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Gabby Goes to The Grand Gala and Hotel du Pont in Wilmington

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Click here to see photos from this event.

In case you were wondering where all the fur coats in Northern Delaware were on the chilly eve of Dec. 3, I can tell you that they were hanging out together in the coat room at the Hotel du Pont. Why, you ask? The Grand Opera House’s 35th annual Grand Gala, of course.

After a boisterous throwback concert from The Midtown Men—four stars from the original Tony Award-winning “Jersey Boys” cast—the party was on and poppin’ at the hotel, where glitzy gold decor and dazzling white lights set the tone.

Jane Castle clearly got the memo. Sure, it was other half Michael Castle who kept getting props all night—the party program came with his name smack on the front, thanks to the well-deserved, star-studded video tribute (There’s Michael J. Fox!) that honored Castle for his civil service—but Jane smoldered in a gold gown a la Grecian goddess. More than one on-the-money guest commented with awe that she could easily cruise the red carpet at the Oscars in that get-up.

When asked for one word to describe Mike Castle, Gerret Copeland—Castle’s pal since first grade at Tower Hill—hit the crowd with an “awesome.” And I say, right back to you, Mr. C, with your excellently tailored suit jacket and your even more excellently tailored wife. Tatiana Copeland was resplendent in white, a color I haven’t seen her rock lately, with marabou-feathered cuffs here, bedazzled neckline there, and sparkle, sparkle everywhere.

The politicos were out in full force: Wilmington Mayor James Baker, U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons. And for the first time since braces, I was thrilled to see old pal Dr. John Nista, looking decidedly un-orthodontist-like in a handsome tux, bopping along in the grand ballroom with a bevy of beauties.

And now, an appeal: Ladies—no more DIY dress tailoring, especially if it’s a soiree like The Grand Gala where you’ll be spied. Perhaps the prettiest girl at the ball was a tall blonde with perfectly feathered tresses, legs for days and a gorgeously simple yet elegant turquoise gown (risky color choice for the winter, but I’ll take it). But the hemline? Safety pins. In a word: don’t.

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