Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mad Hatter's Tea 2012

The 24th annual Mad Hatter's Tea benefiting the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden’s A Woman’s Garden is always one of the most fun charitable events of the year.  This year's event was held on Thursday, April 12, 2012. And just like last year, the day started off with gray skies and a smattering of raindrops. Fortunately the rain was short-lived and this year's Chairman, Carmaleta Whiteley and Barbara Daseke greeted guests as the sun broke through the clouds and ladies in their fabulous chapeaus waltzed into the Ginsburg Plaza.

Barbara Daseke (with a stuffed chipmunk on her shoulder!) and Carmaleta Whiteley
with their hat designer, Todd Fiscus

The divine Hunter Sullivan crooned Big Band tunes as ladies flitted about the outdoor Plaza ooh'ing and ahh'ing over the amazing array of millinery creations, sipped champagne and snapped photo after photo. This is one event where everyone has their cameras out!  I was on one side of the Plaza when I stopped dead in my tracks - across the way I spied a hat with a working fountain on it! I dashed over to see who had such a fantastic creation.  Of course... It was Mad Hatter's legend Jill Rowlett, there with her trusty sidekick and BFF, Yvonne Crum.

Jill Rowlett (with a working fountain on her head!) and Yvonne Crum

Not to be outdone, Jocelyn White had live butterflies on her hat. She explained that their wings had been misted so they couldn't fly away. As the day progressed and their wings dried out, they would flutter off into the skies of the Arboretum. She had a big bag of them and was handing them out to everyone. It was super cool. Look at the photo above and you'll spot a big yellow and black butterfly on Yvonne Crum's arm.

(top left)  Joclyn White with live butterflies   (top right)  Guest with D'Andra Simmons
(bottom left)  Shay Geyer is pretty in pink  (bottom right)  Doris Jacobs and Lee Bailey

We moved into Rosine Hall for a fashion show produced by the incomparable Jan Strimple, featuring designs by local retailers Betty Reiter, V.O.D., Forty Five Ten and Cicada.  Then it was time for the awards! Emcee Ron Corning, along with this year's judges, announced the winners and handed out prizes. And the winners were....

After the fashion show and awards presentation, everyone went back outside for a beautiful lunch under a tented pavilion. Since its inception in 1982, the Women’s Council has supported the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden overall and through the creation, development and on-going funding of the world renowned A Woman’s Garden and now, through funding the garden’s enhancements that will continue to draw visitors to our great city from all over the world.

Shane Walker and Cynthia
The main topic of conversation at the luncheon was everyone wondering when next year's theme would be announced. Let the planning begin!!  For more information, visit the website at

Special thanks to Shane Walker of Shane Walker Design for creating my over-the-top amazing hat and to Lela Rose in Highland Park Village for styling me in the perfect frock to accompany such a magnificent creation!