Eighth Annual MTV: REDEFINE Art Event Sizzles

By Rob Giardinelli          Photography by Bruno and Fort Lion Studio

THE SETTING: The Statler Hotel in Dallas was the setting for the eighth annual MTV RE:DEFINE Art Auction and Gala. Over 300 notable Sociables from Dallas, London and beyond were on hand for a fantastic evening of fun and fundraising.

THE STYLE: The evening began with cocktails where the rocker chic-attired crowd sipped cocktails while previewing 30 pieces of exemplary contemporary art and luxury experiences up for bid during the benefit auction. The action then moved into the ballroom for the evening’s program, which was emceed by MTV’s Rebecca Dudley. 

Highlights of the program included a live-auction helmed by world-renowned auctioneer Simon de Pury, who presided over spirited bidding of many priceless works. Among the items up for bid were two works from Marc Quinn, who was also honored during the program for his long-standing support of MTV RE:DEFINE. The program was concluded with a show-stopping performance by superstar Rita Ora. The fun continued well past midnight as partygoers danced the night away at an after party to the tunes of internationally known DJ Aeroplane who was flown in specifically for the event by after party host Giorgio of Los Angeles, capping off a magical evening that those on hand will always remember.

THE PURPOSE: The event was co-hosted by Joyce Goss and Kenny Goss, chaired by Sami Abboud, with Jonny Burt and Joe Kennedy serving as art chairs and raised over $1.6 million dollars. Proceeds from the evening will go toward HIV prevention and education through the MTV Staying Alive Foundation as well as arts education and awareness through the Goss Michael Foundation. Since it’s founding in 2011, MTV: REDEFINE has raised over $14 million dollars for these causes.



31st Annual Mad Hatter’s Tea Celebrates The Golden Age of Hollywood

By Cynthia Smoot         Photography by Danny Campbell, Dana Driensky, and Rob Wythe/Gittings Photography

THE SETTING: Mad Hatter’s Tea is one of Dallas’ most elaborate and whimsical affairs celebrating the wonder of millenary magic while supporting the Dallas Arboretum. The morning began with a champagne reception, where guests mingled about admiring the fashion prowess and imagination of others, as everyone felt like a star under the frenzy of cell phone flashes happening all about. The crowd was led into Rosine Hall for a fashion presentation produced by the inimitable Jan Strimple featuring fashions sponsored by Tootsies. The afternoon was capped off with a seated luncheon under elegantly draped tents with divine tablescapes created by Prashe Décor.

THE STYLE: The theme for this year’s celebration, The Golden Age of Hollywood, spotlighted hats celebrating all decades of fashion. One of the highlights of the event  was the announcement of the winners in a variety of style categories. This year’s hat judges included Jonathan Simkhai, Vodi Cook, Jenna Jenovich, Vivian Lombardi, and Joani White. The day’s big winners were Kunthear Mam-Douglas, Norah Maroulis, Elizabeth Smith Theis, Jenny Foster, Leslie Vaughan, Carmen Hancock, and Prashi Shah.

The PURPOSE: This year’s event was co-chaired by Sharla Bush and Terry Irby with Kristina Bush Whitcomb serving as the honorary chair. Monies raised grow and maintain A Woman’s Garden, a major garden at the Dallas Arboretum, and the only public garden in the nation conceived by women, funded by the efforts of women, and dedicated to the universal spirit of women.



Ally’s Wish Raises Funds To Grant Wishes For Terminally Ill Moms

By Cynthia Smoot          Photography by Bob Manzano

THE SETTING: The Fifth Annual Boots & Blessings gala took place at Austin Ranch to benefit Ally’s Wish. Attendees kicked off the night by perusing an extensive silent auction as TV personality Scott Murray served as emcee for the evening and gathered everyone to their seats. The program began with a rousing game of Heads or Tails with the winner receiving a pair of Dallas Cowboys football tickets. Guests then enjoyed live country-Western entertainment from The Breckenridge Band as they dined on  traditional BBQ fare.

THE STYLE: Larry and Pat Conner took to the stage to remember their daughter, Allyson Hendrickson, the inspiration for the creation of Ally’s Wish and the organization’s first wish recipient. They reminisced about her obsession with candy sprinkles and then invited each guest to take the small bottles of candy sprinkles at their place setting and dose their cupcake in memory of Allyson.

THE PURPOSE: The Flower Mound-based organization grants wishes to mothers battling terminal illnesses, so they may create lasting memories with their children and loved ones. Since its inception, Ally’s Wish has granted over a hundred wishes to mothers who’ve battled inflammatory breast cancer, Leukemia, colon cancer and other terminal illnesses. Ally’s Wish currently has 43 moms waiting to have wishes granted with new requests arriving daily.



American Heart Association Dallas Raises Record-Breaking $1.8 Million Luncheon

By Cynthia Smoot Photography by Dana Driensky, James Edwards and Scogin Mayo

THE SETTING: More than 1,200 attendees gathered at the Omni Dallas gathered to unite in the fight against heart disease and stroke at the 2019 Dallas Go Red for Women luncheon. Guests took part in health screenings, makeup touch-ups from Blushington artists, hands-only CPR training, women’s health education opportunities and a silent auction during the event.

THE STYLE: The ballroom was filled with a sea of red outfits that paid homage to the organization. This year’s luncheon featured ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton as the keynote speaker and was nationally sponsored by CVS Health and locally sponsored by Texas Health Resources and Aimbridge Hospitality.

Fifteen years ago, Go Red For Women was born as a campaign to raise awareness among women about their great health threat–heart disease. Slowly, the campaign grew into a movement–one that not only brought together thousands of women annually but became the trusted, passionate, relevant force for change to eradicate heart disease and stroke all over the world. Go Red For Women provides a platform for women and their families to lead healthier lives, and drive collective action for community transformation.

THE PURPOSE: Judy Hendrick, Katherine and Key Coker were the co-chairs for the annual event benefiting the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives. It raised a record-breaking $1.8 million dollars and counting. Launched in 2004 as an awareness campaign, the Go Red for Women movement has saved the lives of 670,000 women.



5 th Annual Aging Mind Foundation Gala Shatters Fundraising Records

By Rob Giardinelli         Photography by Tamytha Cameron and Rhiannon Lee

THE SETTING: The Joule Hotel in Dallas was the scene of the recent Aging Mind Foundation gala, where the city’s social elite rubbed elbows during a great evening full of friends, touching tributes and a memorable music performance. The evening began with cocktail hour where the black-tie crowd mingled and then gathered in the ballroom where guests dined on a multi-course meal created
by The Joule’s culinary team during the evening’s program. Greg Creed, Yum! Brands CEO, acted as master of ceremonies and hosted the dinner.

THE STYLE: The evening continued with a spirited live auction featuring one-of-a-kind experiences including a VIP Hollywood trip to see a taping of Will & Grace, an exclusive VIP dinner at AT&T Stadium for the 2019 NFL Season kickoff, a private hunt at Togo Island, a Palm Desert driving experience, and many more experiences that raised the bar at the spirited gathering. The program concluded with a show-stopping musical performance by Country singer Jay Allen entertained guests. Among his songs, Allen sang “Blank Stares,” a song he recently wrote and recorded in honor of his mother, who passed away from Alzheimer’s in February. After the program, the action moved to the Joule’s rooftop terrace where guests danced the night away.

THE PURPOSE: Presented by Headington Companies, The Joule and Forty Five Ten, Sherwood Wagner served as the honorary chair and Kathy Nelson as gala chair for the event that raised over $720,000 for the Aging Mind Foundation with this year’s gala proceeds going to the organization that is dedicated to supporting research designed to find the cause of the dementias. To date it has
raised over $2 million dollars to fund high-quality brain research.



Recognizing Heroes Gala Benefits Unlikely Heroes

By Cynthia Smoot       Photography by Thomas Garza and Cooper Neill/Getty Images

THE SETTING:  Recently Unlikely Heroes held their 6th Annual Recognizing Heroes awards dinner and charity benefit  at The Ritz-Carlton hotel. The elegant evening began with an exclusive VIP cocktail reception hosted by LeeAnne Locken and Melissa Rycroft Strickland.

THE STYLE:  The evening’s keynote speaker was survivor leader, Rebecca Bender. Guests enjoyed an unforgettable evening featuring a live musical performance by multi-platinum country musician Sara Evans, Emily West (America’s Got Talent Season 9) and Pia Toscano (Netflix’s Westside, American Idol).

Awards were given to Cathy De La Paz, Carrie Wright, Elle Snow and Alan Schonborn for their tireless work in advancing global human rights and outstanding efforts to stop human trafficking. The audience roared with applause when Austin Hurst of Hurst Capital announced that he was pledging a one million matching grant that will rescue 200 kids and give them full restorative care for a year. 

THE PURPOSE: Since 2011 Unlikely Heroes has rescued hundreds of children and their journey to freedom starts in one of their seven restoration homes located around the world, including a restoration home for children rescued from slavery in the Dallas and Fort Worth area.