With a wink and a nod
The Swan Ball celebrates the big 5-0 at Cheekwood
Months of planning, hundreds of meetings, thousands of emails and countless volunteer hours magically came together on Saturday, June 9, 2012. The 50th Annual Swan Ball has been one of the most anticipated Nashville social events in years, maybe since The 25th Swan Ball. Co-chairs Jacqueline Hutton and Sandra Lipman celebrated and honored its history with “a wink to the future and a nod to the past.”
Winks to the future were plenty. But the most obvious sign that we can look forward to another 50 years of The Swan Ball? Both The Ball and the Late Party were sold out.
Nods to the past were numerous. Past chairs wore the gowns from their years, while others chose vintage. And all looked stunning! Edie Bass was timeless in her 1970 Pucci. Hunter Armistead photographed past chairs for an exhibit in the Chairmen’s Lounge. The most fitting nod was the presentation of the Swan Award to the past chairs by The Swan Ball Founder and Honorary Chairman, Jane Dudley.
Sandra and Jacqueline charmed Emmy Award winning designer Jim Mees to return and create an exceptional setting. Mees designed an opulent look for the tent reminiscent of the Hollywood Regency era, yet modern and elegant. Big Events carried out his vision using classic gold, black and white tones with purple accents.
Naturally, Chef Danielle Kates was in the kitchen. She constructed a sumptuous stack of Tennessee tomato slices layered with pink lady peas, baby lima beans and kernels of silver queen corn, topped with Benton’s bacon. The New Zealand lamb loin medallions crusted with Provencal herbs atop organic purple rice accented with a mint purée coule’ were perfection. Dessert Designs fashioned a special fiftieth anniversary dessert—decadent cake with rich chocolate icing.
The highlight of the night was the highly anticipated appearance by Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul did not hold back in her performance that lasted almost an hour. She ended her set with favorites such as “Freeway of Love” which the crowd loved. After that, only one person could capture as much attention. Mac Hardcastle completed the live auction items wearing a larger-than-life version of Aretha’s inauguration hat. Who knew brother Wilson was also a milliner?
Every year The Swan Ball co-chairs inject their personality and passion in to the event, keeping one of the South’s most prestigious charity events always fresh and new. This year’s Ball was glamorous, grand, fun and most of all extremely successful. Sandra and Jacqueline, here’s a wink and a nod to you!
—Holly Hoffman, Photographs by Eric England, Sinclair Kelly, Steve Lowry