with Ted Clayton

Ted Clayton
I have a secret to share—I had an amazing culinary experience celebrating my fifty-seventh birthday a few weeks ago in Hartsville, Tennessee. (I do summer in the most unbelievable places, don’t I.) Tully’s Bistro is a hidden treasure right up the road. We had the pleasure of dining with Tully himself, who is most entertaining and knows everything there is to know of fine dining and catering. The entire meal was inconceivable. A few items that Tully surprised us with were the watermelon gazpacho, French onion soup, fried mushrooms, Tuscan potatoes, and the amazing “bread tinnie,” fried bread pudding served over ice cream. OK, it was my birthday, and yes, I tried it all. Believe me, this is worth the short drive to Hartsville. Thanks, Tully!

Mr. & Mrs. Ted Murray, and Mrs. O'Neal Clayton, Easter Sunday 1949. The ladies are wearing Balenciaga daywear.
Speaking of great food, I was invited to attend a most interesting luncheon hosted by The Hermitage Hotel and the Land Trust for Tennessee. These two groups have teamed up and have planted vegetables on one acre of the historic farm at Glen Leven. Hotel executive chef Tyler Brown has researched and planted heirloom vegetables from the nineteenth century: butterstick zucchini, zephyr squash, Cherokee purple tomatoes, and much more. Brown harvests the veggies daily and serves them in the Capitol Grill in dishes such as the Glen Leven Gazpacho, which was so refreshing on that hot summer day. This marriage of the Land Trust and The Hermitage Hotel is so important to our city. The hotel is celebrating one hundred years, and historic Glen Leven, no stranger to the hospitality industry, provided produce to the Maxwell House Hotel until it burned in 1961. Land Trust CEO Jean Nelson summed it all up: “The Hermitage Hotel has provided outstanding support to preserve what we cannot replace—land.” Oh, I almost forgot the great party favors—gardening apron and hand tools. How fitting was that!

A marvelous dinner/auction was held benefitting Gilda’s Club of Nashville and the American Artisan Festival. The late and great Nancy Saturn was honored for her forty artisan festivals and her many years supporting Gilda’s Club. Hope and Howard Stringer, Brooks and Bert Mathews, Ellen and David Levy, Cathy Jackson, and Debbie and Bill Tate were in attendance celebrating Nancy’s life. A favorite quote by Nancy was, “Use what you have to make a difference in this world.” This amazing lady will always live on in the arts of our great city.

If you think all Nashvillians leave town in the summer months, think again. What a crowd was seen on June 17 at the State Museum and Frist Center. First the State Museum (leave it to Lois and Leigh to bring in the crowd!)—the exhibit, Bernard de Clavière: Animalier Extraordinaire, presented sixty-seven paintings on loan from the Hookers, Byrds and other well-known equestrian families of Nashville.

Clare Armistead and Lois Riggins-Ezell
Enjoying conversation with the internationally renowned painter were Clare Armistead with Eddie Bass and Ellen Martin, Nan and Neil Parrish, Ray Bell, Marilyn and Kem Hinton (Kem had his collection in the exhibit and was so busy showing to all), Amy and Owen Joyner, newlyweds-to-be Gloria Hougland and Chuck Welch, Jed Hailey, and Sara Jo Houghland with Ty Brown.

Next stop that same evening was the Frist Center for the exhibit The Golden Age of Couture. The Golden Age was 1947–1957, which was the height of fashion in London and Paris. This exhibit features evening gowns, suits, and daywear of the period. Growing up as a small boy I was introduced to the fashionable custom-made women’s clothing by my late grandmother, Emily Murray. She always made such a fashion statement in Nashville wearing the cinched waist of Dior and the shorter skirts by Chanel. The exhibit is on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Nashville is the only city in the country to have it.

Celebrating the end of the war and the birth of a new era, there were fashion houses such as Balenciaga, Balmain, Fath, Hardy Amies, Dior, and Chanel, which are all included in this exhibit. This is not a fashion show but an education in how dressmakers worked with such delicate fabrics by hand to create the wonderful world of couture. Until mid September the Frist Center on Broadway is London’s Mayfair and Paris’ Savile Row.

Sylvia Rapoport opened her beautiful Hill Place home for the kickoff of the Conservancy Gala, Designs in Black and White. The gala will be a first and will benefit The Parthenon and Centennial Park. Event Chairs Emme Baxter and Demetria Kalodimos have put together an A-Plus committee consisting of Jean Bottorff, Sandra Lipman, Robin Patton, Betsy Wills, Ben Page, Jane Sloan, Juan Pont Lezica, Julie Boehm, Lisa Campbell, Albie Del Favero, and Hope Stringer, and to top it off Clare Armistead will oversee as Honorary Chairman. I know this will be an incredible event to look forward to in November.

Frist "The Golden Age of Couture", opening night

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