Shelby's Social Diary
Dreamy Oscar de la Renta steals the show at Best Dressed luncheon
No question — Oscar de la Renta is THE rock star of the sophisticated fashion world. Just witness the ladies swooning and asking for photos with the dashing designer at the Houston Chronicle Best Dressed luncheon on Wednesday.
They interrupted his meal. They tugged at him. They shamelessly fawned over him. And why not? Handsome, charming and obliging, de la Renta was the perfect gentleman, adding icing on the cake for the successful benefit that was a sellout at the Westin Galleria Hotel and surpassed March of Dimes financial goals.
Applause, applause for luncheon chairs Sheridan Williams and her daughter Kristen Nix. Making it a complete family affair, Williams' daughter, Lauren Clark, headed the raffle. And hubby, trial lawyer John Eddie Williams, provided the private jet that deposited the designer in Houston and then whisked him on to New York.
De la Renta instantly won the hearts of the 550 women and sprinkling of men with his opening comment, "Houston has always been famous for extraordinary looking women, who, lucky for me, love to wear beautiful clothes." And with that the show began — a line-up of fall and winter fashions that had the fashionistas absolutely drooling. Velvets and furs and sparklies, oh my. What will it be, a Smart Car or an Oscar gown? I'll take the gown, thank you.
That seemed to be the thinking of the women who swarmed Neiman Marcus after the luncheon to place their orders for the dreamy ensembles. GM Bob Devlin, who hosts the fashion presentation each year, had to be over the moon with its success. E-mails were still flying on Thursday over the fab fashions on the runway.
In the spotlight
But back to the point of the day. The 2010 Best Dressed honorees were presented by Houston Chronicle editor Jeff Cohen and Harper's Bazaar publisher Valerie Salembier. Stepping into the Hall of Fame for having appeared on the list three times were Danielle Ellis, Eileen Lawal and Phoebe Tudor. Second-time honorees were Courtney Hill Fertitta and Merele Yarborough. Making their debut in Best Dressed ranks were Greggory Burk,Katherine Le, Courtney Hopson, Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein and Susan Plank.
They were preceded down the catwalk by a parade of some two dozen Best Dressed Hall of Fame honorees that began with Lynn Wyatt, the first to earn that coveted ranking. A close personal friend of de la Renta, she was seated at the Williams' table to the right of the designer. Sheridan Williams had the primo placement to his left. One down from Wyatt was Hall of Fame honoree Melinda Berkman, whose mega array of turquoise necklaces had de la Renta totally mesmerized.
It was a special day for veteran Hall of Famer Laura Sweeney and two of her daughters Brittany Sakowitz and Noelle Sakowitz, de la Renta's assistant designer for embroidery and textiles, who flew in from New York for the luncheon. From the stage, de la Renta quipped that he had first come to Houston 40 years ago, when he was 10, ha, ha, to present his wares at Sakowitz, the family retailing empire founded by the Sakowitz girls' grandfather. In further family connections, the young women are Lynn Wyatt's nieces.
Among the lovelies in the audience dressing to kill as is the Best Dressed requisite were Ericka Bagwell,Lucinda Loya, Julia Frankel, Annie Amante, Claire Cormier Thielke, Amy Lee, Patrice Ferguson, Allie Fields, Leigh Williams, Millette Sherman, Virginia Steppe, Bonnie Likover and Elaine Block.
The well-heeled crowd included Pat Burk, Sue and Lester Smith, Morton Cohn, Bo Hopson, Jason Fertitta, Linda McReynolds, Ann Bookout, Melissa and Michael Mithoff, Lisa Holthouse and Jana Arnoldy.