Sunday, September 29, 2013

Smithson 2013: After the Ball

What an incredible evening!! We didn't get home until after 11pm. But I know people want to see pictures, so here we go!

So here we are, all dressed up and ready to head out to the Gala.

But we made a stop on the way to the Zoo...

Since it was on the way, we decided it would be fun to stop by the Joanns store where I bought all the fabrics for my dress, and take pictures alongside the bolt of fabric! The staff really loved seeing the finished product. I'm tempted to send the pictures to the company to show them what was done with one of their fabrics.

Here's where the red suede fabric came from.

Then it was off to the Zoo! When we got there, we saw that a few couples had shown up early and were making a festive occasion of it.

That is tailgating with style!

The first part of the evening was a reception, held in and around the new Elephant Community Center. Since this was really a huge group (more than 500 attendees!), there wasn't enough room inside for everyone, so there were also tents set up outside. And yes, it was quite chilly, so I'm glad I had my bolero!

For dinner, we walked down the Olmstead Path to the Big Cats area, where the entire path around the three cat enclosures was tented over and filled with 66 dining tables, each seating 8 guests.

Our table was at the side of the Lion habitat, and we were periodically serenaded by the big male Lion -- who was most likely expressing his displeasure that all this delicious food was being served but not to him!

As always, Bob was being my "fashion photographer," getting pictures of interesting outfits throughout the evening.

These last two gentlemen were classmates from Princeton University (class of 1965)!

After dinner, we were invited to ride the new Conservation Carousel, which is located near the big cat area. It was such a hoot to see the gentlemen in their tuxedos and the ladies in their gowns gleefully riding the hand-carved animals! Many of the ladies (including me) had to ride sidesaddle!

Overall impressions

  • The vast majority of the dresses were single-color, and a good percentage of them were black. There were a few standouts (like the young lady in the pink strapless dress), and two ladies had nearly identical dresses (the teal sheaths). Not a lot of prints; not a lot of sparkle.
  • The real surprise was that there was quite a bit of variation among the menswear! Lots of colorful vests, some white jackets (one gentleman had a white coat and tie and black shirt -- very striking!), a kilt, and one long green velvet coat.
  • We didn't see anything that didn't fit properly. There were a lot of fitted garments, but also a few "art jackets". Most of the women had either shawls or jackets to cover up with, which was a good thing because when we left, the temperature was hovering at about 58 degrees. Brr!
  • Lots of people noticed that Bob and I matched, and they also loved the reversible bolero. I did change it around a few times during the evening, too!
My only regret about the evening is that, because the crowd was simply so large, I didn't get to cross paths with several people (especially one fellow member who also makes her outfit every year). I do wonder where they will hold the gala next year; with so many people, there aren't many Smithson venues that can accommodate all of us!
In the next few days, I'll do a post with some construction notes about the dress. But now I need to go rescue my sewing room from the pile of scraps and muslin pieces that were tossed hither and yon in my rush to get everything finished!


  1. Every year I am a vicarious gala attendee thanks to your blog. Love how well your outfits turned out and especially how you do such a creative job of coordinating to the theme and to each other. You look happy and proud, as well you should be. I'm roaring with approval.....

  2. You guys look great! Love the pics! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Love the dress!!! I so want to get back to clothing construction...been so absorbed with my quilting though!!

  4. Yes, please send photos to Joann's. We just did a member recruitment there for ASG. We all brought things we had made from Joann's fabric. The staff was amazed. They had never seen anyone do anything with their fabric- except fleece blankets. Maybe if we show them what we can do, they will order more garment fabric.

  5. What a fun outfit, perfect for a zoo gala! I love a themed outfit like that, clever:)


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