WICKED COOL

WICKED COOL

Children’s Museum of Houston’s A Wicked Affair Gala Raises Nearly $1.1 Million

By Rob Giardinelli – Photography by Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design

THE SETTING: The Corinthian in Houston was the recent setting of a wickedly good time. Over 500 of the city’s most notable sociables, philanthropists, and advocated gathered for the annual Children’s Museum of Houston gala. This year’s theme, A Wicked Affair, was a spellbinding evening that those fortunate enough to be a part of will not soon forget.

 

THE STYLE: The evening began with a cocktail hour in the beautiful foyer of the Beaux Arts venue. Here, patrons mingled while perusing an impressive array of silent auction items. The crowd featured a mix of black-tie clad patrons along with those who dressed thematically for the evening’s celebration. Certain tables even coordinated various themes of some of their favorite cultural touchstones, including James Bond, Peter Pan, and many others.

The action then moved to the beautifully designed main floor for the event’s program. Guests dined on a scrumptious multi-course meal courtesy of Jackson & Company. Next came the live auction, which featured spirited bidding on a host of haute items including Caribbean Getaways, a shop ‘til you drop experience at Neiman Marcus and an entertainers dream…dinner for 50 in Houston’s First National Bank Vault located in the basement of The Corinthian. The evening was capped off as partygoers danced the night away to the tunes of the Matt Wilson Band.

 

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Ashley and Walter Weathers and Lyndsey and Bret Zorich, raised almost $1.1 million for the Children’s Museum of Houston. Over the past year, the Children’s Museum of Houston has received over 742,000 onsite visitors and impacted more than 472,000 children and parents through its educational and outreach programming.

 

STRIKING A CORD

STRIKING A CORD

Houston Grand Opera’s Season Opening Night Performance And Dinner

By Jennifer Roosth – Photography by Jenny Antill and Wilson Parish

THE SETTING: The Houston Grand Opera (HGO) opened its 65th season with a celebratory evening featuring  a new production of Verdi’s beloved Rigoletto under the direction of Tomer Zvulun and with a much-anticipated return to the Ray C. Fish Plaza at the Wortham Theater. The evening began with HGO Managing Director Perryn Leech welcoming patrons back to the Wortham Theater Center for Opening Night with a heartfelt recognition of the evening’s gala committee, and HGO Artistic and Musical Director, Patrick Summers. Later, the cast and artistic team of the new season’s production was introduced before the cast of Rigoletto took the stage to portray the famous story of lust, jealousy, and revenge.

 THE STYLE: Following the performance, the tradition continued with the Opening Night dinner at the Ray C. Fish Plaza with more than than 400 guests, who were greeted by a juggling jester and champagne cocktails. The attendees gathered under the elegant clear-top tent with a backdrop of the clear night’s sky to honor the cast and creative team of the new production.

The Events Company provided a warmly elegant gala setting complete with lush fall florals and Italian murals, and Tony’s Catering served an inspired dinner that flowed like an aria. The feast began with fresh burrata accented with Treviso, Fuji apple, and pomegranate, followed by a duet of beef filet and Branzino and ending with the operatic, Ah! The Curse, a flourless chocolate cake complemented by blackberry compote.

 THE PURPOSE: The Opening Night event was chaired by Drs. Rachel and Warren A. Ellsworth IV and raised over $375,000 for the Houston Grand Opera, one of the largest, most innovative, and highly acclaimed opera companies in the United States. Having toured extensively and after  winning a Tony®, two Grammy® awards, and three Emmy® awards, it is the only opera company to win all three honors.

OH, HOW MODERN

OH, HOW MODERN

MFAH Grand Gala Makes Artful Impact

By Jennifer Roosth – Photography by Jenny Antill, Daniel Ortiz & Wilson Parish

THE SETTING: Nearly 300 guests recently walked the pink carpet for the Grand Gala Ball at the Caroline Wiess Law Building of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Reflecting the theme Abstraction: Moving into Modern, the event featured a curated selection of abstract pieces anchored by Trenton Doyle Hancock’s Good Vegan Procession #5 mounted on the wall of Cullinan Hall. Measuring a massive 54 feet wide by 18 feet high, the mural-scaled backdrop depicts a brightly colored forest glade with silhouettes of over a hundred dancing trees across a field of many colors. The Events Company mirrored the vibrant color palette with fresh floral arrangements in various hues, as well as Lucite tables and chairs to enhance the modern aesthetic. At the base of Cullinan Hall’s staircase, guests posed for pictures in front of a fresh flower wall spanning shades of white, pink, red, lavender, and deep purple roses, while admiring the Harry Winston jewels posed on models atop mirrored platforms in front of the flower wall.

 

THE STYLE: Remarks were made by Chairman of the Board of Trustees’ Rich Kinder, Director of the MFAH Gary Tinterow, Houston Salon Director of Harry Winston Petra Martinez, and VP North America of Harry Winston Michael Moser. City Kitchen prepared a magnificent three-course dinner, starting with cauliflower soup with preserved lemon and parsley. Guests were also served pan-roasted main lobster with shallots, thyme, and crème fraîche; prime-aged beef tenderloin medallions with Bordelaise sauce; twice-baked Yukon gold potatoes with cheddar and scallions; and asparagus. For dessert, guests enjoyed a lemon meringue tart with raspberry sorbet and raspberry coulis. The event featured live entertainment by Jessie’s Girls, as well as a special performance by Grammy®-Award-winning singer Bruce Hornsby, who was hand-selected by Susanne and Bill Pritchard. Hornsby performed his chart-topping songs for guests, including The Way It Is, The End of Innocence, and Mandolin Rain.

 

THE PURPOSE: This year’s event, chaired by Susanne and Bill Pritchard, raised a total of $1.9 million to support the Museum’s general operating budget. Supporting local communities and giving hope to those in need has been a hallmark of the House of Harry Winston, the evening’s presenting sponsor, since its founding in 1932.

 

LOOK, LISTEN & LEARN

LOOK, LISTEN & LEARN

Holocaust Museum Of Houston Celebrates Expansion

By Jake Gaines  –  Photography by Dave Rossman

 

THE SETTING: Recently, the Holocaust Museum of Houston hosted an elaborate gala for 800 attendees to celebrate its $34 million expansion by hosting a First Look celebration for major donors, Holocaust survivors, dignitaries and special guests. Patrons enjoyed cuisine from around the world and music on each floor as they toured the new 57,000-square-foot, fully bilingual facility at the champagne-filled gathering.

THE STYLE: The event’s décor was provided by Dede Loughran of Acme Rental who expertly placed some of HMH’s collection of handmade butterflies throughout the silver-lined tables to give a personal touch to the overall look. The floral décor was created by The River Oaks Plant House. Chef Smirnov Catering provided the Kosher culinary array representing old world Asian, Japanese, Israeli, Russian and Italian delicacies. Music was staged on each floor with Moodafaruka playing in the first floor’s Garden of Hope, Divisi Strings on the second floor, next to the three-story high Butterfly Loft, and John Acevedo playing Flamenco jazz guitar on the third floor near the board room with its assorted desserts.

THE PURPOSE: Tali Blumrosen, former museum chair and current board member, coordinated the evening’s event in conjunction with the Holocaust Museum Houston’s Managing Director Tamara Savage. More than doubling in size, the new facility will rank as the nation’s fourth largest Holocaust museum. The new three-story structure will house a welcome center, four permanent galleries and two changing exhibition galleries, classrooms, research library, café, 200-seat indoor theater and a 175-seat outdoor amphitheater.

 

IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

Junior League Houston Opening Day Fashion Show

By Jennifer Roosth – Photography by Emile Brown

 

THE SETTING: The Junior League of Houston and Tootsies welcomed 300 guests and debuted the season’s hottest fashion trends at this year’s Opening Style Show Fashion Unlocked. The annual Opening Day event  highlighted fashion and philanthropy as well as officially marked the beginning of the Junior League  fall season programing.

Junior League members hit the runway to model the chic ensembles curated by Tootsies’ Fady Armanious and showcased trends like animal print, pumped-up 80s-era volume with dramatic sleeves and shoulders and lots of shine (glitter, sequins, velvet, and satin) from designers such as Carolina Herrera, Alice + Olivia, Veronica Beard, Marchesa, and more.

THE STYLE: Guests enjoyed the three-course cuisine that was provided by the Junior League Tea Room, which included a baby spinach and arugula salad, braised beef short ribs with asparagus and truffle butter,  mashed potatoes and the popular Junior League of Houston Pecan Ball for a sweet treat. Then, new to the event this year, VIP guests had the chance to pop the bubbly and enjoy interactive experiences in the VIP Style Lounge ahead of the show including clean beauty tips from Switch2Pure, mini manicures from Cherry Nails, hair touchups from Fringe Salon and Color Bar, and more.

THE PURPOSE: The Opening Day event is always wildly successful and supports the Junior League of Houston, Inc., an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

 

NEW LEASH ON LIFE

NEW LEASH ON LIFE

Houston PetSet’s 15th Annual Fierce & Fabulous Soirée

By Jennifer Roosth  –  Photography by Quy Tran

 

THE SETTING: More than 400 of Houston’s dedicated animal lovers gathered at the Post Oak Hotel to celebrate Houston PetSet’s annual Fierce & Fabulous Soirée, which raises money to support animal-related non-profits in the Greater Houston area. The event was equal parts fabulous party and philanthropic mission. Emcee Deborah Duncan welcomed the partygoers to celebrate Houston PetSet’s 15th birthday, thanking the crowd for coming out to support the nonprofit in its mission to alleviate the suffering and homelessness of Houston’s animals. Guest speakers of the night included Reverend Gregory Han of Interfaith Ministries, Laura Halloran of the Texas Humane Legislation Network, and Lance McCullers, Jr., the world champion Houston Astros pitcher.

THE STYLE: The evening kicked off with a VIP pre-party hosted by Fabergé. On display was the bespoke, two-carat emerald in its setting that was donated to the event’s live auction by the iconic internationally-renowned jeweler. The party kept its momentum as the Club PetSet Young Professionals took over the back ballroom, transforming the space into their own nightclub. DJ Senega got the crowd moving and shaking on the dance floor, while others participated in an ultra-competitive wine toss and silent auction. Champagne flowed as DJ Senega’s beats, accentuated by the live saxophone stylings of Andre Killian, resonated throughout the hotel’s ballroom foyer.

THE PURPOSE: Tena Lundquist Faust, Tama Lundquist and Kisha Itkin, the event’s co-chairs, asked the crowd to open their hearts and their wallets to support the cause. The generous attendees responded accordingly, as the gathering raised more than $440,000 to fund the many animal welfare efforts throughout the city.