Thursday, October 23, 2008

Houston, Chicago, L.A., San Fran, and Dallas

The US Fund for UNICEF Southwest Regional Office’s “Mystique of India” Gala held at the Hotel InterContinental Houston.
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.”

Receiving the UNICEF Gold Medallion of Valor for extraordinary service to UNICEF at this year’s gala included: Grammy Award winning artist, former member of Destiny's Child and this years official 2008 MTV Ambassador of the Staying Alive Foundation, Kelly Rowland; fashion designer to Indian royalty and celebrities, Naeem Khan; and Philanthropists Eileen and Kase Lawal. In addition to the honorees, John M. Tsacrios, Jr. was recognized for his 26 years of dedicated service as the Founding Executive Director for the Southwest Region of UNICEF and was presented with a bronze sculpture by renowned artist, Eric Kaposta and recognized by Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee with a Congressional Proclamation for his 26 years of service.

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.
Pre-dinner entertainment.
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.
Cappy and Darlene Bisso
Ali Saberion
Donna and John Speers
Betty Hrncir
Christopher Mendel and Monsour Taghdisi
Farah Shah Stocks
Dr. Devinder and Gina Bhatia
Dan Dyer, Carolyn Farb, Chuck Jenness, and Paul Oveisi
Joe and Susie Ting
Donatella and Fred Beckenstein
Ann Hammond and Steve Vallone
Eileen and Kase Lawal, Carolyn Farb, and Sam Banks
Margaret Williams and Jim Daniel
Holly Moore and Jim Kastleman
Kelly Krohn and Taylor Eichenwald
Pily Simon and Carolyn Farb
Gene and Astrid Van Dyke, and Daniel and Gabriel Dror
Japan Consul General Tsutomu and Eiko Osawa
Nidhika Mehta and Komol Oberoi
Eileen and Kase Lawal
Stephanie Quisenberry and Jim Peterson
Joanne Herring King
Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Carolyn Farb, and Cathy Cagle
Kimberly Gremillion and Terrell Hillebrand
Linda McCaul, Joanne King Herring, and Joe Contrucci
Sam Banks and Carolyn Farb
Pradeep and Kiran Gupta, Carolyn Farb, and Sam Banks
Louise Ng and daughter Eva Nip
Lily Foster and Carolyn Farb
Wade Wilson and Jeff Shell
Mike Willis and Susan Krohn
Donna Bruni, Elizabeth Petitte, and John M. Tsacrios, Jr.
Mariam Issa, Carolyn Farb, and Yasmine Haddad
Francesca Wilson
Sam and Osama Abraham
Ping Sun
Nidhika and Pershant Mehta
Ursaline Hamilton
Stephen and Dessa Wexler
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."
Cathy Cagle
Thomas Au and Susan Boggio
Leigh Williams
Mike Willis, Susan Krohn, and Franco Valobra
Nidika and Pershant Mehta with Carolyn Farb
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.
Ali Tashi, Carolyn Farb, and Javier Moreno Valle
Ken Harrison and Debbie Festari
Jim Daniel, Margaret Williams, and Bill Morris
Paul Danneman, John M. Tsacrios, Jr., Alice Danneman, and Eric Kaposta
Willem and Shari Plegt with Pershant and Nidhika Mehta
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.   
Robin Levinson and Lindsay Labkon
Melanie Kapoor and Muffie San Filippo
Erin Peterson and Cynthia Fiske
.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. 
Denise Hale and Candace Bushnell
Keylee Sulprizio, Kristen Harper, and Natalie Franklin
Erin Lowenberg and Serena Fairchild
Barbara Brown
Hilary Newsom Callan and Regina Callan
Lindsay Bolton and Barbara Brown
Marcy Carmack and Kimberly Bakker
Claudia Ross, Elizabeth Touw, and Nicole Bulick
Bushnell fans
Katya Sorokko, Candace Bushnell, and Tatiana Sorokko
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.

Peter Christman and Candace Bushnell
At the suggestion of Colleen Bell, one of the evenings five hostesses, a line on the invitation read husbands and significant others welcome, and many took Ferragamo up on it and showed up with their husbands including Richard and Liane Weintraub (she was truly in head to toe Ferragamo from a fedora to her shoes!) and Billy and Alexandra Kimball who count themselves as Candace’s oldest friends. The Kimballs had a front row seat to some of the experiences Candace has written about over the years.   

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.
Colleen Bell
Melissa George
Michelle Trachtenberg
Shiva Rose
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.
Gigi Howard, Candace Bushnell, Lori Jones, and Kimberly Schlegel Whitman
Myrna Schlegel and friend
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.
Beverly Johnson and Robert Dupont
Michael Parisi and guests
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.
Group Shot of Investiture Mass.
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.
Cav. Marino Gianmarco, Lady Maria Gianmarco, Dame Patricia Kennedy, Lady Rachel Howitt, and Cav. Michael Zugsmith
Cav. Michael Zugsmith and Lady Rachel Howitt
Dame Patricia Kennedy and Francis Cardinal George
Cav. Paris de L'Etraz and Commander John O'Malley
Colonel John Halloran, Jr.
Delegate Michael Sullivan and Lauren Sullivan
Fr. Regis Barwig, Joe LeSanche, Bishop Dziuba (from Lowicz, Poland), and Fr. Casimir Kocinski
Valerie Sobel, Frank Williams, and Anka Palitz
Laura Sullivan, Francis Cardinal George, and Delegate Michael Sullivan
Dr. Thomas Zimmerman and Lady Mary Ann Zimmerman
Edward and Caroline Deutsch
Lady Maria Gianmarco and Cav. Marino Gianmarco
Lady Stephanie Mahaney, Lt. Colonel Patrick Mahaney, and Commander Jeff Ludwig
Nina Salamone, Deacon Ernest Salamone, and Dame Patricia Kennedy

Photographs by Phyllis Hand, Kim Coffman, Katy Anderson, Pete Baatz (Houston)
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