The thing about parties is they're a fundamentally democratic art form. Sure, you can go all out with towering floral arrangements, Chiavari chairs and a string quartet, or you can throw a giant inflatable swan in the pool, pick up some fried chicken from Frenchy's and some sparklers from a roadside stand, crank up your favorite Spotify playlist and have a great damn time.
It's the first type of affair though that Austin-based website The Salonniere loves to chronicle, and this week the publication released its annual TS100 list of America's best party hosts, based on six months of debate and the opinions of 1,000 party monsters—sorry, influencers. Think of it like the Architectural Digest 100 list, but for people whose creations are much more ephemeral.
For 2017, five Houstonians made the list, joining luminaries and legendary hosts Lela Rose (New York), Gloria and Emilio Estefan (Miami), Oprah Winfrey (Santa Barbara) and Nate Berkus (Los Angeles). It goes without saying that nabbing an invite to one of their events should be at the top of your New Year's Resolutions.
Becca Cason Thrash
A veteran of the TS100 list, Cason Thrash makes the most of her palatial pad in Tanglewood with bashes that can only be described as major. Naeem Khan is practically her personal stylist; Duran Duran her in-house band, and if there's an A-lister like, say, George Clooney, headed to Houston you can be fairly certain she's throwing a party in their honor. She's also raised major money for causes as diverse as Best Buddies and The Louvre.
Everyone needs a friend who's a little cooler and a little chicer than they are, and for many that friend is David, with her chic downtown high-rise, her support of the arts (she's chairwoman of the Menil Society), and her avant-garde style, hence her Best Dressed status in 2016.
It's hard to come up with new things to say about Lynn Wyatt, the queen of Houston society for a generation now, and who nevertheless has double the energy, verve and style of women half her age. She catches errant champagne corks in her bare hands. She does high kicks in Harper's Bazaar. She hosts a hell of a birthday party. Elton John could be close friends with basically anyone on the planet, and he picked La Lynn, and that's good enough for us.
She's got a packed social calendar, an amazing personal style (as befits a successful interior designer, obviously), and her 50th birthday bash in 2014 featured (per Shelby Hodge) a strict black-and-white dress code, aerial dancers, bites of sushi delivered via mini hot air balloons (!), a "Magritte-esque juggler" and a performance by Ashanti.
In the same way that people like to call Rachel Weisz the thinking man's sex symbol, we think of Tudor as the thinking woman's socialite. (This is not meant to insult other socialites any more than the thing about Rachel Weisz is an insult to Jennifer Lawrence.) She's followed up her master's in historic preservation from Columbia to lead major preservation initiatives for Houston, like the rehabilitation of the Julia Ideson Library, Hermann Park's Centennial Campaign and the restoration of Mecom Fountain. And all the Christmas parties across the city this month, the Tudors' is considered one of the best.