CRYSTAL BALL
SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS FASHIONISTAS TOOK OVER THE NEIMAN MARCUS FLAGSHIP LAST MONTH TO RAISE FUNDS FOR CHILDREN’S CHARITIES AND TO PERUSE TOM FORD’S LATEST COLLECTION.

Byline: Holly Haber

Neiman Marcus’s flagship in Dallas in early September went to great lengths to reproduce the scene of the runway show of Tom Ford’s fall collection of Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, but this time it was for a big annual luncheon benefiting the Crystal Charity Ball.
“They’ve really re-created the design and atmosphere of what we did in Paris,” said Mark Lee, president of YSL. “It’s a great replica.”
The store’s second floor of designer ready-to-wear was cleared and covered in lavender-colored carpeting. Grandstand-style tiers of seats slipcovered in black satin flanked the floor-level runway, and back-lit lavender panels shown from the black walls.
It all provided a moody backdrop to the presentation of 40 looks from Tom Ford’s well-received collection of ruched and shirred styles reminiscent of Saint Laurent’s famed Russian peasant collection of 1976.
“Sales [of YSL] are very strong,” said Burt Tansky, chairman and chief executive officer of Neiman’s. Neiman’s sells YSL Rive Gauche exclusively in the city and built a YSL boutique at its new store in Plano, Tex. In addition, the existing YSL boutique at the flagship was renovated this month and now displays the black decor designated by Ford. “We’ve had an amazing sell-through with YSL,” said Shelle Bagot, vice president and general manager of the downtown store. “We’ve attracted a different customer because with Tom Ford, it’s so much more modern.”
Always a sellout, the luncheon drew 550 people and was expected to raise more than $200,000 for children’s charities.
Susan Dell stopped by with Linda Beauchamp, president of her fashion company, and the pair planned to meet with Tansky after the luncheon to discuss selling her clothing to Neiman’s. Until now, the wife of Michael Dell, deemed the wealthiest American under 40 by Fortune magazine, has sold her designs only through her own boutique in Austin, Tex., a Web site and through small gatherings at private homes.
Ten of the ladies in the crowd were named “best dressed” by the Crystal Charity Ball, a fund-raising group of 100 women representing many of the city’s most affluent and influential families. Last year, the charity donated more than $3.4 million to children’s service and medical organizations in the city, and its goal is to exceed that this year.
Named most fashionable were: Elaine Agather; Brooke Aldridge; Kimberly Askew; Ann Caruth; Jeanne Marie Clossey; Lynn Gardner; Nancy Hoak; Sue Justice; Sarah Perot and Debbie Stack. Gene Jones, wife of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, was named to the charity’s best-dressed “Hall of Fame.” The audience was unusually enthusiastic about the runway show.
“Usually, I go to these fashion shows and I don’t see anything I can wear, but I loved this whole collection,” mused Robbye Dobey, who manages The Greenhouse spa in Arlington, Tex. “I’d love to get a skirt or a blouse.”
“It was unbelievable,” said Kathy Esping. “I mean, the workmanship!”