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NY Heard Scene
Botanical Garden Hosts Annual Winter Wonderland Ball
From the Wall Street Journal of Tue, 16 Dec 2014 10:41:48 EST
The New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden Angela Pham/Billy Farrell Agency

The New York Botanical Garden’s Winter Wonderland Ball is one of the last major events on the charity circuit before the social crowd settles into holiday parties and then skips town for warmer, or colder, climes.

The garden’s idyllic setting, complete with toy-train installation, brought out 450 guests, including Georgina Bloomberg, Byrdie Bell, Nell Diamond and Hannah Selleck, Tom Selleck ’s equestrian daughter. This year’s event raised about $250,000 for the institution’s educational programs.

“I look forward to it every December,” said Gillian Miniter, who has been involved with the garden for the last 15 years. “People who have gone year after year continue to go, and then there’s a lot of new energy.”

The trek up to the Bronx on a wintry Friday can be a challenge. “It’s a hike, but it’s a beautiful party,” said Alina Cho, one of the evening’s chairwomen. “But just to see the train show is worth the one-hour drive.”

Other guests who made that hike included Cristina Cuomo, Sasha Lazard, Adelina Wong Ettelson, Julie Henderson, Alexandra Lebenthal, and Eric and Caroline Villency.

Gillian Miniter and Sylvester Miniter
Gillian Miniter and Sylvester Miniter Angela Pham/Billy Farrell Agency
Emma Goergen and Sasha Lazard
Emma Goergen and Sasha Lazard Angela Pham/Billy Farrell Agency
Georgina Bloomberg
Georgina Bloomberg Angela Pham/Billy Farrell Agency

Emma J.P. Goergen, an interior designer and another chairwoman, inadvertently solved the travel problem by moving to Greenwich, Conn.

“I can get there in 20 minutes if there’s no traffic,” said Ms. Goergen, who has been working on trying to involve more of her new neighbors with the botanical garden and encouraged several of them to attend Friday’s party, which they did.

Besides the distance, guests are then confronted with the event’s theme, which this year, as in years past, was “winter white and black.”

“I’ve worn all sorts of colors with the dress code, but my favorite is white. It looks beautiful with the backdrop,” said Ms. Cho, who this year searched far and wide until she landed on a white Narciso Rodriguez gown. “But it’s nearly impossible to find a white gown in the middle of winter, when designers are showing black, navy and dark colors. ‘Tis the season to dress in white, but not so easy to find a gown.”

“There are white dresses out there, but it’s usually of the wedding type,” said Alexandra Lind Rose, who has been attending the party for over a decade. “We love the idea of wearing white, but people do gravitate more toward sparkly silver and gold, because that’s easier to find.”

Hannah Selleck
Hannah Selleck Angela Pham/Billy Farrell Agency
Charlotte Greenough
Charlotte Greenough Angela Pham/Billy Farrell Agency

This year, Ms. Lind Rose wore a silver Oscar de la Renta gown that was shorter in the front and longer in the back. “It felt a little less ball-gowny and more holiday,” she said.

Ms. Miniter’s dress had sparkles of gold and silver and was designed by the evening’s fashion sponsor, Badgley Mischka.

Ms. Goergen, on the other hand, has never gone strictly black or white, she said. This year, she went with a purple, printed-silk Badgley Mischka.

“It wasn’t a bright purple but more of a muted aubergine,” she said. “It felt festive to me.”

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