We hear the background music, then the introduction by Karen Katz and a short speech by the chair of the Crystal Charity Ball in which she says they have raised $750,000 by selling tickets to today’s event. The lights go down, spotlights come up, and I send out the first girl. It all goes very smoothly. We lose a couple of models temporarily—“Jane! Karen!”—but we find them soon enough. There’s the usual struggle with a few accessories (this season it’s the forearm-length gloves), but before long comes the final crystal dress. Applause, and I step out to take a bow.
After the show, the charity hosts a lunch at Neiman Marcus. The room has been decorated with screens bearing this season’s butterfly motif, and the tables are packed with Dallas ladies who really do lunch. My friend Lance Armstrong has even been good enough to fly in from Austin. I walk the tables—which have been sold for $5,000 to $20,000 each—and say hello to as many people as I can. After I take a seat, Burt Tansky introduces Lance, who welcomes me to Texas. Now it’s my turn. I’m not that comfortable speaking in public, so I keep it short, simply thanking everyone for coming and for supporting the charity so generously.
After a very pleasant meal, I say farewell and jump into the limo, and it’s ciao Dallas. Well, nearly. On the way to the airport, we stop off at Dealey Plaza, the scene of President Kennedy’s assassination. I wanted to see this place, so familiar from films and photographs, and was surprised by how unchanged it seems. I walk around and am genuinely moved by memories of a great man who was very loved by us Europeans. He was also a true style icon for men—dressing in a really modern way.
I resume my journey in a thoughtful mood. Dallas has been full of surprises.