Into the Garden
Fashionable Dallasites go wild with sky-high hats at the Arboretum
It's been more than a year since Dallas' society set has been able to safely toast, twirl, and fundraise together. What better way to welcome back in-person events than an open-air afternoon at the Dallas Arboretum, celebrating one of the wildest traditions in the city?
The 2021 Mad Hatter's Tea, chaired by Jolie Humphrey with honorary chair Carole Ann Brown, invited the ladies who lunch to don their most daring chapeaux.
With a theme of "Out of Africa, Into the Garden," the Women's Council of the Arboretum, led by president Kay Weeks, leaned into the setting's beautiful botanicals and bright colors. Zebra stripes, cheetah dots, and leopard spots populated the crowd, with plenty of fantastic ferns sprouting from gravity-defying hats.
Attendees walked the green carpet as judges Gregg Hudson, Ken Weber, Kim Noltemy, Patti Flowers, Giuliano Matarese, and Nick and C'Mone Wingo scored the cranial creations in categories like "cocktail hour in Africa," "best group," and "most outlandish."
During the Champagne reception, guests could also graze at the silent auction tables, where prizes such as spa packages, wine baskets, and a getaway to Vail were up for grabs. Artist Barbara Elam's exclusive design for this year's event was available for purchase as well, printed on silk scarves for a one-of-a-kind accessory.
After the hat contest winners received their African violet trophies, an elegant seated tea commenced with tiny sandwiches and even daintier desserts. A fashion show produced by Jan Strimple showcased an array of exotic frocks from Tootsies, which spurred many guests into planning their vacation wardrobes.
The 33rd edition of the Mad Hatter's Tea might have looked a little different (sequined face masks were a popular adornment), but the goal remained the same: to keep the only public garden in the nation conceived, funded, and maintained by women blooming for all to enjoy.