Champagne and chapeaus

Dallas-themed Mad Hatter's Tea Party flies way over the top for 2022

Dallas-themed Mad Hatter's Tea Party flies way over the top for 2022

Calvert Collins, Prashe Shah
Emcee Calvert Collins and Prashe Shah with her winning "Flying Horse" hat. Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Robert Wilson
Robert Wilson, winner of People's Choice "Deep in the Hat of Texas" award Photo by Danny Campbell Photography
Jen Gleaton, Candice Flores, Marjan Wolford, Piper Young, Katie Kennemer, Kelly Weisz, Kelly Hernandez, Lindsey Kennemer
Jen Gleaton, Candice Flores, Marjan Wolford, Piper Young, Katie Kennemer, Kelly Weisz, Kelly Hernandez, Lindsey Kennemer  Photo by Rob Wythe
Lisa Loy Laughlin, Claire Catrino
Lisa Loy Laughlin, Claire Catrino, Sarah Bowlby  Photo by Danny Campbell Photography
Kallie Hauschild, Addison Sloane, Diana Brosseau
Kallie Hauschild, Addison Sloane, and Diana Brosseau, featured artists and Innovation of Design award winners Photo by Danny Campbell Photography
Charlie Flowers, Amanda Hill
Charlie Flowers, Amanda Hill Photo by Rob Wythe
Mad Hatter's Tea 2022
Sharla Bush, a winner in Best in Show: "Don't Mess with Dallas" Photo by Danny Campbell Photography
Marena Gault
Marena Gault, a winner in "Best Use of Botanical Compenents" category Photo by Rob Wythe
Terry Irby
Terry Irby, a winner in the Best in Show: "Don't Mess with Dallas" category Photo by Danny Campbell Photography
Elizabeth Smith
Elizabeth Smith, a winner in the "Best Use of Botanical Components" category Photo by Danny Campbell Photography
Sarah Bowlby, Colby Baer, Claire Catrino, Lisa Loy Laughlin, Niki Turner, Fallon Hennessy, Sarah Mills
Sarah Bowlby, Colby Baer, Claire Catrino, Lisa Loy Laughlin, Niki Turner, Fallon Hennessy, Sarah Mills  Photo by Danny Campbell Photography
Prashe Shah
The back of Prashe Shah's "Flying Horse" hat. Photo by Danny Campbell Photography
Venise Stuart
Venise Stuart, winner for Best Fascintor: "Uptown Girl"  Photo by Rob Wythe
Mad Hatter's Tea 2022
Looks from Tootsies come down the runway in the Jan Strimple-produced fashion show. Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Mad Hatter's Tea 2022
Linda Burk, winner of "Best Big Over the Top Texas Hat" category Photo by Danny Campbell Photography
Mad Hatter's Tea 2022
The fashion show gave beach vacation vibes. Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Lindsey Kennemer, Kelly Hernandez, Larryssa Hilcher
Lindsey Kennemer, Kelly Hernandez, Larryssa Hilcher Photo by Rob Wythe
Nerissa Von Helpenstill, Dustin Holcomb, Donna Lewis, Betsy Gallagher, Beth Rion
Nerissa Von Helpenstill, Dustin Holcomb, Donna Lewis, Betsy Gallagher, Beth Rion Photo by Rob Wythe
Calvert Collins, Prashe Shah
Robert Wilson
Jen Gleaton, Candice Flores, Marjan Wolford, Piper Young, Katie Kennemer, Kelly Weisz, Kelly Hernandez, Lindsey Kennemer
Lisa Loy Laughlin, Claire Catrino
Kallie Hauschild, Addison Sloane, Diana Brosseau
Charlie Flowers, Amanda Hill
Mad Hatter's Tea 2022
Marena Gault
Terry Irby
Elizabeth Smith
Sarah Bowlby, Colby Baer, Claire Catrino, Lisa Loy Laughlin, Niki Turner, Fallon Hennessy, Sarah Mills
Prashe Shah
Venise Stuart
Mad Hatter's Tea 2022
Mad Hatter's Tea 2022
Mad Hatter's Tea 2022
Lindsey Kennemer, Kelly Hernandez, Larryssa Hilcher
Nerissa Von Helpenstill, Dustin Holcomb, Donna Lewis, Betsy Gallagher, Beth Rion

Know that sacred Dallas hairdo mantra “The higher the hair, the closer to God?” It works for hats, too, as attendees of the “Dallas”-themed 2022 Mad Hatter’s Tea Party can testify.

Because, bless their hearts, the spring luncheon that brings together all of Dallas' philanthropic angels took place on the windiest afternoon the event has seen in recent years, April 20. And all 530 guests — the most in Mad Hatter’s 34-year history — held onto their hats at the mostly-outdoor Dallas Arboretum event; not a single one blew down the hill and landed in White Rock Lake.

For some, it wasn’t easy to balance a glass of champagne in one hand and steady the chapeau in the other. After all, this year’s crop of over-the-top headwear included top-heavy recreations of Dallas landmarks and icons like Reunion Tower, the Pegasus sign, Peruna the SMU mascot, Dallas Cowboys, Big Tex, Texas Star Ferris wheel, and even entire State Fair vignettes.

As the event was held April 20, one day before Queen Elizabeth's 96th birthday, the number of fascinators worn this year — perched ever so daintily without hiding coifs underneath — made it seem like a royal party.

And, per tradition, attendees also displayed an impressive array of botanic-themed toppers; after all, the event is put on by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and benefits A Woman’s Garden there.

When in doubt in Texas, do a cowgirl hat, and a special tip to the gals who donned those.

After a sparkling reception around Ginsburg Plaza, patrons joined event chair Claire Catrino, honorary chair Laurie Sands Harrison, and Women's Council president Lisa Loy Laughlin for the big announcement of hat contest winners, emceed by Calvert Collins

Hat categories, judges, and winners were:

Best Use of Botanical Components: "Bluebonnets"
Judge: Mary Brinegar, Dallas Arboretum CEO
Winners: Marena Gault and Elizabeth Smith (tie)

Most True to Theme: "Flying Horse"
Judge: Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President and CEO, Dallas Symphony Association
Winner: Prashe Shah

Best Big Over the Top Texas Hat: "Everything is Bigger in Texas!"
Judge: Barbara Bigham, philanthropist
Winner: Dr. Linda Burk

Best Fascinator: "Uptown Girl"
Judge: Vanessa Logan, executive director, Texas Ballet Theater
Winner: Venise Stuart

Best Group Hats: "Dallas Dynasty"
Judge: Amy Hofland, executive director, Crow Museum of Asian Art
Winner: “Debbie at Table 50” which was Debbie McKeever and her group. (Theme: Dallas Arboretum)

People’s Choice Award: "Deep in the Hat of Texas"
Judge: Chosen by the people. Awarded by Lisa Loy Laughlin and Claire Catrino
Winner: Robert Wilson

Best in Show: "Don’t Mess with Dallas"
Judge: Tanya Taylor, featured celebrity designer
Winners: Sharla Bush and Terry Irby

Inaugural Innovators in Design Awards were also given to new and established female artists in the Dallas community. Those recognized were Cindy Avroch, Diana Brosseau, Lori Cusick, Barbara Durham, Kallie Hauschild, Sharon Lee, and Addison Sloane

After the ceremony, guests filed into Rosine Hall and to tables set around the terraces for an afternoon tea (and by “tea” think wine as no actual tea was served). Patrons nibbled on scones and clotted cream and jam; followed by a plate of finger sandwiches, deviled eggs, potato gallette; and for dessert, a trio of Dublin Dr Pepper cake, mini Texas peach pie, and fresh fruit tart.

A Jan Strimple-produced fashion show of nearly 60 looks from Tootsies came down the runway during the luncheon. Many looks were creations of featured designer Tanya Taylor (who was in attendance), and many gave serious beach vacation vibes.

Spotted in the crowd, having fun, were many committee members and supporters from near and far, including Sarah Bowlby, Jen Gleaton, Candice Flores, Marjan Wolford, Piper Young, Katie Kennemer, Kelly Weisz, Kelly Hernandez, Lindsey Kennemer, Larryssa Hilcher, Charlie Flowers, Amanda Hill, Colby Baer, Niki Turner, Fallon Hennessy, Sarah Mills, Nerissa Von Helpenstill, Dustin Holcomb, Donna Lewis, Betsy Gallagher, and Beth Rion.

When the last sips of wine were consumed, guests took one last look around a silent auction and put in their bits for hot items like handbags, jewelry, spa gift cards, and luxury experiences. They also had one last chance to purchase a limited-edition silk scarf with the logo "Dallas" artwork by artist Laura Loy Capps.

Unlike at most events, the valet line at Mad Hatter's is never a drag; it's the final opportunity for Instagrammy snaps of amazing hats before the creativity gets tucked back in the closet for another year.