Into the Garden

Fashionable Dallasites go wild with sky-high hats at the Arboretum

Fashionable Dallasites go wild with sky-high hats at the Arboretum

Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
A floral theme was prominent. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Of course, the looks didn't stop with the hats. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
The judges and winners. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Accessories played a big role, too. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea founder Carole Ann Brown (right) served as this year's honorary chair. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Bright colors and bold prints were popular. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021 judges
The judges lined the green carpet. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Many were prepared for the cooler weather with a fun wrap. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Animals prints were obviously favored. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Creativity reigned. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Fancy face masks could also be spotted. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
The higher the hat, the closer to ... the treetops? Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Everyone was ready to pose and show off their ensembles. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
A few hats even included animals. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
The bigger, the better. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
The ensembles were truly stunning. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
You can't go wrong with a (big) black dress. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Flamboyant fascinators were also fun. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
The men got in on the sartorial action too. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
This was the first big in-person event since the pandemic started. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021 judges
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021
Mad Hatter's Tea 2021

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.