QUEEN BEE

QUEEN BEE

When Houstonian Lynn Wyatt, the gregarious, international socialite, philanthropist, speaks…people listen. And, for good reason. She knows everyone and has entertained more potentates, aristocrats, and tycoons than just about anyone in her rarified constellation of friends.

 

Forget oil. She’s the greatest natural resource Texas has. Here, in an exclusive, Lance Avery Morgan and Rob Giardinelli, share an interview that takes us inside the world of this living, loveable legend. 

 

Photography by John Conroy    Styling by Summar Salah

Make-up by Tonya Riner   Production Asst: Mallory Miller

Sittings Producer: Lance Avery Morgan

Beginning in the 1960s, when it came to representing Texas on an international social level, the man for the job…would be a woman. Lynn Wyatt. With her striking blonde hair, flawless porcelain complexion, and small frame that is eclipsed by only her gregarious personality, Call Me Lynn, is a phrase spoken by Wyatt that’s been heard in the most fashionable Jet Set circles since the mid-20th century and will likely be for decades more.

The spirited grande dame, who is anything but stodgy, has so positively represented this state that it could easily be renamed The Republic of Lynn. Her elegance has been emulated for years and will be for plenty more to come, as the young and young-at-heart worship her heightened personal style, entertaining largesse and attitude that everyone’s welcome as-long-as-their-fun point of view toward life is brought to the party.

Fun, as Wyatt often says, is her favorite word. And, she’s serious about it. If you’re not having fun, you’re killing time, so we caught up with La Lynn to learn more about her stunning life well-lived that includes her husband, Oscar Wyatt, and four sons, Steven Bradford Wyatt, Douglas Bryan Wyatt, Oscar Sherman “Trey” Wyatt III, and Bradford Allington Wyatt.

LANCE AVERY MORGAN: Lynn, we’re here in the beautiful study of your palatial home. We’re honored to be here and love knowing you because you have made such a difference to the world on so many levels. And, so we want to thank you, first of all, for doing that. Okay, let’s jump in. What has motivated your life in philanthropy to help others at a high level?

LYNN WYATT: Thank you very much. It is so lovely to have you both here. With philanthropy, I have the greatest admiration for people who contribute so many different ways voluntarily. No matter how we serve, it is the desire to be useful in helping other people that matters most.  

ROB GIARDINELLI: Not only do you possess great style while raising funds for so many international organizations, but you’ve also made a career out of it. What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who’s chairing their first gala or throwing their first very first dinner party to really make it a spectacular, memorable affair?

LYNN: What a great question. First, have a variety of guests: some whom know each other and some who do not know each other. I like to seat one person they know on one side and one that they don’t on the other side. Also, I never place husbands and wives together.

RG: What’s the reason for not putting husbands and wives next to each other?

LYNN: I realized that if a husband and  wife are next to each other, they don’t talk to each other. Instead, they’re talking to the person on the other side of them.  They need a rest from their spouse, so by placing them apart it  leads to more interesting table conversation.

RG: I agree with that. I also love the tradition in Texas, and certainly, in Europe, that gentleman change places at dessert to speak to other guests at the table. They can choose to sit by others, whom they would also like to know.

LYNN: I think that’s fascinating. Sometimes, I will have men move two places over…usually before dessert because I don’t want people walking around all the time. And, there are still two people on the other side of them that haven’t spoken to each other yet.

LAM: We were talking earlier about your theory to good conversation. What’s one of your favorite conversations starters, for instance, at a dinner party with a complete stranger when you’re seated next to a tycoon of industry?

LYNN: I would ask, what are you doing that is interesting in your field, or what you are doing now that motivates you? I’d love to hear about it. Usually, people give you honest answers that way.

LAM: Speaking of conversation points, what was it like growing up in the legendary Sakowitz store retail environment and what did you learn that you applied to the rest of your life?

LYNN: When I was going to high school, everybody thought that I got my clothes for free and I said, ‘No way.’ My mother said, ‘if I was working at the store, I would get a 20% discount just like every other employee’. No, I never got anything for free. So the first time I went to try on clothes, my mother told me, ‘Go and pick out the things that you want and bring them into the dressing room to make sure they all fit.’ I was so excited and finally, after we were there for two hours in the dressing room, she said, ‘You can only have five outfits.’ I was disappointed, but it made me really think about what I could wear. I thought I would pick this skirt to put with that blouse. This sweater can go with the same skirt and this belt to go with this, and so on. It taught me how to mix things up and have fun with it. It was because of that, I started experimenting with things. So much so that as my mother got older, she’d asked me to come over and help her pick out things for her to wear. She was a wonderful woman. Really lovely.

LAM: I was honored to meet your mother, Ann Sakowitz, years ago. What a true lady, proving the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

LYNN: Well, thank you. She had a fabulous sense of humor. And, she played Gin Rummy and beat the hell out of every man.

LAM: So, that’s where you get your sense of humor?

LYNN: Thank you. Probably. She made everybody laugh. And you know, after I got older, I realized how wonderfully lucky I was to have parents who were so kind. I mean, after learning what goes on in the world that I didn’t know at that time. I was so thankful and grateful. Plus, my brother and I are very close. He went to St. John’s, which had just opened when I was at San Jacinto High School. My parents wanted me to change and go  to St. John’s, which I didn’t want to do because all of my friends were at San Jacinto.

RG: Weren’t you a cheerleader there?

LYNN: You do your homework. I remember that this boy had a crush on me and I sort of had a little crush on him.  He was playing football, but wasn’t a big football player, like the quarterback, yet every time he would do something good, I said, “well, I’m going to do a big cheer for you.”

PEERLESS STYLE

LAM: You seem to be everyone’s cheerleader, Lynn. What is one style tip you would give to someone who’s invited to a party with a theme?

LYNN: I would say to try to dress accordingly to the theme as best as you can, but try to be a bit original. And, if not original, clever.

RG: Do you like costume parties?

LYNN: Not especially. Well, sometimes I like them. Instead of kooky costumes, I like pretty. Am I going to have a giant pumpkin costume? That’s not me. No, no, no. But, if it is a theme, I’ll try to carry out the theme. I think I have several costumes up in my attic somewhere. When somebody gets an invitation to a costume party, it is a lot of pressure. When I had birthday parties every year, I would have a theme, and everybody would ask me around Christmas time, what is the theme of your party next year? And it would be something like pink. Yes, one time the theme was Think Pink. I always had a seated birthday dinner, placed, with a buffet. One time the Prince (Rainier) rang that he’d be at the party. I sat him at the head of the table and I said, ‘Monsignor, I don’t see any pink on you.’ He picks up his foot and his socks are pink. I said, Thank the Lord. Otherwise, I was going to send you home.

LAM: What’s fascinating to me is that you’ve entertained so much over the years and you’ve done it so beautifully. What is the key ingredient to the perfect party for you?

LYNN: That’s easy. First of all, be at the front door and greet every guest, look them in the eye and say, I’m so glad you’re here. Thank you for accepting my invitation. Let them know how truly happy you are that they came.

RG: You’ve been in a lot of doorways, welcoming a lot of people into your world.

LYNN: No question. You eventually go into the living room. But, always stay at the door, no matter what, until every guest has arrived.

LAM: One party, one great gathering that we want you to share is your experience at The Battle of Versailles in 1973, the big fashion event you attended where French and American designers collaborated–and competed–for the first time. Did you think that  was a special occasion of gathering both the French  and  American designers?

LYNN: Absolutely. I was very, very honored to be invited.

LAM: It really put American designers on the map at that super high level to be on par with the French designers, don’t you think?

LYNN: Yes. I was really good friends with Bill Blass, who showed there. I would also stay with him in his New York City  house  and he would always have great food that he would cook himself. He had a lovely country house in the woods that had a lovely garden. You’d come upon an area and there’d be a fabulous statue that seemed like it should be in his house or something. He was such a great, great conversationalist and he loved my husband, Oscar. Oh, they would talk on the phone about politics all the time. Everything that Oscar would say, he’d agree with. I was very honored to be in his guest room many times.

RG: Not only was he an incredible designer, but he had impeccable taste.

LYNN: That’s right. And you know what, we never, ever discussed clothes even though he was such a prolific designer. I read one time that he said, ‘That’s what I like about Lynn. We didn’t talk about clothes and that’s a sign of our great friendship.’ He was such a gentleman.

RG: Tell us about how your own personal style was formed.

LYNN: I’ve always said to myself that there’s a way to dress: with class, with a bit of dash, but never trash. Also, I say, always trust the mirror. You know, why? The mirror never lies.

LAM: You’ve been a muse of so many designers. Tell us about some of your favorite ones, past and present.

LYNN: I was fortunate to go to the collections every year when Yves St. Laurent was alive. My husband told me, ‘I want you to go over to Paris.’ He was on his way to the Middle East and he would drop me off in Paris on the way. I had friends there and they were always giving parties. I was at The Ritz and across the street, as you know, is the Chanel store. I went over there and chose some things, off the rack, not made to measure. I was in the fitting room and the curtain was pushed away. This lady comes in and says, ‘Oh, so you’re the Texan?’.And, I said, yes. Then she left. And I asked the salesgirl, ‘Is that who I think it was? Mademoiselle Chanel?’ And they said, yes, it was Mademoiselle. She must have been 90.

RG: Wow. So Coco Chanel came into your dressing room?

LYNN: That’s right. She had heard that a Texas girl had come in to have some things made to measure. I was so honored that she took the time to see who I was.

LAM: You were an early adopter of burgeoning fashion designers, too, with French designer André Courrèges in the 60s, as an example. You’re a forward thinker with fashion.

LYNN: Well, thank you for saying that. I don’t think of myself like that, but I appreciate it. He was actually my first made to measure designer. I hadn’t had any made to measure before then. I knew him well and he was so advanced.

LAM: I believe Sakowitz was the first store to carry him and his designs in the U.S.?

LYNN: That’s right. I came back from seeing him in Paris and I told my brother, ‘You have to go see him there.’ He flew over to see his talent and when he returned, he said, ‘We’re going to put a Courrèges shop in the store.’ It sold like gangbusters. He was the right designer for the right time.

LAM: I understand that standing for couture fitting sessions, or made to measure, is grueling.

LYNN: It is. They measure everything: your knuckles, your ear, half of your finger and the other half of your finger. And there’s someone that reads the measurements aloud in order to build a mannequin body exactly like mine from the bust to the hips to the legs, so it has to be perfect. It is so that you don’t have to stand for hours. When I first started, I learned that I had to come back for four fittings. I said, listen, I live in Houston, Texas. I am not going to fly to Paris just for fittings.’

LAM: You’re a busy woman, you had a lot of things to accomplish. You were also raising a family.

LYNN: Right. So then I would go and they’d have all of it done except to correct a few things here and there and they’d send it back to me in boxes. Huge boxes. I mean you would’ve thought that there was a human being in there because of the way they were packed so perfectly. All the tissue paper, it was fabulous.

LAM: Speaking of your busy years, you’re a sharpshooter. In fact, there’s a great piece of art on your terrace that has both you and Annie Oakley on each side. If you could compete in any Olympic sport, would it be shooting?

LYNN: I don’t shoot anymore. On our honeymoon, we went to the Middle East for two weeks. Oscar never takes off more than a week for something. He’s at work right now. At 95, he’s still a workaholic. 

We first went to the Middle East because I’d never been there. The museums we went to were fabulous. Then, on the second part, we went on a bear hunt. The juxtaposition of things is what I love. I love to do something that’s the complete opposite of what I just did. It feels so inspiring and new.

LAM: You stay really active and are in such great shape to keep up with your very busy lifestyle. What are some of your secrets to staying fit and trim?

LYNN: You know, I didn’t want to go to a gym. For many years I’ve had many exercise trainers. When I went to the South of France for the summer, I had a girl and a boy that were from there and each one would do different things. I would do kickboxing, which I love. I can protect you.

LAM: I’ll bet you can. I’m betting that started in the 70s and 80s. What were some of your favorite moments from that era?

LYNN: I was fortunate to have had a villa in the South of France. Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco were very dear friends. I spent three months away every summer and it was fabulous. The nightclub, Regine’s, was the rage then. It started in Paris. Then, she went on to open one in Monte Carlo and also in the South of France. Our friends always had seated, black-tie dinners in those days. Oh, it was fabulous. Then everyone would go home to change clothes and go back to Regine’s. They had a pool that you could just dabble your hand in the water while you were sitting in one of those banquettes… while the music played just above the small dance floor. If you were sitting maybe ten feet away from your guest you could still talk to each other. It was so advanced to know how to do that. We’d dance the Frug and the Monkey. Nightclub culture started there, no question. We’d dance until dawn. It was Studio 54 before Studio 54.

LAM: Sounds like my kind of party and the place to be where the height of the international Jet Set was then. 

LYNN: I’ll say. I remember there was a duchess one time who said, ‘I want to introduce you to French society.’

LAM: This already sounds like a French farce waiting to happen.

LYNN: It was. There was a wonderful gentleman who was very highly ranked–more than a prince. And, he said, ‘I want to play a joke on the Duchess. She wants to introduce you to society, but, I’m going to say that I’ve known you for a long time. Go along with it.’ I said, okay. She introduced me by saying, ‘I want to introduce you to Lynn Wyatt, my friend from Houston, Texas.’ He said, ‘I thought that was you, I was hoping that you would be here.’ He put his arms around me, then hugged her…and she looked back at me completely amazed.

LAM: Because of your close friendship with Princess Grace and Prince Rainier, you’re part of the Princess Grace Foundation. You’ve done such good work on an international level, obviously beyond Texas. You told me how Cary Grant would call you personally, to speak with you about being involved with the foundation and its annual gala. Tell us about that experience.

LYNN: When Princess Grace died, it was so tragic. She was on her way to meet me in Paris when it happened. Three months later, I got a call from the Prince. He said, ‘Lynn, I want you to be a founder of the Princess Grace Foundation.’ I was so honored. I said, I don’t even live in France. He said, ‘I want you to be part of it. She loved you and you were such dear friends.’ So I thought, I’ll do it. But, you know, the first time you do anything, you have to hit the ball out of the park or they won’t want you to come back to the game the next time.

RG: There were some heavy hitters who were on the Foundation’s board like Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Princess Caroline, Princess Stephanie, Mary Wells Lawrence, and you. How did you approach a first-ever event like that?

LYNN: Some guy who was very important contacted me and said, ‘I want to help you.’ I said, You know, I want to do this on my own, because if something goes wrong, it is only my fault. And I know the way I want to do things and that’s the way I’ll do it. I decided to do it, instead of in New York where everybody has parties every night, in Washington D.C. Ronald Reagan was the president at the time. I had three price tags for the tickets. For the most expensive, you would go to everything. For the lesser price ticket, it was more limited, and so on. Nancy Reagan would be there, which was a draw. So we put on a show for them that was a seated dinner with Julio Iglesias who performed, with a luncheon, and other events. It was fabulous. I have to say, now this is bragging a little, but I have to say it has been said that never in all these 45 years since has as much money been raised as we made on that one.

LAM: One thing I know, that a lot of people don’t know, is that you have a very famous friendship with Elton John and he adores you. You’ve often attended his White Tie and Tiara charity ball at his place in England. Tell us about what that’s like for you since you’re such close friends.

LYNN: I am always very honored to stay at his house. He has a huge estate and he puts up a big tent. The first time he did it was wonderful. Now, it has grown and the tent is huge. He has fabulous people. I’ve met lovely, lovely people there and he is the most generous man. I’ve never met a more generous man than he is, and I’m so flattered that he always seats me at his right. He has wonderful entertainment. And it is something that I truly look forward to every year in the summer.

HOW TO BE A WORK OF ART
RG: One of the many characters you’ve known is Andy Warhol. You were lucky enough to have done a photo session with him in the late 70s. What was that collaboration process like and what is it like to have your image immortalized by someone so revered in the art world?

LYNN: I was fortunate enough to have several famous artists who wanted to paint my portrait and I kept saying, no, I don’t have the time. Then, I met Andy and we became very close friends. In The Andy Warhol Diaries, which I have on the shelf there, it shows that Andy was very kind about me. I thought that Andy was the John Singer Sargent of my generation and it was a fabulous experience. And, I love my paintings.

RG: You are certainly one of his most dynamic subjects, that’s for sure. There are very few people who were photographed by him at that high level. I love your portraits.

LYNN: Thank you. He did four. I have two. He told me, ‘Lynn, you don’t want the other two?’ And I said, no. He said, ‘Why? You know, it is the same face but different colors that match each other. That’s the way I do it.’ I said, I know, but I just don’t think I could live with four more Lynn Wyatt’s in this house. That would make five. I found out years later when I was visiting friends in Southampton, and my host said, ‘I want to show you some things because this man collects Warhols. Loads of them. They want you to come over and see them.’ So, I said, sure, I’d love to see them.

LAM: The Warhol plot thickens.

LYNN: I’ll say it did. I went there and the wife said, ‘I want to give you a tour of the house.’ There was an Andy Warhol in every room. Then, I go into their bedroom and over their bed are the other two Lynn Wyatt portraits. I said, ‘That is terrible. You let your husband do that?’ She said, ‘It was me who told him to put up the paintings there.’ I said, ‘Well, you flatter me. You made my whole weekend.

LAM & RG: We love that. We’ve had an experience with a Warhol as well, at a very important business lunch at the Lever House in Midtown Manhattan, with people who knew we were from Texas. As we walked to our table at the very end of the restaurant, all we could see was your portrait at a distance. We thought, surely we’re not going to sit under Lynn Wyatt’s Warhol portrait. That would be too good to be true. And sure enough, we were seated under the Lynn Wyatt Warhol, which I guess now, in retrospect, was a copy. But it sure proved to be a very good omen for the meeting.

LYNN: Isn’t that fun. I’m donating mine to The Museum of Fine Arts here in Houston. They’re also building a theatre because I’m very heavily involved in the organization. It is called the Lynn Wyatt Theatre. They’re going to put the portraits up there. They’ve taken pictures of them, and I’ll have them until I die at which time the museum will receive the originals. And there will be a park, too.

LAM: You are too modest, Lynn. I think you’re referring to the Lynn Wyatt Square For The Performing Arts in downtown Houston. Most people are saying it will be the soul of the city because you feel that the performing arts are the soul of the city.

LYNN: Oh my God, I was so honored. I mean, I started crying. They said this block, it is a whole darn block, is going to be named for me because I’m involved in all the performing arts. Then one of my boys said, ‘Mom, that’s going to go on long after you’re gone. It’ll go through posterity.’

RG: We’ll be here cheering you on when it opens.

LYNN: Thank you, thank you. Well, I hope I’m here, too. Gosh, it will be gorgeous. I was so flattered.

LAM: What a treat to sit with you here, Lynn, and to hear your wonderful stories about past, present, and really, the future because you’re just warming up and we’re so excited to know you. We’re honored that you’re our state’s international ambassador on so many levels. So thank you for being you.

LYNN: I am so honored that you even chose me for this marvelous opportunity. They were very thoughtful questions―you did your homework and I feel blessed that you asked me to answer them and our photoshoot has been divine. It sounds so corny when I say this, but I’m so thankful and grateful for my life…and to be able to go over all these memories about the people that I love and know today. I’ve been blessed, I really know I have, and I thank the Lord as I think about everything that has come to me in my life. I feel thankful for both of you, too.

 

Princess Grace and Lynn Wyatt 1970s. Courtesy of Lynn Wyatt.jpg

Lynn Wyatt by Andy Warhol

CRAZY SEXY COOL

CRAZY SEXY COOL

Whether near or far, the holidays are meant to be enjoyed to the maximum. As Auld Lang Syne plays in the background, you can make beautiful music with someone fascinating while wearing some of the most gorgeous fashion of the season. So what are you waiting for? Pack your best dress, tuxedo…and bring the passport.

 

Photography by  Mark Oberlin        Styling by Dion “Bleu” Drake

Hair by Alex Henrichs, using Oribe, Bumble and Bumble

Makeup by Julia Taylor, using Dior and IsaDora Cosmetics   

Models: Masha Bebris, Meraki Model Management & Mario Blanco, LA Model Management

 Sittings Producer: Lance Avery Morgan

STYLE GAZING

STYLE GAZING

Early fall’s best books to have? They’re right here, according to our resident bibliophile Lance Avery Morgan, who selects his favorites for saturating yourself in style as the weather gets cooler.

HUNKS & HEROES

By Jim Moore

This is the must-have style bible for all readers interested in men’s fashion, style, culture, and celebrity from the former editor-in-chief at GQ magazine. $75. At Rizzoli USA

SUPREME GLAMOUR

By Mary Wilson

It showcases the magnificent Mary Wilson Gown Collection that includes iconic outfits created for and worn by The Supremes, photographed especially for this book on the stage of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. $40. At Thames And Hudson USA.

A GREAT PARTY: DESIGNING THE PERFECT CELEBRATION

By Bryan Rafanelli

Farrow & Ball are world-renowned for their high-end paint and luxury wallpaper. Here is the wisdom for creating harmonious interiors and beautiful rooms. This is a practical guide filled with endless inspiration. $50. At Rizzoli USA.

FIONA BARRATT-CAMPBELL: ELEMENTAL

By Fiona Barratt-Campbell

From  a chic, historic townhouse in Somerset, to a beach villa in Mallorca…then to a riverside development in London and beyond, this presents the definitive master class in home design. $65. At Rizzoli USA.

CINDY SHERMAN

By Paul Moorhouse

The famous chameleon photographer has over 230 key works celebrated here and addresses her talents through the lens of portraiture and style in the era of today’s social media and selfies. $45. At Rizzoli USA.

CREATIVE PARIS: URBAN INTERIORS, INSPIRING INNOVATORS

By My Little Paris

Here is a guidebook for the city’s best-kept secrets in fashion, interiors, and lifestyle inside thirty-four homes and creative spaces that reflects Paris’s freshest interior inspiration. $35. At Rizzoli USA.

ENTERTAINING AT HOME

By Ronda Carman

This offers an insider’s view of gatherings in the homes of leading tastemakers from the worlds of interior design, architecture, culinary arts, and high societ­y–­­including Lynn Wyatt, of course. $45. At Rizzoli USA.

1950s In VOGUE

By Rebecca C. Tulte

You’ll love how this reveals a fascinating and up to now little-explored era in the history of American Vogue magazine under the 1952-1962 editorship of Jessica Daves. It features photographs, illustrations, spreads from the Vogue archives, and letters from Daves’s personal archives. $95. At Thames & Hudson.

HOLIDAY: THE BEST TRAVEL MAGAZINE THAT EVER WAS

By Pamela Fiori

It was the most glamorous travel magazine in mid-century America. Highlighted is the publication’s golden era with a blend of sparkling writing, stunning photographs, and an eclectic assortment of ephemera. $85. At Rizzoli USA.

ON STYLE

By Carl Dellatore

This sleek tome features a freshman class of 50 that hail from all over the country and are leading the charge in what’s new and next in the future of decorating. $45. At Rizzoli USA.

THE STYLE OF MOVEMENT: FASHION AND DANCE

By Ken Browar and Deborah Ory

This gorgeous volume spotlights today’s greatest dancers–from ballet to modern—dressed in clothing by today’s and yesterday’s most celebrated designers. Included are Dior, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, and Bill Blass, to name a few $75. At Rizzoli USA.

JOHN GALLIANO FOR DIOR

By Robert Fairer

This elegantly captures the designer’s extraordinary fashions created for the House of Dior with never-before-seen images of show-stopping designs. It’s a must-own for any fashion connoisseur. $150. At Thames & Hudson USA.

ON THE WILD SIDE

ON THE WILD SIDE

This fall’s exceedingly romantic fashion is exquisite, where the silhouette matters the most, and every rich color is ripe for the asking. Whether beaded, feathered, or emblazoned with your own beauty, there’s something for every elevated taste and your wildest fantasy dressing. Here, we present this season’s most sublime gowns to wear RIGHT NOW.

 
Photography by  Mark Oberlin        Styling by Dion “Bleu” Drake
 
Hair by René Cortez using the Wet Brush, R & Co Trophy Spray, Gold ‘n Hot Deep Waver, IGK Direct Flight, and The Ouai Matte Pomade
Makeup by Julia Taylor using Dior and IsaDora Cosmetics  
Model: Olga Zhukova, The Industry Model Mgmt.
Sittings Producer: Lance Avery Morgan

DREAMS DO COME TRUE

DREAMS DO COME TRUE

Sheridan Butler And Tyler Binford Marry In Austin

By Rose Betty Williams
Photography by Jenny DeMarco

Texas natives Sheridan Butler, the daughter of Renee and Eddie Butler, and Tyler Binford, the son of Ann and Weston Binford, grew up in Austin. She went to Saint Michael’s High School, then Ole Miss. He went to Westlake High School, then Texas State. Even though their childhood homes were both in Westlake, they found each other after they graduated from college. Tyler said he was attracted to Sheridan’s beautiful smile, and Sheridan found Tyler’s sense of humor irresistible. They dated for four and a half years before Tyler drew on his good humor to proclaim his love for Sheridan.

It was Halloween 2017. Sheridan was dressed as Regina George from Mean Girls, and Tyler as Aaron Samuels (Regina’s boyfriend). Sheridan was hosting a party at her home when Tyler managed to sneak out of the party without her noticing. A young trick or treater rang the doorbell escorted by someone dressed in a bear costume. Before Sheridan could think, the person dressed as a bear pulled her out onto her front porch, removed the bear head and proposed. Sheridan said yes to Tyler in the bear costume. 

That began a very busy year of meticulous wedding planning and six incredible parties to celebrate their engagement. Friends and family toasted the couple at a Monte Carlo-themed party at The Highball, a weekend-long party for the bridesmaids and groomsmen at a Lake Austin home, another patio party at a Lake Austin home, a BBQ, Bubbles & Brews, a Mad Hatter bridal tea party at the Headliners Club and an Around The World Beer Tasting Party held at Chateau Bellevue. Also, they chose Vickie Roan at The Menagerie to help them with all their wedding registry needs.

Sheridan and Tyler wanted their wedding to highlight family traditions and be filled with fun activities, flowers, themed rooms, specialty drinks, favorite foods, all kinds of music, dancing, more flowers, and photos of them during all stages of their lives. The Thursday night before the wedding, Sheridan and her mother, Renee, hosted the bridal party dinner at Tarry House. The rehearsal dinner was held at the Headliners Club (just like Sheridan’s parents’ rehearsal dinner 35 years earlier), and the Welcome Party after the dinner was hosted by the bride’s grandmother, Ann Butler.

The ceremony was held at Tarrytown United Methodist Church. Barton Strings provided the music as the bride walked down the aisle carrying a bouquet of calla lilies that was just like her mother’s bouquet when she got married. The flower girl’s basket was the same basket that her mother held for Sheridan’s parents’ wedding. She wore a Rita Vinieris-designed wedding gown accessorized with her mother’s diamond and emerald earrings for something borrowed.

Austin Country Club was transformed for the festive reception. “No detail went unnoticed,” said Sheridan. Westbank Flower Market arranged more than 3500 white calla lilies for the grand entrance. Two thousand of them stood waist high to greet guests walking down the long aisle to the party, and through the next set of double-doors, the walls were completely covered in greenery so that the callas seemed to be growing from the floor.

The bride and her mother created the names for the themed reception rooms as well as the creative names for each food item. Some of the themed rooms included the Dance Room of Ice with a mirrored dance floor and a 16-foot long ice bar that had two large beer luges on either corner that were filled with beer for guests to refill their drinks. The wedding cake was themed Beyond the Cake of Towering Jewels and the groom’s cake was called Tyler’s Texas Adventure Cake. “It had an oil rig, guitar, Westlake Chaparrals logo, poker chips and Coors beer on it,” Tyler said. “All of my favorite things besides Sheridan.” Matchmaker provided the music for guests who danced the night away.

The bride is active in the Austin community with the Junior League of Austin and the Andy Roddick Foundation and the groom works at Capitol Wright Distribution. The happy couple, Sheridan and Tyler, had a spectacular send off to start their married life together. They left in a 1963 Bentley through a waterfall of fireworks and a calla lily salute. They honeymooned at The Lodge at Pebble Beach and Half Moon Bay. It’s always been Sheridan’s dream to stay at The Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay since she calls it a “castle on the beach.” She thanked her parents by saying, “This was the wedding I always dreamed of. This was the wedding of the century for Tyler and me, and a day we will never forget.”

THE COLLECTOR’S EYE

THE COLLECTOR’S EYE

The big stakes, high-dollar international art world is booming beyond belief. The money is flowing as freely with the volume of the masterpieces that are being sold at the most prestigious gathering of valuable art and discerning buyers. Join our globe-trotting Lance Avery Morgan as we jet to The European Fine Art Fair in The Netherlands.

Photography by  LORAINE BODEWES, NATASCHA LIBBERT & MARK NEIDERMANN   

IT’S FAIR GAME

We all know how the very rich own and appreciate art. A tremendous amount of art, in fact. According to Wealth X, a wealth intelligence firm, the average billionaire holds $31 million dollars, or .5% of their net worth, in art. Very familiar to the collector is to value an object of beauty, and to competitively pay for what they love. Those people and those who aspire to be like them are at the grandest art fair on the planet, The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF).

 

If it is Thursday on a crisp and cool day in Maastricht, Holland, about two hours from Amsterdam, then it must be opening day at the wildly prestigious 32nd annual The European Fine Arts Fair (TEFAF) where both aristocracy and well-heeled art lovers gather under one large roof to scout one-of-a-kind pieces…to either complement, or begin, a world-class art collection.

 

TEFAF is often referred to as a museum in which everything is for sale. Really, it could be called hoarding for billionaires. Susan Lynch, Chair of the Board of Directors and Patrons of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut mused, “TEFAF is inspiring, educational and a delight.” So much so that last year the Fair was loaned a significant collection display of Old Masters from the Amsterdam Museum.

 

Consider this a primer on your visit to the Fair, whether you are attending for the first time, or you are a veteran of the exquisite Fair that has 280 exhibitors from 20 different countries. Between them they exhibited more than 30,000 works of art, antiques and design objects from pre-history to the present day with an aggregate value of more than 3 billion Euros. “At TEFAF you get spoiled forever,” shared American collector Jean Doyen de Montaillou, about the 7000 years of art history on display and for sale. In fact, the Fair is so important that is has borne an offspring that now occurs in May and November in New York.

 

 

ARTISTIC AMBITIONS

How does this prestigious fair offer something not easily found at other fairs? Houstonian art collector Sir Mark Haukohl, with whom we dined at a castle near the Fair, is an avid Old Masters collector and always attends the gathering to see how he can add to his collection in some way. He confided, “In comparison, the Venice Biennale, Art Basel Switzerland and TEFAF are all horses of a different color. The Venice Bienalle offers no art work for sale, so you are looking at a curated and solely contemporary exhibition, reflecting the taste or lack thereof of selected curators. If you want to buy edgy contemporary modern and contemporary work, Art Basel Switzerland is for you. With important dealers from all over the world, it is the largest fair for today’s contemporary collector. I visit opening day every year and always find something for my contemporary photography collection, The European Woman of the 21st Century.

Robert Labadie, a Dutch private equity kingpin and collector agrees, and told me over another dinner with he and his wife, Ingrid Labadie who is in charge of corporate events for the Fair, “This fair has everything under one big roof. The fair sets trends and therefore collectors, as well as dealers, have to be present to take advantage.”

 

And, take advantage is what visitors do in this highly fueled world of art procuring. After having traveled luxuriously on KLM – Royal Dutch Airlines, when the doors open on the first day of the Fair, VIP day, it feels like the race gun firing the start of the Kentucky Derby, with anticipation at a similar fever pitch. The thrill of the hunt fills the air. The metaphoric scent of money and ambition, both wildly sexy, permeates the large hall of the Fair in very hushed tones.

 

With dozens of corridors and hundreds of stands (exhibits), the other 70,000 attendees likely felt a surge of energy about the art they were encountering once the action starts. In fact, during the preview and the run of the Fair, visitors consumed 15,000 glasses of champagne; 31, 000 glasses of wine; 75,000 cups of coffee; 10,000 pastries; 50,000 sandwiches and 11,000 oysters, which were served by 2300 waiters having been prepared by 515 cooks. Plus, the array of literally hundreds of thousands of tulips, a nod to the Dutch presence, captured the Fair’s essence at every turn.

MUSEUM QUALITY

Representatives of well over 200 museums, also came to see, mingle and buy. Did they feel the impact of the sensory overload of a reasonable sampling of the most beautiful art to be found anywhere on this planet like I did? Likely. Wim Pijbes, director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam shared, “Even the most indulged museum director will see things at TEFAF that are so unique that surprising purchases can be made.’’ Some of the museums that were well represented included those as prestigious as the Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore, the Metropolitan Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as the Louvre in Paris. Dr Ulrich Guntram, AXA Art’s Global CEO stated, “Once again TEFAF outperformed in engaging art lovers and connoisseurs with best-in-class offerings in fine art, antiques and historical objects.”

 

Just what did I discover at the Fair? What didn’t I see is more like it. I observed  that the standard of art was particularly high, quelling the oft-reported notion that the Old Master market is in its throes of death. It was apparent that dealers went out of their way to bring fresh, privately sourced stock to the Fair. Works bought at auction where exhibitors added value through research, restoration and sometimes reattribution also had no difficulty finding buyers. It was a sellers’ market and also, a buyer’s market. So much so that I saw masterpieces from the Van Gogh Museum that it felt somewhat usual to encounter such masterpieces.  

 

MODERN ERA

World famous streets known for their artistic inclinations like Place de la Concorde, Fifth Avenue, Trafalgar Square, Place Vendome and others mark the territory that is the Fair. The art patrons who stroll the rarified avenues know that they are buying with confidence.  According to sources at TEFAF, the Fair is unrivalled in its standard of quality and in the methods it uses to establish the authenticity of every painting and object on sale. Participating dealers are admitted only after a strict selection process. The Fair’s groundbreaking vetting system involves no fewer than 175 international experts in 29 different categories, who examine every work of art for quality, authenticity and condition. It means that a piece of work is bought with the greatest possible confidence.

Interestingly, even though it is not centuries old, modern and contemporary art is also vetted, a procedure that is uncommon at other art fairs. Before the Fair opened over 175 international experts on 29 separate specialist committees examined each object for quality, authenticity and condition.  TEFAF Antiques is the biggest section in the Fair with 102 exhibitors. This is followed by the TEFAF Paintings and TEFAF Modern sections that were packed with artful seekers.

How was the vetting done? The highly sophisticated technical equipment, such as the advanced Hirox digital microscope and the portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer supports the vetting members’ personal expertise. The Fair was also the first to introduce The Art Loss Register (ALR) in 2000, which is the largest private database of stolen art, provides information about registered stolen art. It goes without saying that any stolen objects are removed from the Fair immediately and although I haven’t heard any stories about that at recent Fairs, no doubt it has occurred, but the high trust factor is something on which visitors can count. For the prices that the art and objects are selling, that peace of mind is warranted.

 

ART FOR ART’S SAKE

Who is the typical buyer and visitor to the Fair? There isn’t an archetype individual, as such. Von Bartha, a gallery in London, reported meeting a number of high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals at the Fair and reported healthy sales including one of the most well-known paintings. Jewelry also performed well at TEFAF, with works by René Lalique proving exceptionally popular again for collectors. TEFAF Antiques is not only the largest section of the Fair, but regarded by many as its treasure house. 

 

Dr. Clare McAndrew, author of TEFAF Art Market Report, presented the report at a prior TEFAF Art Symposium themed Rising Stars of the Art World.  The report, which examined the global art market with a focus on China, referred to a highly polarized market with the heaviest buying and best performance concentrated at the high end of the market for the best-known artists. Early sales at TEFAF confirmed this trend with a number of important objects being sold at the Private View and on the first public day.

 

Whatever the masterpiece, be it classical, an antiquity or a contemporary treasure, The European Fine Art Fair is the place to be to either start or add to a collection in grand style, ahead of the pack, and sometimes for a financial deal not expected. Really, it is a gathering spot for any collector these days. As Sir Mark Haukohl sums it up best, “By attending TEFAF, as well as the other fairs and biennales, I better my personal collecting eye. How does a collector improve their taste and the intellectual depth of their collection today?  Get on the plane and go. Look, listen…and then look again.”