HAUTE FIESTA

The Order of the Alamo Presents The Court of Classic Couture

By Shannon Turner     Photography by Greg Harrison

THE SCENE: The fabulous gowns and trains that are the focal point of the coronation each year are legendary. This year, however, fashion quite literally took center stage. Mistress of the Robes Linda Stewart and Court Artist Allison Balthrope spent over three years designing each work of art that would be worn by the 24 duchesses of The Court of Classic Couture.

With this most fashionable theme, the duchesses stunned in their royal gowns, each adorned with Swarovski and Aurora Borealis crystals, glass baguettes, bugle beads and custom stones. Each gown featured a 10 to 14-foot long train and weighed up to 60 pounds. The designs on each gown and train evoked images of legendary fashion houses such as Pucci, Prada, Hermés and Givenchy. The presentation of these jaw-dropping designs culminated with the final young lady to ascend the grand stage of the Majestic Theatre, Josephine Tinsley Simpson. Heralded as the Queen of the Court of Classic Couture, Simpson represented the House of Chanel.

THE VIBE: With a backdrop featuring Parisian landmarks and the names of the world’s most notable fashion houses, the Majestic lived up to its name setting a most majestic scene for the Order of the Alamo’s coronation of the Queen of the Court of Classic Couture. The first to make an appearance on stage were the young court pages. Each little girl, dressed in a long black dress and tiny tiara, curtsied before the crowd and took her place to instrumental performances of various Audrey Hepburn film scores. It was then that Stephen Blount, Lord High Chamberlain, made his grand entrance and very nearly stole the show. Dressed, with tongue placed firmly in cheek as Karl Lagerfeld, Blount sauntered down the runway pausing every so often for effect, much to the crowd’s delight. Before introducing the duchesses, Blount addressed ladies in the crowd remarking on their beauty and style. He was, by all accounts, as much a star of the evening as the duchesses he introduced.

THE CAUSE: The Order of the Alamo was founded in 1909 by a group of patriotic San Antonio men who wished to enlarge Fiesta’s annual celebration of the heroic struggle for Texas’ Independence from Mexico. Since its founding year, the membership of the Order of the Alamo has elected a Queen who has been crowned at the Coronation during the week of Fiesta.