So many parties, so little time. It's the Shelby Hodge mantra.
So when Carla McDonald, founder of Austin-based The Solanniere blog, called asking for recommendations on H-town's hosts with the most, it was fairly simple to come up with my list of tops in entertaining. But I wasn't the only one she surveyed for the nationwide list of the top 100 hosts in the nation.
The Salonniere 100 was drawn from nominations from society reporters, philanthropists, dignitaries and more, in all, 1,000 social cognescenti from coast to coast. As The Salonniere puts it, those who make the top 100 "are the fete-fabulous folks who bend over backwards to entertain with such flair that you'd be wise to move a mountain or two to attend one of their soirees ... that is, if you're fortunate enough to be invited."
McDonald's bright and snappy on-line repartee is a one-stop shop for all things party-related. The site serves as a resource for hostess tips, fashion musts and festivity how-tos.
Selected as Houston's grande dames of elegant entertaining — Becca Cason Thrash, Phoebe Tudor and Lynn Wyatt. Add to those party-istas Houston native Allison Sarofim, who calls New York home.
Over the top
Cason Thrash is known for throwing the most elaborate, imaginative parties in town for the charities she supports including American Friends of the Louvre, Best Buddies and Houston Ballet. While these bashes are orchestrated by Becca for several hundred, all seated in the Memorial area home she shares with John Thrash, her more intimate dinner parties are equally compelling. Think 30 seated for dinner at one long table decorated to the hilt for guests such as Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon and John Taylor or consider the Saturday afternoon that she hosted the wedding of Dominique Sachse and Nick Florescu.
When Tudor and husband Bobby open their resplendent home in the Boulevard Oaks Historic District, guests know that they will be warmly welcomed and graciously entertained. (We recall one Christmas party where one or the other stood at the door all night as some 300 guests came and went.) Whether it's an intimate Houston Symphony dinner with cellist Yo-Yo Ma or a massive event for several hundred, Phoebe executes every element to perfection.
La Wyatt took her sophisticated entertaining style to a broader audience in October when she chaired the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Grand Gala Ball, transforming Cullinan Hall into a vast replica of her River Oaks dining room. When entertaining at home, she typically has two beautifully-decorated tables of 10 for dinner. The French-style service and divine menus from her French chef make every evening special. Lynn typically holds court at one table and husband Oscar at the other, swapping seats before dessert.
Sarofim is best known for her A-list laden Halloween parties, the most recent of which captured ink in Vogue on-line.
Other Texans on the list include Julie Blakeslee, John Hogg and David Garza in Austin; Gene Jones, Cindy Rachofsky, Nancy Rogers and Kimberly Schlegel Whitman in Dallas; and Alice Carrington Foultz in San Antonio.