|The US Fund for UNICEF Southwest Regional Office’s recently held “Mystique of India” Gala was the most successful event in its 26 year history, raising over $1 Million (US) for their life-saving programs in India.
This record breaking event was chaired by Board Chairman Dr. Carolyn Farb, and co-chaired by Nidhika and Pershant Mehta and was held at the Hotel InterContinental Houston.
“Despite the rescheduling caused by the devastation of Hurricane Ike and with great spirit, Houstonians opened their hearts and contributed to the ongoing emergencies and needs of women and children of India,” said Dr. Farb, who went on to say, “Houston is an international city composed of many different cultures and responds accordingly globally to natural disasters, human rights issues, HIV-AIDS prevention and basic food, water, clothing, education and protection of children around the world.”
More than 750 attended this year’s event creating a vision of colorful saris and Nehru jackets as well as some bravely wore turbans. Mandap Creations and Steven Wagner and Paul Hensley created a Magical Bazaar for the silent auction area and cocktail reception. Snake charmers, puppeteers, and exotic and colorful costumed characters mingled among the guests.
Renowned Houston florist, Nino Shbeeb of Flowers by Nino, created a spectacular backdrop of roses and peacock feathers for the stage and magnificent floral centerpieces of orange and cream roses for the tables.
The centerpieces complemented the exquisite jeweled table linens and chair covers that Francesca Nilsen of Distinctive Details had custom made in India for the event.
|The dining room.|
|Following a culinary Indian-fusion masterpiece created by Hotel InterContinental Chef Peter Laufer, guests danced the night away to the wonderful music provided by Dan Dyer and his band, which made a special effort to be able to perform at the event.
Guests included: Dr. Farb (Chair of Board and Gala) and Sam Banks, Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel, Pamela and Ignacio Martin-Duarte, Donna and Bob Bruni, Drs. Asit and Ulupi Choksi, Nidhika and Pershant Mehta (Co-Chairs), Christina and Jean Francois-Bonnete, Chuck Jenness (proud Father of entertainer Dan Dyer), Susan Khron and Mike Willis, Martha Turner and Glen Baugess, Cathy Cagle, Susie and Joe Ting, Anna and Thomas Au, Leela and Nat Krishnamurthy, Sharon and William Morris, Ken Harrison, Eileen and Kase Lawal, John M. Tsacrios, Jr. (Founding Executive Director), Franco Valobra, Darlene and Cappy Bisso, Betty and John Hrncir, Marie and Christian Bruns, Maureen and Adel Chaouch, Councilman Peter Brown, Robert Thompson, Pily and Alejandro Simon, Astrid and Gene Van Dyke, Sandy and Barney Barrett, Trish Millard and Al Lasher, Amanda and Robert Brock, Ali and Gita Saberioon, Joyce Goss, Marthann Masterson and Dr. John Mendelsohn.
|A few weeks earlier, Friends of UNICEF gathered at a cocktail party at Valobra to view the exquisite necklace which was donated to the live auction of UNICEF’s gala, "Mystique of India."|
|And a couple weeks earlier ... Tony & Donna Vallone of Tony's Restaurant generously donated a beautiful cocktail reception at their restaurant for the underwriters of the "Mystique of India" Gala benefiting UNICEF’s programs on behalf of women and children in India.|
|Candace Bushnell One Fifth Avenue Book Tour Wrap Up
Bestselling author Candace Bushnell slipped into her stiletto’s and went on a whirlwind tour to promote her new book One Fifth Avenue.
First stop -- the Windy City, which coincided with the second season premiere of the hit TV show Lipstick Jungle, on which she serves as an Executive Producer. A viewing party took place at Chicago’s hot spot Manor, and she signed copies of her books as TVs played the show. A loud cheer went up from the crowd when her name rolled through the credits.
Guests indulged in the 4 C’s – Candy, Cocktails, Cupcakes and Candace. It was a mix of high society and Manor’s best customers, including Cartier Boutique director, Cynthia Fiske, girls about town Bari Leiner, Andrea Heiman, Julie Roth Novack, Jill Glickstein, Mary Ellen Christy, Cathy Bell, Eva Pawlus, Kwesi Dei and Michael Kaulentis.
|San Francisco was next – at the Ferragamo flagship where they feted the author – a very appropriate match as Ferragamo invented the stiletto heel back in the 50s and Ms. Bushnell is known for her love of them which are prominently featured in all her books. Ferragamo’s West Coast director Peter Christman was on hand to greet the afternoon’s hosts including Denise Hale along with Tatiana Sorokko, resplendent in a black Ferragamo cape and long fingerless gloves, Hilary Newsom Callan whose Plumpjack wines were served throughout the event, Lindsay Bolton, Kimberly Bakker in Ferragamo and Katya Sorokko.
The event benefitted Children of Shelters and board members Serena Fairchild and Summer Tompkins Walker rounded out the hosts. Candace wore a pink Mohair Ferragamo shift – perfect for the sunny day in the city by the bay as there was a bit of a chill in the air.
|The next night Candace was in LA, once again attired in Ferragamo, this time a cowl neck cream dress with a fabulous belt, and was surrounded by long time friends and admirers. The Ferragamo Beverly Hills store played host to more than 300 guests and the mood was set with Oronoco mojitos and DJ Max Chipchase. The party originally scheduled to end at 8:30 went long past that and every book available was sold.
Jay McInerney dropped by as did actresses Michelle Trachtenberg and Melissa George both in head to toe Ferragamo though Michelle was in a very edgy sweater dress and booties with an acrylic heel and Melissa was is cream wool pants and a cream silk blouse. Many of the other guests wore Ferragamo including Amanda Goldberg, Cameron Silver (in white Ferragamo jeans) and Shell Cardon who was in vintage with a fabulous head dress.
Purple was the color of the night from Crystal Lourd’s jewel colored blouse to another guest attired in a purple dress with a border made up of Manhattans skyline in black worn in homage to Candace’s Sex and The City days. The boldfaced names went on and on: Brooke Davenport, Jamie Tisch, Steven Cojocaru, Cooper Ray but the highlight for the visiting author was a woman from St. Louis on vacation who was in LA for the first time. She had come by bus and was walking the famed Rodeo Drive and stopped to see what all the fuss was about.
When told the party was for Candace she asked to come in to meet her, as she was a huge fan. However, not on the guest list she was first denied entrance until someone from Ferragamo heard what was going on and personally escorted her in and made sure she got a book and met her idol.
Candace spent some time talking to her and the woman promised to read the book on the bus ride back to St. Louis and also promised that she and all her friends would be watching Lipstick Jungle. The evening benefitted Center Dance Arts which made sense given Candace’s husband is a dancer with the New York City Ballet and the ballet is the setting for several passages in One Fifth Avenue.
|The final stop was Dallas where they do everything bigger and her last event did not disappoint. The book signing started at the Frederic Fekkai salon in North Park where she ran into several of the hostesses for that evening event getting ready for the big night.
As she was getting her hair blown out she signed away, which turned out to be a good thing as later in the evening she would sign close to 300 books so many the bookseller ran out and had to go get more to keep up with demand.
At 6:30 sharp the Evenings in Vogue event began in the courtyard of Rosewood’s Crescent Court Hotel. It was an interactive event with guest sipping Grey goose martinis and Smartwater, having their makeup touched up by Shisedo and sampling Paris Hilton’s newest perfume, Can Can.
|Silverseas gave each guest a gift certificate towards one of their fabulous cruises and Candace was overheard telling someone she would need a cruise after the book tour was over! Lori Jones, the daughter in law of Dallas Cowboys owners Jerry and Gene Jones, hosted along with Gigi Howard, the PR director of Nutra Bisse and fellow writer Kimberly Schlegel Whitman whose newest entertaining book, Tablescapes just came out this fall.
Candace had a few more stops and then was packing it up to head for New Zealand, then London and other stops around the globe – spreading the word about one of Manhattans’ most famous addresses and perhaps -- albeit temporarily -- providing another view of our city, which is getting a lot of air time these days. Next up for Candace will be a young readers book chronicling the teenage years of Carrie and friends from her novel Sex and the City. Her next tour coming to a Forever 21 near you.
|Back in Chicago ... Patricia Kennedy, founder of StepUp4Vets, a charity committed to rehabilitating returning veterans and their families, was bestowed a lifetime achievement honor in Chicago for her more than 20 years of philanthropic service in dance and now for the urgent call to action supporting our returning troops as they reclaim and readjust to civilian life.
She joined the ranks of Italian aristocracy as she was awarded the title "Dame of Merit with Star" in the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George (a royal order under the House of Bourbon Two-Sicilies). The ceremony was conducted by His Eminence Francis Cardinal George I, Archbishop of Chicago at St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago.
|Ms. Kennedy has also raised millions to support the Joffrey Ballet. She produced, along with Joffrey co-founder and Artistic Director Gerald Arpino, along with rock star Prince the landmark ballet “Billbaords,” in 1993.|
|Photographs by Phyllis Hand, Kim Coffman, Katy Anderson, Pete Baatz (Houston)|