with Ted Clayton
Just when you think the unbelievable Laura Heatherly of the T. J. Martell Foundation could not pull another rabbit out of her hat, she does. The “Best Cellars” dinner was held at the hot Hutton Hotel. It was the eleventh annual dinner, and what a dinner it was. The evening’s menu was prepared by honored guest Josiah Citrin, chef/owner of Mélisse restaurant in Santa Monica. First course, second course, entrée, and dessert were stupendous, and there were a few different wines to accompany each course. Co-chairs Tom Black, Joe Galante, and Billy Ray Hearn (yes, Nancy was there) greeted Nashville celebrities Mike Diamond, Jewel, Big Kenny, Frances Preston, Martina McBride, Blake Shelton, and Phil Vassar. Love these Martell events, always great food, wine, and people—now that’s a winning combination in my book! By the way, Laura, who is a size 0, is Nashville’s Barbie Doll! Oh, I almost forgot the hors d’oeuvres—abalone and eel skewers, sea urchin (of course, that’s what I serve to begin an evening). Only The T .J. Martell Foundation!
Speaking of super music stars, Big Kenny and lovely wife, Christiev Alphin, hosted a smashing cocktail supper for the patrons of the Symphony Spring Fashion Show. You should see this home. Big Kenny has his own authentic English pub (we are neighbors, so I do hope they will have me over for fish and chips, mate). OK, the fashion show with creations by Isaac Mizrahi—he is a hoot, running and dancing all around the Schermerhorn Center in flip-flops. Yes, he even wore them on the runway. Mizrahi’s design is sleek, sophisticated, super feminine, and sexy. Those women fitting that description and in the latest of the collections were Jana Watson and Janet Bentz (next year’s chairmen), Dallas Wilt, Sandra Lipman, Sharon Wyman, and this year’s event chairmen Pam Kurio-Poe and Troy Solarek.
Mizrahi uses hot colors for his fall collection—orange, ruby, hot pink, gold, lots of colored sequins, tooling, and organdy. My favorites of his dresses were worn by Jana Watson, in a black strapless with a flower the size of her on the front, and Dallas Wilt, in a shocking hot pink number.
A Nashville tradition, the 69th running of the Iroquois Steeplechase was held a few weeks back. I am going to take a different approach in my review of this year’s Steeplechase parties and fashion. I am presenting you with coverage of the Steeplechase men and their race attire—Flip-Flops to Top Hats! Being a haberdasher of fine gentlemen’s clothing, I really got a kick out of the diversification of the men’s fashion on that beautiful, cloudless Saturday afternoon in Percy Warner Park. Let’s start out with Ted’s best-dressed list—ready, men—Richard Patton, Owen Joyner, Johnny Reed, Tim Thomas, Ed Nash, Donald McKenzie, John Reed, Pat and Julian Maxwell, Ralph Drury, Bill Burch, Phillip Benneyworth, Tim Kennedy, Dr. Sabin Ewing, Nelson Byrd, Justis Howell, Dr. Brian O’Shaughnessy, brothers Jeb and Matt Beasley, and Rob McCluskey in hot pink.
Early in the day I spotted a young gentleman, Gaines Garrett, in a silk plaid sport coat and striped shirt, looking quite in fashion. I asked him about his attire, and before he could answer his grandfather stepped in. OK, it’s hard to ask a guy “whose coat are you wearing” as I do the ladies, but Gaines’ granddad, Wilson Simmons of New York and Memphis, spoke up saying he had given Gaines the coat that morning. Wilson’s silk jacket, very much in style today, was purchased in New York thirty-five years ago. So I told Gaines he should be proud to be in granddad’s coat and looked quite dapper. (Needless to say, he was not as amused as the grandfather and myself.) Kem Hinton was sporting a straw hat that belonged to his dad, T. Earl Hinton, and was bought back in the ’50s and worn to many a Steeplechase.
Best Gentlemen’s Hat went to Mark Freeland for his “woody,” a solid walnut cowboy hat (that must have been heavy). Pat Ryan of Franklin was seen in a loud Lilly sport coat with white linen knickers and white bucks—quite the fashion model with those red glasses and matching pocket square. The British Men’s Cricket team was there, sipping Pimm’s and dressed in their traditional oxford cloth. Will Tucker, Bob Weigel, Houston Howell, Rob McCabe, Josh Smith, Kem Hinton, Chuck Welsh, Hunt Oliver, and Bo Hendry looked fantastic in their Clayton Collections Creations.
Now out of the party tents and box seat area and down to the famous infield. If you do not know about the infield, it is the groovy place to be for the 21-36-year-olds. Guys in their flip-flops and shorts were comfortable, to say the least. To sum up the infield, the guys looked as good as they were feeling! Oh, and the infield hats—there were top hats, furry buffalo gear with horns, army helmets, French berets, straw hats, baseball caps, football helmets . . . got the picture? Many of the younger gentlemen did have that GQ look in linen suits, madras shorts with oxford-cloth shirts, and bright ties and bow ties and . . . flip-flops! One guy had on bowling shoes, and when I asked him about the shoes he said he was bowling one night and was overcharged so he left with the shoes. (I think he may have been a bit over served.)
So to sum up the 69th Steeplechase I tell you, Nashville men know how to dress! Did I forget the horses? Yes, they were there and looked great also.
What a delight it was to be invited by Gail and Steven Greil to the premiere showing of son David K. Wilson’s thesis film Earthship. David recently completed his master’s in film from the University of Southern California. The gathering took place at Sarratt Cinema at Vanderbilt. David’s film was based on the year 2049 as the world was ending. Knowing David his entire life, which is only thirty years, I was most impressed. Others in agreement with me were David’s dad, Bill, and wife, Sissy. Congrats David. Nashville is most proud of you and cannot wait till your next project!