Festari’s Una Notte Event Hosts Annual Event Supporting Houston Area Women’s Center

By Jennifer Roosth Photography by Daniel Ortiz and Quy Tran

THE SETTING: When over 600 guests attended the annual Una Notte in Italia, A Night in Italy, “celebrity” men’s fashion show and gala where philanthropic men and local athletes walk the runway on behalf of the charity, they knew they were in for a treat. The foyer and ballroom at the Omni Houston Hotel were draped in all things Italian, including elaborate topiaries, vines, candelabras, and a stunning backdrop on the runway with a handsome, contemporary image of Michelangelo’s David. Vibrant red roses and seasonal greenery provided beautiful framed photo ops as guests entered the gala before the big night.

THE STYLE: The fun-filled fête began with a lively cocktail hour that was complete with silent auction and premier bar along with specialty tequilas provided by Riazul. Once guests were seated in the ballroom, the handsome gents took to the catwalk in fabulous fashions provided by Rudy Festari of Festari for Men. The stellar line-up included Drs. Kota Reddy and Matthew Harbison, attorneys James Lassiter and Kent Schaffer, restauranteur Ben Berg, jewelers Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black, businessmen Rick Perez, Danny Brown, Nick Merchant, Bill Baldwin, and Pablo Delgado, to name a few.

The finale featured Houston Texans players Cullen Gillaspia, DJ Reader, and Justin Reid and Astros pitcher Lance McCullers and Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell, as confetti and roses were thrown from the cheering crowd. Guests then enjoyed a multi-course Italian meal complete with Italian wines, of course, as the live auction began. To close the evening’s activities, guests made their way to the newly renovated Black Swan club within the hotel to dance the night away.

THE PURPOSE: The evening was emceed by television anchor Dominique Sachse, and was co-chaired by Rachel Bagwell and Sneha Merchant, with Debbie Festari serving as honorary chair. This year’s event raised close to $400,000 on behalf of Houston Area Women’s Center, an agency that provides hope and healing from the effects of domestic and sexual violence.