Lavandula Design's Fanciful Carousel Draws Donors to Houston Grand Opera Ball

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Award-winning Houston graphic designer creates magical pop-up carousel invitation for this year's Opera Ball, benefiting the Houston Grand Opera. The miniature paper carnival ride reflects the event's "Carousel" theme, named for the Rodgers & Hammerstein opera and gives donors a preview of the breathtaking, can't-miss event.

Houston Grand Opera’s annual Opera Ball takes place this weekend, and the event is sure to be spectacular. Each year, Houston Grand Opera’s Director of Special Events Scott Ipsen works with Lora Poe, creative director of Lavandula Design, to bring an incredible event from mere daydream to breathtaking gala.

Twenty sixteen marks Lavandula Design’s ninth year collaborating with the Houston Grand Opera’s Special Events department, as they work together to create compelling, elegant event invitations and paper goods for the social season’s only white-tie affair.

Mrs. Donna Josey Chapman — who is the chair of the event along with her husband Mr. Max C. Chapman — chose a “Carousel” theme, based on the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical of the same name.

“I lived in France when my daughter Eloise was little, and she rode every carousel in Paris, so when I was asked to become Opera Ball chairman this year, I chose the opera ‘Carousel’ as my theme,” Mrs. Chapman said. “[Poe] created the invitation of my dream. We all live on a carousel in life, and we need to know how we can make a difference as we take the ride.”

The vintage-style pop-up carousel invitation evokes the romance and nostalgia of the late 1800s, and features tiny carnival lights, fleurs-de-lis, and intricate dancing horses, captured mid-prance. The three-dimensional masterpiece was laser cut and hand-assembled, and was delivered inside the antique-inspired invitation card itself, edged with whorls and flourishes that bring the motion of the carnival ride to mind.

The first step in bringing the Opera Ball to life is to envision the invitation concept, and develop a logo around which to center the event. These two things set the tone for the rest of the event’s production, inspiring the décor, gorgeous floral arrangements, lighting scheme, and the impeccable catered dining experience.

“Creating a strong image and brand for our events is crucial for establishing the overall construct for each event,” said Ipsen. “By taking something intangible such as a party theme and translating it into an invitation that is very real and impressive, it sets expectations and communicates that our event will be something you want to support — something you can’t miss.”

Guests wouldn’t dream of missing this year’s event after receiving their invitations. More than $1 million is raised for the Houston Grand Opera during the Opera Ball each year. Perfectly-coiffed ladies arrive radiant in couture gowns, accompanied by distinguished gentlemen in their finest tuxedos for the event’s silent auction, champagne reception, and other festivities.

Company information: Lavandula Design is a full-service design and specialty printing studio that was founded in 2005. We have worked with a variety of nonprofit, corporate and social clients, including Houston Grand Opera, March of Dimes, American Heart Association, Houston Ballet, UNICEF, Crohn’s and Colitis of America, and Habitat for Humanity, and we are also proud to work with small businesses and individuals.

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