What a pretty picture it was in Hermann Park on Wednesday — billowing chapeaus and spring frocks defining the Hermann Park Conservancy's "Hats in the Park" luncheon that has evolved, in its few years, into the loveliest midday event of the spring social calendar.
Even with a few drizzles and icky humidity, the ladies and gents, who poured into the party tent overlooking the golf course, dressed in genteel finery. The tableau of spring flowers on tabletops, the vibrant blossoms adorning various hats and the most feminine of fashion choices combined in eye-pleasing elegance.
Beyond the visuals, this event was all about raising funds for the conservancy and luncheon chairs Franci Crane and Sandy Godfrey, as well as conservancy director Doreen Stoller, were giddy over proceeds that climbed 20 percent above goal.
No small measure of the luncheon's success was due to honoree Ned Holmes. Mayor Annise Parker, wearing her favorite travel hat (a canvas fedora), presented Holmes with the Bob and Elyse Lanier Award which on this day was represented by a towering pine tree, stage left, that would be planted in Hermann Park in his honor. (The mayor just made it to the luncheon after a special City Council meeting on redistricting.)
While Holmes followed his conservative nature in his attire, a number of men took a playful approach to the "hats" theme. Houston Grand Opera CEO Anthony Freud wore his cowboy hat (after all the Rodeo was taking place only a few miles south) while Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch donned a Bellows Construction hard hat in reference to the almost-complete new dance center.
Among the 300 guests, Lynn Wyatt donned a voluminous silk taffeta hat that she had designed for Ascot and had not worn in years. Artist Carl Palazzolo wore a sleek red gaberdine military cap that designer Nicole Miller had created for him while his partner, Vance Muse of The Menil Collection, selected a red Swiss army cap by Jej.
The fashionable flock included Sheridan Williams, Becca Cason Thrash, Sharon Adams, Carrin Patman, Gracie Cavnar, Lora Clemmons, Bobbie Nau, Jana Arnoldy, Diane Lokey Farb, Kay Holmes, Sharon Michael Owens, Phoebe Tudor, Kelli Blanton and Y. Ping Sun.
The well-dressed mix included Cece Fowler, Ginger and Jack Blanton Sr., Joe Nelson, Janet and Ernie Cockrell, Susie and Sanford Criner, Jo and Jim Furr, Kim Tutcher, Susan Krohn and Patrick Gehm and Anne Kennedy, conservancy board chair.