Dallas Zoo’s Gala Captures The Spirit Of The Wild

By Cynthia Smoot – Photography by Thomas Garza and Monika Normand

THE SETTING: This year’s Zoo To Do fundraiser, presented by The Eugene McDermott Foundation, was, without a doubt, the most Instagrammable party of the year. In addition to being greeted by Dawn and Steve Moore, this year’s event chairs, the 700 guests who entered the front gates of the Dallas Zoo were welcomed by animal ambassadors, including flamingos, an anteater, and penguins as a reminder of why Zoo To Do is so important.

Honorary Chef Chair Dan Landsberg of Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza, along with Chef Wrangler Brett Krafft from the Hilton Lincoln Centre, joined guests at the award-winning Giants of the Savanna exhibit for a strolling dinner among the 30 restaurant stations representing the finest restaurants in Dallas. How often can one say they had lions, elephants, African painted dogs, and cheetahs as dinner companions?

 THE STYLE: At each station, the executive chefs served delicious gourmet treats of appetizers, entrée specialties, and desserts. Bars placed throughout the exhibit provided fine wines and craft cocktails, too. Following the dinner and live auction portion of the evening, the Zoo To Do 2 after-party crowd joined in the celebration at the Wilds of Africa Plaza, where everyone danced the night away to music from the Emerald City All-Stars, one of the city’s best live party cover bands.

 THE PURPOSE: The Dallas Zoo, recently named one of the nation’s Top 10 Zoos by USA Today, is the largest zoological experience in Texas. Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the venue features a 106-acre park, thousands of animals, and an education department that offers programs for all ages. This year’s event resulted in over one million dollars raised to help support the Dallas Zoo’s dedication to providing the best animal care, deliver unique education offerings, and strengthen its wildlife conservation efforts.




FGI Dallas Honors Bob Mackie, Several Others In Star-Studded Gala

By Rob Giardinelli – Photography by William Neal of WJNPHOTO

THE SETTING: The Adolphus Hotel in Dallas was the chic setting of Fashion Group International’s annual Night of Stars gala. Several hundred of Dallas’ most notable fashionistas, sociables, and philanthropists were on hand for an evening that was full of fun and fashion.

 THE STYLE: The sequin and satin-chic crowd began the evening with a VIP cocktail reception in the foyer of the Adolphus, where guests had the chance to mingle and pose for photos with the guests of honor. In the venue, an eclectic mix of festive fashions  had as much personality and pizazz as the partygoers themselves. Women donned sumptuous sequins, while men sported a mix of velvet and brocade tuxedos.

The action then moved into the main ballroom for the evening’s program, where patrons were treated to a multi-course meal. Master of Ceremonies Cameron Silver effortlessly kept the crowd engaged and the festivities flowing at a brisk, fun pace. Then one by one, each of the honorees came to the stage to accept their awards, including the Career Achievement Award in Fashion,  Veronica Beard, Career Achievement Award in Entertainment, Angie Harmon, Career Achievement Award in Business, John Terlingo, and Philanthropist of the Year Award, Sandra Moon.

The program was capped off in grand style when ageless supermodel Jan Strimple came to the stage to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to fashion designer Bob Mackie, who treated the audience to a fashion show featuring eight exquisite looks from his archive that brought the audience to their feet…and provided them with an unforgettable experience they will not soon forget.

 THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Victoria Snee, benefited Fashion Group International of Dallas. The organization provides scholarships, internships, and career counseling services to those pursuing a career in fashion and related businesses.




Two X Two Raises Over $8 Million For amfAR And Dallas Museum of Art

By Rob Giardinelli – Photography by Ryan Emberley/Getty Images

THE SETTING: The Rachofsky House in Dallas was the recent setting for the 21st annual Two X Two for AIDS and Art. The dinner, featuring 500 of Dallas, and the world’s most prominent philanthropists, capped off a week of fundraising. One of the events, First Look, held a few days before the gala, offered patrons an opportunity to preview the incredible art pieces for auction during the evening.

 THE STYLE: From the moment the creative black-tie partygoers took to the “blue” carpet to pose for photos, they knew they were in for a special evening. After posing for photos, guests engaged in a lively cocktail hour courtesy of Ruinart champagne, Casa Dragones, Moët Hennessy and Belvedere. Here VIP’s mingled as they sipped their favorite spirit of choice while  perusing an array of luxury silent auction items on display.

The festivities then moved into the 7,000 square foot, 48-foot high geodesic dome tent on the Rachofsky estate for the evening’s program. The space, designed by celebrity event planner Todd Fiscus, was a Moroccan inspired theme complete with exotic lanterns, candles, and tiles as well as hombre blue hydrangeas that greeted the guests who entered the space.

Partygoers then took to their seats and dined on a delicious multi-course meal while they  enjoyed the program. Highlights of the evening included the presentation of the 2019 Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS to Alex Katz. Additionally, Oliver Barker, who is Sotheby’s Europe, Senior International Specialist, Contemporary Art, helmed the evening’s live auction. Barker kept the crowd engaged as the bids crept higher and higher for the seven priceless items up for bid, which included works by Sarah Crowner, Derek Fordjour, Barry X Ball, Frank Bowling, Ross Bleckner, and Andre Butzer.

To conclude the main program, the audience was brought to its feet with a show-stopping performance by music superstar Aloe Blacc, as he sang some of his greatest hits, including I, Need a Dollar and The Man. With the energy on a euphoric high, the fun moved to the back garden of the Rachofsky House for the after-party presented by Neiman Marcus. It continued into the wee hours of the morning, capping off an incredible evening those fortunate enough to attend will not soon forget.

 THE PURPOSE: The event, co-hosted by Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, and John and Lisa Runyon, raised over $8 million for amfAR AIDS research initiatives as well as the Dallas Museum of Art’s contemporary art acquisitions and exhibitions. Over the past 21 years, Two X Two has raised over $92 million for these two organizations.




The North Texas Food Bank Hosts 6th Annual Harvest

By Cynthia Smoot  –  Photography by Sterling Steves


THE SETTING: A Tasteful Place at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden was the magical setting for the 6th annual HARVEST that was hosted by the North Texas Food Bank. Surrounded by the venue’s fall flowers accented with pumpkins, gourds and squash, DJ Lucy Wrubel provided a cool vibe as partygoers  arrived. Guests sipped their cocktails and enjoyed the sweet and savory food offerings located at stations throughout the captivating gardens and indoor pavilion.

THE STYLE: NTFB president and CEO Trisha Cunningham gathered the crowd to recognize the organization’s recent inaugural Partners 4 Hope law firm challenge. With the help of Partners 4 Hope chair, Chris Bankler of Jackson Walker, local North Texas law firms collectively raised over $75,000, which will provide access to 226,626 nutritious meals. As the evening progressed, partygoers could be seen striking a pose at the 4Change Energy photo booth, playing cornhole for a cause to help close the hunger gap, or nibbling on desserts in the Suite Spot, featuring French macarons by Chef/owner Tida Pichakron of Haute Sweets Patisserie and John Doumas of Pop Star’s all natural popsicles.

THE PURPOSE: Co-chairs Lisa and Marvin Singleton welcomed more than 400 attendees to the annual fundraiser benefiting the North Texas Food Bank. Each day, NTFB provides access to more than 200,000 meals for hungry children, seniors, and families through a network of more than 1,000 Feeding sites and more than 200 Partner Agencies. In fiscal year 2019, NTFB provided access to almost 77 million nutritious meals.




Fourth Annual Dog Days Of Summer Event

By Cynthia Smoot  –  Photography by Haute Dog Photography, Ochoa Photography, & Volk P.R.


THE SETTING: Recently, Stanley Korshak, VOLK PR and Squirrel hosted the fourth annual Dog Days of Summer event, which benefitted FIDO (Fashion Industry Dog Organization). The entire first floor of the Stanley Korshak store was transformed into a giant puppy play pin. Hundreds of guests enjoyed raising funds throughout the night and some even gained a new furry family member.

THE STYLE: Mutts Cantina served Mutts Burgers with Fry Sticks. Sprinkles provided cupcakes and pupcakes for the two legged and four-legged guests. Dear Clark had Woof Wash available for purchase and the Pillow Bar was taking orders for custom monogrammed dog beds. She Designs– He Builds Party Rentals created a pastel balloon backdrop made for a furry fairy tale dream photo shoot, courtesy of Ochoa Photography. 

THE PURPOSE: The 2019 beneficiary of FIDO was ELPO (East Lake Pet Orphanage), ELPO and Recycled Poms, Squirrel’s rescue group, were on site with fur babies who needed forever homes. FIDO is an organization whose mission is to provide funding and raise awareness for existing animal advocacy non-profits  and charities that promote the positive relationship between animals and people.




Dallas Symphony Orchestra Opening Night Gala And After Party Regales

By Rob Giardinelli  –  Photography by Kristina Bowman and Sylvia Elzafon


THE SETTING: The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center was the recent setting for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Opening Night gala and after party. Over the course of the evening, several hundred of Dallas’ most notable VIP’s, sociables, and philanthropists descended upon the iconic institution for an unforgettable evening of fun, music and fundraising that lasted well into the night.

THE STYLE: The stylish black-tie partygoers began the evening with a cocktail reception where the conversation flowed as freely as the spirits. The festivities then turned to the Meyerson lobby for the evenings main program. Against the stunning backdrop of the beautifully decorated foyer, guests enjoyed a multi-course dinner.

Upon the completion of dinner, patrons headed to the Eugene McDermott Concert Hall for a remarkable concert by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra featuring GRAMMY® award winning violinist Joshua Bell. The fun continued the gala after Party where guests enjoyed cocktails, savories and desserts, and was capped off with entertainment by Elevation, presented by Emerald City Bands, who kept the party going on as guests danced the night away on a dance floor busting out at the seams.

THE PURPOSE: The Dallas Symphony Orchestra gala was co-chaired by Barbara and Don Daseke. The gala and after party was co-chaired by Kasie and Axel Ricart, while Kathryn and Craig Hall served as honorary chairs. Proceeds from the event benefitted the DSO, which reaches more than 234,000 adults and children annually through performances, educational programs and community outreach initiatives