We have our invitation in hand. I asked my husband, the gentlest Southern gentleman of all, to take me to the Third Annual Willow Manor Ball. He is very happy to be driving the Maserati Quattroporte, carefully chosen by our car-fanatic son.
He thoughtfully made sure that my entire gown, with the coat, made it inside the car. We could have called for a limo, but the prospect of driving this car made him giddy and I couldn’t deny him. We drive past miles and miles of grand properties; which one will be the fabulous Willow Manor?
Is that a giant, dare I say it, willow ball?
I think we have arrived – in every sense of the word!
On our way to the ballroom, we peek into a sideroom, rich with wood paneling. This might be a nice place to take a break later in the evening.
We enter the ballroom. Giant crystal chandeliers illuminate the wood paneling. We see Ken Marten's striking floral creations of Vanda orchids and dogwood branches in glass cylinders at the bars and buffet tables matching the tall floor versions at the entry.
Every table is adorned with this lush jewel-toned centerpiece of hydrangeas, cock’s combs (Celosia), red roses, and leucadendrons by Sue Arran.
I notice, by sheer coincidence, that my attire matches the decor beautifully. What is that you say? You would like to see what I am wearing?
But first, let me show you my undergarments. Pardon me? You would like to skip this step and see my outfit? Please take up your complaints with Lady Ruth, she’s the one who put me up to this. While you are there, you can see what she is wearing to the ball.
Where was I? Ah yes, my unmentionables. Mr. Dior told me “Without foundations there can be no fashion.”
Now I will show you what I'm wearing.
My 1954 vintage outfit was created by genius designer, Christian Dior. Designed during the year of my birth, the red chiffon dress with the Tudor bodice and the matching taffeta coat and belt was instantly appealing to me. Because I had so little time this week, I asked dear Mr. Dior to also accessorize it for me. The matching set of earrings, necklace, and bracelets for both (!) wrists do not overwhelm the ensemble because the red rubies (this is a fantasy, after all) blend in so beautifully. I love my only non-red accessory, the golden dancing shoes. I may actually last more than a dance or two in these.
Speaking of dancing, I must leave you for a few minute because Southern Gent Husband and I would like to take a spin on the dance floor. Michael Buble is singing one of my favorite Henry Mancini songs “Meglo Stasera” from the movie “The Pink Panther”.
Oh my goodness, we can’t leave the dance floor just yet. He’s now singing Van Morrison’s “Moondance”.
I am getting mighty thirsty now. Southern Gent Husband knows just what to bring me: an exotic lychee martini. We both realize that we worked up quite an appetite. As always, Dan McCall Catering has impeccable service and outstanding food. We choose a plate of coq au vin with mashed potatoes…
…and delicious fresh vegetables.
The back wall of the room is lined with the magnificent willow balls like the one we saw in the garden.
We climb into one to savor our food and do some serious people watching. You can view all that we witnessed on Willow’s blog.
Thank you, Willow, for being the most gracious hostess of this grand event. We look forward to attending again next year!
- Maserati Quattroporte
- Both giant willow balls by Frances Keenan, first photo from Helen's Manor
- Garden: Hellen's Manor
- Wood-paneled room: Sloane Mansion
- Dogwood and Vanda orchid arrangement: Ken Marten
- Hydrangea, Celosia, rose, leucadendron arrangement: Sue Arran Flowers
- Corset, Red chiffon dress with Tudor bodice and red tafetta coat: Christian Dior, scanned from Dior in Vogue, photos by Clifford Coffn