In the current debutante swirl, two parties featured an honored threesome. On Friday evening, “La Dolce Vita” themed una festa italiana that was located in The Foundry, and the following night, “An Evening at Arnaud’s” rallied guests to the French Quarter culinary landmark. Fun was on the menu at each venue.
Celebrating the Sweet Life
Surrounded by sprigs of olive branches, the small, round design on the invitation featured a rural scene in Italy, complete with cultivated land, a sturdy farmhouse, trees and sloping hills. Scripted across, and within a “scroll,” were the words “La Dolce Vita,” which were promised — and delivered — at the bash. Limelighted as the deb trio were Catherine Crawford Adams, Claire Marie Clay and Carolyn Wood Holtzman, Katie, Claire and Carolyn, who were honored by their parents: Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Roland Adams III, Jay and stepmom Carla; Mr. and Mrs. George William Clay, Trish and George; and Mr. and Mrs. Eric Louis Holtzman, Shannon and Eric.
Guests experienced the ambiance of dining al fresco, thanks to the general décor of The Foundry and Meade Wenzel’s thematic enhancement. The party eye turned to olive jars and rustic containers filed with roses, peonies, and Mexican daisies, as well as to crape myrtle trees gracing the entrance and pots of bougainvillea. String lights hanging overhead and on the site’s rustic wood columns added luminosity to the levity.
Adding sartorial accents were the celebrated sixsome: the debs and their moms. Katie Adams chose an Aiden Mattox mode with a feminine, satin skirt, while stepmother Carla greeted guests in a wrap dress by Haute Hippie. Shoshanna and Rebecca Taylor were the designers respectively chosen by Claire and Trish Clay. Attractive looks were sported by the Holtzmans. Even the dads added their clothing take, and wore white linen suits with matching Vineyard Vine ties that coordinated in color with the debutantes’ pink and terra cotta dresses.
Within the Adams assembly were Katie’s sister, Emily Adams, along with deb grandfather Jesse Adams and step-grandmother Nancy, and Carla’s mom, Edie Mossy, another step-grandmother. Mixing, too, were Mary Margaret and Craig Brewer with daughter McAlister, Rosie and Steve McDavid with son Henry, Megan and Paul Morphy with Maureen and Meredith, Peggy and Jim Adams, Cinny and Andy Anderson, Meg and David Sumrall, Elizabeth and Trey MacDiarmid, and a solo Murray Calhoun, whose wife, Caroline, was picking up a daughter at camp. And, Arthur and Sandra Pulitzer, Mary Lucy and David Lane, Judy and Bobby Whann with granddaughter Katie (whose parents, Leah and Sandy Whann, were out of town), Marguerite and Jimmy Kock, and Recee and Charlie Lanier.
La cucina italiana beckoned, thanks to chef Horst Pfeifer, who outdid himself (according to a party principal) in his preparation of fettuccine Alfredo, Italian greens salad, New York strip steaks, and bruschetta.
Purveying the musical menu was acoustic guitarist Javier Gutierrez.
Claire Clay’s sister, Elise, joined the fun as did deb granddad and step-grandmother Gordon and Ethel Clay, Stephanie and Charlie Kurzweg, Susan and Kyle Wild, Kim Lopez, Marie Sallinger, Michelle and Jim Nader, Nickie and Merritt Lane, Barbara and Peyton Bush, Adrienne and Mark Hanna, Peggy and Steve Gundlach with Emily, Stacy Kelly, Kris and Egan Robinson, Yvonne and David Adler, and a Douglas threesome in Stephanie, Bubby and Michelle.
Another sister, Larkin Holtzman, reveled in the “Dolce” delights, as did honoree Carolyn’s grandfather, Lynn Skelton, and Holtzman nearest and dearest: Debbie and Kim Holtzman with Julie, Sam and Skip McAloon, Becky and Tommy McGoey, Malise and Clay Kearney, and Katherine and Robby Saer with Matthew, Hayes and Lily. Also, Lise and Allen Kuhn with Allen, Claudia and David Tufts with Jay, Wendy and Dane Ciolino with Price, Wendy and Thomas Beron with daughter Scout, Allison and Bryan Dupepe, Aimee and Michael Bell with son Bristol, and Julie and Ted George with Ellie.
The merry momentum went into yet another party gear when the high-energy band, ELS, took over with its tight harmonies and upbeat style and costumes. Dancing became a mandate. Early on, the spotlighted debs heeded the call of ELS’s Elaine Foster to join her on the stage, and they rarely left. When the spirited music makers played “Shout,” general jubilation prevailed. “Dolce” became dynamic.
The gauge of so many parties occurs when guests approach the hosts mid-course to say how much fun they are having. Certainly that took place at “La Dolce Vita,” as well as at “An Evening at Arnaud’s,” which, likewise, hailed three debutantes. They were Olivia Dibelle Thomas, Katherine “Katie” Larson Thompson and Nancy Marion Weinstock. Thanked as hosts were parents Mr. and Mrs. David S. Thomas Jr., Lucy and David; William Howard Thompson, Howard; and Mr. and Mrs. Andrew David Weinstock, Marion and Andy.
A stunning ice sculpture by John Albrecht, roving photographer Norris Gagnet, a photo slide show of choice moments in each debutante’s life, and the band, Karma, were among the features of the frolic as was the delicious food. “Arnaud’s served us so well and even spoiled us,” said Lucy Thomas as a party postscript. Well-known dishes of the restaurant regaled the crowd. In fact, attendance was so great (attesting to the numbers of kin and kith of all three families and their desire to join in the partying) that another room in the restaurant had to be opened.
Noted were Katie Thompson’s brother, Trevor, as well as Dana King, the Paul Nelsons, the Alexander Gagnets, the Robert Nelsons, Patricia Strachan, the Keith Chunns, Carroll and Howard Soper, the Mike Flynns, and Mike Lappa.
Some traveled in from away, as did several Weinstock guests. Their happy numbers included deb grandmother Cecily Wachtel, the David Reismans, the Joe Welborns, Ellie Brayshaw, CC Pulitzer Lemann, the Peter Weinstocks, Andy Henshel, Nancy Zelden Brennan, Karoline Patrick, and Sarah Agnew.
Clare McAuliffe, the grandmother of Olivia Thomas, and the latter’s deb brothers, Nicholas and Alexander, mingled with Susan and Ronald DeMars, Crystal and John Hinds, Heather and Leon Rittenberg, Teresa and Kel Villarrubia, Diane and Adrian Schwing, Elaine and Matthew McAuliffe, Rachel and Lev Kaplan, and the Scott Grandbouches. They, too, included a few travelers.
Outfitting the debs and their mothers were looks by Nadri for Nancy; Carmen Marc Valvo for Marion Weinstock and for Katie Thompson, whose mother, Sheryl Larson Thompson, wore Nicole Miller; and Herve Leger and Dolce & Gabbana respectively for Olivia and Lucy Thomas.
As the tempo of the bonhomie increased, so did the musical allure. Guests of all ages, among the 500 or so in the “Arnaud’s” brigade, responded to Karma’s twists on 80s rock and current hits. Beaming as they made their rounds in the party pack were the feted Olivia, Katie and Nancy.