The wine was flowing well before noon Wednesday at Party in the Park, Boston’s spring lunchtime soiree benefiting the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. This year’s crowd, which numbered upward of 775, may go on record as the most fashionable in the organization’s 13-year history.
Dramatic hats were, as usual, aplenty, and the winningest ones were Krystian von Speidel’s straw top hat, MassArt fashion history professor Kathleen McDermott’s yellow and orange bouquet made from buckram, and Laura Baldini’s witchy Mayflower headpiece.
“Two of my relatives came over on the Mayflower,” said Baldini, who bought the avant-garde headwear at Pickwick’s Mercantile in Portsmouth, N.H. “And my great, great, great, great grandmother Ann Foster died in jail during the Salem witch trials.”
Organizers made their own kind of history, raising a record $930,000 for the care of the city’s historic parks. And while the audience nibbled at the lunch of veal Milanese and a chocolate mousse, Ropes & Gray managing partner (and former Massachusetts first lady) Diane Patrick announced that the firm would donate 150 trees in honor of the law firm’s 150th anniversary.
In receiving this year’s Liff Spirit Award, named for the late Parks and Recreation commissioner Justine Mee Liff, Boston Symphony Orchestra managing director Mark Volpe told the crowd of plans for a series of concerts in the parks this fall. Volpe was looking stylish — though sans hat — as were partygoers Elena Matlack, Maggie Desantis Ahearn, and New York Fashion Week creator Fern Mallis.
“The hats are extraordinary, exactly the same in New York,” said Mallis, who was scheduled to lecture about her new book, “Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons” at the Museum of Fine Arts later in the day. “I love seeing everything because it doesn’t often happen.”