Tuesday, May 13, 2003

City dresses up as Wing shows off

'The best-dressed party I've ever seen in Cincinnati,' says one patron

By Jim Knippenberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati, you old frump. You took the curlers out of your hair and cleaned up right nicely. Dazzling even. The occasion was Saturday's gala pre-opening party for the Art Museum's spiffy new Cincinnati Wing. About 650 paid $500 and up for a first look. The wing will be open to everyone starting Saturday.


See what they wore
It was a crowd that Realtor and arts patron Mark Kallick called "the best-dressed party I've ever seen in Cincinnati."

Most of the women dumped the winter black for springy colors and bare shoulders.

Like chair Rhonda Sheakley in a yellow silk Badgley Mischka gown with lavender roses and hand-sewn crystal beads. Or museum supporter Joanie Lauch in a cream colored strapless Versace job with tiny bows sewed on. Or Laura Homan in a beige and gold paisley Roberto Cavalli number she called her Sex and the City dress.

There was Thane Maynard in a zebra skin bow tie borrowed from U.S. Rep. Rob Portman (his dad bought it in Nairobi many years ago). Or Cinergy VP Joe Hale in a red, white and black cummerbund decorated with penguins.

Anyone looking for fashion trends would have no trouble finding a bunch:

Wraps: They were everywhere, usually over strapless frocks, but not always.

Big flowers: They, too, were everywhere. Lots of handbags decorated with big silk flowers. Lots of dresses, gathered at the hem and held with, you guessed it, big silk flowers. Lots of hair with more big silk flowers.

Out of town shopping: Sheakley and Homan bought their gowns in Dallas. Judy Williams bought her hot pink job (with matching hot pink flowers) in Atlanta. Mary Bestold bought her sheer silver beaded Versace - with mini-train - in Miami.

Beads: They were spotted in every size, shape and color.

The gala raised slightly more than $400,000 for the museum.

E-mail jknippenberg@enquirer.com

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