for using floral patterns in some of his most notable designs. A room in the exhibition is devoted to the gardens at de la Renta's Connecticut estate, with displays of floral gowns that are an important part of the retrospective.

The de la Renta connection also gave guests the opportunity to wear their finest gowns, and many paid tribute to the designer by wearing dazzling de la Renta creations. (See the CultureMap story: Who wore it best? The most spectacular gowns from the Museum of Fine Arts Grand Gala Ball.)

"Never has there been a more beautiful room with more beautiful women wearing beautiful dresses by Oscar de la Renta," MFAH director Gary Tinterow told the crowd.  "Thank you all for being here in your finest."

Tinterow beamed as he announced that the gala had raised a record $2.3 million and praised Jim and Cherie Flores for "providing a beautiful and splendid respite after the travails our city has endured."

"I just want to say Houstonians are just amazing people when the chips are down. You've all worked together and you make it happen," said Cherie Flores, who wore a custom-made Oscar de la Renta fuchsia gown that complemented the surroundings. 

She also noted the de la Renta exhibition includes designs from a number of local donors "and I'm so proud of that," she added. "Here's to Texas women."

After a dinner of seared sea scallops, medallions of veal, and savory leek-wrapped bread pudding catered by City Kitchen, guests jammed the large circular dance floor to rock out to oldies performed by the band Password.

Seen amid the crowd were Leslie and Brad Bucher, Nancy and Rich Kinder, Diane Lokey Farb, Hallie Vanderhider and Fady Armanious, Lynn Wyatt, Sara Dodd, Vivienne Wise, Jim and Whitney Crane, Michelle and Frank Hevrdejs,  Carol and Michael Linn, Courtney and Christopher Sarofim, Martha Long, Lisa and Michael Holthouse, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Linda and Walter McReynolds, Elyse Lanier, Yvonne and Rufus Cormier, and Renu and Suresh Khator.

In from New York were de la Renta's widow, Annette de la Renta; Oscar de la Renta CEO Alex Bolen and his wife, ElizaAndré Leon Talley, who curated the Houston exhibition; and Allison Sarofim, whose gown that de la Renta created for her to wear to the Met Gala holds a prominent place in the exhibition.