For an impressive 34th year in a row, Houston’s most fashion savvy and stylish gathered to fête 10 philanthropically minded ladies Tuesday at the Best Dressed Luncheon, hosted by the Houston Chronicle and Neiman Marcus. The event benefited the March of Dimes, pulling in more than $500,000 for the cause this year alone and raising more than $5 million for the organization since being named the luncheon’s beneficiary over a decade ago.
An elegantly immense ballroom at Hilton-Americas-Houston served as a beauty-filled backdrop for several hundred well-heeled ladies, many of whom have received the honor of Best Dressed in years past. Chair and past honoree Dr. Yvonne Cormier warmly welcomed the crowd before offering the mic to emcees Jack Sweeney and Joy Sewing, the Chronicle's chairman and fashion editor, respectively.
Celebrated for their fierce style but also their charity-driven agendas, 10 formidable femmes were named as Best Dressed for 2016: the Hall-of-Famers (honored for a third time) were Mary Tere Perusquia, Susan Sarofim and Rosemary Schatzman. First- and second-time honorees included Stephanie Cockrell, Laura Davenport, Isabel David, Gayla Gardner, Winell Herron, Sippi Khurana and Millette Sherman.
One quick look at these 10 trendsetters confirmed that fuller skirts are fully in force this season, having taken a back seat to more streamlined looks the past few years. Rosemary Schatzman, Sippi Khurana and Isabel David all sported demure LBDs with swingy skirts, Schatzman and Khurana both opting for Valentino while David sashayed the runway in a Lanvin frock paired with killer Christian Dior heels. In fact, Dior was the go-to designer for several honorees, with Susan Sarofim, Stephanie Cockrell and Millette Sherman also opting for looks from the venerable French fashion house.
The color red proved an equally hot influence with Laura Davenport, Gayla Gardner and Winell Herron going for Lela Rose, Oscar de la Renta and Carmen Marc Valvo, respectively. Mary Tere Perusquia wore the most standout look of the day, celebrating her new Hall-of-Fame status in a shocking pink floral Oscar de la Renta dress conjuring vivid vibes of spring and pairing perfectly with day’s beautiful weather.
After the awards were presented, the lights dimmed for a phenomenal presentation by famed designer Zac Posen, who showed his Fall/Winter 2016 collection plus a special selection of structured, jewel-toned evening gowns; certainly a nod to his signature aesthetic. After taking a quick bow on the runway, Posen joined Houston’s own first lady of fashion, Lynn Wyatt, who’d welcomed the designer with an intimate dinner at her home the previous evening.
Raffle chairs Mary D’Andrea and Valerie Dieterich announced the lucky ladies who won a series of shopping sprees and trips from Neiman Marcus and United Airlines before closing the ceremony for more champagne and shopping in the lobby outside the ballroom. Mr. Posen proved the consummate gentleman, gladly taking numerous photos with adoring fans while chatting with attendees after the event.
Faces in the crowd of Houston’s most see-and-be-seen luncheon included Sheridan Williams, Kristen Nix, Diane Lokey Farb, Gracie Cavnar, Duyen Huynh, Divya Brown, Claire Cormier Thielke, Fady Armanious, Judy Nyquist, Jana Arnoldy, Kelli Cohen Fein, Lucinda Loya, Ting Bresnehan and Cerón.