Fashion by The Garden Room

Women’s Symphony League Luncheon Features Television Star Lisa Rinna

By Rob Giardinelli       Photography by Buster Jetter

Princess Avery deJong, Suzon Kemp and Diamond Queen Ireland Rose

THE SETTING: The Fairmont Hotel in Austin was recently the setting for an afternoon of celebrity, conversation, and beautiful fashions. Several hundred of the Capital City’s most notable sociables, fashionistas and philanthropists turned out for the annual Women’s Symphony League of Austin’s Fashion & Luncheon. The event kicked off a weekend full of festivities that culminated in the annual Jewel Ball the following evening.

Wroe Jackson and Lisa Rinna

THE STYLE: The luncheon-chic crowd commenced the festivities with cocktail in the foyer outside the venue’s ballroom. As guests sipped on bubbles and other spirits, they had the opportunity to pose with guest of honor Lisa Rinna on the step and repeat, many of whom shared their favorite stories of her during her three decades in the public eye.

Mary Ellen Borgelt

The festivities then moved into the ballroom for the main program, with opening remarks offered by Mary Ellen Borgelt, where guests dined and were then treated to a fun and lively conversation between moderator Wroe Jackson and Rinna, who held court with the audience highlighting her personal journey and sharing fun behind the scenes stories during her career.

Lisa Rinna with 2022 Jewel Ball Royal Court Princesses, Visiting Jewels and The Diamond Queen

The event was capped off with a fashion show sponsored by The Garden Room, led by Patty Hoffpauir. Rinna provided the perfect transition as she strutted down the runway herself in advance of the main fashion show, produced by Sue Webber of Webber Productions. The audience was wowed by the 75 stunning looks that went down the runway, with many guests staying long after the show to browse items at The Garden Room pop-up in the venue’s foyer, creating a full circle moment back to where this magical afternoon began.

Janet Hooten, Jennifer Hooten McCracken, Princess Vivi McCracken, Princess Caroline Hooten, Stephanie Hooten and Linda Lacy

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Melissa Billman and Ashley Nwonuma Olds, with Mary Ellen Borgelt serving as honorary chair, raised funds for the Women’s Symphony League of Austin. The organization, which provides financial support for Austin Symphony Orchestra’s educational programs, benefit over 65,000 Central Texas children each year.

Michelle Lupton, Katie Kaighin and Stephanie Stowell



Kips Bay Dallas Inaugural President’s Dinner’s Splendor in The Grass

Mark and Julianne Cary, Colette Sabins and Kathleen Sierra

By Dustin Ward        Photography by Dustin Ward

Stefania Morandi, Georgia Bass, Chelsea Freeman and Rodney Willis

THE SETTING: The lawn of the Mansion at Turtle Creek served as the elegant mise en scène for the inaugural Kips Bay Dallas President’s Dinner. Chaired by les charmantes Jan Showers and Claire Emanuelson, the sold-out event celebrated the opening of the Kips Bay Dallas Show House, while serving as a fundraiser for the organization’s beneficiaries. The guests enjoyed lively conversation during a cocktail hour and seated dinner, with most of the talk centered around the highly anticipated unveiling of the rooms at this year’s show house.

Jan Showers, Claire Emanuelson and Shelle Sills

THE STYLE: The glitterati of the design world were dressed to impress as they greeted old friends and colleagues and welcomed new faces into their stylish stratosphere. Long, short, maximalism, and minimalism collided to create a fashion feast for the eyes. Florals were in abundance in both prints and appliqués, while some guests paired chunky metallics with sleek all-black looks. Other attendees opted for monochromatic ensembles in rich hues of jade and mustard. One of the more noteworthy trends of the evening was the harkening back to the early 1960s silhouettes, a la Lee Radziwill.

Cecily Waud and Christen Wilson

THE PURPOSE: The Kips Bay Dallas Show House, now in its third year, is a fundraising effort on behalf of The Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club and local charity partners The Crystal Charity Ball and Dwell With Dignity. The Crystal Charity Ball, which supports Dallas children’s charities, and Dwell with Dignity, dedicated to creating homes for families struggling with homelessness and poverty, provide much needed support in the DFW community. A particularly touching moment of the evening was when the efforts of the local charity partners were recognized for their important work by the evening’s chairs during welcome remarks.

Zara Taitt and Ashley Sharp



By Lance Avery Morgan    Photography courtesy of Austin Symphony Orchestra

Natasha Drena performs

You’re in for a treat. The Sarah & Ernest Butler Pops Series presents the champagne chanteuse Natasha Drena on vocals, with Peter Bay conductor conducting the lush sounds of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, this Saturday. October 1.

We all know that with a career spanning 45 years, Judy Garland was in the hearts and homes of millions of people. She was featured in numerous musicals and movies, as well as theater and television shows.

Now, Drena and the Austin Symphony Orchestra will re-create Judy Garland’s iconic 1961 Carnegie Hall performance on Saturday, October 1. This concert appearance, on the night of Sunday April 23, 1961, has been called the greatest night in show business history.

The best news? Natasha Drena and the ASO will be performing the same charts as Judy did that magical day! You don’t want to miss this one night only event to hear some of your favorite Garland songs including, “Over the Rainbow,” You Made Me Love You,” “Stormy Weather,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “When You’re Smiling,” and more.

Run, don’t walk to get your tickets now for October 1 at Use promo code 1936.



Opening Party At Conduit Gallery Is Artful Success

By Dustin Ward        Photography by Dustin Ward    Artwork by Lance Letscher 

Nancy Whitenack, Lance Letscher, Mary Letscher, Erica Nelson and Steve Lapthisophon

THE SETTING: Conduit Art Gallery hosted an intimate preview party to celebrate the opening of two new solo exhibitions in their Dallas Design District space. On view were works from Austin-based artist Lance Letscher and Brooklyn-based artist J. C. Fontanive. Guests were thrilled to find that both artists were in attendance and took full advantage of being able to discuss their works in depth. Many loyal supporters of both artists and the gallery could be seen among the crowd, as well as many people discovering Conduit Gallery for the first time.

Joanne Asenime, Mona EL-Gharby , Khanna Bell, Dominique Banks and Elizabeth Adepegba

THE STYLE: Casual chic was the prevailing style trend among the assembled guests. Autumn’s impending arrival could be felt with by warmer color pallets and layering of light jackets and sweaters, although some guests were not quite ready to say good bye to summer. Striped t-shirts and summer whites were a reminder that temperatures still have people dressing with warmer weather in mind.

Lylah Evenstar, Chris Jordan and Danette Torres Dufilho

Erin Stafford and Ben Andrew Garcia

THE PURPOSE: Guests were encouraged to lose themselves in the new works by artists Lance Letscher and J. C. Fontanive by getting up close and personal with the works. Letscher’s complex collage art sourced from vintage magazines, periodicals, and other printed works tells a multi-layered story of mid-century Americana that simultaneously can evoke nostalgia and melancholia. Fontanive’s works are based on the ideas of kinetic energy and movement and what happens what when different mediums inform each other. Both men showcased thought provoking works that forced to the viewer to examine more than just the surface. For more information, visit

J. C. Fontanive, Andrea Hinds and Drew Skotak



WestEdge Dallas And Artexpo Dazzle Artful Attendees

By Dustin Ward        Photography by Dustin Ward

Daniela Pasqualini, Leticia Herrera and Amy Voss

THE SETTING: Market Hall in the Dallas Design District was recently brimming with excitement and energy as vendors and artists gathered to kick-off the first annual WestEdge Design Fair and Artexpo Dallas. Drawing industry professionals and design enthusiasts from across the country, the opening preview showcased the best in luxury home design and art. Programming for WestEdge included seminars, book signings, and culinary demonstrations. ArtExpo Dallas, the world’s original art fair, brought more than one 150 artists, galleries, and publishers to the DFW metroplex to exhibit exceptional pieces. Among the abstracts and sculptures were several works featuring Queen Elizabeth, which had many guests reflecting on the late monarch’s influence on artistic expression.

Christina Fitch

Maya Crawford, Teresa Reitz and Nicole Green

THE STYLE: Prints and patterns were found not only on the walls of the events, but on the eclectic mix of designers and consumers found in attendance. Hues of soft pinks and greens were paired with trim denim jackets and boots that screamed out for fall temperatures. As always, many of the artists looked effortlessly chic in all-black ensembles leaving their primary form of expression to be their chosen mediums. The return of the chapeau could be seen on some of the evening’s more adventurous fashionistas, including many of the male guests.

Annette Palmer and Nico Chavez

THE PURPOSE: As Dallas continues to be a draw for the art and style set, events such as WestEdge and Artexpo are helping to solidify the city’s place as a culture capital of the world. The bringing together of intriguing minds, observant eyes, and talented hands in this immersive experience will likely boost creativity for some time to come.

Carlos Balencia and Romuio Martinez




By Lance Avery Morgan                Photography courtesy of ZACH Theatre

Terrence McNally would surely be bursting with pride. The late prolific playwright, who shared his view of the world through the many plays in his career that centered around love, loss, and friendship, would be thrilled to see how his legacy is carried on in theatre now.

In today’s world, friends are key to survival, especially in the larger cities. The Inheritance Part 1, the winner of four TONY Awards is now  running at ZACH Theatre in Austin. The plot is simple, yet complicated, like so many lives are. Set in contemporary New York City, Eric and Toby are 30-somethings who seem to be very much in love and thriving. On the cusp of their engagement, they meet a neighboring older man haunted by the past, as well as a younger man hungry for a future. Chance meetings lead to surprising choices as the lives of three generations that interlink and collide—with often volatile results.

Anyone who is a fan of British films and novels will enjoy the re-envisioning E.M. Forster’s masterpiece novel, Howards End (1910), that time travels to 21st-century New York. In fact, The Inheritance poses thoughts for the attendee: how much do we owe those who lived and loved before us, and questions the role we must each play for future generations. All the while, it dares us to fearlessly hold on to the wild rollercoaster called life.

The Inheritance, Part 1. Courtesy of ZACH Theatre

In fact, the play’s dialogue by Matthew Lopez is smart, witty, and quickly paced, much like a Noel Coward play ripe for the re-telling. The assemblage of mostly peers in this one friendship circle gather from life’s common denominators, socio-economic class and well, face value. Just like in real life. They discuss much of life’s questions and how to answer them in their own way. The leads, and the secondary actors in the play, deftly directed by Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley, all shine in their own spotlight. With Brendan Kyle McDonald as Adam, Christopher Joel Onken as Eric Glass, Jake Roberson as Toby Darling, and with Peter Frechette as Walter/E.M. Forster in the leads…are the glue that keep the tight play even tighter and each has the range necessary for a hit play.

Interestingly, The Inheritance is presented in two parts. ZACH’s 2021-22 season concludes Part 1 on September 4th, leading immediately into Part 2 as ZACH’s 2022-23 season opener September 14th–October 9th. Because it takes a village to create a play, scenic design is by Josafath Reynoso, costume design is by Aaron Kubacak, lighting design is by Austin Brown, and sound design is by Allen Robertson. Run, don’t walk, to see this modern theatrical masterpiece during this performance.

One note for theatregoers is that the age recommendation is17 and up (for adult language, sexual situation, and nudity) and the play’s running time is three hours and fifteen minutes including two twenty-minute intermission breaks.

For more information and tickets to The Inheritance Part 1, visit: